Fixed knives are probably one of the most useful items you can have in your hunting gear. But a good fixed knife is also great for a whole range of tasks around the campfire, and outside in the wilds. Think of things like chopping wood, preparing food, cutting rope, opening cans and containers, and much more.
- 1 Fixed Knife Blade Tangs
- 2 Fixed Knife Blade Shape
- 3 Fixed Knife Blade Material
- 4 Best Fixed Knives Size
- 5 Fixed Knives Handle Material
- 6 Which Fixed Blade Knife is Best For You?
- 7 Top 10 Fixed Knives Reviews
- 7.1 1. Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
- 7.2 2. Puma SGB Big Bear Hunting Knife
- 7.3 3. Buck 105 Pathfinder Fixed Knife
- 7.4 4. Kershaw Diskin Hunter Knife #1085
- 7.5 5. CUTCO Model 1769 Hunting Knife
- 7.6 6. Case Leather Hunter Knife #00379
- 7.7 7. Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife
- 7.8 8. Elk Ridge Two Piece Hunting Knife Set
- 7.9 9. Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter #15016
- 7.10 10. Red Deer High Carbon Hunting Knife
- 8 Wrapping It Up
Your choice of fixed blade knives should be primarily focused on two factors – tang and size. Let’s take a look at these separately so that you can decide what kind of knife you actually need.
Fixed Knife Blade Tangs
A tang is actually the blade projection of the knife, by which is held firmly to the handle. We’ll quickly cover the four major fixed knife tangs: full, extended, partial and skeletonized tang.
Full Tang Fixed Knives
In a full tang fixed knife, the blade runs inside the entire length of the handle. Full tang knives are made of a single piece of steel that makes up both the blade and tang. These knives are much more durable than any other kind. They are ideal for tasks like hammering tent pegs, chopping wood, and butchering kill. If you’re aiming to use your knife for a lot of heavy jobs, a full tang is your kind of blade.
If the full tang knife ends at the end of the handle, extended tang continue past the handle. On a high quality fixed hunting knife, the extended tang may function as a hammer.
It’s a good and stable tang, but in the beginning, I’ll advice you to stick with the full tang.
Partial tang means that the blade’s metal goes only through a portion of the handle. This can be an indication of poor-quality and an attempt to cut manufacturing costs. A partial tang fixed knife will probably be enough for display purposes at home. But if you depend on a knife for bushcraft and hunting, I’ll advise you to stay away.
Skeletonized tang has parts missing. It can be either circles or other holes, but some portions are disposed. They are not as strong as the full tang fixed knives and are more easily to break.
Hollow Handle Knives
There’s a lot of controversy among outdoor enthusiasts about how useful hollow handle fixed knives are. A lot of experienced hunters consider them a tradeoff. Of course, knives with hollow handles will never be as robust as those with a full tang. But some people think they’re worth buying because they are lighter to carry.
If you’re undecided, think about what you’ll be using the blade for. Hollow handled fixed knives are perfectly capable of coping with lighter tasks. But if you’re attempting heavy-duty work, be aware there’s always the risk they could break.
My advice is – stay away from hollow handle knives for now.
Fixed Knife Blade Shape
While the list of different knife shapes and available options, it may seem quite overwhelming at first. I think it’s important to point out that there are just few basic designs that need our most avid attention. Some of the include the straight back knife, the clip point and the drop point knife.
Straight back knives are probably the oldest and most basic knife design which has over the centuries been developed and modified to create the vast array of cutting tools we know today. Used as a regular all-purpose knife, good for chopping and slicing.
Drop point knives are the results of trial and error until we arrived at some of the finest knives available on the market today. The point is strong and sharp, thus providing excellent control when carrying out precision cutting jobs. Used mostly as a hunting and skinning knife.
Clip point knives are one of the most widespread knives, very popular among the hunters. The point is very sharp, but little weak. These knives are usually lighter, thus providing excellent control and balance. Used as a general-purpose knife.
Tanto point knives are usually very durable and strength is their biggest advantage. The tip can be straight or slightly curved, but the edge is always sharply angled. Used mostly as a survival knife for piercing through hard objects.
Spear point knives are very sharp, thus used mostly as throwing knives. Fixed spear point knives are usually very durable and provide exceptional strength. Excellent for stabbing and piercing.
Trailing point knives have a long cutting edge because the point trails higher than the center axis. They are usually light-weight, providing excellent control for skinning.
Used mostly as a regular camping knife, sheepsfoot knives have curved profile, sharply dropping to join with the cutting edge. This makes them the opposite of straight back knives. Sheepsfoot knives are mainly all-purpose, good for cutting, slicing and chopping as well.
Other Fixed Knife Blade Shapes
Some of the most famous blade shapes and designs include: wharncliffe, the hawkbill and the gut hook knife (which is mainly used for gutting and field dressing).
Of course, there are knives that have been designed as specific tools for very specific tasks. Make sure you read the full guide on blade shapes and designs to learn the advantages and disadvantages of different blade shapes.
Fixed Knife Blade Material
The two most common materials used in blade manufacturing are stainless and high carbon steel. Each has their advantages and disadvantages. Basically, which you choose is a tradeoff according to how you intend to use the knife.
Stainless steel contains chromium for improved rust resistance. This makes the blade easier to sharpen, but also softer. Stainless steel keeps its shiny appearance longer, but the softness means it loses its edge quicker than high carbon steel. They also tend to be more expensive. Sharpening aside, the high rust resistance means that this kind of blade is extremely low maintenance.
High Carbon Steel
High carbon steel blades are hard and durable. They can be sharpened to a high degree and retain their edge longer than the stainless variety. Because it contains no chromium, carbon steel is less rust resistant. This means you need to keep your knife dry and clean when not in use. One big advantage of high carbon steel knives is that they are generally more affordable than stainless.
Best Fixed Knives Size
Any experienced hunter would never ignore the possibility of carrying a selection of knives with them. But you should always have one ‘main’ knife that you trust and rely on. In my opinion, a good, quality fixed knife blade best fits this description. The perfect size for your fixed blade will be based on the tasks you’re going to carry out with it.
Fixed knives longer than ten inches overall are heavy on your belt. They will also take up rucksack space when you’re not carrying it. That said, longer fixed knives are best for clearing bushes, chopping and splitting small sticks and logs, and prying things open. They are also better for self-defense purposes.
Shorter fixed knives are better for lighter jobs such as skinning game, carving meat, and scraping. The smaller blade will be easier to carry, and it will occupy less space in your pack. Weigh up these pros and cons when picking out which knife is best for your needs.
The best weight for your knife is all about balance. You certainly don’t want to cart more load around than is strictly necessary, especially on long hunting trips. The same principles apply here as when picking out a longer or shorter blade. Deciding on the best weight depends on what you want to use your knife for.
A lighter knife will take less energy to carry and cost less effort to use. It is also usually better for detailed tasks. A weightier blade can generate more impact when performing more challenging tasks.
Think carefully when picking out your fixed knives. I suggest you purchase one less than thirteen ounces in weight for lighter tasks. Only go heavier if you are sure you’ll be performing more substantial work.
Knife Blade Thickness
The thickness of the blade will determine it’s strength. The thicker it is, the stronger it will be. It will also be heavier. On the other hand, a thin, light knife is more comfortable to carry. It will, however, be less able to withstand impact and is prone to damage. Once again, which you choose will be determined by your intended application.
Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that the thicker the blade, the better. This may be true for multi-purpose survival knives used for digging, chopping, and hacking. But for more common knife uses like hunting, everyday carry and utility knives, thinner is better. Slimmer blades are quick and easy to sharpen and offer improved cutting performance.
Fixed Knives Handle Material
Modern knives often sport aluminum handles. Aluminum is light and when texturized makes for an excellent grip. Tends to become really cold to the touch so not recommended for use in severe weather conditions.
Example knife: Benchmade Nimravus 141
Celluloid is the most common material for knife handles. It can be produced in any color and can imitate almost any natural material. Synthetic handles can look exactly like ivory, wood, agate, and pretty much anything else. The advantages here are low cost and aesthetic, but also strength and durability. Other common synthetic materials are Kraton and Micarta. Kraton is a synthetic rubber. Micarta is a laminate made from a blend of resin and fiber. Synthetic handles are by far the best option in terms of value for money, strength, and reliability. Choose a textured handle for plenty of grip.
Example knife: Tops Baja 4.5
There are many forms of wooden handle. The first is what is known as stabilized wood. This is soft timber, like Buckeye, hardened with a polymer resin. Harder woods like box, elder, rosewood and snakewood, to name but a few, are also popular. Wood is extremely durable, but it’s beautiful too and gives a nod to tradition that a lot of hunters find pleasing. It is also fairly inexpensive.
Example knife: Third H0257J
While rubber provides great grip and a comfortable feel. Plus, the harder rubbers can be incredibly durable. Keep in mind that rubber is cheap to produce and is generally used by knife manufacturers to keep costs down.
Example knife: Buck 674 BuckLite MAX
Titanium heavier and more durable metal than aluminum. But for the weight trade-off, you get a lot of extra strength. Out of all metal alloys used for knife handles, titanium is the most rust-resistant. Unlike other alloys, it has a warm feel so worth considering for use in cold conditions.
Example knife: KUBEY KU046Ti
Du Pont developed this unbelievably strong thermoplastic. It’s almost totally resistant to impact and scratching. As a bonus, it’s inexpensive and widely available.
Example knife: Coast LX320
This material isn’t only for blades. Your entire knife can be made of stainless steel. While some hunters find it cold and clinical, others like the unified look of a handle and blade of the same material. Stainless steel is easy to clean, corrosion resistant and fairly durable.
Example knife: Gerber Paraframe
Which Fixed Blade Knife is Best For You?
Remember to focus on the basics, and to take into account the particular tasks you are most likely to use the knife for. Consider your environment and understand that in the wilderness a fixed blade hunting knife will probably serve you best.
Make sure you check your local “Ownership and Carry Laws” before making your purchase. When in doubt, contact your local police department.
Top 10 Fixed Knives Reviews
Choosing a hunting knife has a lot to do with your gut feeling and the quality of your information. So, if you’re thinking about getting a fixed blade to take on your next expedition, here’s my top ten list of the very best fixed blade hunting knives available right now.
1. Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Knife
This handy knife is manufactured from 420 high carbon steel. It’s made for hunting and survival conditions. The blade has a ceramic coating and the handle has a rubberized, rough grip filled with glass fiber for strength. The handle base features a striking pommel for breaking hard surfaces. It has a revolutionary sheath design that can be used vertically or horizontally on a belt or worn on the leg.
2. Puma SGB Big Bear Hunting Knife
This is a very attractive and high quality knife, with a brown jigged bone handle that has excellent four finger gripping ability. It’s a fixed-point blade knife with a total length of 10 inches and a blade length of 5.5 inches. The clip point blade is full tang, so it’s superbly strong. The knife comes with a molded full-grain leather sheath.
3. Buck 105 Pathfinder Fixed Knife
This sharp clip point blade knife is manufactured with 420HC steel. The 5-inch blade is perfect for all your hunting needs, from piercing to slicing and skinning. The Pathfinder has a sturdy design with a total length of just over 9 inches and a weight of 4.5 oz. The black phenolic handle offers comfort due to the palm bulges. An attractive aluminum pommel adds to the knife’s overall balance.
4. Kershaw Diskin Hunter Knife #1085
Matt Diskin, knife expert, designed this fixed blade hunting knife. It has a bigger, wider blade than usual made of Sandvik 14C28N steel, and a slender, stonewashed finish G-10 handle. Although slim, the handle is very comfortable in the hand. The overall length is 9.5 inches and it weighs 5 oz. The knife comes with a sheath.
5. CUTCO Model 1769 Hunting Knife
This is the classic CUTCO hunting knife that’s been around for 50 years and is still going strong. Choose from a serrated Double-D blade or a straight one. The brown thermo-resin handle is designed to fit your hand perfectly. These fixed knives comes in a white gift box with a beautiful leather sheath.
6. Case Leather Hunter Knife #00379
For those who need something smaller for working with small game, Case offers this extra-small fixed knife blade. The blade is surgical steel and the handle is polished leather. The knife is just 6.5 inches long with a blade length just over 3 inches. It weighs 2.5 oz. The concave ground blade is perfect for detailed work.
7. Gerber Ghoststrike Fixed Blade Knife
A compact little number that is constructed from 420 stainless steel with a black ceramic coating. It’s anti-corrosive and non-reflective. The blade is a 3.3-inch drop point. The comfortable, textured rubber handle is known for its superior grip in the most slippery conditions. The knife comes with a sheath that can be changed to either a concealed or open carry system.
8. Elk Ridge Two Piece Hunting Knife Set
Here’s a useful set of knives from Elk Ridge, consisting of a 7-inch straight edge fixed blade and a 6.5-inch gut hook blade. The blades are 440 stainless steel. The bigger knife has a non-slip camo ABS handle and has a lanyard hole, while the smaller one has a similar handle with a finger hole. They come in a black dual carry nylon sheath.
This knife brings you full-tang simplicity making it easy to clean. It’s a compact little knife, with a CPM-S30V stainless-steel blade. It’s superbly well-balanced and keeps a good edge. The G-10 handle is stable at temperature extremes, so it’s perfect for outdoors. This knife has been specifically designed for hunting with a drop point blade for skinning and slicing meat.
10. Red Deer High Carbon Hunting Knife
Here’s a top-rated knife that’s great for hunting and other outdoor activities. The blade is composed of high carbon steel, so it won’t rust, and is 4.5 inches long. The knife is 9 inches long altogether. The mottled brown pakka wood handle is good-looking, but also comfortable. This stunning knife comes with a leather sheath carrying the exclusive Red Deer logo.
Wrapping It Up
Fixed knives are essential equipment of every experienced hunter. Whether you use it for skinning or gutting, owning the perfect fixed knife for the job is crucial.
Pick your knife based on the task it is designed to finish, the length and the weight. Focus on the basics and what do you need your knife for. Consider the environment and is that you need your fixed knife for.
So, there you have it. I hope my list of the best fixed blades has given you a better idea of what is available and which is most suited to your hunting needs. In my honest opinion, every single knife in this review is a good choice, and you won’t go wrong whichever you decide to spend your hard earned cash on.