Best hunting knife

Hunting

While there’s no set length for a hunting knife, 2 to 4 inches is the ideal blade length for precision processing and avoiding unintentional cuts. It’s easier to carry and won’t get caught in bushes or branches.

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Which hunting knife is best?

While it’s designed for processing meat, a quality hunting knife such as the MTech USA Xtreme MX-8054 serves multiple uses and is advantageous to bring along camping and on survival trips. Because of their intended use, the best hunting knife has a shorter blade, a comfortable fit and retains its sharp edge.

What to know before you buy a hunting knife

Type

While you might think you can use a long paring knife in place of a quality hunting knife, the thinness of a paring knife makes it highly unsuitable for hunting tasks.

The most commonly available hunting knives have straight-edged blades. You’ll also come across serrated edges that assist in cutting through bone. The third type of blade you’ll find is called a gut hook. This blade has a sharp hook near the tip that helps guide the blade through the skinning process.

Intended use

While a paring knife isn’t ideal for hunting, you could use a hunting knife to peel fruit and vegetables with precision. Additionally, one with a serrated blade on the back can assist in cutting rope or branches for your tent or campfire.

Size

There isn’t a set length for hunting knives. However, they are much larger and heavier than your typical Swiss Army knife or pocketknife.

Consider your overall hunting gear and whether having a larger hunting knife will make hunting more awkward. Typically, a smaller knife can fulfill the tasks required and is easier to carry around.

What to look for in a quality hunting knife

Steel grade

There are many variations of knife steel used for different purposes. The most common steel grades used for hunting knives include 420HC, 440, 7CR17MOV, S30V and 154cm.

Typically, most standard-quality hunting knives use 420HC and 440, while the more high-end ones use S30V and 154CM.

The S30V and 154CM steels are much more durable than the others, so they retain their edges longer, but can be more difficult to sharpen. These steel grades are much more expensive than other grades, and they are not as hard as ones made from 7CR17MOV. These blades, a variation of the 440 steel grade, have increased hardness because it’s forged with vanadium.

Generally, as long as the hunting blade you want falls within these steel grades, they’re durable enough to last through several hunting trips.

Length

Most hunting knives have blade lengths of 2 to 4 inches. That’s ideal because it’s long enough for it to be durable but short enough that it won’t accidentally cut through anything that can ruin the meat. It also helps that a blade that runs 2 to 4 inches in length allows for increased precision. 

You’ll also come across hunting knives with blades longer than 8 inches, which is helpful for larger game and protection. However, the longer blade also means increased weight and potentially getting snagged in bushes and when you sit down.

Style

In addition to straight-edge, serrated-edge and gut-hook blades, there are several styles that have varying purposes.

The drop point features a blade that starts to curve down near the tip. It has a thick spine, which makes it durable and valuable for any heavy job. The thickness makes the blade not as precise as others.

On the opposite end, you have a clip point. Unlike a drop point, this blade curves upward toward the tip. This style of blade is advantageous for any job requiring more precision or piercing. 

The third style you’ll come across the most is a hunting knife with a skinning point. It can be identified with its thinner blade and an upward curve near the tip. That makes it ideal for processing specific meats, but is essentially useless for camping.

How much you can expect to spend on a hunting knife

Depending on the quality and brand, expect to spend $20-$40 on a quality hunting knife. 

Best hunting knife FAQ

What’s the best size for a hunting knife?

A. There’s a delicate balance when deciding on the length of your knife. The best hunting knife length ranges between 2 to 4 inches. The shorter blade allows for more control and precision so you don’t accidentally cut something that will ruin the meat. Additionally, having a shorter blade makes your overall equipment lighter and less likely to get caught on branches or bother you when you sit down.

What’s the best handle material for a hunting knife? 

A. When it comes to hunting knives, it’s the steel that matters, not an aesthetic handle. However, certain handle types have their advantages. For example, carbon-fiber handles are extremely durable, lightweight and won’t degrade when exposed to UV rays. However, they are prone to cracking when struck at a specific angle. Wood handles bring to your knife a certain rustic and aesthetic charm while changing shape to fit your grip over time. However, wood handles tend to get scratched easily. This is by no means an exhaustive list of handles. The bottom line is that the best handle material for a knife really boils down to personal preference rather than function.

What’s the best hunting knife to buy?

Top hunting knife

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8054

MTech USA Xtreme MX-8054

What you need to know: This is the perfect knife and is more than capable for hunting and camping trips. 

What you’ll love: The 5.5-inch steel blade is the optimal length to complete most outdoor tasks. It’s a fixed knife that retains its sharpness and comes with an extended finger guard and a black sheath. The blade has a traditional blood groove to reduce the overall weight and maintain better overall balance. Unlike most hunting knives, this one also features a sawtooth back.

What you should consider: The sheath isn’t the best quality available.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top hunting knife for the money

Elk Ridge Outdoors 2-Piece Hunting Knife Set

Elk Ridge Outdoors 2-Piece Hunting Knife Set

What you need to know: You’d be hard-pressed to find a two-for-one set of high-quality hunting knives like these from Elk Ridge.

What you’ll love: The knife set comes with a straight-edge skinning knife and a gut hook to help accomplish your hunting tasks. There’s no need to purchase a separate sheath with this set because the one it comes with can carry both knives. Additionally, the camouflage handles include a nonslip texture in their design for a more accurate process.

What you should consider: It’s not the most durable knife on the market.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Morakniv Craftline Robust Knife

Morakniv Craftline Robust Knife

What you need to know: This knife is perfect for those requiring a thicker blade that has the precision of a thinner knife.

What you’ll love: The thick blade makes this knife much more durable than its competitors. Unlike other hunting knives, it comes with a plastic sheath it can’t accidentally cut through. It also features a finger guard as an additional safety feature.

What you should consider: The blade is shorter than most and has the potential to stain.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Christopher Lee writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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