Small Hunting Knives – Here’s Why They Shouldn’t Be Underestimated

A small hunting knife can be one of the best hunting tools ever, and here’s why…

I know:

Choosing a great hunting knife is not an easy task. I mean there’s a plethora of them out there. Get onto the net and the world suddenly seems infinitely bigger. But today I’ll show you how to choose the best small hunting knife and how to distinguish quality from duds.

Bigger isn’t always better

Depending on what it is you’re hunting, the size of your knife is kind of crucial. Big hunting knives are useless for dressing small game. Deer hunting and rabbit hunting are not the same, so the knives you use to do the dressing obviously shouldn’t be the same either.

Ideal Blade Size:

I’d say always opt for a general size of about 4 inches for the blade length regardless of what you’re hunting. I mean except for if you’re hunting elephants, but then I also can’t really help you out.

And then, after you’ve sorted out the blade length, it’s time to consider if you want to go with fixed and folding.

Regular hunter? Go for fixed blades.

Just the occasional hunter? Folding is your go-to option.

The Difference between Fixed and Folding Blade Hunting Knives

As a general rule, fixed blades are just better than folding knives (EDC’s) in every sense, except for the fact that they aren’t as easy to carry around. They’re stronger, cheaper and more reliable than folding knives.

Folding hunting knives have parts that move around, so they’re a little more fragile than fixed blade knives. But they’re also more versatile and a lot easier to carry around than fixed blade knives.

Cheap folding knives are NEVER an option. They simply don’t last and won’t perform like you want and need them to.

How to choose the best small hunting knife

Here are some things you should consider before investing in small hunting knives

  • Preferably opt for something that has a full tang design
  • Opt for the best steel for hunting knives, which is either stainless steel or carbon. Technically you could opt for the 3rd version, high carbon stainless steel, but that would mean you’ll have to spend a lot more cash on your knife.
  • The handle of the knife has to sit comfortably in your hand and offer you a solid and secure grip that won’t slip if things get a little wet out in the field

These are the basics for choosing the best small hunting knife. The rest is up to your personal preference and budget. Just remember that (with like all other things in life) you always get what you pay for.

With that out of the way, let me get to the real reason you’re still reading then.

I’ve rounded up the best of the bunch when it comes to small hunting knives and tested them all out just so that you can totally understand what they’re about and if they’re worth considering as a hunting knife option.

The Best Small Hunting Knives To Consider

Opinel No8 Carbon Pocket Knife

The Opinel No8 is a great choice if you need something that’ll do more than just hunting and also won’t break the bank. I dig the fact that you can choose what blade steel you want in your knife, as it comes available in either stainless steel or carbon. If you need a hard working hunting knife that can cut up, do field dressing and double up as a cooking knife around camp, I’d highly recommend you give this one some thought.

The Pros:

  • It’s a multi-purpose knife
  • The blade comes available in either carbon or stainless steel
  • It’s laughably cheap

The Cons:

  • It’s not the most reliable hunting knife per say and it’s a folding knife, which means it’s not as durable as you need it to be
Opinel No8 Carbon Pocket Knife

Opinel No8 Carbon Pocket Knife


CRKT Onion Skinner

Since Columbia River Knife & Tools have their game on and this knife was designed by the legendary Ken Onion, you can rest assured that it was built with durability in mind. Field tested out in the Alaskan wilderness, this small hunting knife is all you want and need. Sure the design looks a little off-beat, but man it is versatile! It cuts, chops and skins with the utmost of ease and the spear point tip eliminates the need for a gut hook altogether.

The Pros:

  • It’s small yet very strong and reliable
  • It has exceptional ergonomics
  • It’s very versatile

The Cons:

  • The sheath is horrible
CRKT Ken Onion - Onion Skinner Knife

CRKT Ken Onion – Onion Skinner Knife


Buck 110 Folding Hunter

Okay so I’ve praised this Buck knife more than once before, but I’ll do it again because it’s just that good! The 3.75 inch, 420HC stainless steel blade is strong enough to tackle anything from deer to bear yet small enough to get small jobs done. Its looks great and performs even better. The Buck 110 Hunter is all about sharp edges and minimal maintenance, durability and a solid warranty that will never let you down.

The Pros:

  • It has a wicked sharp clip-point blade
  • It’s versatile
  • It’s perfect for an EDC

The Cons:

  • The handle can get a little slippery when it becomes wet
Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath

Buck Knives 110 Famous Folding Hunter Knife with Genuine Leather Sheath


Spyderco Bill Moran Drop Point Blade

If you need a serious hunting knife that’s light enough for EDC but strong enough to stand up to the toughest hides, the Spyderco Bill Moran Drop Point is one of your best options, and here’s why.

The drop point blade measures in at 3.9 inches and is made of Japanese VG10 stainless steel which is flat ground to create a single bevel. This means the knife is lighter in weight while the cutting power and sheer strength in significantly increased. I love the balance of the blade and the fact that it will effortlessly cut through meat and hide, and all-in-all it’s a pretty solid option for a hunting knife.

The Pros:

  • The flat ground blade means this knife is lightweight yet very rugged
  • It’s very versatile
  • It has a razor sharp edge and stays that way for a very long time

The Cons:

  • It’s not full tang, so durability is a concern here
Bill Moran Drop Point Folding Knife

Bill Moran Drop Point Folding Knife


Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter

Measuring in at only 2.67 inches, this is one of the smallest hunting knife blades I’ve ever tested out. Sure you’re NOT going to skin a moose with it, but then again, that’s not what the Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter is about. I really liked the G10 handle that shrugs of water, blood and other elementals that could get in the way of a solid and secure grip. The edge is amazing and will retain its scalpel-like sharpness for ages.

The Pros:

  • It’s a very precise design made with high-quality materials
  • It’s a perfect little skinner
  • It has a razor sharp edge

The Cons:

  • I HATE the Kydex Sheath…it’s that bad!
Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter

Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter


And that’s a wrap! 5 of the best small hunting knives out there tried and tested. I really hope that this has helped arrow down the field for you.

Make sure you don’t miss out on my next article about the best Big Hunting Knives (especially if you’re into deer hunting) before I’ll share my thoughts on Personalized Hunting Knife gifts and more.

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