Hunting knives are a great and perfect accessory for any hunter or even the general user, and with many resources online, it makes it even easier to make a well-informed choice. The options are plenty meaning there really is no wrong choice, especially when personal preference comes to play. Choose what works best for you and your needs and remember, there are plenty of avid hunters and outdoorsmen that have more than one knife in their collection.
In this article, we'll cover what makes a great hunting knife and what to look for when considering buying your first - we'll even throw in a few recommendations along the way!
Be sure to stay tuned to learn how you can save on buying your next hunting knife!
Things To Look For When Buying A Hunting Knife
Often overlooked, the handle is crucial to the smooth, safe operation of the hunting knife. A good handle is firm, feels good in both large and small hands, and has ambidextrous features. For that, we need a handle that won’t slip easily. A hard rubber handle can get the job done, providing a good grip. Fixed blade hunting knives are incredibly notorious for having comfortable handles, as the heavy use demands a high-quality grade.
As Fixed Blades go, a common recommendation you'll see over and over again is the Ka-Bar Becker BK2.
Perfectly designed to address the needs of those who hunt, camp or spend time in the outdoors, the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 offers users versatility whether it’s just to split out some kindling or to pry joints apart while skinning game. This hunting knife feels right at home whether it’s just for chopping onions or building the campfire. This heavy-duty hunting knife will surely be your favorite go-everywhere companion if you love the outdoors.
Applying to fixed blades only, the sheath is another important component and the only accessory that matters with a hunting knife. A sheath has multiple uses, besides keeping the user from getting cut, it protects the knife itself from damage and allows ease of access.
A good sheath won’t be clunky and comes in leather, Kydex, and Nylon.
Leather is the traditional material that has been around for years, not only to sheath hunting knives but other weapons as well. The look is classic, and the material if taken well care of lasts for years. Durability is never a cause for concern with a leather sheath and only comes into play when the leather itself is of lower quality.
Kydex is a new thermoplastic material that has gained considerable respect within the community so much that a lot of manufacturers have shifted to it over leather sheaths. Kydex is an interesting material in that it form fits to the hunting knife, ‘clicking in’ and negates the need for a strap to hold it in place. It can also dull the edge of the hunting knife over time, but the loss is so minimal that it is hard to not look at Kydex as the future.
Fixed or Folded
It can safely be said that going with a fixed-blade knife would be the best choice, not compromising on strength which could be a bit of an issue with folding blade types which consist of moving parts. While one style isn't always better than the other, and strictly comes down to preference, durability, and ease of maintenance will always be on the side of the fixed blade.
Folding blades can be much more versatile as well as easily hidden and taken out faster than a fixed blade. Not requiring a sheath due to new locking mechanisms and the ability to carry in your pocket is why newer hunters favor the folding style. However, folding knives are harder to clean and can be less durable with many not able to handle the heavier tasks of a fixed blade.
With our recommendation of Fixed Blades already covered, one of the most popular Folding Blades you'll come across is the Havolon Piranta Edge.
At just 2 ounces, the Havalon Piranta Edge is among the lightest models in its class. It is the perfect alternative for a weight-conscious hunter and its size also recommends it if you want to make sure that you don’t pick gear that takes up a lot of room in your backpack.
What gives a cutting edge to this knife is the fact that you can replace its blade with ease and in as little time as possible. The surgical blades are effective and sharp and they won’t fail to provide you with the performance you require especially when it might be critical. The truth is that, while it might not be a typical choice, it is a dependable one since you will never be without a knife that is razor-sharp and that is perfectly capable of serving you.
Blade Shape And Material
The most common type of blades are the drop point (far more durable by comparison and able to withstand all kinds of lateral pressure - of course, within reason) and clip point (comes to a sharper end and is better for delicate or detail work). Other types include the spear point, tanto point, and trailing point.
There are knives out there with a drop point blade and a partially serrated edge. If you do prefer serrated edges as well, partially serrated drop point knives are perhaps the best purchase you can make.
Your blade is going to be an essential part of what makes the hunting knife useful, so the blade material is a pretty important factor when considering the purchase.
There are two primary types of steel used in the best knives today; Stainless steel (made up of several components like iron, nickel, carbon, chromium, etc. and is very resistant to rust and a bit harder to sharpen) and high carbon (HC) steel (more expensive than regular stainless steel but is easier to sharpen, holds an edge better and resists the corrosion issues that standard carbon steel have).
A top pick of this category is the surprising Gerber Bear Grylls Knife!
The blade itself is 4 and 3/4 inches long and is obviously designed to take a beating with a full tang and thick blade. Gerber, in keeping with their typical choice of metals in a mid-range knife such as this, used 7Cr17Mov stainless steel, which gives excellent value and doesn’t break the bank. As usual with a modern knife, it comes nice and sharp out of the box. But unlike many modern knives, this one has a high carbon content, which makes the blade slightly softer, but allows you to sharpen it again and again, extending the life of the knife. The knife has a mild drop point and a straight blade, which is just about right for tasks around the campfire. Serration begins about halfway towards the handle of the blade, which allows easy cutting of rope and cords, but may interfere with carving or slicing cleanly. It won’t be the best knife for skinning and gutting, but it will certainly do the job well in a pinch.
Full tang? To put it simply, full tang means that the steel of the blade doesn't stop at the handle, it continues through the handle all the way to the butt end, without interruption. If a blade were to stop at the handle, you'd notice it would break off or become loose. By extending it through the handle, pressure is more evenly distributed and able to handle more use without coming apart.
So, in summary, a fixed-blade, full-tang, drop point knife is what we’d recommend. Scoring perfect on strength, usability, and longevity, you cannot go wrong with a drop point, fixed-blade knife for hunting.
While there are numerous options with varying styles, finding what's right for you can be a bit daunting. If you keep in mind what to look for and the above tips, you'll be sure to wind up with the hunting knife best suited for you and your needs!
Ready to shop and choose your first or next hunting knife, be sure to check out the above products and much more at FalcoOutdoors! Use coupon code 5OFFKNIVES for an extra 5% off your purchase! And stay tuned for our next article where we break down the Top Hunting Knives 2020 will have to offer.