While different kinds of hunting sometimes require different types of tools, there is always one common tool among hunters a knife. There is probably no tool that is as important as a knife in the outdoors. While regular blades come in handy in everyday applications, they cannot fill in for a great hunting knife.
Owning the best hunting knife out there is a wise move that every recreational or serious hunter needs to make. Nevertheless, there are many options available for purchase. To help you settle for a hunting knife with great Construction and overall quality, we have put the following list of 11 best hunting knives in the market.
Best All-Round Hunting Knife Reviews
|1. ESEE Knives 4P Fixed Blade Knife
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|2. Buck Knives 192 Vanguard Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath
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|3. KA-BAR Full Size Hunting Knife
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|4. Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife
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|5. ESEE 5P Tactical Hunting Knife with Sheath
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|6. Cold Steel 49HSF Mini Tac, Skinner with Faux G-10
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|7. Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade Hunting Knife
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|8. Gerber Myth Fixed Blade Pro Knife – 31-001095
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|9. ESEE ESLSP-BRK Laser Strike
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|10. Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Hunting Knife
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|11. Old Timer 152OT Sharpfinger Hunting Knife
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The ESEE 4P Fixed Blade Knife is one of the finest hunting knives on the market. The staff at Randall’s Adventure & Training designed this knife. It is also designed to perform a wide range of tasks. You can use this hunting knife to process, butcher, and skin. It can also serve as a survival knife. In all, it is one of the best hunting knives on our list. The blade of this knife is made out of 1095 high carbon steel, which holds the edge very well.
This tool is very easy to sharpen. The 1095 high carbon steel blade makes it tough enough to withstand the abuse the knife can take. The handle of this tool is also full tang with linen Micarta scales. It is also close to indestructible. Handles made with Micarta have more wear resistance than those made with plastics and they do not split like those made with wood. It comes with a drop point blade design which helps the knife to ride easily under the skin when processing animals while the flat ground edge remains sharp.
It also features a good and comfortable grip, thanks to its shape and size. The design of the handle also keeps the knife from slipping no matter the task. The sharpening process is also pretty simple; all you need is a regular stone.
- Blade: 4.5 inches, High Carbon 1095 Steel
- Handle: Micarta handle
- Sheath: Molded polyester
- Easy to maintain
- Quality blade
- A bit expensive
Buck has been in the knife manufacturing field for quite some time now. This brand has at least ten great models to its name, and the Buck Knives 192 Vanguard happens to be one of the best the firm has made. The blade of this tool is made from a 420 high carbon stainless. As such, this hunting knife requires minimal maintenance and it is very easy to sharpen. The blade does not dull easily, which means you can use it for a very long time without sharpening it.
This tool comes with a full tang handle that is made with brass fittings and wood scales, which makes is strong enough to stand up to daily use. While wood can sometimes be slippery, the deep choil of this knife prevents slipping when wet or bloody. It also comes with a slightly deeper drop point that helps to keep everything in line with precise, strong cuts.
The knife also makes skinning easy, and it reduces the chances of getting into the guts. The manufacturers designed this knife for tough work. The length of the blade is 4 inches and it can process most sized game. This tool comes with a lifetime warranty. It also comes with a genuine high-quality protective leather sheath with a snap fastener. The sheath has an integrated belt loop that allows you to carry the knife safely and securely on your belt.
- Blade: 4 inches, 420 high carbon stainless steel
- Handle: Brass fittings and wood scales
- Sheath: High-quality leather
- Great utilitarian knife
- Perfect skinning knife
- Easy to sharpen
- Comfortable grip and balance
- Convenient carry
- It needs frequent care
The KA-BAR might not be the knife that comes to your mind when you think of a hunting knife, but the history of the knife says otherwise. In the early 1900s, a trapper killed and skin a bear with a Ka-Bar knife after his rifle jammed. He wrote a letter to the Union Cutlery, which was hard to read, and the phrase “Kill a Bear” came through as “Ka-Bar.” The knife has maintained its design over the past 100 years. However, there has been a considerable change in the blade.
The blade of this knife is made out of premium steel, 1095 Cro-van steel. This steel takes a shaving edge and holds it forever. They are a little bit difficult to sharp, but not as difficult as some super steels. While the 1095 steel is susceptible to rust, the Ka-Bar hunting knife comes with a great blade coating that reduces maintenance and prevents the blade from rust. This tool comes with a rat-tail tang and the handle is made of grooved wood. You can use this knife in any environment and it comes with a solid grip.
The blade has a clip point design, which comes in pretty handy. The length of the blade is 7 inches and it makes butchering and processing very easy. It has a convex edge that strips through tendon and muscle with minimal effort.
- Blade: 7 inches, 1095 Cro-Van stainless steel
- Handle: Grooved wood
- Sheath: 100 percent leather
- Great quality
- Long blade
- Easy to maintain
- A bit touchy to sharpen
The Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife is one of the best hunting knives in the market. This hunting knife comes with a chromium-vanadium drop point steel blade that is as tough as a nail. Coupled with its full tang and imposing profile, this is a knife that you will be reaching for Constantly whether you are out for hunting or in the camp. The overall length of this knife is 10.5 inches. Despite its length, this unit is relatively lightweight and well balanced. It makes even the biggest game quick and easy.
The length of the blade itself is 5.5 inches, full tang, and it is enclosed on the butt end by a Grivory handle. Thanks to the handle, this tool provides a slip-proof, firm grip irrespective of the task or weather. With the pommel, you can get through the window of a car in a hurry in the case of an accident.
The 1095 Chromium Steel blade is more corrosion resistant and less prone to abrasions than other types of carbon steel. It also features a 20-degree angle that is perfect for cutting. The downside of this hunting knife is that it requires more frequent sharpening than blades with a lesser angle. It also features an amazing feel and look. This is also a budget-friendly option.
- Blade: 5.5 inches, 1095 Cro-Van stainless steel
- Handle: Grivory
- Sheath: Hard shell black nylon
- Long blade
- Cro-Van 1095 steel blade
- Great cutting angle
- Requires frequent sharpening
ESEE is known for making some of the most outstanding hunting knives in the market. The ESEE 5P Tactical Knife is one of the best hunting knives from the ESEE line. This tool comes with a carbon steel blade that is super sharp and cuts with ease. It also comes with a comfortable tan Micarta canvas handle and satisfying heft. This tool comes with jimping on the blade spine for an enhanced grip. This knife features a great build and it looks every bit as good as it feels.
You can use this knife to dress or skin large game. However, just like the other models of this brand, you can use this knife for a wide range of survival applications. The length of the blade is 5.25 inches. The blade also has black powder coating and it does a great job of holding its edge despite how hard you use the knife. Thanks to the design of the pommel, you can use it to break glass in the case of an emergency. This knife also comes in pretty handy when it comes to defending yourself.
The ESEE 5P hunting knife comes with a polymer sheath that makes it easy to carry. This model is a bit expensive than other hunting knives out there. However, it is worth every penny. The weight of this knife is 1.55 pounds and the overall length is 11 inches. The material of the handle is Micarta and that of the sheath is Kydex.
- Blade: 5.25 inches, steel with black power coating
- Handle: Micarta
- Sheath: Kydex
- Comfortable handle and grip
- Stunning black finish
- Tan Micarta canvas handle
- Easy to sharp
- It is pricey
Skinners are a unique type of hunting knife designed for the task of breaking down game and the Cold Steel 49HSF is one of the best. This hunting knife does a great job of scoring or skinning deer, elks, fish, and other game irrespective of the size. This tool comes with a sweeping blade that lifts the skin from the muscle with very little effort; this means you do not have to spend much time skinning. It is also one of the most durable options on our list.
The blade of this hunting knife is made out of AUS-8A steel. The Aichi Steel Corporation of Japan exclusively made the AUS steel. The steel includes Vanadium, and it has approximately 0.75 percent of carbon. Vanadium is integrated into the steel to provide you with superior durability. The addition of vanadium also makes the blade easier to sharpen. The blade is super sharp and it makes no mistake.
This full tang knife glides through the motions. It also comes with a narrow Griv-Ex handle scales that allow you to keep the blade very flat and close to the body while working. This hunting knife can also be used in a wide range of situations and campers are going to find it very useful. This knife is lightweight, as it weighs just about one pound. The thickness of the blade is 2.5mm and it features a serrated edge type. This knife also provides a curved, long cutting edge with a sharp point.
- Blade: 3.375 inches, AUS 8A stainless steel
- Handle: Black Faux G-10
- Sheath: Secure-Ex neck sheath
- AUS 8A Stainless steel
- Great handle
- Serrated edge type
- Durable blade
- A longer blade would have been better
Havalon is another highly reputable brand in the knife manufacturing industry. If you are looking for a pocket-sized hunting knife with an amazing design, then the Havalon Piranta Z Folding Blade is one option you should Consider. This beautiful hunting knife comes with a retractable 2.75 inches blade. The blade of this knife is specifically designed for skinning and dressing in the field. This knife does not come with the best design when it comes to looks, but the effectiveness and performance of this knife would leave you wowed.
The blade of this tool is razor-sharp and it cuts through materials with ease and less effort. The overall length of the knife is 7.25 inches. This knife also has a flat profile that allows you to skin with incredible precision, wasting little time and producing no waste. The knife also makes it very easy to clean fish. The blade is very easy to sharpen and you can also replace it with one of the twelve extra blades that come with it.
If you are looking for a traditional hunting knife experience, this not the best option for you. However, if you are looking for the most effective way possible to dress a deer, then you do not want to miss out on what this blade has to offer. This hunting knife also comes with a rugged stain-resistant ABS plastic handle. Included in it is a nylon holster that fits all Piranta blades. This can also be a good knife for skinning animals.
- Blade: 2.75 inches, 1095 Cro-Van stainless steel
- Handle: Rugged stain-resistance ABS plastic
- Sheath: Nylon holster
- 12 additional blades
- Nylon holster
- Not the best design
- Short blade length
If you are looking for a great knife that you can use for a variety of purposes, besides hunting, then the Gerber Myth Fixed Blade Pro hunting knife is what you need. This knife features an amazing look and it is highly versatile. It comes with a gently contoured, rubberized handle that provides a strong grip for any conditions. It also features an excellent balance. We all know that Gerber is known for manufacturing good quality folding knife. The blade of this hunting knife is made out of a high carbon steel stainless, which makes cleaning and skinning easy.
This knife also comes with a gut hook, which is pretty much one of the most effective features out there. Dressing a deer with this knife is as easy as opening a zipper. The design of the blade also makes it easy and fast to sever the windpipe, allowing you to speed up the field skinning process. The blade is also corrosion resistance, which means you do not have to worry about rust.
This knife is razor-sharp out of the box and it is very easy to sharpen. Furthermore, this tool comes with a puncture-resistant sheath that has an inbuilt blade sharpener. The sheath also has a strong snap lock across the top. The overall length of the knife is 8.5 inches and the length of the blade itself is 3.75 inches. This tool is also super lightweight, as it weighs less than 5 ounces.
- Blade: 3.75 inches, high carbon stainless steel
- Handle: Soft rubberized handle
- Sheath: Hard plastic sheath with built-in carbide sharpener
- Blade sharpening sheath
- Dual-lock sheath
- High carbon stainless steel blade
- Got hook
- It is a bit small
ESEE is very popular for making high-quality and durable survival knives and hunting knives. The LSP ESLSP-BRK Laser Strike is another great hunting knife from ESEE. The blade of this hunting knife is made from 1095 high carbon stainless steel that is refined to perfection. The overall length of this knife is 10 inches while the blade is 4.75 inches long. This tool also has a Ferro fire-starting flint inserted into the handle. The design of this knife makes field dressing your game and building campfire easy and fast.
This is a fairly large hunting knife and it is a bit weighty, as it weighs 1.2 pounds. However, the knife does not feel big in any way. The weight is evenly distributed and it comes with an outstanding design that helps to deliver force effortlessly, making it feel like you are using a smaller knife.
The knife also comes with a canvas Micarta handle that will not irritate your skin. The handle is also designed to withstand different use cases and it will not start to wear irrespective of how long you hold it or the weather conditions in which you use it. It comes with a Kydex sheath that is crafted and conceived beautifully. It also does a great job of locking down your knife snugly and nicely. This hunting knife is a bit pricey, but it is worth every cent.
- Blade: 4.75 inches, 1095 high carbon stainless steel
- Handle: Micarta
- Sheath: Kydex sheath
- Long blade
- Outstanding design
- Kydex sheath
- 1095 high carbon stainless steel blade
- A bit weighty and pricey
If you are looking for the best fixed blade hunting knife for the money, search no more, as the Morakniv Companion Heavy Duty Hunting Knife is what you need. This is one of the best knives out there for the price and it performs a wide range of tasks incredibly well. The Finns use these kinds of knives for hunting and other outdoor activities. If you need a hunting knife that will not leave a hole in your pocket, this is the knife you need.
The blade of this knife is made with a custom Sandvik carbon steel. It is razor sharp out of the box and it remains sharp for a very long time. Re-sharpening is also not an issue when it gets dull. This knife comes with a durable plastic handle that is designed for a high-friction grip and it is a bit oversized. Even when the knife is wet or bloody, you can still get a good grip on it always, especially with the softer over-molded rubber.
This knife is on the small side as the high carbon steel blade measures 4.1 inches while the overall length of the knife is 8.8 inches. The thickness of the blade is 0.125 inches, and the net weight of the knife is 4.8 ounces.
- Blade: 4.1 inches, high carbon stainless steel
- Handle: Durable plastic handle with over-molded rubber
- Sheath: Plastic sheath with belt clip
- Razor-sharp blade
- Comfortable to hold
- Easy to use
- Needs regular care
- A little bit difficult to sharpen
The last on our list is the Old Timer 152OT Sharpfinger Hunting knife and it is one of the best and affordable options out there. This knife is not the best all-around utility knife but it is perfect for its dedicated purpose of processing animal carcasses. This model is indeed sharp and it comes with a 7cr17mov carbon stainless steel blade. The blade does a great job of stripping and piercing hides. The length of the blade is 3 inches and it gets through tough muscles with ease.
They designed this knife to take an animal apart. It comes with plain saw cut scales handles with a deep choil and some texturing. The design of the handle makes it easy and comfortable to grip. The handle is a bit small and it allows for smaller cuts and great control. The design of the handle also looks very attractive. Because of the design and the length of the handle, this can be used as a good boot knife which is very handy for hunting purposes.
This knife is also known for its durability regardless of the tasks you embark on with it. However, this tool requires frequent care. The overall length of the knife is 7.1 inches and it weighs just 3.1 ounces. It also comes with a leather belt sheath, making it ideal for everyday carry.
- Blade: 3 inches, 7cr17mov carbon stainless steel
- Handle: Sawcut Delrin handle slabs
- Sheath: Leather belt sheath
- Holds sharp edges
- Nimble for easy skinning
- Relatively short blade
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Buying a Hunting Knife
Hunting knives are designed to help users prepare the game for storage or Consumption in the field to prevent it from getting worse. These knives are designed to make the process of skinning and cleaning animals very easy whether it is a rabbit, elk, deer, or any other animal. Some of these hunting knives also serve as survival knives. Some of them also come with gut hooks that make it very easy to open the animal carcass to speed up the dressing process.
These knives come with a whole lot of features that make them very useful in skinning and dressing your game. To settle for one that would serve its purpose to the fullest, there are many factors you need to consider. There are different types of hunting knives in the market. They come with a wide range of blade materials, handles, designs, sizes, and shapes. Listed below are some of the vital things you need to consider before buying a hunting knife. Putting these factors into consideration would help you settle for the best hunting knife for your needs.
Foldable or Fixed Blade Knife
There are two major types of hunting knives. It is either these knives come in a fixed stationary position or they are foldable. Many newer hunters tend to prefer hunting knives with a foldable blade. Whereas, a fixed blade hunting knife is the number choice of old-timers. However, whichever one you choose depends on your personal preference, as one is not better than the other.
However, when it comes to durability, fixed blade hunting knives are more durable than foldable blade hunting knives. This is pretty easy to see, as fixed blade hunting knives have less moving parts to deal with and break. Foldable blades feature more mechanical parts that could result in the early damage of the knife if not properly designed or well taken care of.
However, when it comes to safety, foldable blades are safer. Fixed blade hunting knives are a bit dangerous than foldable blade knives. Foldable blade hunting knives are also more versatile in their use. They are more portable and can be hidden easily. You can also take them out quicker, in the case of an emergency, than fixed blades. You can carry a foldable knife in your pocket, which is a bonus in circumstances where having a sheath by your side feels like a burden.
Foldable knives come with more quality locking mechanisms that make them safer than fixed blades. However, folding blade knives are pretty difficult to clean, they are not as durable as fixed blade knives, and most of them cannot withstand the heavy-duty tasks that fixed blade knives handle. It is more likely that a foldable blade knife would be calling in on the warranty much sooner than the more powerful and thick fixed blade knife.
However, the option you choose depends on your needs and personal preference. Nevertheless, we recommend you go for a fixed blade hunting knife, as it is capable of handling multiple and heavy-duty tasks. It is also more durable and it is going to last you for a very long time compared to a foldable blade hunting knife. With this, you do not have to worry about moving parts that could become an issue sooner or later.
Type of Steel Used to Make the Blade
The material used to make the blade of a knife is the single most talked-about top in the history of knives. There is a wide range of steel out there, and they have different edge holding and edge retention abilities. Some steels are pretty difficult to sharpen while some of them do not remain sharp for a long time. Quality knives usually come with decent steel. These steel are designed to suit the need of most users. If they still require to be sharpened then you can use a good hunting knife sharpener.
Modern steels are great and are designed for heavy-duty tasks. You can divide steels used to make blades into two groups stainless steel and high carbon steel or HC steel. These are two types of steel used in making the best hunting knives today. High carbon steel is much easier to sharpen than standard carbon steel or regular stainless steel, but they are more expensive.
Many hunting knives today are made out of high carbon steel, which is increasingly gaining popularity. Carbon steel is also the main material used on a tactical axe to make it stronger. However, many quality knives today still come with stainless steel blades. This is because stainless steel blades require low maintenance and they are durable. When it comes to ease of sharpening, blades made out of stainless steel are more difficult to sharpen than those made out of high carbon steel. Nevertheless, many users do not care about the difficulty of sharpening.
The blade is one of the most important parts, if not the most important part, of a hunting knife. As such, the material used to make the blade is one of the most important things you should put into consideration before buying. In this contest of stainless-steel blades and high carbon steel, high carbon steel wins the prize in terms of the sharpest between both options. It is also easier to maintain and care for that sharpness. Hence, we recommend that you go for a hunting knife with a high carbon steel blade if you do not care about the Cons and you are willing to pay a little bit more for it, as it is more expensive than the other option.
The Shape/Geometry of the Blade
Hunting knives come with different blade shapes and designs. However, the two most common blade shapes are point drop and clip point. Blades with clip point design are sharper and they come in handy for more detail and delicate work. However, due to the fact that the end of the blade is sharper, it is more prone to breaking if you use it to open cans or pry things apart and such.
The blade grind has an enormous impact on the ease of sharpening and cutting tasks of the blade. Over the past few years, the tip geometry has been gearing more towards the drop point design. This design is very effective in skinning and other day-to-day tasks. However, there are many great knives out there with clip point design, which is much sharper but can be weaker.
Most hunting knife blades are hollow ground or flat ground. These offer the least amount of cutting friction and they allow for quick and easy sharpening. Some hunting knives are also geared towards Scandinavian grinds. These knives have a longer primary bevel and they are difficult to sharpen. However, they retain their sharpness for a very long time and they have a very strong edge.
By comparison, a drop point blade is far more durable than a clip point blade and it can withstand any kind of lateral pressure. Some other blade designs and shapes include Spear, Tanto, and Trailing point. If you want to settle for the best hunting knife that will suit your needs, then the shape/geometry of the blade is a very important factor you should consider.
The Handle of the Blade
The material used to make the handle of the blade is another vital feature you should look out for when picking out a hunting knife. There are varieties of materials used to make the handle of a knife, some of which are bone, antler, wood, and synthetic. The major differences between handle materials are durability and aesthetic. Everyone wants a hunting knife with a great look without sacrificing performance and comfort.
Handles made out of antler and bone are more durable and tough. However, when it comes to getting slippery, they are worse than handles made out of wood. Nevertheless, their susceptibility to slipperiness can be fixed with a carved or natural texture. Antler and bone handles also require very little maintenance.
For butchering and skinning tasks, synthetic handles are the best. They have a firmer and comfortable grip, even when the knife is bloody or wet. They also require very little maintenance. There is a wide range of synthetic handles out there but the majority of them have similar features. Nonetheless, Micarta is an exception, as it behaves like wood but requires minimal care.
Hence, you should ensure that you do not overlook this part in the hunting knife, as it can make a huge difference in the way the knife is used. A good handle is strong, feels great in both small and big hands, and it comes with ambidextrous features. Hunting knives with fixed blades are known for having handles that are more comfortable.
The cheapest and most common option in the market is wood handles. Woods do a great job, especially hardwoods. However, if the manufacturers did not put much work into Constructing it, it might be slippery when it is bloody or wet. To prevent this from happening, the handle needs to be contoured and textured very well. Handles made out of wood require some care to preserve them.
The Length of the Blade
Another very important thing that you should not overlook is the length of the blade. Your intended use for the knife will determine the blade length that you need. When it comes to blade length, the length is not always the better. Depending on what you need the knife for; a shorter blade might do a better job than a longer one. We would like to categorize blade lengths just to make things easier. We would break them down into 6 inches and above, 4 inches to 6 inches, and less than 4 inches.
You can also use them to perform a wide range of woodcraft or camp tasks. They can also butcher large game. The majority of these knives are not specifically designed for a particular task, so they are versatile and they are capable of many tasks. Large hunting knives, with a blade length of 6 inches or more, are the perfect option for efficient butchering.
You can use them to carry out woodcraft and camp tasks. However, you might find it difficult to use these knives for fine tasks such as skinning small game. Hence, we recommend that you consider your needs as well as your intended use for the knife before purchasing.
The Sheath of the Blade
Another crucial component to look out for is the sheath; that is if you are opting for a fixed blade hunting knife. Hunting knives do not require accessories except the sheath. The majority of hunting knives come with a sheath. However, not all sheaths are the same, as some tend to stand out from others. Nevertheless, a sheath is very important, as it serves as a vehicle for transporting the knife.
Some sheaths often come with a belt loop to slide onto your belt. Whereas, some others have loops at the bottom and top, which straps the knife to your leg. There are also some that are MOLLE compliant and you can attach them in various ways to different MOLLE pouches, straps, and backpacks.
In all, ensure you go for a hunting knife that comes with a sheath that allows you to carry the knife comfortably, securely, conveniently, and easily. A good sheath is not clunky, and it comes in a good build and material. The two most common options out there are Kydex and leather sheaths. However, there is still a debate about that.
Hunting knives have been around for centuries. They are a remnant of a more perceptible age when almost everything is handcrafted. The materials used to make this tool have changed over the years, but the tool has essentially remained the same.
Today, the toolset of a hunter is not complete without a hunting knife. These knives are very useful and they have a wide range of uses. While there is no wrong choice in picking out one among our recommendations, we do have a favorite: The ESEE Fixed Blade Knife.
The ESEE is sharp and true, and it’s built for rugged use. It can take what you dish out, and more.