There is no hunter that can excel at their craft without the proper tools. More often than not, for example — they find themselves in need of a knife. There are plenty of situations where a knife proves to be invaluable, like cutting up an animal – or skinning it. Many field situations require having a knife handy; this has been true for millennia, and it’s just as true today.

Considering how long hunting knives have been in use, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of variations and styles so that every hunter can adjust that to their individual sensibilities. Seeing as finding the right fit for you can be a potentially overwhelming task, we’re going to provide you with a detailed guide on fixed blade hunting knives and their uses!

Ancient fixed blade knife
Ancient Hunting Knife – Courtesy of Hnapel

Hunting Knife Uses

Before we discuss recommendations on the finest hunting knives on the market, we have to examine your reasons for buying the knife in the first place. In other words — what do you need the knife for? As you’ll soon see, there’s a wider variety of hunting knives than the average layman might think — making a good choice is important, because a quality hunting knife can be a significant investment.

Just like when you’re buying a compound bow for your hunting activities — your knife needs to be of sound quality as well. And this goes for other hunting gear as well; we might be focused solely on knives here, but equal value can be given to the rest of the arsenal, whether it’s bows, rifles, jackets, ammo, scopes, or a variety of other essentials we’re talking about.

But let’s get back to the subject – fixed-blade hunting knives. If you’re going to use your knife only for one intended activity, such as skinning game or cutting through tree branches — pick a knife that was specifically designed for such purposes. These specialty knives are produced by all major hunting brands.

Benchmade hunting knife
Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner Hunting Knife

There are also people who look for a hunting knife in order to use it as a tool during camping — in that situation, a specialized tool would be a worse choice than a generic hunting knife.

People seeking general-purpose tools in the form of knives would do well to find a fixed blade hunting knife. These do wonders when it comes to skinning or field-dressing — as well as a variety of other tasks like cutting your food, whittling wood while building a fire, or cutting twine and rope into smaller sections.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that can work as a plier or a screwdriver, you should look for multi-tool models.

You may also like: Best EDC Tactical Knives Explained

As we’ve mentioned before, depending on what you’ll be hunting — there might be the need for multiple specialized knives. This goes double if you’re going big game hunting for animals like elk. In that scenario, a fixed-blade hunting knife with a sturdy handle is your best bet. You need something that’s excellent at skinning, for this type of animal — a knife with a blade that has a saw-like quality. This is something you’ll use for separating the meat from the bones, for instance.

Fixed Blade Hunting Knife
Esee Ashley Game Knife

Conversely, small game hunting requires little more than a quality pocket knife — one that contains a fowl hook for gutting small fowl. Such knives don’t take up too much room, as you can neatly place them in your pocket, and they’re not too heavy either.

Buck Hunting Knife Set
Buck Open Season RMEF Team Elk Fixed Blade Knife Set

Benefits of Fixed Blade Knives

Fixed blade knives have quite a reputation in the hunting community — mostly among newbies, as they have a huge presence in pop culture. They’re always used by badass hunters in movies, so it’s no wonder that they are viewed as the most “serious” type of knife. That’s true in some ways, but they don’t have universal usage and they’re not the best choice in absolutely every situation.

Although this is a fact, there are plenty of benefits to fixed blade hunting knives. Firstly, they’re big and strong. You can find fixed blade knives in pretty much any size that you want — from huge ones to tiny handy tools.

Kabar hunting knife
Ka-Bar Bowie Marine Hunter Fixed Blade Knife

Probably their biggest advantage is a simple fact that these knives don’t break. They’ve got no moving parts that could come undone. That also makes them much more practical in terms of maintenance — all you have to do is clean them and sharpen them from time to time, there’s no folding mechanism to worry about.

Pendleton Mini Hunter Fixed Blade Knife
Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter Knife

Besides that, there’s also the length of the blade to think about. These knives are usually made to be far longer than folding knives, which makes them better for tactical use as well. If you need to quickly take them out and use them in a dangerous situation, fixed blade knives will have a longer reach.

At the end of the day, they’re also better tools for general survival needs in the wilderness. Fixed blade knives give you a larger degree of versatility when it comes to prying, splitting, cutting, etc.

Damascus Steel Knives

Now that we’ve established the immense utility of fixed blade knives, we should take a look at the different materials you can choose from when buying this type of knife. Generally, you’ve got two main options — Damascus steel and carbon steel.

Damascus Steel Fixed Blade Knife
Frontier Blades Damascus Steel Hunting Knife

Damascus steel is a type of steel that is created by combining steel alloys and iron during the forging process. The result is often visually stunning, with unique wavy shapes and patterns that give your blade a charming personality. Besides that, this type of knife is also known due to its historical value — the name stems from the Middle-Eastern city that produced some of the finest blades in the Middle Ages.

Those ancient techniques are not known today, but Damascus steel still has its place among modern knives. However, it should be noted that Damascus blades are more cosmetically pleasing than they are useful. True professionals claim that carbon steel knives have a better performance.

Damascus Steel Hunting Knife with Gut Hook
Fixed Blade Damascus Steel Hunting Knife from Szco Supplies

Carbon Steel Knives

Carbon steel blades are exceptionally hard and sturdy, seeing as they’re made out of hardened materials. Carbon blades have a superior edge retention compared to pretty much any other material on the market, including Damascus blades. When it comes to cutting, this type of knife also provides more sharpness and precision. That’s why professional chefs use these knives — though you can see how such knives could have their use when it comes to hunting as well.

Bubba Blades Carbon Steel Hunting Knife

However, it should be noted that carbon knives don’t have the chromium content that a steel knife can boast with — meaning they’re more prone to rusting. They also crack more easily under pressure.

Old Timer Carbon Steel Hunting Knife
Schrade Carbon Steel Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

Custom Hunting Knives

Many people believe that knives which are made to be beautiful and interesting are generally less useful in the field. However, that isn’t necessarily so. In fact, longtime hunters know that some of the prettiest custom hunting knives are also winners in terms of field performance and ergonomics.

Custom damascus steel blade
Custom Fixed Blade – Courtesy of Siddarth Machado

True knife aficionados realize that beauty can be successfully coupled with high performance. After all, the industrial design of luxury sports cars manages to have both extremely high performance and immeasurable beauty. If that’s true for such complex machines, there’s no reason why the same can’t be achieved with handmade hunting knives.

Best Hunting Knife Brands

Now that we’ve described some of the advantages of fixed blade hunting knives, their materials, and their characteristics, we’re going to examine the finest brands that create these knives. Let’s dive right into it.

Case Hunting Knives

The Case company is one of the premier manufacturers of all kinds of hunting knives. If you’re looking for a mainstream – but still high-quality hunting knife, their Case Bowie Fixed Knife is really all you need. It contains every classic feature a professional hunter would want in a top of the shelf knife. The knife’s blade is made out of stainless steel, and it is extremely durable as a result — this baby won’t rust.

Case Winkler Black Rubber Hambone
Case Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

The knife provides its users with more than enough stability due to the fact that it’s a fixed blade knife. In turn, this means your slices and cuts can be performed with optimal strength. The blade’s design is based on a drop point style — a pretty common sight with this type of blade.

Buck Hunting Knife

Another candidate for the top factory-made fixed blade hunting knives is the Buck 656 Pursuit knife. This is a traditional fixed blade knife made from the highest-quality materials you’d want in a relatively affordable blade. It has a nylon alloy handle that contains rubber over molds — allowing you to maintain a steady grip without investing too much strength.

Buck 656 Pursuit Hunting Knife
Buck 656 Pursuit Fixed Blade Hunting Knife

Cheap Hunting Knives

At the end of the day, you may want to get an affordable hunting knife that doesn’t require too much of a financial investment. This is especially important for junior hunters that may not have the budget nor the inclination to invest a lot of money. In that case, something like the Opinel Beechwood Handle knife would be a good choice — it’ll set you back less than twenty bucks!

Opinel Hardwood Fixed Blade Knife
Opinel Fixed Blade Knife

We hope this guide was useful to you and that you have expanded your knowledge on fixed blade hunting knives. Make you’re staying safe in these times we are all going through. Have a good one, guys!

Sam M

Sam is an avid firearms enthusiast who loves sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow gunivores.

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