The Best Hunting Knives for the Serious Hunter
Do you enjoy hunting? If so, you know that having the right gear is essential for a successful outing. One of the most important pieces of equipment is your knife. A good hunting knife can make all the difference in the world. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best hunting knives on the market and why you should consider adding them to your arsenal. We’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the right hunting knife for your needs. So, whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just getting started, read on for information about some of the best knives out there!
- Best Overall: Benchmade Saddle Mountain Hunting Knife
- Best Folding: Special Buck Knives Folding Hunting Knife
- Best with Gut Hook: Benchmade Saddle Mountain hunting knife with Hook
- Best on a Budget: Cabela’s Hunt Series Fixed Blade Knife
- Best Drop Point: Alaska Suregrip Trekker Series Elk Hunting Knife
Best Overall: Benchmade Saddle Mountain Hunting Knife
The Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Fixed Blade Knife is the perfect big-game hunting knife. A fixed-blade knife is a classic style that does not have a folding point, meaning that it is stronger than a folding-blade knife. Anyone who regularly dresses games usually uses a fixed blade because it can handle the stress of processing the game better. Another bonus is that they are easier to clean due to the lack of nooks and crannies.
The Saddle Mountain Skinner from Benchmade is our top pick for the best hunting knife because it comes with a 4.2-inch stainless steel clip-point blade and impressive field functionality. The contoured stabilized wood handle also gives it a classic look, making it ideal for field dressing or skinning big game animals.
The stand-out feature of this knife is its blade. Cabela’s catalogs it as a clip point, but Benchmade counters with a drop point classification. While this might seem like an unimportant small print, the difference matters when you’re purchasing a knife. We say: It’s a combination of both, giving you “the best of both worlds.”
The knife’s point is clipped, providing for nimble and easy penetration into the hide, but the blade has a thick and sturdy spine– as you would see on a drop point. That said, this blade can handle some pressure. If you need something more specialized though, whether it be precise or powerful cuts, then consider another knife. However, if you want an all-purpose type of blade, this one is ideal.
- 4.2-inch clip-point blade
- Leather, pressure-fit sheath
- S30V stainless steel blade
- The blade on this knife is designed for quick, clean cuts.
- The wood handle looks good and feels solid in your hand.
- The blade on this knife is between a clip point and a drop point, making it difficult to know what you’re getting before you purchase it.
Best Folding: Special Buck Knives Folding Hunting Knife
The Buck Model 110, introduced in 1963, is a timeless hunting knife that has withstood the test of time for gutting deer. Its convenient folding design and razor-sharp clip-point blade make it the perfect choice for taking into the woods.
A folding hunting knife is much more compact than a fixed blade, and it’s also safer to carry in the woods. Even though your safety is ultimately up to you, you’re less likely to have an accident when carrying a folding hunting knife.
Although some hunters shy away from carrying folding knives because they aren’t as strong as fixed-blade hunting knives, there are advantages to having a knife that can fold. The weak part in the design is offset by the ease of portability a folded knife offers. Additionally, many manufacturers create high-quality folding knives that can more than handle light to moderate butchering tasks.
- 420HC clip point blade
- Brass bolsters
- Folds down to 4 and 7/8 inches
- Lightweight and portable
- Extremely durable for a folding knife
- space-saving design
- Can be tricky to clean properly
- Not as sturdy as a Fixed blade
Best with Gut Hook: Benchmade Saddle Mountain hunting knife with Hook
The Benchmade Saddle Mountain Gut Hook Fixed Blade Knife is designed to make field dressing any species of North American big game quick and easy.
Shopping for a hunting knife, you will likely come across products with gut hooks. But what are they? A gut hook knife has a sharp semi-circle “hook” that sticks out from the back of the tip. Its only purpose is to help you open up the stomach cavity of your kill. First, make a small incision on the underside then put in the gut hook and pull down like zipping a jacket. This makes it quicker and easier to field dress your game without puncturing internal organs by accident.
Benchmade’s Saddle Mountain Gut Hook is one of the best knives with gut hooks available. The 4.2″ fine-edge gut hook blade is a great size for use in the field, and the CPM-S30V steel blade stays sharp. Additionally, the fixed blade design means it’s a strong knife overall. If you’re looking for a high-quality option for anyone who wants to reap the benefits of a gut hook hunting knife, this is it!
Although it is difficult to keep the gut hook itself sharp, many hunters see this as a necessity when field-dressing games. Some use a file to sharpen the gut hook, but be aware that this process can be tricky. Additionally, you will not be able to sharpen the spine with this knife like other types of hunting knives.
- 4.2-inch gut hook blade
- S30V stainless steel
- Wood handle
- It looks just like any other Benchmade knife
- The ergonomic grip prevents it from slipping out of your hand
- The leather sheath is a luxurious touch
- It can be difficult to sharpen the hook.
The Cabela’s Hunt Series Drop-Point Fixed Blade Knife has all the features you need in a hunting knife, and it’s affordably priced.
A new hunting knife typically costs a pretty penny, but this one is under $75. That’s cheaper than other knives on the market, which can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Sure, those are works of art–but custom knife makers will encourage you to use their blades as hard as any others…Are you gonna do that?
The Cabela’s Hunt Series Drop-Point is the best budget knife available for under $20. With a rust-resistant high-chromium 440 stainless steel blade, full-tang construction, and a sturdy drop-point blade, this knife can handle anything you throw at it. The nylon sheath gives it a more tactical look, while the over-molded nylon grip handles provide no-slip safety in hand.
If you need a knife that will withstand some tough conditions, this is it. It’s also great for young hunters who are transitioning into using adult-sized knives.
- 440 stainless steel blade
- Nylon sheath
- Rubber over-molded nylon handle
- No nonsense
- Easy to clean
- At this price… we couldn’t find a better deal anywhere.
Best Drop Point: Alaska Suregrip Trekker Series Elk Hunting Knife
The Knives of Alaska Elk Hunter Suregrip is a tough and dependable hunting knife. As we mentioned before, when you’re in the market for a new hunting knife, there are usually two blade types to pick from: clip point and drop point. Clip-point blades have been around longer and are what most people envision when they think of a hunting knife.
There are pros and cons to both clip-point and drop-point blades. Clip points have a convex spine that curves down from the handle to create a sharp tip, while drop points feature a concave arch from the spine of the blade to its tip. Though they may not feel as precise, drop-point knives typically offer more strength.
If you’re looking for a drop-point knife, the Knives of Alaska Elk Hunter Suregrip is a great option. The blade is made from D-2 tool steel, which is very sharp. The handle is rubberized and has an ergonomic grip, so it’s easy to use when gutting games. You should consider the Elk Hunter Suregrip because it’s versatile and well-made.
This drop-point hunting knife is tough, which means it can handle a lot of pressure – perfect for tasks like disjointing and prying. Most other drop points have shorter blades (3.25 inches), allowing you to make clean cuts. This shorter design also reduces the chance of stabbing your prey in the stomach or intestines while you’re field-dressing them. For the no-fuss hunter, a drop-point knife is a great option, and the Elk Hunter Suregrip is one of the best out there.
List of Criteria to Evaluate Before Purchasing a Hunting Knife
Not only are hunting knives a crucial piece of equipment but they’re also seen as valuable tools and sometimes even passed down through generations as heirlooms. Hunting knives often say something about the hunter using them and their character. Consequently, when you’re shopping for a new knife, it’s important to find one that is functional and conveys who you are. The two main types of blades are fixed-blade knives and folding-blade knives. Other things to consider include the handle material, Blade length, etc.
Style of Knife
When choosing a hunting knife, you have to decide between a fixed blade or a non-fixed blade. Fixed blades are the big, sturdy knives that you’re used to hunting with, but non-fixed blades (like folding knives) can be just as valuable. If you’re field-dressing big game regularly, then you probably want a fixed-blade knife. But if portability is important to you, consider a folding knife. It’s pretty simple!
Style of Blade
When it comes to choosing a hunting knife, you may prefer a clip-point or drop-point blade. Clip points tend to be more tapered towards the blades’ pointy end, so they look as though they’ve been “clipped.” Keep in mind that a clipped blade will provide easier skin penetration. Therefore, you’ll have to apply less pressure and are less likely to accidentally puncture organs.
A fixed-blade knife can’t penetrate quite as easily, but these knives are usually more durable. It’s also simpler to work with bones and joints when using a fixed blade. Even so, like our best overall winner, there can be some ambiguity when a blade is slightly clipped. Consider what matters most to you and ideally test out different knives before committing by borrowing them from friends.
Some blades also come with additional, specialized tools. Our favorite is the gut hook since it makes the processing game much simpler–even though you’re less likely to carry it around daily.
All hunters carry a hunting knife with them, which is likely more than one. The type of hunting knife you use can make a significant difference while you’re out in the field. There are many types of knives available like fixed blades, gut hook blades, and drop point blades– each with its benefits and drawbacks. Get comfortable carrying and using the one that YOU feel most drawn to before heading out.