If you’ve spent any time hunting, you know how important a good hunting knife is. Whether you’re hunting, fishing or even just camping, the odds are you’ll need to cut some rope, clean a fish or dress a deer. You’ll need the best hunting knife on the market if you want to make the most of your hunting experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than attempting to prepare a kill for processing and not having the proper equipment.
Best Hunting Knife Reviews
MTech USA Fixed-blade Hunting Knife
This hunting knife has a straight edge blade design. It is 12 and ¼ inch long in total with 7 inches of blade. The ABS handle has wing walk inserts to help keep your grip firm and secure even in wet conditions. The handle also has a glass breaker built in for emergencies. The MTech USE Fixed-Blade hunting knife comes with a black nylon sheath.
- Comes very sharp
- Well balanced
- Handle is built for larger hands
- Sandpaper-like inserts peel off and have no purpose
- Sheath is cheaply made
- Fixed blade outdoor knife ideal for camping expeditions or survival training
- Black stainless steel blade with straight edge
- ABS handle with wing walk inserts for a superior grip even in wet conditions
- Includes black nylon sheath for easy and safe carry
- 12-1/4-inch overall length, 7-inch blade length with 3mm thickness
Ontario 8848 RAT Folding-Knife
With a nylon handle, this simple folding-knife is great for small, simple cleaning jobs. The blade length is 3.5 inches long, and when the blade is open the knife is 8.5 inches long. This folding knife is designed with an open post construction which makes it easier to clean than some. It has a liner lock locking mechanism. This is a little knife, that is easy and safe to carry with you. It is perfect for cleaning and preparing small game.
- Stout and very strong steel blade
- Versatile pocket clip
- Comparatively cheap
- Not the smoothest flip
- Not a good quality grip
- Slight wiggle to the blade
TAC Force TF-705 Series Assisted Folding-Knife
This is a spring assisted folding-knife that offers quick one-handed open. The blade is stainless steel, 3mm thick and half-serrated. The blade is 3 ¼ inches long and when the knife is closed it is 4 ½ inches long. The handle is aluminum and has a bottle opener and a glass breaker for emergencies. The handle design is camouflaged and dappled with ridges for some better grip.
- Very durable
- Smooth open
- Liner click wears out
- Bottle opener is difficult to use
- Needs sharpened
- Spring assist folding knife offers rapid one-handed deployment, locks securely into place with liner lock
- Black half-serrated stainless steel blade
- Aluminum handle with bottle opener and glass breaker for emergencies
- Comes complete with a pocket clip for easy and safe carry
- 4-1/2-inch closed length, 3-1/4-inch blade length with 3mm thickness
Buck Knives 0119 Fixed Blade Knife
This is a 6-inch large clip blade made of steel. The overall length of the knife is 10 ½ inches. The handle is made of cocobolo dymondwood with a brass pommel and guard. The knife also comes with a genuine leather sheath. Buck is a family owned company that has been making knives for over 100 years. The knives are made in the United States of America.
- Lifetime warranty
- Classic design
- Extremely durable
- Slightly grip heavy
- Comparatively pricey
- Blade might need polished
- RAZOR SHARP CLIP POINT BLADE - 6" Clip Point 420HC steel blade has excellent strength, edge retention, and corrosion resistance for lasting durability. The clip blade is good for piercing, detail work, and cutting in tight places
- COMFORTABLE GRIP & BALANCE - Traditional black phenolic handle has palm swells for a comfortable grip. The aluminum pommel/guard provide the perfect combination of beauty and balance. Overall length 10-1/2", Weighs 7.5 oz.
- AN AMERICAN ICON - Classic phenolic handle and aluminum pommel/guard provide a perfect combination of beauty and balance. One of Buck's top selling knives, the 119 Special is one that's handed down from generation to generation
- CONVENIENT CARRY- Includes a genuine high quality protective leather sheath with snap fastener. The integrated belt loop allows you to carry the knife securely and safely on your belt
- MADE IN THE USA - FOREVER WARRANTY - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime warranty on our knives because we believe in the integrity of our products. This knife is proudly made in the USA
Morakniv Companion Fixed-Blade Knife
This is a sleek and versatile outdoor knife. The blade is 4.1 inches long with the blade thickness of 2.5mm. The total length of the knife is 8.6 inches. There are seven different colors to choose from for the plastic sheath and belt clip that comes with the Morakniv Companion Fixed-blade knife. The manufacturer provides a lifetime warranty. This is a stainless steel Swedish knife, that has a padded handle for comfortable grip.
- Very light
- Comes sharp
- Solid grip
- The sheath feels cheap
- Difficult to replicate the angle of the knife when you sharpen it
- Handle heavy
- Versatile fixed-blade outdoor knife with a 4.1-inch hardened Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade is ideal for carving, food prep, and cutting tinder
- High-quality Swedish steel is razor sharp and exceptionally tough; stainless steel blade stays sharp longer than carbon steel, and is less prone to rust
- Patterned, high-friction grip sits comfortably in the hand, for greater control, safety, and performance, especially in wet and cold conditions
- Blade length: 4.1 inches (104 mm), blade thickness: 0.1 inch (2.5 mm), overall length: 8.6 inches (218 mm), weight w/ sheath: 4.1 oz. (116 g)
- Includes a color-matching plastic sheath with belt clip; manufacturer's limited lifetime warranty; made in Sweden
Which Knife is Best?
If you’re hunting or spending any serious amount of time outdoors, you’ll need a good knife. Hunters use their knives to prepare traps, skin and dress game and to protect themselves. Having the proper knife can make your hunting experience much more efficient and pleasant. There is a wide variety of knives on the market and a large range in quality. You could spend $10.00 on a knife, or $200.00. That’s how much diversity there is in the market. But no matter the price, you need a knife that will meet your needs. The best hunting knife in terms of quality and durability is the Buck fixed-blade knife. Buck knives are made of the highest caliber. Their design makes them easy and intuitive. The handle is comfortable and smart. With a Buck hunting knife, you’ll be ready to take care of any knife needs you’ll have while you’re on the road.
A Basic Guide: Knife Care 101
Caring for your knife is a mandatory part of tool maintenance. Taking good care of arguably your most important survival tool ensures its quality and longevity for years to come. Knife care and maintenance are simple, quick and necessary. Let’s cover the basics to make sure that your survival knife lasts you for years to come and is there when you need to use it;
The Rules of Knife Care
- Don’t misuse your knife: The worst mistake novices make is to use their knife in ways that it is not intended. Knives are not meant to work as a hammer, a screwdriver or a toothpick. However fun it may be, most knives are also not meant to be thrown. Using your knife in any way that it is not meant to be used is going to cause damage and lead to the premature degradation of your tool.
- Keep your knife clean: After every use, wipe your entire knife down, handle included. Simply using running water and a tiny quantity of soap will do. Do not ever scrub your knife with anything abrasive (physical or chemical). Once you have washed it, dry it and put it away. This step is crucial for knife care rust prevention. Even the highest quality stainless steel blades can rust in favorable conditions.
- Keep your knife oiled: Using a little knife care mineral oil or even WD-40 after the knife has been cleaned is great for protecting a steel blade from rust and debris. If the handle is made from wood or leather, a small amount of oil is also usable on the handle. If the handle is plastic, do not use oil, it will result in a slippery handle and unsafe conditions. Oil should only be used on steel, other metals may get scuffed or scratched.
- Keep your knife waxed: A light coat of hand-rubbed wax is favorable for blade protection. Much like the oil, a little goes a long way. Renaissance wax is good, but using an all-natural Carnauba wax with no synthetic polymers. Wax is generally preferred over oil as with some materials, oil will attract dust and could weaken the sheath.
- Keep your knife sharp: Most accidents occur because of a dull knife. Keep your knife sharp and keep your fingers attached! If you don’t know how to sharpen your own knife, there are plenty of YouTube tutorials. You can also invest in a professional sharpening.
- Store your knife properly: If you have a small pocket knife, remember that keys and pocket change can dent, scratch and otherwise compromise the integrity of your knife. If you have a folding knife, keep the locking latch clean and the pivot lightly oiled. Proper knife storage boils down to common sense. Protect your tool from the elements with its sheath and keep it stored in a dry place.
What Kind of Knife: Fixed or Folding
Before you invest in a knife, you’ll need to discern what type of knife will best meet your needs. Fixed blade knives are generally stronger and better suited for heavy duty work. They are easier clean because they don’t have as many joints and crevices. Fixed knives are also more reliable and stable because of their simplistic design. Fixed knives make some people feel uncomfortable because they aren’t as safe as folding knives during transportation. You’ll have to access your personal level of comfortability before you buy a fixed sheath knife.
Folding knives are very popular for general hunting purposes because they are familiar and safe feeling. There are two different types of the folding knife:
Lock-blades and pocket-knives. Traditional pocket-knives have a clip point and Spey blades that make skinning and dressing small game easier. Pocket-knives are convenient and easy for small jobs that need to be completed in the field. Lock-blades are safer because they help protect against blade slippage. Some lock-blade knives are designed for single-hand opening and use, which is the most popular version for hunters.
If you are comfortable carrying a fixed blade knife on you through rugged terrain, most hunters would suggest getting one. It’s the most versatile, traditional, heavy duty and trustworthy choice. But it’s not for everyone. If you’d prefer a blade that could safely tuck away, then there are many folding blades on the market that will get the job done.
Consider the Point
It might surprise some people to learn that there are dozens to varying blade point types to choose from when searching for a hunting knife. While there are dozens of options, there are three main point types that will cover most needs.
- Clip Point: Clip point blades have a concave tip, which gives the knife the appearance of having the end “clipped off.” The clip point is designed for quicker, more fine cuts. The clip point is great for deer field dressing.
- Drop Point: Drop point blades are convex in design and they are generally thicker than clip point knives. The thickness of this blade makes it stronger than other knives. It is a good deer skinning knife because it is less likely to accidentally puncture the hide of the deer with a drop point.
- Spear Point: Spearpoint blades are symmetrically aligned blades where the edges of the blade rise and fall in equal measure creating a very balanced knife. These knives are very controllable for small cuts, but they aren’t the most popular choice for hunters.
Some hunting knives today are hybrids of clip/drop/spear points. Consider the individual components of a knife’s blade to be sure that it will meet your individual needs. You might also consider whether you really need more than one knife to adequately cover all of your hunting needs. Often, a hunter will need to carry multiple knives in order to complete all of the diverse skinning, dressing, and cutting jobs that arise in the field.
How Does it Feel?
You can research and consider all of the design elements of a knife, but if it doesn’t feel good in your hand then it won’t serve you well. Some knives have wood or bone handles, which look great and are generally warm to the touch in cold weather. But most wood and bone handles have comprehensive metal trimming which can make them seem just as cold as a metal handled knife. If you do a lot of hunting in cold climates, owning a metal knife might not be incredibly comfortable. Synthetic handles aren’t the prettiest or most exciting knife handle style, but they are warm with good grip and they are often cheaper.
Once you’ve found a material or handle that feels good in your hand, make sure that the proper safety design elements are there. For heavy duty fixed-knives or strong folding-knives, there should be a thumb and finger stop or a thick contour and to protect your hand. If your knife doesn’t have these safety elements built it, your hand could slide down the handle while you’re gutting game. The result can be some pretty nasty cuts.
You should never be using a hunting knife if you don’t know what you’re doing. All hunting knives were designed to cut into thick and strong animal hides, so if they aren’t afforded the proper respect then they can do some serious damage. An important part of safely using a hunting knife is to understand all of the various parts of the knife. Understanding the elements of the knife and the way the design works will help you make smart and safe decisions. Then seek the counsel of an expert. They will show you the ropes. It’s never smart to handle a sharp tool/weapon without proper training
Taking the time to properly care for your best hunting knife is important! Without proper knife care, you can take all that time you spent researching the best survival knife and all that money you spent to buy it and just throw it out the window. Maintaining this crucial survival tool is simply a mandatory step for any responsible survivalist and it should be taken seriously.