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Best Hunting Knives: Superior Craftsmanship & Functionality

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A hunting knife and a hunting dagger are the two main types of bladed instruments used in hunting.

Between the two, you would be surprised to know that while one is used for killing animals, the other is used for post-hunting activities like skinning and cutting.

What is a hunting knife? Hunters use this knife to skin their game and cut it into smaller pieces. There are many styles of hunting knives that are defined by their blade and handle.

Most are straightforward and look very much like small kitchen knives. Others, however, are more elaborate, with arched bodies and fancy-looking handles.

5 Best Hunting Knives Reviewed

1. Buck Knives 119 Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

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Buck Knives 119 Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
4,554 Reviews
Buck Knives 119 Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
  • Razor Sharp Blade - 6" 420HC steel blade has excellent...
  • Comfortable Grip & Balance - Traditional black phenolic...
  • Durable and Multi Use - Meant to withstand even the toughest...

There’s not much in this life that a buck knife can’t get you out of.

Designed as the perfect aid for every hunter in America, the 119 blade comes with a smooth and simple design that cuts through all the noise.

They don’t rely on fancy coatings, unnecessary camouflaged handles, or anything of the sort. Buck Knives focuses on efficiency. This 6” 420HC steel blade carries weight with it. It cleans fish and skins games like nothing else.

If you notice a slight divot in the blade around the 1.25″ mark, it’s important to know that this is for breaking suction when skinning the flesh of a deer or a trout. Precision.

The clip-point finish and ergonomic handle act as extensions of your own power. Every time you grip the handle, you’ll be in control when facing prey and in self-defense situations, should they arise.

Buck Knives is the ultimate knife, especially for the price range.

Features

  • Buck provides a lifetime warranty that extends back to the original warranty in 1902.
  • The clip-point 420HC steel blade will take everything down.
  • The finger groove grip provides optimal dexterity and weight distribution.

2. Mossy Oak Hunting Knife

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Mossy Oak Hunting Knife
  • ✅ 15" Fixed Blade Knife: Ultra-sharp combat knife,...
  • ✅ Razor Sharp Clip Point Blade: The survival Knife is made...
  • ✅ Rubber Handle & Nylon Sheath: Classic rubber handle of...

Now, isn’t this a bad boy?

When you’re holding onto the hardened rubber handle, you almost forget that it’s a full-tang blade that runs the total length of 15” (10” of sharp blade).

It’s an intimidating item that packs plenty of serrated, sharp edges along the blade’s back end. Basically, if you had to use this in self-defense, you’re going to emerge victorious. Made from 440C stainless steel, it’s durable and long-lasting.

Sharpening won’t be an issue because the anodized coating will last for a few years before you really need to bring it to the grindstone.

The inclusive nylon sheath does a lot of the work for you in terms of preventing damage, and the corrosion resistance keeps it looking new for years to come. This knife also comes with a fire starter, which is an added bonus.

This is a tactical, personal knife that you can use for hunting, but by no means can you justify it for EDC. 10-inch is a sword, so handle and carry it carefully. You must designate it for a specific use, regardless of its sheath.

Features

  • The blade is a massive 10″ blade with deep serrated edges.
  • It comes with a nylon sheath and a fire starter.
  • The 440C stainless steel construction features a full tang design.

3. Mossy Oak Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

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Mossy Oak Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
4,259 Reviews
Mossy Oak Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
  • ✅ Knife Dimensions: Large Knife Overall Length:10-1/2”,...
  • ✅ Razor Sharp Stainless Steel Blade : Blades feature...
  • ✅ Full Tang Stacked Leather Handle: Deliver excellent...

Mossy Oak is at it again. We couldn’t resist adding this to our list, primarily due to the incredible deal you’re receiving.

Bowie knives are dangerous, useful, and overall effective at self-defense and hunting situations—and you’re getting two of them at once, both with high-impact nylon sheaths.

You get a 4” and a 6” all-steel 3CR13-grade blade, each with a full tang and leather handle. You can’t overstate how good the handle feels in your hands.

It looks smooth and sleek to the touch, but it gives you the right amount of traction (and weight distribution) to control where your blade goes.

Finally, a five-year warranty covers everything, but the only catch is that you must request it from them before it can take effect. You must register your warranty using the product’s information after receiving it.

Features

  • It offers two knives with sheaths (4″ + 6″) at an incredibly affordable price.
  • Full tang with leather handle
  • The 3CR13 steel blade provides excellent edge retention over time.

4. Elk Ridge Hunting Knife Set

Elk Ridge Hunting Knife Set
418 Reviews
Elk Ridge Hunting Knife Set
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIALS: Made from quality materials. 3CR13...
  • OUTDOOR EVOLVED: Where the outdoors meets the gentleman’s...
  • DEPENDABLE: Provides consistent razor-sharp cutting...

Another two-for-one deal. Elk Ridge isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of hunting knives, but after this, they’re going to be in your crosshairs for a while.

This pack comes with one sheath and two knives. The folding knife has a simple finger-activated trigger to fold it back in and features the same slotted dots as the fixed blade.

But the fixed blade—that’s the one you’re going to fall in love with. The fixed blade, made from thick steel for a longer lifespan, includes a fish hook backend on the tip and a slightly longer handle.

We’re not crazy about the attempt at camouflage on the handle (since it’s not going to really do anything), but nevertheless, the knife gets the job done.

This EDC and hunting-specific knife set has you ready to go. One on the hip, one in the ankle sheath—nothing’s going to stand in your way.

Features

  • 3” blades meet almost all state requirements.
  • TPR handle inserts provide maximum grip.
  • Heat-treated stainless steel blades

5. Outdoor Edge Hunting Knife

You want an edge? This is how you get it. Outdoor Edge designed their Razor-Lite knife to act like an EDC blade, but with the ability to customize your own personal tactical gear.

The handle pops open, revealing a spot to attach your blades. You don’t even have to bother sharpening the one you get—just pop in a new 3” heat-treated steel blade and let your operation continue.

It’s inexpensive because it doesn’t come with additional blades. You can try to sharpen these yourself, but they’re going to make short work of your grindstone.

Each blade has a hook design along the drop point, and in a self-defense situation, it’s basically a guaranteed victory while trying to avert an assailant.

Because of the blade length, this meets almost every single state law across the US, so you can add it to your standard EDC collection.

Features

  • 3” blades meet almost all state requirements.
  • TPR handle inserts provide maximum grip.
  • Heat-treated stainless steel blades

Things to Consider Before Buying

hunting knife

Metal Grade

Steel is the way to go, every single time. The thing is, there are well over fifty different grades of steel.

It can be daunting when you’re trying to decide what you should pick. Look for 304L, 420L, and 440L steel for excellent and durable blades.

These generally have a very small amount of trace metal elements in them (nickel, magnesium, etc.), which makes them quite literally solid.

They’re better for knives, while other steel grades are used in construction and decor/appliances.

Blade Length

Look up your local laws. Most states have a 3 ½” maximum rule, unless you can explicitly prove that your knife is for hunting only.

Truth be told, you don’t need an absurdly long hunting knife, just one that you’re comfortable with.

For larger games, bigger knives are better, so keep that in mind when deciding which knife to buy.

Handle Grip

This is where your knife’s center of gravity lies. Your hand rests on the grip, and you know how it’s going to move and where the weight is going to shift while you use it.

It’s important. A dextrous grip allows you to have solid control over the entire knife without worrying about it slipping in your hands.

Look for finger inlays, textured grips, and ergonomic designs that contour to the natural shape of your hand for better dominance over your blade.

Full Tang/Flip

Flip knives have their place, but they’re nothing compared to full-tang fixed blades. These are combat-style knives that you see marines use.

Despite its appearance, a full tang indicates that a single piece of steel formed the entire knife. The blade runs down to the hilt at the center of the grip.

This means less possibility of breakage, better control, and more even weight distribution. Full-tang knives feel different in your hand.

Types of Hunting Knives

cutting wood with knife

Drop Point

It’s the most common type of knife you’ve already seen a dozen times.

There’s a light curve at the tip of the blade, just like most fixed-blade knives have. It’s versatile for skinning and self-defense.

Clip Point

Clip points basically have thinner edges to them. The tips aren’t as strong. They serve a purpose, such as light skinning, cleaning fish, and defending oneself against wild animals.

Clip points aren’t usually the go-to among hunters or tactical gear enthusiasts.

Skinning Knife

Skinning knives have a large drop from the center of the blade, where it starts to become an edge, to the edge itself.

This allows for better gliding beneath the flesh of an animal and, as it sounds, lets you skin them much easier.

Skinning knives won’t do all the work for you, but they increase your chances of getting a kill’s pelt.

FAQs

What are hunting knives used for?

When you buy a hunting knife, the intention is to scale fish and clean the game after you’ve hunted or caught them. On a campsite, you can also use hunting knives for practical purposes, such as securing tent poles or stakes, or simply gathering tinder for a campfire.

What are hunting knives made of?

Black powder, porcelain, or an additional layer of straight carbon may occasionally coat those blades. These are there to keep the edge nice and sharp and reduce the number of initial sharpenings you will need to perform. Many coatings allow you to skip your first sharpening for a year.

How many knives do you need?

No more than two. It’s okay if you simply like knives and want to have a few; nobody’s stopping you. However, you don’t need more than a couple of excellent knives to get you through a hunting trip. One for the big game. One for small game. Choose whichever one you’d prefer to be your go-to self-defense weapon.

How long are hunting knives?

On average, hunting knives range from about 4” to 10”. Anything more than that, and you’re beyond daggers—you’ve gotten to swords. Simply put, big knives are for big game, and small knives are for small game. You don’t need an absurdly long hunting knife, though.

Wrap-Up

Loaded for bears and ready to go. In this sense, that could be literal.

Hunting knives act as self-defense against predators and aid you in cleaning up fresh game.

You’ll be well-prepared for your next hunting trip with any of these five knives.