What Makes a Good Hunting Knife?

Your hunting knife should be your prize possession. Your very own trophy knife. It should be beautiful, cunning, and deadly.

But what makes a good knife is something more than looks – although that does help. The best hunting knife must tick various boxes. And once you know what to look out for, your future knife will find you. If you’re wondering how to choose a hunting knife, read on to learn everything you need to know.


What Types of Hunting Knives Are There?

Firstly, it’s important you know about the different types of knives for hunting. They all come with different advantages and disadvantages. But the decision is yours.

Fixed blade knife

Many hunters choose the fixed-blade hunting knife over other knives, simply because they’re bigger and can defy repeated use. A bigger knife will better suit you if you hunt a large game in tougher terrain.

Folding knife

Folding knives are much easier to control. They’re more compact, so they’re easier to carry around with you. Hunting knives don’t always have to be big and meaty. For a more precise kill, I’d recommend a folding knife. They’re compact, convenient, and controlled.

So, a good hunting knife will be a folding knife if you are hunting small animals. This will best maximize your small game. But if you’re into big game hunting, fixed knives are your best-hunting knives. They’re less likely to break and can butcher up your prey better.


What to Look For in a Good Hunting Knife

Fixed-blade knives and folding knives have many features that turn them into supersonic hunting knives. Let’s slice into it:

Appropriate size

Are you planning on hunting big animals? If so, you’ll want to use a big knife. This way, you’ll easily cut through the bone and set yourself up for success.

Similarly, if you’re planning on hunting small animals, you’ll need a small knife. Smaller hunting knives allow for precise and controlled cuts. If you use a large hunting knife on a rabbit, for example, you could accidentally cut yourself.

The right blade shape

What do you plan to use your hunting knife for? To find a good hunting knife, you must ensure you choose the right knife shape for you. Here are the different types of blade shapes and their uses:

For precise hunting: Clip-point, Spey point, and Drop-point blades.

For tougher hunting: Tanto blade and Gut Hook.

For skinning: Gut Hook and Trailing point

Drop-point blade

This curved blade drops from the handle to the sharp point. The convex spine gives a controlled kill for slicing a bigger belly. They’re great as an all-purpose blade and would suit any handle. Drop-point blades are excellent hunting knives, but you can use them as survival knives.

Clip point blade

Clip point blades are designed for precision. The clipped-off area can either have a straight or concave edge. They make a great folding knife for hunters.

Tanto blade

The tanto blade may look awesome, but it’s worth knowing they’re not designed for slicing. They are a mini samurai with a strong, prominent point. These hunting knives are great for piercing through tough objects like larger animals’ skin.

Gut Hook

The gut hook is a quality hunting knife that’s used as a dressing blade. The hook can get underneath the animal’s skin and hair without damaging the internal organs. They make a great hunting knife if you’re looking for a skinning blade.

Spey Point blade

These folding knives look like ordinary knives until you notice the sharp tip. The short belly and long sharp tip are like most folding knives that prevent unwanted piercing of your prey. These blades are common in multi-blade knives, which is why they’re loved by hunters.

Trailing Point blade

These fixed blades have a large belly and a spine that curves into a sharp point. The shape makes for a great skinning game. Skinning blades can slice and fillet – which is why they’re used in the field and the kitchen!

A strong handle

You could have the sharpest, deadliest killer knife in your hand. But what’s the point if it hurts to hold it? Or if the handle gets damaged in combat? Leather may seem the obvious choice, but it reminds me too much of indoor furniture, which has no place outside in the wild.

The best handles will be hard rubber or synthetic. The bone handles look sleek and stylish, but unfortunately, they can easily break.

The best steel

The most favored steel for hunters is stainless steel. Stainless steel knives resist rust, so they’re less likely to break or chip. Stainless steel blades can also handle a lot of grit in the field. But they’ll need regular sharpening to keep their quality. And unfortunately, that’s not easy to do.

The second best is carbon steel. A carbon steel blade is easier to sharpen but less likely to resist rust. They’re also not as strong as stainless steel blades. So there’s a higher chance of them breaking or getting damaged on the field.

I’ll always recommend stainless steel. But if you’re on a budget, carbon steel will work well too. Get a fixed knife to improve longevity, and use a special wax to prevent rust. The good thing about carbon steel is they’re the cheapest hunting knife you can get!

The blade’s thickness

This is really important. Thick blades can be heavy to carry, which could weaken your hunt. But if a blade is too thin, it’ll be challenging to sharpen. The thickness will depend on the size of the knife. A smaller knife with a big handle will feel wrong, and vice versa.

I recommend trying out a few knives to see how they feel in your hand.

Full tang construction

A full tang knife is the blade material is made up of entirely one piece of metal. This makes the knife sturdy and secure to use. With a full tang blade in your belt, you’re less likely to break or bend it. Look out for the features of hunting knives, because some only have a partial tang construction! You’ve got to do everything you can to prevent breaking, right?


How to Keep Your Good Hunting Knife in Great Condition

Choosing a hunting knife is no walk in the park. But remember, the most important factor is the metal and its quality. Your hunting knife should be sharp with a sure grip, and it should feel comfortable in your hand.

The color is a personal preference, but the weight should be considered. You want a lightweight knife so you can carry it with ease.

But wait, what’s the point of any of this if you can’t keep it in good condition? Here’s how.

Sharpen your hunting knife

Blade thickness is important when it comes to knife sharpening. You can sharpen your hunting knife with a sharpening stone. You’ll need to find the correct angle and grind the knife back and forth. But not to worry; this method actually extends your knife line.

Clean your hunting knife

Your knife, no matter the steel or handle, needs to remain in top-notch condition. This means cleaning it. Dress the kill, clean the knife and handle, and then dry it. Depending on your knife’s steel (carbon, I’m looking at you, kid), you may need to apply a wax.



What brand of knives is best for hunting?

My personal favorite brand is Buck Knives. They’re affordable knives that come with great features. You could get a killer knife for under $100!

What makes a good hunting knife for deer?

The best knives for hunting deer should have a single sharp edge with a slight curve. This is so you can control the cut. I’d recommend a deep or clip-style knife.

What hardness should a hunting knife be?

A hard steel blade is best for smaller animal species. A tough steel blade is best for the larger species.


Final Thoughts

There you have it! How to find the perfect hunting blade. Remember, there are different types of hunting knives that have different purposes. You don’t want to pick a knife that can’t fulfill its purpose! That’s just cruel. After all, what’s that saying? Happy knife, happy life!

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Picture of Jack Simons

Jack Simons

Jack is a retired policeman who loves spending his free time around weapons and hunting across the state of Colorado with friends. His goal is to help newcomers find their way into the world of guns & hunting as well as review all the current best products and accessories for bow and rifle hunting.

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