A complete guide to the best hunting knife
With a wide variety of choices available in the current market, it’s really hard to find the best hunting knife for your needs.
If you’re a hunter, you already know the importance of having a good knife that will enable you to do your job faster and easier. The decision of buying a hunting knife is an important one because when chosen wisely, this tool can last for many, many years. A quality hunting knife is also like a treasure, since it can be transmitted to one generation to the next.
Top Selling best hunting knives of 2016
On this page, I created a special guide that will help you choose the best hunting knife. First of all, I show you TOP 10 best selling hunting knives and I provide honest reviews for all of them; in this way you can see which one of them is the most compatible for your activities. You can either read my full review or check their price on Amazon.
After this I provide you a Buyer Guide, where I tell you what to pay attention to before and after you purchase a hunting knife. At the end of this guide, I show you my personal choice and I tell you why I picked that knife.
I hope you enjoy this guide!
How to pick the best hunting knife?
It’s true that the selection of the best hunting knife depends on your preferences and also on the type of game you usually hunt.
When you decide to buy a hunting knife, you should consider some main points:
1.Fixed vs Folding
One of the first things to decide when buying a hunting knife: should you choose a tool with a fixed or a folding blade?
Fixed blade knives are stronger, more reliable and are suitable for difficult hunting activities. They are more enduring and you can clean them easier. Since they’re long, you will need to carry them in a sheath, for security reasons.
Folding Blade knives are smaller, more versatile and they can be carried in a pocket, which makes them safer than fixed blade knives. These types of knives can be easily opened with one hand and they can be used for other non-hunting activities as well.
You should pay particular attention to the locking mechanism and to the pivot point. Examine the way the blade folds into the handle, to see if everything is working correctly.
Folding blade knives have their own flaws: they are not as strong as fixed blade knives and they are more difficult to clean. Comparing the price, folding knives are more expensive.
- If you’re a person that hunts regularly, pick a fixed blade.
- If you hunt occasionally and you’d like a knife to carry it in the pocket and use it for other activities too, then choose a folding tool.
2. The Blade
This step depends on your personal preferences and the type of game you usually hunt. The most common options are: clip point, drop point and gut hook.
A knife with a clip point blade can be used for many purposes: it’s suitable for hunting and it can also be used for camping activities. This blade is thin, flat and it’s really versatile. As a disadvantage, this knife is not so effective when it comes to skinning or splitting.
A knife with a drop point blade is the perfect tool for hunting. This blade is strong, safe, thick and curved.
A knife with a gut hook blade is great for skinning tasks and it enables you to easily separate the skin from meat. A gut hook blade features a sharpened semi-circle attached to the spine.
- The drop point blade is perfect for difficult hunting activities, such as skinning or cutting.
- The clip point blade is a good choice if you plan to use this knife for other purposes than just hunting.
- The gut hook blade is perfect for skinning, slicing and field dressing big game
Purchasing the best hunting knife: A Buyer Guide
Now we’re going to discuss the most common questions people have when deciding to invest in a hunting knife; we focus on what you need to know before buying a hunting knife and we also tell you what you need to do to take care of your new tool after you purchase it.
Before purchasing a hunting knife
- I never bought a hunting knife before. What elements should I consider?
First of all, you will need to identify the type of game you usually hunt and the most common activities where you plan to use the knife.
For example, if you are a deer hunter and you would like a knife that’s suitable for deer skinning as well, a hunting knife with a drop point Gut hook blade will do the job just fine.
It’s really important to identify these things, so you will have an idea on what to look after, rather than just wasting time reading about some products that won’t be reliable for your tasks.
The second thing you need to do is to research. Read customer reviews, read special forums that are related to hunting or ask a specialist. Make sure to read about both features and benefits; don’t read just a list, you need to know exactly how a certain knife can be suitable for you.
- Can I use the same knife with both small and big game?
Some knives guarantee that they are suitable for both small and big game; this is true, but a fair answer would be: it depends.
Think about it: let’s say you usually hunt rabbits but one day you need to skin a bull; of course a bull will require a stronger blade.
Usually, a blade of 5″ will be ideal for the big game hunter and a blade of 2-3″ will get the job done for a small game hunter.
- Does brand matter?
While we consider that brands have already an established name and a history of satisfied clients, of course you can also choose a new brand or a new product. Just make sure you read the customer reviews, both positive and negative.
- Should I choose a knife that’s not made in America?
Of course! Many great hunting knives are made in Sweden, China or Germany.
- What to choose between fixed and folding?
As stated earlier in this article, if you plan to use your knife for everyday hunting, a fixed blade tool will be great for you.
- Are folding knives reliable?
Yes, they are, I even recommend some great folding knives in my reviews; they are just more useful for the occasional hunter, who doesn’t perform complicated tasks.
You can use them for activities that are not related to hunting as well, such as camping, hiking or survivalism.
- What blade shape should I choose?
The most common blade shapes are clip point, drop point and gut hook. All of them have their own advantages, but it’s true that the most suitable blade for hunting tasks is the drop point.
- What does full tang mean?
Full tang means that the steel goes all the way from the tip to the bottom of the knife. A full tang is recommended, since it guarantees you will get a strong and durable knife.
- What should I choose between a stainless steel and a carbon steel?
My advice would be to go with the stainless steel blade, because they are rust resistant.
A carbon steel is not rust resistant, so it will require special attention and cleaning after you finish your hunting job.
- What’s the ideal hunting knife length and weight?
It’s hard to assume the ideal length or weight; you just need to find something that feels comfortable, it’s not too large to get in the way and it’s light weight enough, so you can easily carry it in a pocket or bag.
Generally speaking, a blade length of 4.8″ is excellent for hunting activities.
Another thing that you need to be aware of is the activity you usually perform: a smaller blade is ideal for detail work such as skinning and a larger blade is perfect for heavy-duty tasks such as chopping or hammering.
- How can I choose a knife with a good handle?
The perfect handle needs to meet three main conditions:
- It needs to feel solid and comfortable in the hand;
- It needs to offer control, so you can easily maneuver the knife;
- It’s build of materials that can be used in any weather condition, especially during rain. For example, you can choose a handle made of textured rubber.
Another condition, but not a required one, would be to choose a handle that has a bright color, such as orange or magenta, so you won’t loose it when it’s dark outside.
- Are the knives with replaceable blades reliable?
Of course! A knife like this can be really useful if your blade gets dull in the middle of your hunting task and all you have to do is to replace it with a new one.
- I’m left handed. What folding knife is suitable for me?
Many folding hunting knives feature Ambidextrous thumb studs, which enables you to easily open your knife.
- Is a good quality hunting knife expensive?
Not really. A hunting knife doesn’t need to be expensive to be considered valuable. You would be surprised at how innovative and strong a cheap knife can be.
On my site, you can find recommendations and reviews for any budget.
- Do I receive a warranty?
Many companies offer a warranty when you purchase a hunting knife from them. They can offer different conditions though, so pay attention and do some research; most hunting knives company offer a Lifetime Warranty.
After purchasing a hunting knife
- How to know if my knife is sharp?
Most hunting knives come razor sharp right from the factory, but the easiest method to test them is to easily and cautiously rub your thumb across the blade. Another method would be to analyze the blade back and forth and any gleams of light that appear will reflect its flaws.
- How to sharpen a knife?
The whetstone sharpening is considered the most professional technique. It’s true that you will need practice to set and keep the right angle, but it’s not complicated to master.
- What are some useful tips to take care of my knife?
It’s not hard to maintain your hunting knife. First of all, make sure you always have a sharp blade; a dull blade is useless and not reliable at all.
It’s essential that after each hunting task you wash your knife with soap and water; this step will be even more important if you own a folding knife. Don’t let pieces of meat or blood on your blade because it can easily be deteriorated.
You can use a special oil to apply it to the blade and the pivot points; this will keep the knife lubricated. It’s not necessary to apply oil after each use, twice a year is fine.
- How to carry a hunting knife?
A fixed blade knife can be carried in a sheath; most hunting knives come with a sheath that can be made of nylon or leather. Some sheaths have a snap closure, that enable you to attach it to your belt; other sheaths can give you the option to attach it to MOLLE.
A folding knife can be carried in a pocket.
- How much will my hunting knife last?
Chosen wisely, a hunting knife can last for many years, but of course you will need to take care of it as well and not abuse it in any way.
My choice for the best hunting knife
After reviewing 10 hunting knives, I’m now ready to show you my personal choice: this is the best hunting knife of 2016.
Why? Because it’s simple, effective, durable and you can even use it as a survival knife. It inspires confidence and you can use it on a daily basis; the design is awesome as well.
Now you have all the necessary information to discover the best hunting knife for your needs.
After you have read my reviews and tips, I’m sure you’ll be ready to make a buying decision with confidence and you will pick the best hunting knife for you.