Listen up big game hunters…I’ve got the best rated big hunting knives all lined up here!
Here’s the deal:
We’re not all Rambo, and we certainly don’t need machete style knives to filet soldiers from head to toe. We’re average Joe’s who love hunting, our hunting gear and our reliable fixed-blade hunting knives.
Why you need a big hunting knife
Look, everyday survival situations and general hunting conditions call for a fixed-blade survival style knife as one of your most important tools. Whatever you want to use it for, like making a shelter, doing field dressing, skinning game or cutting through dense bushes, big hunting knives would be perfect choice.
What makes a great big hunting knife?
Here are some vital checkpoints that your hunting knife has to adhere to if you’re going to be tackling larger jobs with it:
- The blade steel has to be great – avoid cheap “Made in China” $10 knives at all costs. You also preferably want to pass right by 400 series steel. I know they’re “bargain” finds and they sharpen easily, but they suck at edge retention and don’t even know what proper bade strength means.
- The blade has to be single-edged – I know double-edged blades look cool, but they seriously compromise blade strength and can’t even be considered for tasks like cutting through wood. The blade should be thick and the shape should preferably be a drop point. You also want to consider a curved edge or “belly” because it’s much better for skinning and finer tasks.
- Its full tang or nothing at all – your blade has to extend the full length of the knife, all the way to the tip of the handle. This lends structural strength to your knife.
- The blade should be plain edged – unless you’re in a knife fight with Steven Seagal, your knife doesn’t have to have serrated edges. A smooth blade is much more practical in the field, but opting for a combination blade is also an option.
- The handle has to feel right – the handle is just as important as a knife’s blade. Hollow and plastic handles are to be avoided at all costs. For the best performance opt for Micarta, G10, glass-reinforced nylon, dense wood or rubber. These materials give you the best and most secure grip.
With that being said, it’s time to move on to the more serious business.
The Best Big Hunting Knives To Go With Your Budget
I’ve rounded up the best of the bunch. These knives are big and they mean business straight from the word go. Here they are in no particular order…
Substantial and without frills and nonsense, the ESEE 6P-B is one of the best survival-style knives on offer from the manufacturer. I love how this knife can really handle punishment from the outdoor environment. I mean it has a seriously sharp carbon steel blade that’s excellent at edge retention and the bombproof micarta handle is totally removable if you don’t like the feel of it.
To provide a safe and secure grip even under the most rigorous of applications, the handle guard and thumb grooves has got you covered. It’s big. It’s bold. And it’s ready to take on the toughest hides!
- The 5.75 inch carbon steel blade is really super sharp
- The micarta handle can be removed and used for Paracord etc.
- The lanyard hole is much appreciated and a welcome addition
- The sheath is too long and too tight so it can scratch the knife’s handle
SOG SE38-N Force
The name SOG has military written all over it, which is why their SE38-N Force comes in as one of my top picks. It has a superb design, solid construction, quality materials and a price point that seals the deal. The glass-reinforced nylon handle is super strong and durable and encases the one end of the AUS-8 full tang blade. For a solid grip, the checkered pattern on the handle works pretty darn well, albeit not for extended cutting jobs. The 6 inch long blade boasts nearly a quarter inch of thickness throughout the length, sharpens easily and will keep its edge really well. To resist corrosion, the blade is covered with a tough titanium nitrite finish and at a price of around $100, the SOG SE38-N Force is a real force to be reckoned with!
- The full tang blade is very sharp and also easy to sharpen when it eventually starts losing its edge
- The glass-reinforced handle is very durable
- It comes with a finger guard, thumb grooves, a lanyard hole and a glass breaker
- The checkered pattern on the handle really eats away at your hands during extended cutting jobs
- The sheath does nothing for this high quality knife
Tom Brown Tracker T-3
This is one of those knives that are either going to be a total hit or miss with you. Featuring a carbon steel full tang blade, the Tom Brown Tracker T-3 will handle the biggest and toughest of jobs like chopping wood (heck it performs better than the axe I have at home!), gutting fish and game and sawing branches for notching wood traps. The blade has three sections; one for chopping, one for carving and a top-saw blade. This is NOT a knife that’s going to save your bacon out in the field when a combat scenario arises, but it’s a monster knife that will tackle the heaviest of tasks out in the field.
- The 5.5 inch traction coated ATS-34 stainless steel wide design blade features a saw-back
- It’s a full tang knife for maximum strength and durability
- The finger grooved black lined micarta handle provides you with a comfortable and secure grip
- It’s expensive
- It’s a little on the heavy side
Fallkniven A1 Survival Knife
Okay so I’ve mentioned Fallkniven before in my article about the best steel for hunting knives, which is why the A1 Survival Knife from the name popping up here, shouldn’t surprise you. As a knife manufacturer, Fallkniven rocks at the job, but their main attraction has to be the A1 Survival Knife. The big 6.3 inch blade is made with VG10 Steel, holds its edge superbly and can withstand high-stress usage. The high quality steel in the blade perfectly justifies the A1’s price tag. You get a blade that’s robust so it’s tough as nails. With its large profile and bellied blade, the A1 masters the art of chopping wood and the ergonomic grip means your hands won’t tire from continues use.
- The blade is made from laminated VG10 steel, which is super rugged and durable
- The knife has awesome balance
- The materials used for construction are superb
- It’s not cheap
Soaring in as my last pick for this roundup, the Gerber LMFII is by no means the least. This bad boy was field tested by the military with tasks like puncturing through a plane fuselage and punching through the windshield of a chopper. Having withstanding those extremes, the LMFII handles just about any hunting application you put it up to like skinning, meat processing, cutting firewood, rope and bone to name but a few. It comes with an over-molded handle that’s nice and grippy without eating up your flesh during the process. The LMFII comes with one of the only standard sheaths I was actually impressed by. The sheath has a built-in sharpener, so keeping the edge of your knife razor sharp is done without even thinking about it.
- It’s a super rugged knife that’s also very reliable
- It’s very versatile with the strong, partially serrated blade
- The design is great and the handle gives you a comfortable and secure grip while you’re working
- It’s not a full tang knife
- It’s on the heavy side
- The handle just doesn’t feel as durable as it should
There you have it! 5 of the best big hunting knives that will effortlessly take care of the largest tasks out in the field. Don’t just take my word for it, get out there and make that investment I promise you it will be worth every cent spent!
Coming up next I’ll share my 2 cents worth on the topic of the Personalized Hunting Knife before I conclude my series of the best gift ideas for hunters. Once again, I urge you to check out these lists, get the women in your lives to read them and make mental notes so they know what makes a hunting man happy on his birthday. Or any day during the year!