Best Hunting Knives

Written by Blade HQ Staff Writer Maya Mortensen on 09/21/2022

Best Hunting Knives

Having the right tools for the job is especially important for anyone who hunts. Whether you bow, rifle or spear hunt, having a knife to process game is a necessity. You need a tool that can stand up to extended periods in the backcountry without weighing you down. In this guide, we break down our top hunting knives from Benchmade, Buck, Gerber, and more!

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1. Benchmade Taggedout

Benchmade Taggedout

The Benchmade 15535 Taggedout is an ultralight entry into the quest to make the best hunting knife. The Taggedout is built with many of the attributes we love about the Bugout—ambidextrous use, top-of-the-line materials, and the AXIS lock for lockup strength that rivals your favorite fixed blade—but optimized for hunting. The clip point blade is perfect for skinning, slicing, and piercing and is made from CPM 154 for high toughness and excellent corrosion resistance. This makes for a blade that won’t let you down or rust while you’re on your week-long backcountry trip. We’re fans of the high-vis blaze orange Grivory scales, which is an underrated feature until you set your neutral-colored knife down on the forest floor and lose it forever. If you’re looking for a reliable pocket knife for those cases where ounces matter, choose the Taggedout.

  • 2.10 oz.
  • CPM 154 blade.
  • Lightweight, high-vis Grivory scales.
  • Made in USA.
Shop Benchmade Taggedout

2. TOPS Camp Creek Fire Edition

TOPS Camp Creek Fire Edition

The Camp Creek Fire Edition from TOPS Knives is a fixed blade meant for the rigors of camp tasks and the specialized technical details that come with hunting. Starting with the blade shape, you can tell at first glance this is a knife meant for skinning. The blade is also made from CPM S35VN—in fact, the Camp Creek series from TOPS is the first line from the brand to include S35VN—which is an excellent option for long, repetitive processes like field dressing and caping thanks to its excellent edge retention. This is a knife you can take out, use, abuse, and repeat without having to sharpen the edge until you get home. The weatherproof G-10 handle is just beefy enough to hold with gloves but slender enough to be comfortable. Jimping on the spine in two strategic spots and a pronounced finger groove allow you multiple grip options for full versatility. If you’re looking for a knife as burly as it is delicate, this is the one for you.

  • Included leather sheath.
  • CPM S35VN super steel blade.
  • Weatherproof G-10 scales.
  • Made in USA.
Shop TOPS Camp Creek Fire Edition

3. Gerber Downwind

Gerber Downwind

The Gerber Downwind Hunting Knife is a high-quality entry into the budget arena. The Downwind Series includes caping knives, drop point utility knives, and heavy-duty Ulu-style knives. The variety of blade styles makes for versatility, because one knife can only get you so far in the technical trenches of field dressing. Plus, every knife is made from stainless steel and weatherproof G-10 for low-maintenance, all-condition durability. Finally, each Gerber Downwind comes with a rugged canvas sheath with button clasps for secure carry on your belt or pack. If you want to expand your field tools without breaking the bank, the Gerber Downwind line of fixed blade knives is an excellent option to explore.

  • Included waxed canvas sheath.
  • Stainless steel blade.
  • Layered G-10 scales.
  • Lanyard loop.
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4. Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter

Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter

The Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter is a compact member of the Cold Steel Hunter series, a line of fixed blade knives built to be the best hunting knife for the price, with a variety of price points to choose from. Based on a custom knife design by knifemaker Lloyd Pendleton, the Hunter series carries on the legacy of excellent ergonomics in the field. The small size of the Mini Hunter lends itself to ultralight backpacking (it’s just over two ounces in weight), bird and trout processing, or precision hunting tasks. The Mini Hunter also comes in satin-finished AUS-10A stainless steel for a low maintenance, economical option; or you can choose the black-finished CPM 3V model for a more premium version. All Cold Steel Hunters come with a Secure-Ex sheath for reliable carrying options. If you need a smaller hunting fixed blade knife, the Mini Hunter is the way to go.

  • Included Secure-Ex sheath with retention strap.
  • Stainless steel AUS-10A blade with other options.
  • Knurled Kray-Ex handle.
  • Lanyard loop.
Shop Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter

5. Buck Special 119

Buck Special 119

The Buck 119 Special is a fixed blade for the ages and has been an American icon from its initial release in 1942. Since then, it’s found its place on the belts of hunters everywhere and was even featured in the Scream franchise of horror films. Odds are good that you know someone with a 119 Special, or you already have one yourself. If that’s the case, then you know that the bowie-style Buck 119 is the perfect blend of razor-sharp piercing and smooth skinning utility. Whether you need to carve a pumpkin or process game, this is a knife that can do it all. The ergonomics are top notch, with no hot spots while still maintaining timeless aesthetics. At around $70, you get reliable 420 stainless steel, perfect for getting that hair-splitting sharpness with very little work, and an all-weather phenolic resin handle. Plus, there are plenty of options to choose from, so take a look at all the Buck fixed blade knives we carry!

  • Included leather sheath.
  • 6" stainless steel blade.
  • Smooth polymer handle with polished guard and pommel.
  • Made in USA.
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6. ESEE Ashley Game Knife

ESEE Ashley Game Knife

If you’re more of a field knife kind of person, you will appreciate the ESEE Ashley Game Knife (AGK for short). This compact cutter is a no-frills fixed blade that’s bent on providing the most amount of function in the least amount of space. Designed by renowned big game guide Ashley Emerson, the AGK features a recurved drop point blade style to create more slicing power for skinning deer, elk, and whatever else you tag out on. The handle is large with a distinct finger groove for more control as you choke up on the knife, but the overall handle profile is neutral enough to allow you any grip you need. The 1095 high carbon steel of the blade makes the AGK a true field knife—tough enough to be used as a multi-tool around camp but sharp enough to serve as a precision cutting tool with minimal effort. Leave it to ESEE Knives to create a true do-it-all hunting knife.

  • Included leather sheath.
  • 3.5" 1095 carbon steel blade.
  • Micarta and G-10 handle scale options.
  • Made in USA.
Shop ESEE AGK

7. LionSteel M1

LionSteel M1

The LionSteel M1 walks the line between EDC and hunting knife, and begs the question “Why not both?” This pocket-sized fixed blade hails from the Italian manufacturer LionSteel, who has been bringing knives made from premium materials to the market for reasonable prices, and the M1 is no exception. The versatile drop point blade is made from your choice of CPM M4 (as in the exclusive model we’re highlighting in the picture) or Bohler M390, which are both field-ready steels that boast incredible edge retention and toughness so you can get to working without stopping to sharpen as often. The handle is neutral for forward or reverse, choked up or choked down grips and with micarta scales, you have a knife that performs rain or shine. To top it off, the M1 is 6.6” in total length and just over three ounces in weight, leaving your pack, belt, or pocket free for the rest of your gear.

  • Included leather sheath.
  • 2.9" CPM M4 blade.
  • Micarta, G-10, and olive wood handle scale options.
  • Made in Italy.
Shop LionSteel M1

8. Reiff Knives F3XC

Reiff Knives F3XC

From Reiff Knives, the F3XC is another smaller hunting knife offering with big functionality. Made from CPM 3V steel, you can guarantee that this fixed blade won’t buckle under whatever force you put it through (in fact, our guys figured out that Reiff knives can shear through car doors easily in this video). This American-made knife is small enough to stow away easily in the included belt sheath, but big enough to feel solid and comfortable in small or large hands. As far as hunting goes, you can trust that the F3XC gets sharp and stays sharp, and it’s tough enough to serve as your backup or your main blade. Finally, Reiff Knives produce some of the highest-quality machined knives on the market, and the F3XC is no exception. Add the F3XC to your gear collection for an instant upgrade.

  • Your choice of leather or kydex sheath.
  • 2.9" CPM 3V blade.
  • Variety of colorways.
  • Made in USA.
Shop Reiff Knives F3XC

9. Benchmade Meatcrafter

Benchmade Meatcrafter

Hunters know a thing or two about cuisine—hunting is just sourcing organic, free-range, grass-fed meat after all! And field processing is much the same technique that chefs employ in five-star kitchens, just with a time crunch before your bounty spoils and the sun goes down. The Benchmade 15500 Meatcrafter is all about bringing the right tool to the right situation, and with a premium ultra-sharp blade, this is the right tool for all meat-related situations. From field dressing a deer to preparing camp stew to just chopping through pounds of potatoes for the family function, this fixed blade is a must-have. This kitchen knife-hunting knife combo from Benchmade is made from high-end CPM S45VN super steel, lauded for its outstanding edge retention and corrosion resistance. Those two attributes keep your super-fine 14-degree angle edge sharper for longer without rusting. A crucial component of hunting is dealing with meat, and the Meatcrafter blows its competition out of the water in that regard!

  • Included Boltaron sheath.
  • 6.1" CPM S45VN blade.
  • Carbon fiber or G-10 scales over a full tang.
  • Made in USA.
Shop Benchmade Meatcrafter

10. Ka-Bar Dozier

Ka-Bar Dozier

For the price, the Ka-Bar Dozier folding hunter stands unrivaled in quality and utility. Winner of the Best Buy award at Blade Show when it came out in 2003, this pocket knife is still one of the best options on the market for durable hunting knives that can stand up to the outdoors. The lightweight Zytel handles feature enough grip to stay glued to your hands, even in the rain, without chewing them up. The handle’s curve fits right in the palm of your hand and the reversible pocket clip makes carrying this Ka-Bar even easier. As a hunting knife, the Dozier does everything you need it to for the price. You can get the D2 blade (with stainless steel options if you’re so inclined) to a relatively sharp edge and keep it there, so you can process small game or back up your big blade for larger game. One thing is for sure: for the price, this might be one of the best values on the market for hunting knives!

  • Solid lockback system.
  • 3" D2 tool steel blade.
  • Textured Zytel handle scales.
  • 2.20 oz.
Shop Ka-Bar Dozier

Conclusion

Best Hunting Knives

Though not a comprehensive list of hunting knives, this guide should give any hunter a good start for what to look for when it comes to picking the right tool for the job. Each of these knives has something unique to offer the hunter and would all be a great addition to any hunting setup. Whether you’re after a knife for skinning with surgical precision or a knife to do bulky cutting tasks, we’ve got what you need. Check out our full line of Hunting Knives!

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Learn More

Still unsure of the best hunting knife for you? No sweat. This video shows you some of the best knives for cleaning game.

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Other Best Knife Guides

Still in that information gathering phase? We've got a whole bunch more lists of all the Best Knives! Happy hunting and may you find that one special knife of your dreams!

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