Choosing the best hunting knife can be a very tricky decision. There are a lot of different factors that can make or break a hunting knife depending on the specific use you intend for it. Some of the choices you will have to make are just your personal preferences, but others are important in making sure the knife functions well for your specific style of recreational activities.
One of the most important qualities of a knife is the handles grip strength and level of safety. There are many traditional knife handle materials that may not be the best choice for multi function hunting knives. Some of the more traditional materials such as wood, bone, molded plastic, or even leather, can be smooth to the touch and very slippery when wet with rain, sweat, or blood. This can cause unsafe grip strength and lead to serious injuries. For higher grip strength under these conditions, you may consider some of the newer materials being used in the manufacturing of top quality knives. Both rubber and composite material can give you a safer grip, and are very durable in even the most unfavorable conditions. The newer materials are also being manufactured in more colors, and textures to give them a more stylish look.
The type of knife
There are two main styles of knives that hunters can choose from: the fixed blade knife or the folding knife. Both styles offer their own unique set of benefits, and challenges. Choosing between the two will have a lot to do with the specific type of hunting that you do. This decision will also be based on your personal preferences in how you prefer to carry your knife, and if you want it accessible to both hands.
Folding knives frequently come available with a one handed opening feature by utilizing a small thumb lever, or a hole in the blade to put the thumb into. This makes the knife usable with either hand, and increases the mobility of the hunter. Folding knives also have a lock feature that increases safety during use. These knives are generally smaller in size and fit neatly into a pocket or small belt sheath. Many folders also come equipped with a pocket or belt clip so they can be worn on the outside of clothing for quicker access. Folding knives are great for everyday use as well, but because of their smaller size, may not be the best choice for larger game or survival techniques.
Fixed blade knives do not have a hinge to fold with, so they are usually stronger under stressful conditions. The blade is made from a solid piece of metal that extends into the handle. Always being in the open position can increase speed and ease of use when working with just one hand. Fixed blade knives are carried in a belt, leg, boot, or sometimes a lower arm sheath. Which sheath works the best for you will depend on the specific type of game you are hunting, and the type of clothing worn. Fixed blade knives are almost always the best choice for hunting larger game and deep woods camping.
The clip point blade has a more traditional work knife design with the blade only curving near the end of the blade. The drop point knife has a slow curve to the blade that lowers the tip for control and strength. Both knives are curved to make skinning easy but the drop point is better for a dedicated hunting knife. It allows more precision for cleaning and butchering larger or smaller game. The clip point is better for a multipurpose work or back woods knife.
Other options are available to choose from on hunting knife blades. One of these is the gut hook. The gut hook is used to open game up with less risk of puncturing the guts and possibly damaging the meat. Having a small section of the blade serrated is useful for cutting jobs such as separating a rib cage or cutting synthetic materials.
So before you buy your next hunting knife do your research. Sit down and ask yourself a few questions about what your expectation are for the knife. Then hit the back woods and have some fun.