The best hunting knives aren’t the flashiest knives or the ones with the most bells and whistles. The best hunting knives will be ready at a moment’s notice and a well made knife that you can rely on to get the job done before the days hunt spoils.
Related: We review the best Damascus Hunting Knives and pick the top 5!
Whether you are a lifetime hunter looking for a replacement knife, or you are new to the sport, we have something to help you make an educated purchase without breaking the bank. Below we’ve assembled a list of the top 5 hunting knives from brands you can trust. Here are the 5 best-hunting knives in our opinion.
The Best Hunting Knives for Hunters of all Skill Levels
Hunting knife with a tactical edge
MTech Knives are one of the more popular knife brands at the moment, they specialize mainly in tactical knives, but they have also dipped their toes into the hunting knife game. With the MTech Xtreme, you get the look and feel of a tactical blade, with the characteristics and qualities present as well.
This fixed blade is 11 inches in overall length, with the blade rounding out at 5 ½ inches in length. This knife is big and is appropriate for butchering larger game like elk or dear. The blade is made from 440 steel with a black finish and tanto style blade. 440 stainless steel is more robust than other steels thanks to the extra carbon that exists in its chemical makeup, something MTech is quite proud of. The spine of the blade is adorned with saw back serrations giving the knife an intimidating aesthetic.
G10 plastic laminate is used in the construction of the handle, giving the knife a solid base to hold on to. There are ergonomic finger grooves for optimal grip and control. Along with the extended guard, there is very little risk of the blade slipping from your hands. When wielding a hunting knife, precision is essential. To effectively carry the MTech Extreme the manufacturers have included a nylon sheath that connects to your belt with added ties for optimal safety.
If you are looking for the best fixed blade hunting knife, the MTech Xtreme is a great place to start. It is by far one of the best hunting knives you will find. Click here to see the best price.
Full Tang Gerber Knife Set for Gutting and Dressing
This Moment cleaning kit comes with two knives intended for two distinct tasks. Each blade is a full tang fixed blade. Meaning the blade and handle are one solid piece. The only additional pieces that cover the steel handle. This makes for a more sturdy knife in general that can take more of a beating.
The larger of the two blades have a gut hook at its point. So not only is it great at slicing with its edge but you can open up your kill and clean it up with one knife. The second blade is smaller and is intended for more precise hard to reach cuts. Each handle is identical in material, the only difference is in their overall sizes.
Each handle is made with rubber that has a scaling texture that keeps the blades securely in your hands. To finish things off each pommel has a lanyard hole in case you want to keep the blades secured around your neck for easy access. Both blades will fit in a paddle style sheath, keeping both blades in an easy to find location. These are two of the best hunting knives you can buy. Click here to see the best price.
A hunting knife with a classic style
The Buck Knives brand has been making knives in the United States since 1902. Their knowledge and craft have been passed down through many generations. With the 119 fixed blade hunting knife, you get all of that history in one knife.
The 6-inch clip point blade is 420 HC stainless steel. This type of steel is very resilient. 420 HC steel can and will keep your edges sharper for longer periods of time when compared to other stainless steels. The handle is made from phenol. Phenol is a highly resilient synthetic material that not only gives the knife a clean look, but the strength to back it up as well.
The black handle that lays between the stainless steel blade, aluminum guard, and aluminum pommel is very pleasing to look at. With aesthetics like a piece of art, it will be hard to get this beautiful blade dirty for the first time. The overall length of this buck knife is 10 ½ inches. If you are looking for a large hunting knife this is a big one.
Other than the knife, Buck has included a premium leather sheath to keep you and your blade protected. The sheath has a belt loop so you can have it on your hip ready to go when you need it. Buck has made one of the best hunting knives that your money can buy and it sure is pretty to look at. Don’t let the beauty fool you, this knife is capable of anything you need in a knife while on a hunt. Click here to see the best price.
A value-priced pair of ruggedly built knives
Mossy Oak produces some of the best hunting gear around and has a few competent hunting knives to boot. Their two-piece Bowie Knife set is something to seriously consider if you are looking for some new hunting knives.
This set comes with two knives one large and one small. The larger knife is 10 1/2 inches in overall length, with a blade length of 6 inches. The smaller knife is 8 inches in overall length, with the blade reaching 4 inches in length. They are both full tang knives with aluminum pommels and stainless steel blades.
Each blade is a clip point making them great for piercing and slicing. Moving on to the handles, each handle is made of stacked leather. Giving the handles a unique yet durable look and build. They are both ergonomically shaped to retain control and precision in the user’s hands.
Both hunting knives come with a nylon sheath so you can store them both safely on your body or in your collection of hunting gear. With belt loops you can hunt with both knives securely strapped, no man nor beast will willingly approach you with these two Bowies knives strapped on your sides. This two-piece set is one of the best deals you can find for the price. Keep one of these hunting knives for yourself and give another as a gift. Either way, you will end up with a great fixed blade hunting knife for yourself. Click here to see the best price.
Specialized blade for gutting and dressing after the kill
Gerber makes a myriad of tools for the outdoors. Anything that slices, chops, or fillets, Gerber more than likely makes it. So if you are looking for some skinning and gutting knives look no further than Gerber.
While you can easily use a traditional hunting knife to skin and dress your kills, Gerber has come out with a specialized tool for the job. The Vital Skin and Gut knife is designed specifically for gutting and dressing your kill. The unique blade has a rounded point that leads to a gut hook that allows for a precise gutting line. The blade edge is very sharp and ready to tear into any tendons and bones that are in its way. The handle is made from a mix of sturdy plastic and rubber.
With stability in mind, the handle was designed with comfort and ergonomics in mind with its intuitive design. The handle is also colored bright orange to make it easy to find if you drop it in the field. The overall length of this blade is 5 ½ inches.
The Skin and Gut knife is designed to make the gutting and dressing process a whole lot easier for the easier. This is one sharp hunting, and once you get to use it, you won’t regret buying it. Click here to see the best price.
Hunting Knives Buyer’s Guide
The blade is one of the most important components of any knife, and for a hunting knife, the blade is crucial. Blades made from inferior materials may not cut as clean as a high-quality knife. As an avid hunter knows it only takes one wrong cut to certain parts of an animal and the meat is spoiled.
There is nothing worse than spending hours stalking and tracking to finally get a kill only to lose some or all of the of meat.
New hunters often make the rookie mistake of buying cheaper gear only to realize their mistake when it matters most – in the field. Finding the perfect knife is just as important as the weapon you use to take down the animal. And, getting the job done right the first time is paramount whether the kill or the dressing. That said, we all know finding anything of quality online can be like trying to find the perfect 10 point buck, it can take years to get the kill, or in this case, a hunting knife that will last a lifetime.
Fixed or Folding Knife
When choosing between a fixed blade or a folding blade it is important to consider what you will be using it for. Folding knives are ideal slicing and everyday use. One important thing to remember with folding knives is they are not designed to be cutting into tough materials like tendons and soft bone. Folding blades are best when used for slicing open paper, plastic, or that 10 point buck you just took down. That is not to say you can’t apply any pressure to them or beat them up, it is just better to use them for what they are intended.
Fixed blades are capable of handling more pressure on the blade, especially if they are full tang. This is why they are ideal for field dressing and gutting any animal you takedown during a hunt. They are specifically built to be beaten up and used in high-pressure situations.
When it comes to the handle of a hunting knife there are many different materials that are used. Anything from wood, leather, and synthetic plastics are capable of being used in a handle. Some materials are more resilient than others. Synthetic materials are more resistant to absorbing moisture and ultimately provided a better grip to users. While wood and leather handle offers a more rustic aesthetic that plastic and rubbers do not provide. The best handle will come down to personal preference.
The sheath is often an overlooked accessory when it comes to hunting knives. They not only serve as a safe way to store your knives, but they also serve as a great means of transport as well. Belt loop sheaths and leg strap sheaths are both common types you will see hunters using. They can be made from synthetic materials like nylon. They are also commonly made from leather which can be the more most durable material to choose from.
Hunting knife FAQs
What is the best steel for a hunting knife?
Knowing what type of steel to look for when you are shopping around for a new hunting knife is important. There are so many different types to choose from it can become confusing very quickly. The most common you will find is stainless steel and carbon steel. Stainless steel is far more resilient in moist and humid climates. This is thanks to the high amount of chromium found in its chemical makeup. Chromium is naturally resistant to rust and other problems that can shorten a blade’s lifespan. One negative to stainless steel is the blade edge will not stay as sharp for long. Carbon steel is essentially the opposite of stainless. The blade’s edge will stay sharper longer but is more affected by moisture.
What knives do you need for hunting?
A hunting knife can serve many different purposes, like cutting rope or string to make a trap, or you can fashion a spear. The most common use for a hunting knife is to gut and dress an animal after it has been killed. Hunting knives are specifically designed for these tasks. They are a perfect size and shape for the job. There are some more specialized knives made just for gutting, but just about any hunting knife will do fine.
What is the best knife for field dressing a deer?
Just about any hunting knife will do a great job of field dressing a deer. It will ultimately come down to personal preference and what suits you best. Something that feels comfortable in your hands and allows for precise movements is the best fit. There are even field dressing knives that are specialized just for field dressing.
What are the top 5 knife brands?
This is a tricky question. For one, it is very subjective, but at the same time objective. There are brands like Buck that have been around for over 100 years that most hunters will agree is a top 5 brand. Each hunter will have their own brands that they swear by themselves. Our top 5 are MTech USA, Buck Knives, Mossy Oak, Gerber, and lastly Smith and Wesson.
Why these knife brands made the cut
Now that you have seen our reviews of the 5 best hunting knives, it’s time to get a better understanding of the companies and brands that build and design them. After all, they are not all created equal, so it’s good to get an understanding of which are the best brands on the market. So you can look out for their newest knives and products. Here are the best knife brands you should be looking for when shopping for a new hunting knife.
Buck Knives has been around since 1902. Often times when a company is around for that long of a time it is for a reason, not by accident. The original Buck knife was created because the founder, Hoyt Buck wanted to make the sharpest hunting knife. In reality, he was attempting to forge steel that could hold an edge for a longer period of time. He succeeded and after World War II and beyond the legacy of high quality and reliable knives has grown and increased in popularity decade to decade. Today there are hundreds of different Buck knives, everything from hunting knives, EDC knives, and even kitchen cutlery. Their legacy of making the best hunting knife continues today.
MTech is a bit of a journeyman when it comes to the products they produce. The make replica knives, hatchets, and even brass knuckles. One might think that since they make a wide variety of products that their quality must be compromised. This notion could not be further from the truth. Their products are top of the line, particularly their hunting knives. Made from high-quality materials and produced in the United States, MTech makes hunting knives you can rely on to get the job done right. Most of their products are sold at a value making these knives a great investment to add to your collection of hunting gear.
Mossy oaks origins are in hunting camouflage, but in the 21st century they have branched out into many other outdoor industries. They cover products from almost every aspect of the outdoors, everything from hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation. Their hunting knives are regarded as some of the best on the market. They use the best materials to produce their knives like their Bowie Hunting Knives. All in all, we could not recommend Mossy Oak more. If you love their knives, they have plenty of other hunting and fishing gear as well. They no doubt make some of the best hunting knives.
When most people hear Gerber they think of the baby food. Well, there is also a Gerber that produces some of the best hunting knives on this earth. Their footprint spans across the globe. That is thanks to the premium products they have produced since 1939. What has kept them as one of the 5 best knife brands is their ability to adapt and innovate over the past 70 years. Not many brands last very long, so their 70-year run is a testament to their ingenuity and their ability to stay relevant. Be sure to look out for their products when doing any outdoor shopping. Their skinning knife, in particular, is a stand out product.
Smith and Wesson
Smith and Wesson are known for their firearms. Like many successful companies, they have branched out into other products that align with their core group of customers. S&W has a wide assortment of EDC knives, hunting knives, and tactical knives. The high-quality materials and production you get from their firearms carry over to their knives. They have a wide variety of unique designs and features to choose from, with some of the best hunting knives to choose from.
Top Selling Hunting Knives
- Genuine Red Stag Antler Handle
- X50CrMoV15 (1. 4116 German Stainless Steel)
- Handmade Damascus Steel Knife made for Hunting, Camping and other Outdoor Activities.
- Razor Sharp and Durable Edge for Rough and Tough Use with Hardness of 58 - 60 HRC on Rockwell Scale.
- Blade Length : 120mm(4.7inch), Whole Length : 285mm(11.2inch), Weight : 210g(7.4oz)
- Weight with Sheath : 280g(9.9oz) Blade Edge Material : Aogami Steel 2, Cut very well !
- This knife comes with a pure and genuine leather sheath.
- Solidly built for tough use. Long lasting sharp edge. Hand forged by using 1095 & 15N20 steels. Over 260 true layers of Damascus steel. Heat treated. Hardness: 58-60 HRC on Rockwell Scale. Will long last for several years (lifetime if handled with care).