Most people don’t think of a fixed blade when buying a knife. Instead, they tend to focus on a pocket knife or the best tactical folding knife. A knife like this offers a lot of versatility. However, when it comes to hunting finding the best fixed blade hunting knife is going to give you exactly what you need from strength, durability, and value. As a result, to help find the best fixed blade we put together a list of our findings after using and testing each of these.
What To Look For In a Fixed Blade Hunting Knife –
When it comes to hunting there are endless uses and situations that may require a hunting knife. The real question is what do I need for the type of hunting I’m doing, and what should I look for. With this being the case we separated hunting species to help better determine what to look for in relation to what you hunt.
Small Game –
The category of small game that we are referring to are squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, etc. If you’re predominantly a small game hunter and are looking for the best fixed blade hunting knife. There are a few things to consider so that you get the right knife for the job. Typically, you’ll be using a knife for skinning or maybe the occasional outdoor tree trim or to cut a branch.
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the blade. Since you’re using this knife for small game you want something that is sized correctly to help skin and cut a squirrel or rabbit. Therefore, look for knives in the 2-3″ range, this will give you the ability to make finesse cuts and still cut through bone. What you don’t want to do is get a 4 or even a 5-inch blade that is bulky and too large for the animal.
The second most important aspect or feature to look for in the best fixed blade hunting knife for small game is the metal. Softer metals are most common in cheap knives, not that its a bad thing if your someone that tends to lose knives a lot. Maybe going with an inexpensive knife is better for you. However, do know that these knives don’t keep their sharp edge as a hard steel blade will do. It’s more of a give or take, hence, why you need to consider what way to lean based on your personality traits.
The last thing to consider is the shape of the blade. Look for knives that are skinner as they will help skin and clean a small animal much easier than a large thick blade. As for serrations, a small game knife wouldn’t require these as you can typically cut through bone with the blade of the knife.
Waterfowl & Upland Birds –
The second category that we split up is bird hunting, or specifically waterfowl and upland birds. When it comes to cleaning a bird there are a number of ways to master it. However, without a fixed knife, you can be stuck struggling to clean a bird properly.
As for cleaning a bird whether waterfowl or upland they tend to be about the same size. Except for geese as they can be about twice the size if not more when compared to a pheasant. However, nonetheless, you’ll what a blade that is anywhere from 3-4 inches. It all depends on if you’re going to take your game home or clean them in the field. If you are looking to carry a blade with you a smaller one may be preferred. However, an at home knife that is longer may be better suited for cleaning birds at home.
Similar to a small game knife you want a knife that is thin and made of a hard steel. Cutting into bone or birds over time will dull a cheap soft metal knife. Therefore, if you want a knife that will last opt for a hardened steel knife.
As for the shape I tend to stick with knives that are full straight blades and have no serration. Nothing on a goose or duck is going to require a serrated blade. Instead, a blade that is straight cut will allow you to cut out the breast or guts when cleaning a bird.
Big Game –
When hunting for big game and cleaning an animal after you’ve harvested it. The size can vary tremendously from a whitetail deer to a moose, therefore, you need a blade that can handle cutting an animal of this size. Hence, why finding the best fixed blade hunting knife is so important, there is no better knife than a fixed blade for a job this size. Plus when hunting big game you may come across needing the knife for starting a fire, cutting branches, or even survival. As a result, you need a blade that will handle the job.
The size of the blade required to clean a big game animal should be around 3-4 inches. This typically gives you enough to make finesse cuts, but enough depth to cut large thick slices of meat. Sometimes it comes down to personal preference for size.
A elk or moose can take hours to clean and cut up. Therefore, you need to look for knives that are high quality and will hold their sharpness for multiple hunts. Hence, why you need to look for knives with metal that is hardened and won’t wear down easily.
As for the shape, you want the shape of the knife to fit into your hand like a glove. Since this knife won’t be used for show, but rather as a tool. You need it to feel comfortable and be easy to grip.
Fixed Blade or Folding Blade Knife –
There are two kinds of blades when it comes to knives, fixed and folding. They are exactly as they sound, a folding knife has a pivot usually at the half way point allowing the blade to fold into the handle. Whereas, a fixed blade is one solid piece of metal where the handle or blade can’t move or rotate. There are some positives and negatives to each. Which you can see below:
Fixed Blade Hunting Knife –
- Extremely strong as the blade and handle are heat treated as one unit and made from one piece of metal.
- Easy to wash off and clean as there are no moving parts.
- No moving parts or pieces to break or wear out.
- Not easily storable in pocket or pants.
- Has to be carried in a sheath, typically on the outside of your pants.
Folding Blade Hunting Knife –
- East to carry and small is size once folded up.
- Safe to carry as the blade is held within the handle.
- Can be a great hunting or everyday knife.
- Weaker blade when compared to a fixed blade.
- Tends to stay dirty as there are many parts and channels that collect debris.
- Folding mechanism can wear out and break down.
Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner | Best Fixed Blade Hunting Knife –
Metal – Stainless Steel
Blade Size – 4.17″
Weight – 5.13 oz
Use – Hunting
Company Profile –
Les de Asis is the founder of Benchmade Knives, however, there is a history behind the company before we reach Benchmade. Les de Asis started as Bali-Song in 1979 out of California. He wanted a knife that could replace the cheap butterfly knives known as Bali-Songs. Therefore, he took is limited high school shop skills and created the first prototype Bali-Song in 1979. With the help of Victor Anselmo they finished their first knife and brought it to a local gun store. They were immediately asked to make a 100 more.
In 1980 Les de Asis decided to rent some work space and ended up creating his first production line of knives the Bali-Song Model 68. However, with the lack of control on price, quality, and delivery, he had to close and file bankruptcy. Although that didn’t stop him, instead, he reintroduced an idea of production in the US to help solve his past issues. It wasn’t until 1987 when the name Benchmade was started, as a reflection to the quality of the knives production.
In 1990, they moved from California to Oregon where the access to leading technology and machinery were more available. Fast forward to today and Benchmade designs and creates some of the leading knives for hunting, tactical, and everyday knives. They have become the “benchmark” for high-quality knives.
If you’re looking for the best fixed blade hunting knife you’ve come to the right knife, the Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner. This is one of the Hunt Series knives made for the outdoors and rugged hunters. Constructed with CPM-S30V stainless steel blade, it’s a tough knife. With Rockwell hardness of 58-60 it holds an edge while skinning and field dressing everything from whitetail to moose.
The handle of the knife is made of G10 which is durable and impervious to moisture. As a result, you can clean this knife and know that the handle won’t break down or fall apart over time. The blade is made for hunting and the drop-point design makes it very versatile.
Included with the purchase is a Kydex sheath that is durable and provides easy access. The sheath helps protect the knife’s blade and you when carrying it. Also included is Benchmade’s lifetime warranty. If your knife needs repairs or sharpening Benchmade will handle it all. Therefore, if your knife begins to dull or need repairs Benchmade will take care of you.
If you want the best fixed blade hunting knife then you need to pick up a Benchmade. For the quality and value you get from this knife you’ll be sure to have a hunting knife that can stand up to any type of animal.
SOG Pillar | Best Fixed Blade Hunting Knife –
Metal – Stainless Steel
Blade Size – 5″
Weight – 7.3 oz
Use – Hunting
Company Profile –
Founded in 1986, Spencer and Gloria Frazer, introduced SOG Speciality Knives to the world. Most recognized for their reproduction of the SOG knife from the Vietnam era. Today they specialize in manufacturing and designing hunting knives, tactical knives, and everyday carry knives.
SOG has created knives for the military, and Navy Seals to be specific. If SOG can make a knife that is suitable and high quality enough for the Navy. Then you can be assured you’re getting a knife from a top-notch manufacturer.
This US Made SOG Fixed Blade is called the Pillar, and it takes a name like that because it offers so much versatility. This is the best fixed blade hunting knife from SOG, however, it’s more than a hunting knife. This Pillar knife is a useful knife for survivalists, camping, or tactical. This 5″ blade is a very hardy fixed blade that offers plenty of edge for skinning and cleaning wild game.
The handle on the SOG Pillar is a Micarta handle, which offers finger choils for gripping the handle. Also included with this knife is a versatile Kydex sheath that helps to protect not just the blade but yourself as well when carrying it.
SOG has a philosophy that if you take care of your knives they’ll take care of you. Therefore, if you have any issues with your SOG knives, they consider all repair and replacements as their responsibility.
If you’re looking for the best fixed blade hunting knife that is perfect for multiple outdoor sports. This knife is a great blade that is perfect for large game that will make cleaning and skinning any animal much easier.
TOPS BOB Brothers of Bushcraft | Best Fixed Blade Hunting Knife –
Metal – Stainless Steel
Blade Size – 4.5″
Weight – 9.6 oz
Use – Hunting
Company Profile –
TOPS Knives is a tactical and outdoor knife manufacturer that began in 1998, near Eastern Idaho. Owned and operated by Michael J. Fuller, his companies focus is for fixed blade knives, therefore, they make for a top choice in finding the best fixed blade hunting knife.
TOPS began with a creative group of friends from the Vietnam War Ear who sought to create a knife that was better than the ones they were issued. The wanted a knife that had the strength and durability to withstand hunting, the outdoors, and tactical situations. TOPS was created by Veterans that today have over 200 models of knives.
The BOB or Brothers of Bushcraft was designed by the coalition of men across North America with a focus on wilderness survival skills. This is the perfect knife for backcountry hunting. The blade is made of 1095 stainless steel with a black traction coating. As a result, you get a knife that holds an exceptionally sharp edge that’s easy to sharpen.
The handle is made of ergonomic Micarta, which provides a comfortable grip. The knife includes a Kydex sheath to help protect the blade when carrying it around. The steel belt clip makes it very easy to secure to your belt. The sheath even has a Ferro-rod attachment point if you’re planning on doing some backwoods adventures.
If you want a knife that is suited for skinning numerous species from small game to large game. The Bushcraft knife should be your go-to blade. It offers exceptional versatility for hunting and it’s a great blade if you’re looking for a fixed blade.