Whether youre a serious hunter or dabble in the occasional hunt, a quality hunting knife can make all the difference in your trapping.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hunting Knife

Choosing a hunting knife requires some homework. The following are some of the most important points to consider when shopping for this type of knife.

Blade Material

The three main blade materials that come into play when it comes to hunting knives are carbon steel, stainless steel, and high-carbon stainless steel.

  • Carbon steel is the original hard steel that is used to make hunting knives today. It is extremely sharp initially but has some drawbacks. Carbon steel is vulnerable to rust and can be difficult to resharpen.
  • Stainless steel is much easier to maintain than carbon steel. However, stainless steel blades tend to lose their edge faster than carbon steel or high-carbon stainless steel.
  • High-carbon stainless steel offers the benefits of both carbon steel and stainless steel. This combination makes it harder and more durable than either of those two materials on its own.

Blade Features

A quality blade should have an edge that stays sharp for as long as possible without having to be sharpened. There are several features that can help a blade last longer.

  • Full tang knives have blades that extend completely through the handle, from the spine to the tip. This means the blade and handle are one piece, which helps strengthen the blade.
  • Distal tapering is when the blade gets narrower from the handle to the tip. This reduces the amount of material needed to create a sharp point, making the blade stronger at the tip while also reducing weight.
  • Flat blades have a straight edge from the spine to the tip of the blade. This design allows for clean cuts without needing to drag the knife across the meat, but straight blades can be harder to sharpen once they become dull.
  • Spear point blades have a small bump or spike at the tip that helps them penetrate the target.

Handle

When choosing a hunting knife, the handle is just as important as the blade. After all, you wont be able to use a knife if there isnt a suitable handle on hand.

The ideal handle material depends on personal preference. Combining the best features of wood and steel (or plastic) creates a sturdy yet flexible handle. Wood handles tend to be stronger and more durable than plastic.

Some popular handle materials include wood (such as laminate), fiberglass, titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon fiber.

Length and Weight

When it comes to knives, length and weight are often overlooked, but these factors are actually crucial to ensuring the user can control the knife safely and effectively.

For example, shorter knives require the user to move the hand higher up toward the shoulder, which increases muscle strain. Longer knives allow the wrist to drop, creating less strain. In addition, a longer handle means the user can grip the handle closer to the blade, providing better control.

Weight is another factor to think about. A lightweight knife will feel more like a extension of the users arm, allowing for greater control. Conversely, a heavier knife will feel more like a brick, making it harder to control.

Locking Mechanism

A locking mechanism prevents the unintentional opening of the knife during use. This is an essential safety feature that should be considered when selecting a hunting knife.

Most hunting knives use a simple system to lock the blade. The user presses down on a button, which releases a latch that holds the blade in place. However, this system can be ineffective because a strong force could still release the blade. For increased security, many hunting knives now feature a secondary locking mechanism that the user activates by rotating a collar. This secondary lock is more resistant to pressure, making it safer.

Single vs. Multi-Blade

Hunting knives can be broken down into two categories: single-blade knives and multi-blade knives.

  • Single-blade hunting knives are easier to use and often more affordable than multi-blade knives.
  • Multi-blade hunting knives offer the benefit of being able to cut multiple pieces of meat with a single swipe, but they are typically larger, bulkier, and weigh more.