For those who love to hunt, as well as for knife aficionados, only blades from the hunting knife brands matter.
Hunting knives serve one purpose and one purpose alone: to help you process meat after your hunting kill. Of course, a blade isn’t exclusive to one use only – any knife must also have characteristics to make it generally useful. Hunting knives must have enough utility for survival and even for camping. However, it must still accomplish its main purpose, which is to help you get the meat quickly field dressed in order to preserve it. That way, it will be tasting great once it’s on your plate.
But what do you look for when it comes to a hunting knife? What are the finest hunting knife brands from which you should be making a shortlist of blades? How do you know what makes a good blade, really? Unless you’re an experienced hunter or a knife aficionado with a lot of knowledge about blades, it can get extremely confusing. But don’t worry – we’re here to help you out with a buying guide as well as recommendations of blades from the first-rate hunting knife brands.
1. Becker Hunting Knife by Ka-Bar
For the best choice, we can recommend this particular knife. It’s a chromium-vanadium steel blade with a drop point. From base to tip (including handle), this knife is ten and a half inches in total. Despite its length, it’s quite light, and rather well balanced. This tool not only works great for dressing your hunting catch; it’s also remarkable at performing other utility jobs when you’re setting up camp or along the trail. This knife is so well designed that it will actually make quick work of your catch – no matter how big.
This knife from one of the outstanding hunting knife brands has a blade that is longer than average. It is 5 and a half inches long, but is still incredibly easy to handle and maneuver. If you’re worried about your grip slipping, don’t – it sports a firm and slip-proof handle. The blade itself is resistant to corrosion as well as common abrasions.
The best part? This knife is affordable!
- Well balanced and easy to handle
- Durable, corrosion and abrasion resistant blade
- Longer than average blade
- Requires more frequent sharpening
2. Buck 124 Hunting Knife
Next up on the list is this knife by Buck – a brand that is practically as iconic as something like Harley-Davidson. Buck has been around for ages, and for as long as they have been around they’ve been producing really high-quality knives that are also rather durable. This particular knife, named 124 Frontiersman, is a limited edition. It’s big and it’s bold, and it has a blade that is 6 and a quarter inches long. The blade itself is made out of 420 stainless steel, high carbon.
The 124 is a classic knife, sporting a straight spine. The handles are black Micarta. All in all, the profile, design, and make of this Buck knife makes it a fantastic every day carry for many.
Buck’s 124 knife is good enough for breaking down a buck, but it will also perform all the tasks you need to do around your camp. Set up your camp, do your tasks along the trail – whatever you need, the 124 has got your back.
The best part about this blade is that it is razor-sharp and extremely well balanced. The crossguards are made of aluminum, and they effectively keep your hand on the handle where it should be. For self-defense, the pommel works fantastically, also. The best part is it comes with a sheath made out of genuine leather.
- Well balanced
- Classic design
- Comes with leather sheath
- Trusted brand
- Pretty big
- Not as portable
3. Cold Steel Mini Tac Hunting Knife
The Cold Steel Mini Tac is a skinner type knife. It was designed specifically for dressing your catch, and for this purpose, it is actually considered one of the best. You can use this knife to score, or skin, your catch – fish, deer, elk, or any other game… it truly doesn’t matter what size. The blade of this knife will slice through the meat so effectively and effortlessly that you won’t even waste any time.
The Mini Tac’s blade is made from steel – AUS 8A steel, to be exact. This type of steel is only produced by Aichi Steel Corporation, a company from Japan. AUS 8A, as a result, is an exclusive material. It includes 0.75% of carbon, and at the same time also has Vanadium. In this design, Vanadium was added in order to make the blade a lot more durable. At the same time, vanadium’s inclusion makes the blade much easier for you to sharpen. Let this be known – the blade itself is sharp from the get-go.
If you’re wondering whether this knife is able to handle other tasks, don’t worry. The Cold Steel Mini Tac is a knife that can certainly perform many other utility tasks. But in the end, you know exactly what it is this knife was made for.
- Extremely sharp
- Exclusive steel
- Durable and easier to sharpen
- Very effective
- Irregular shape makes every day carry more difficult
4. Gerber Myth Hunters Knife (Fixed Blade)
No, not Gerber the baby food maker – Gerber, one of the finest hunting knife brands. The Myth offers outstanding value, considering it is made by a company rather well known for producing a few of the world’s best knives for outdoor use. The handle is rubberized and contoured gently, assuring you great grip. Gerber’s knife itself is well balanced, which makes it excellent in terms of handling. And so, you will find that with the Myth, skinning and dressing your game will become much easier overall.
Gerber’s offering has one gut hook, which in fact is one of the most effective out on the market today. With enough practice, you’ll find that you’ll be able to open up your catch easily – as though using a zipper.
The high carbon stainless steel is corrosion resistant and more easily sharpened. You won’t have to sharpen it immediately, however – when it arrives, it will be amazingly sharp (so be careful). Consider, also, that the sheath includes a blade sharpener built right in. A snap is across the top, to keep your knife secure.
- Gut hook
- Corrosion-resistant blade
- Sheath has knife sharpener built-in
- Well balanced
- Gut hook can dangerous if mishandled
5. ESEE Knives LSP
For some of the best-looking hunting knives on the market, look no further than ESEE. This is definitely one of the best hunting knife brands around, and you’ll see why.
The LSP is a hunting knife that also doubles as a survival knife. It uses a 4 and three-fourths inch blade made of 1095 stainless steel – high carbon, of course. For your convenience, a flint is actually tucked right into the handle in order to make starting a fire a complete breeze. This knife is a rather big one overall, at about ten inches long in total. However, when in your hand, it does not feel that big, since it handles quite well and is also rather well balanced.
The handle is made of canvas micarta, which makes it so the knife will not irritate your skin no matter how long you hold it. The included sheath is made of Kydex, with a lock to make sure your knife is snug as a bug and doesn’t budge. It’s not that cheap, but in the end, it might just be worth it for how beautiful this knife is – and how effective it is, too!
- Beautiful design
- Flint hidden in handle so you can start fires easily
- Well balanced and easy to handle
- Kydex sheath
- Somewhat expensive
There are a bunch of things to consider when you start shopping around for a hunting knife. There are a ton of different kinds of knives out there, each of which performs their own specific tasks. However, we’re here to help you find a hunting blade, so we will focus entirely on them. This mini buying guide will walk you through most of the things you need to know about what to look for when you’re shopping for a hunting knife. This way, you’ll be better able to find one that is more suited to your personal needs and preferences.
First things first, you will need to consider what type of blade you want. There are a bunch of different kinds, but it all boils down to three – the clip point, the drop point, and the skinner or trailing point. Which one you purchase quite honestly depends on your personal preference.
- Clip point knives have been around for hundreds of years. They were and are used on hunting blades that are based on Bowie Knives. The clip point got its name because of its appearance, where it appears as though a part of the knife’s blade has been clipped off. The point of this blade is all-purpose and is also ideal for the purpose of puncturing.
- Drop point knives weren’t as popular until more recently, where the tip blade of the knife curves and creates a point that’s lower, or “dropped”. A drop point offers benefits such as increased durability and control. These days, the drop point has grown to become the standard.
- Skinner knives are less popular. They basically have spines that curve upwards, then plateau, then curve back down all the way to the tip/point.
Fixed Knife or Folding Knife
The next thing you should be considering is whether you want to get yourself a fixed blade or one that folds. Fixed blades are much more durable because there are no moving parts. However, folding knives do offer convenience and improved portability. They can even include more than one blade. The disadvantage to folding knives, however, is they can at times be more difficult to clean. In the end, it’s still down to your personal preference whether you want a folding blade or a fixed blade.
When you’re dressing your catch, it’s really important for you to not lose your grip on the knife’s handle. Otherwise, you could end up hurting yourself severely – something you’ll certainly want to avoid especially when hunting (since conditions are not always ideal or sanitary during these trips). This is why the handguard of the knife is something that you will want to consider before you buy it. Look for a knife that has a handguard that will prevent your hand from slipping onto the blade in case you lose your grip. That way, you can prevent some really gnarly injuries.
When you begin putting together a shortlist of blades from the terrific hunting knife brands, you should take a look at the handles too. Ensure that the knife you choose sports a non-slip handle that is also ergonomic. This way, you can prevent dangerous slips that can hurt you or the people around you. A handle that is ergonomic will also ensure you have a much easier time dressing your catch.
Handles on these hunting blades are made of a lot of types of material, all depending on the manufacturer. It could be made of something like bone, or it could be made of synthetic material.
Serrated hunting knives are not as popular, but they do exist. If you want a serrated knife, you can go right for it – it’s all down to personal preference anyway. Just remember, however, that sometimes serrations can get in the way while you are dressing your catch.
This last factor isn’t all that important – quite honestly, it’s all down to your preferences. Sheaths aren’t important when it comes to folding knives, but you will most likely need one for a fixed blade. Sheaths do the work of protecting both you and the knife, so choose one made of durable material.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of materials are hunting knives usually made of?
Hunting blades from the ancient times used to be made of bronze, then eventually iron as the iron age came. Soon, they added carbon to the iron to make the blade more rigid. Finally, people started using (stainless) steel to make them. The handguards of these blades can be made from brass, aluminum, or steel as well. The grips can be made from exotic wood, animal horn, or animal bone. The grips can also be wrapped in leather. As a rule of thumb, manufacturers typically use more durable, weather-proof material for utility knives, while “show knives” get the fancier treatments.
How long should my hunting knife be?
In general, hunting knives should typically be around 2-4 inches. You don’t need anything longer than 4 inches unless you are hunting the biggest game species. The ideal length is about three inches, because it offers the most versatility.
How do I maintain my knife?
Even blades bought from the finest hunting knife brands require maintenance so that they will last you a very long time. To maintain your knife:
- Clean the blade and the entire knife using your hands, water, and soap. Do this carefully so as to not injure yourself.
- Dry your entire knife with a non-scratchy cloth so you don’t scrape your blade.
- Don’t use strong cleaning substances – these could compromise your knife.
- To remove really strong stains, blend salt and vinegar, then use a cork.
- Store your hunting knife in a place that is dry, clean, and safe (keep it in a place where children cannot reach!).
To find the right hunting knife, you have to know the kind of features you need. We hope our buying guide and our recommendations can help!