When discussing the best hunting knives on the market, it is difficult to narrow down due to the fact that there are a truly staggering amount of choices. That being said, there are essential things to understand and know about hunting knives before one can start narrowing down the options to find the best hunting knife for their needs.
Fixed-Blade Hunting Knives or Folding Knives?
Fixed-blade knives are as simple to describe as they sound. The blade is fixed and does not fold. The benefits to a knife of this type is that they provide the best durability and are incredibly easy knives to clean. They are also the best fit for when more “heavy-duty” work is required of a hunting knife, although they are not without their downsides either.
A fixed-blade knife is typically much bulkier and harder to carry around when compared to a folding knife. As a result, a fixed-blade knife can be less safe for those hunters that like to travel and hike through rough and rugged terrain. However, the benefits of easy cleaning and an extremely durable blade make fixed-blade knives awfully appealing.
In contrast to the fixed-blade knives, folding knives are capable of retracting the blade. This greatly increases the safety of transporting the blade and it is an easy choice to recommend for those that traverse difficult terrain as a result. While not as strong as a fixed-blade knife, for almost any general purposes a folding knife will absolutely get the job done. So for the vast majority of hunters, the folding knife seems to be an easier recommendation. It should be noted, however, that the difficulties in properly cleaning the knife remains a folding knife’s biggest downside.
While not as strong as a fixed-blade knife, for almost any general purposes a folding knife will absolutely get the job done. So for the vast majority of hunters, the folding knife seems to be an easier recommendation. It should be noted, however, that the difficulties in properly cleaning the knife remains a folding knife’s biggest downside.
While there are two different kinds of folding knives, pocket knives and lock-backs, get a lock-back knife if at all possible. Lock-back knives are safer to use and they are typically more well-suited to larger scale hunting jobs. Some lock-backs even offer the ability to use a one-hand operation when opening the blade. This feature is greatly preferred by many hunters. For the most part, the typical lock-back knife can take on any job thrown at it, with the exception of some rare large game such as moose.
In short, while fixed-blades have their appeal to serious and dedicated hunters, a lock-back folding knife is recommended due to the drastically increased safety features with only a slight reduction in knife performance. While a lock-back knife will be more difficult to clean properly, the added safety features of a lock-back make this a more than fair trade-off.
What’s the Point of the Knife Point?
Since a lock-back is the ideal type of knife for most hunting purposes suggested here, it is important to decide what type of blade shape is best. There are three main types of blade shapes and they are clip-point, drop-point and a modified clip-point or drop-point knife which offers the advantages of both.
A clip-point knife comes equipped with a concave back and a very fine point. This knife is at its best when needing to make small punctures. The blade is also flatter than a drop-point and will typically perform all of the jobs that a drop-point will, but it will do so at a reduced efficiency. This knife, then, is ideal for someone looking for a general purpose knife and an occasional hunting knife.
A drop-point knife is the knife of choice for a big game hunter. Generally, it has a large and curved blade of very thick steel. Ultimately, this allows for the knife’s ability to cut the skin off the animal using the entire edge of the knife instead of just the point of the knife like the clip-point. This speeds up the skinning process and reduces the potential damage to the meat. This design even allows it to gut or split the rib cage and pelvis when field cleaning. Although, admittedly, other tools are best suited for this task.
The final knife type is a modified clip-point. These blades are favored by lock-back knives. The reason for this is that these knives offer the best advantages of both clip-point and drop-point blades. This blade type will get the job done for almost any type of hunting need. Even better, this blade type is very popular amongst high-tech one hand opener lock-back knives.
From this analysis, a lock-back knife with a modified clip-point is ideal, since it will likely also come with the one hand opener technology that is such a desirable feature. Further, the downsides of the clip-point knife are mitigated somewhat with the intelligent hybrid design and approach. As an added bonus, look for a lock-back knife that is serrated and capable doing some “rough cutting” and more serious field tasks.
It should be noted however, that some specialty blades might be needed if a hunter primarily targets a specific type of game. For example, a deer gutting hook would be a useful tool for the hunter that specializes in hunting deer primarily. Bird gutting hooks are also useful for those that primarily hunt birds and other smaller game. However, for the vast majority of hunters, the lock-back knife with a modified clip-point blade will get the job done almost always.
The Handle of the Knife
The next aspect of a good knife that should be considered is the knife’s handle. While many hunters are too often concerned with the form and look of the handle, too many hunters ignore the function of the handle. It is for this reason that some of the newer materials for knife handles are recommended. Rubber and other composite handles are fantastic since they allow for an added degree of safety by providing greater control and stability in difficult conditions. If blood gets on the handle of a wooden, leather or bone handle, then that could easily lead to a trip to the hospital. By contrast, a rubber handle should allow for sustained control even under difficult conditions such as the one described. For this reason, a rubber handle or something similar is the recommended knife handle for most hunters.
So, What Are Some Top Hunting Knife Models to Buy
This article suggests that the ideal type of knife for must hunters’ needs will be a lock-back knife with a modified clip-point blade and a rubber or composite material handle. Working from this framework, there are three outstanding options available to purchase.
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter blends all of these features into one incredible knife. With its locking mechanism, stainless steel clip-point blade, and iconic legacy, this knife ensures that durability, efficiency and safety will be practically guaranteed when using this knife. This knife also comes in at a fairly budget-friendly price despite carrying all of the features suggested!
While more expensive and a more high-end knife, the Benchmade 300-1 Axis Flipper Folding Knife oozes quality. With its 3.18 inch non-serrated stainless steel blade, “Ultra strong” Axis locking mechanism and its ergonomically designed G10 non-slip grips on the handle, this knife is a true winner. The knife is also immaculately balanced and comes equipped with a flipper-assisted opening. While an extremely rugged knife that is incredibly well-suited for all outdoor uses, this knife also doubles as an extremely functional self-defense weapon. It should be noted, however, that this is the one product recommended that does not feature a modified clip-point blade. However, it can still tackle any reasonable hunting job and its stylish looks and bevy of features are enough to recommend it highly.
Finally, for a truly high-end hunting knife experience, look no further than the Benchmade 710-142 Axis. Their original lock-back mechanic Axis knife, this particular model gets a unique and fresh design to celebrate its 15th birthday. With an incredible twist Damasteel blade, full stainless steel liners and a modified clip-point blade with an ambidextrous dual thumb-stud opener, this knife means business. While this knife has incredible features, it also is an incredible tool to look at. With incredibly ergonomic carbon fiber handles that are inlaid with Blue C-Tek and an anodized blue barrel spacer, this handle is pure art. The blade’s length is a full 3.9 inches and weights in at only 4.34 ounces, which gives this incredible blade fantastic balance. Put simply, if there was one knife to recommend from this list, this would be the one.
Find the Knife That Works Best for You!
In truth, though, none of these recommendations will steer you wrong. Also, feel free to experiment and find a preferred knife type that works best for you, as these are simply recommendations. As they say, there are many ways to skin a cat. So, too, are there many ways to skin a deer. In all seriousness, a great hunting knife needs to satisfy a hunter’s particular needs. While there are many great hunting knives out there, there really is no such thing as a one size fits all. Given the parameters and the priorities set forth in this article, however, you can rest assured that choosing any one of these knives will help get the job done!