Choosing The Right Knife For Hunting: A Complete Guide For Buyers

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 02/17/21 •  6 min read

My very first hunting knife came to me when I first became a teenager.

On my 13th birthday, I vividly remember my father giving me a beautiful fixed blade hunting knife with a leather sheath to match.

I cherished that blade, taking it with me on all my hunting trips well into my adult life, but eventually, I knew I needed to get a new one and store the fixed blade until it was my turn to pass it on.

My search for the right hunting knife took me all over the place, and to be honest, it was a pretty tough task.

And that’s why I decided to write this comprehensive guide to find the right hunting knife for you, to make things much easier for the next person.

So if you’ve been searching for a hunting blade but aren’t exactly sure what to look for, you’ve come to the right place.

Read on to learn more.

How to Choose The Right Hunting Knife?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be taking a look at all the things you’ll need to consider before buying a hunting knife.

And to kick things off, we’ll take a look at the two main types of hunting knives.

Fixed vs Folding Blades

While there are a lot of different hunting tools out there designed for different purposes, today, we’ll be focusing on the two main categories: fixed blades and folding blades.

Fixed Blade

According to weapon expert Loyal Brezny from Hunting Mark, a fixed blade is basically a tool where the blade is permanently fixed in an open position.

These tools will be tougher and more durable because the blade runs throughout the entire knife, which reinforces the entire tool.

They are also much easier to clean and are more reliable because there are no moving parts you would have to worry about.

That being said, they can be a hassle since they are larger and would need to be kept in a sheath when not in use.

On top of that, it can also get in the way when you’re sitting or standing, climbing, or sitting.

Folding Blade

As you can tell by the name, these tools have a blade that can be folded in and out of the knife.

That allows them to be smaller and carried inside a pocket, making them much safer to transport and bring around.

And if you get the right model, you can even open and engage the knife with just one hand.

For hunters looking for an everyday knife, this could be the right pick for you.

However, they aren’t as strong as fixed blade knives and would be a hassle to clean because blood, tissue, and other materials can get collected in the blade channel.

Hunting Knife Blade Designs

There are a lot of blade types and designs out there, but in this section, we’ll be focusing on the three main ones.

These are drop point, clip point, and skinning blades.

Drop Point

Drop point blades feature a thick and slightly curved design.

This is one of the strongest designs out there and is ideal for those who hunt big game.

Drop point designs are a great choice for skinning animals since you can use the entire blade and not just the tip.

By using these types of blades, you’ll reduce the loss of meat while also making skinning a quicker and easier task.

And since they are very strong, drop-point tips can also be used to saw or split ribs and the pelvis bones.

Clip Point

Clip points are much thinner and not as strong as their drop-point counterparts.

This will give you a lot more precision when using the knife, but it could make heavy work like skinning an animal very hard.

That being said, these points are ideal for hunters who will use the tool for a bunch of other tasks aside from hunting.

So if you’ve been looking for a general-purpose knife when on outdoor adventures, it’s recommended to look at the clip-point options you have available.


You can probably tell what these blades are designed for just by the name.

The way the blade is designed will allow it to effortlessly slide through the space between skin and meat.

These types of blades are ideal for just about any game-cleaning chores you can think of, which is what makes them such a great choice for hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts.

However, it is very task-specific so it won’t be an ideal general-purpose tool.

Finding The Right Handle

When looking at handles, your main priority should be durability, especially for hunting tools.

While wood, leather, and bone handles look great, they aren’t as durable as synthetic options, which are more ideal for hunters.

This is because synthetic materials can last a much longer time and don’t require as much maintenance.

Another feature to look out for (especially if looking at fixed blade options) is a knife guard which can keep your hands and fingers safe while doing tough and arduous tasks while on a hunt.

Things To Ask Yourself When Buying A Hunting Knife

What Will I Use This Blade For?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when looking for a hunting knife.

The tasks that you’re going to use the knife for will greatly dictate the type of tool you should get.

For example, if you think you’ll be doing a lot of tough and heavy tasks, then it might be ideal to get a fixed blade.

But if you need a compact tool that will fit in your pocket, then folding options are ideal for you.

What Is The Right Knife Size For Me?

This will largely depend on your size and the tasks you plan on doing.

Obviously, if you’re a smaller person, you would want a smaller knife that won’t be too heavy or tricky to use.

But if you’re a large person, you might have an easier time controlling bigger knives.

You should also take into account the game your hunting as elk, deer, and larger animals would require bigger and tougher knives.


And that ends our guide to finding the right hunting knife for you.

There are a lot of factors to consider, but if you go through them one by one, you’ll find that choosing the right model for you isn’t too hard.

Once you figure out what type of blade you need based on your needs and the type of game you’ll be hunting, it will only be a matter of time until you have the right knife for you in your hand or pocket while going on a hunt!

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.