The best quality hunting knives comprises of a lot more than you originally thought…
Processing meat after a kill, saving your ass in a tight situation or helping you survive the sometimes brutal terrain that comes with the hunting game, the hunting knife is your closest friend out in the field.
Personally, the best hunting knife for me doesn’t necessarily rely on the brand, but it does rely on key features such as how it holds its edge and whether or not it’s easily field-sharpened. Remember how I told you about the best hunting knife sharpeners? I mentioned the deal with field sharpening and why it’s so necessary.
I also need my knife to fit in my hand like it was made for me so that I don’t hurt myself, plus it also needs to be rugged and strong so that it’ll go through bone when I need it to. But that’s just my opinion.
Today, I won’t tell you about “the best hunting knife” because it’ll still be MY opinion, and I know I’m going to leave major game players out of the line-up. Plus what I find to be “the best” might not be the best or YOU.
Here’s the deal:
There’s a ton of outstanding quality hunting knives out there. For this roundup however, you’ll see that I didn’t list large hunting knives, I’m not a massive fan because to be frank, they’re a danger to the hunter and people around him when conditions get a little crazy out there, plus they drag a man down because they weigh significantly more than the smaller, more compact hunting knives.
So before I dive into the review part of this thing, let’s just straighten out some basics.
High Quality Hunting Knives – How to Choose the Best for You
If you’re going to be investing in the best quality knife you can get your hands on, you need to know what to look for in a knife. I’m not saying that you don’t, so if you do, just bear with me here because there are a few rookies here that need a couple of pointers.
Ask yourself this:
Do you want a fixed or folding knife?
Newbies are great fans of folding knives, whereas the more seasoned hunters stick with fixed blades. There’s no such thing as one is better than the other, so it’s just a matter of personal preference really. Generally speaking, fixed blades are more durable because they have less breakable parts, but folding knives on the other hand are much more versatile and easier and faster to take out and use for everyday tasks.
Are you set on a specific blade material?
The most common types out there are stainless and carbon steel blades, each having their own fandom. Stainless steel contains elements like iron, nickel, carbon and chromium to form a very rust-resistant blade, yet it lacks the sharpness that carbon blades bring to the table. Carbon blades on the other hand will stain in certain environments, but they are the sharpest and will keep their edge much longer in the short run when compared to stainless steel.
Got that? Moving on then, here’s my selection of the best, high quality hunting knives on the market today.
The Best Quality Hunting Knives
Buck Omni Hunter
I’ve got to hand it to Buck Knives. They’ve been in the trade for over a hundred years, yet still stay on top of market demands. The Omni Hunter is solid and reliable, and I love the fact that it comes at an affordable price too.
- The blade is constructed with 420HC steel and has a 3.25 inch drop point
- This knife, along with all other models from the brand, comes with the Buck Forever Warranty
- The contoured rubber handle feels right in my hand and gives me a superior grip
- The handle could have been slightly bigger, but it’s not a train smash
- I found the sheath a little wanting, and would definitely consider getting another one
Kershaw Diskin Hunter
I was really impressed with this hunting knife that will easily substitute a survival knife. The Kershaw Diskin is big and bold, but it will never stand in your way. I appreciated the larger, wider blade of the Matt Diskin designed knife, and the fact that it can tackle anything from skinning game to camping tasks just makes the deal that much sweeter.
- Has a solid 4 inch Sandvik 14C28N blade with a perfect drop point
- The knife has an overall length of 9.5 inches and a slim G-10 handle that adds to its great balance
- It also has a finger guard and a notch for sparking Ferro rods.
- Just like the issue I had with the Buck Omni, this sheath pretty much sucks and won’t keep the sharp tip of the knife safely tucked away
Case Leather Hunter
Case never fails to deliver superior quality with their classic knives, and the Leather Hunter is no exception to the rule. It looks pretty rad and definitely doesn’t stop there because it performs too. The genuine leather handle feels great in my hand and ensure I always have a sturdy grip on my knife while I’m tackling just about any task, because the Case Leather Hunter is on point!
- I appreciated the level of comfort that the leather handle and hand guard ensure
- The burly design of the 5 inch blade (overall knife length of 9 inches) ensures you’ll easily cut through meat, skin and bone with no issues
- The genuine leather sheath actually does what it was intended to do
- I would have appreciated some finger grooves on the hilt
- The belt loop on the sheath is ridiculously small
CRKT Onion Skinner
Now I know what the name sounds like, but the knife is anything but an onion slicing tool. Designed by Ken Onion, the legendary knife maker, this knife stands out for its excellent performance. The blade is perfectly designed and has great angles that are easily sharpened, and overall, it’s a knife that just reeks of outstanding quality.
- Comes with a 3.75 inch blade made from Bohler K110 steel, hardener to Rockwell 58-60 for awesome edge retention
- I really liked the narrow tip for fine work and the “hump” for easily working along the paunch without hitting innards
- The textured handle provides a great and sturdy grip, even when the knife gets wet.
- Like so many other, I have an issue with the sheath. It’s not amazing and actually lets the overall awe of the knife down
That’s my 2 cents worth for the day. Make sure to check back in with me soon to see what I’ve got to share with you about the best ceramic knives and I’ll also take a look at some of the best skinning knives out there.
Benchmade Steep Country Family
In my opinion, this is one of the best quality hunting knives out there, and the name just reinforces the quality and durability.
- The Steep Country Family comes with a 3.5 inch drop point blade constructed with S30V steel
- The Santoprene handle provides you with superior grip
- These knives also come available in gut-hook models
Buck Alaskan Guide Series 113 Ranger
I’ve already praised Buck Knives, so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that I’ve got another one on here. I personally use this knife out in the field, and I have to say it holds its edge like nobody’s business.
- The S30V steel used in the blade means the edge will stay sharp for ages
- The size of the knife just feels like the perfect fit for my hand, and the overall shape keeps my hand from sliding as I work
- The rosewood handle just loos impressive and finishes off the knife perfectly
- It’s a little expensive, although they do come available in a more affordable 420HC steel version
Spyderco Bill Moran Drop Point
The Spyderco knife that carries the name of the knife maker Bill Moran clearly demonstrates the more than 50 years of experience that Bill has in the art of knife design.
- The oversized FRN/Kraton handle ensure you have perfect grip every time
- The 3.87 inch VG-10 blade holds it edge and is tapered, delivering the perfect thick handle-blade joint and a thing ground tip
- I loved the overall shape and performance of the knife
- Just like the Buck Alaskan, this isn’t the most budget friendly option
DiamondBlade Pinnacle I Skinner
This knife is simply incredible, and yes, I’ll say it: it’s probably one of the best hunting knives in the world. Don’t even read the rest of this if you’re not okay with dropping at least $400 for a knife! On the other hand…this bad boy is most likely going to last you a lifetime, so it might just be worth considering it.
- The knife is constructed with “Friction Forging” and comes with a D2 steel blade that’s hardened to a whopping 65-68 on the Rockwell scale.
- The blade is short, measuring in at 2.55 inches, and although it was designed specifically for skinning, I found that it works amazingly well at just about any other task
- The 7.2 inch micarta handle makes up for the short blade to give you a great overall length, and the curved shape is going to work for just about any hunter out there.
- Since the blade has such a high Rockwell sharpness, it means it’s going to take forever to re-sharpen, that’s if it ever dulls out in the first place
- The Pinnacle I Skinner is ridiculously expensive
And there you have it. 6 of the best rated hunting knives on the market today. In my opinion, you should really try and fall for a Buck, since it’ll be with you forever with Buck’s unbeatable warranty. Either way, the choice is, as always, up to you.