Hunting knives: everything you need to know before buying

What is a hunting knife?

You may be wondering what is meant by the term hunting knife. What counts as hunting knives and what makes a good knife? We want to clarify these questions in this short section. If you are in a particular hurry, jump straight to the 7 most important criteria when buying a Damascus Hunting Knives.

Use cases of a hunting knife

A hunting knife is design to do the job in connection with a hunt as best as possible. This primarily includes breaking open the hunt game. But a good knife is also need for other applications such as catching or dismantling a piece, woodwork in the area or just a snack after the hunt.

What parts does a hunting knife have

In connection with hunting knives, special terms are use again and again. These are briefly explain in this section.

Handle, hilt, quillons and gag

The handle of a knife is often refer to as a handle . A hunting knife (special hunting knife, see next section ) is call a vessel .
crossguard is a small bar place across the knife between the knife edge and the handle. Its purpose is to prevent the hand from sliding forward onto the knife edge. A gag is a slightly smaller hand protection that is usually only push open.

Drop point blade

Hunting knife with a drop-point blade shape

Drop point blade of the Muela Rhino Olive

Drop-point blades are slightly curve towards the knife edge in the area of ​​the knife tip on the back of the knife . The bend is convex (bent outward). This shape of the knife edge is often found on hunting knives. This shape has the advantage that the cut can be made better overall , the cutting results are more precise and the tip is overall more robust . On the other hand, this point is less effective in piercing or drilling.

Clip-point blade

Bowie knife with clip-point blade shape

Clip-point blade on the Herbertz Bowie knife

clip-point blade is bent slightly downwards (towards the cutting edge) at the front of the back of the blade. The bend is concave (downwards like a hammock). A well-known example of this blade shape is a Bowie knife . The advantage of a clip-point blade is that it is easier to cut with the knife . The back of the tip can also be sand .

What does hunting knives belong to?

There are different forms of hunting knives. These are often refer to as cold weapons or bare weapons .

Jagdnicker, hunting pocket knives and SwingBlades

SwingBlade hunting knife

Popular SwingBlade G3 knife

In addition to the widespread hunting knife with a fix blade , multi-part hunting Scrimshaw Pocket Knives are also very popular. These have the advantage of offering a special tool for certain applications in a knife.

Swingblade knives  are a special type of hunting knife . The special case is a rotating blade that between a normal knife blade and a breaking blade can be change.

Woad cutlery

Waidblatt hunting knife with knife sheath

Parforce Waidblatt hunting knife

There is also the woad leaf , which has a broad, thick blade with a crossguard as hand protection. A woad leaf is preferably use for catching . A hunting knife together with a woad leaf is call woad cutlery .

Drunkards and deer catchers

The trapping of wild, that the killing of the piece with the knife, is a special application for a hunting knife. This should ensure that the animal is release as quickly as possible and with little suffering . Special knives were design for this purpose: the drunkard and the deer catcher . What both have in common, in contrast to the Waidblatt, is a blood groove (“sweat groove “) in the cutting edge. As with the woad leaf, a sow or deer catcher also has a crossguard as hand protection .

The 7 most important criteria when buying a hunting knife

As before any purchase decision, there are a few things to consider when buying a hunting knife . We tell you what to look out for and help you decide which knife suits you best.

1) Legal Aspects

In contrast to a simple kitchen knife , which offers more potential for injury than some hunting knives, it is legally a tool because it is classify according to its intend purpose . A hunting knife, on the other hand, is one of the weapons , since its essence is design to inflict injuries ” by using muscle power directly through a blow, thrust , stab, blow or throw “. This means that every hunting knife counts as a weapon per se , but it is still allow to sell and own it . This applies to hunting knives, but not to knives that are known as “prohibit items ”(eg drop knives , switch knives , hand knives [exceptions for hunting], butterfly knives , etc.).

Which hunting knives are restrict?

Although possession of all hunting knives is permit, the use of the knife in public is restrict for some knives . This includes all knives with a blade length of over 12 cm and all one- hand knives . One-hand knives include folding knives that can be open with one hand . Opening with one hand is certainly also a question of skill, but one should not exhaust the interpretation here. Because in case of doubt, only the skill of the police officer decides who controls you – and later, if necessary, a court .
What does leadership mean?
Someone carries a knife when the actual control over outside his own apartment / commercial premises , the own pacify possessions or a shooting range exercises. The actual violence is exercise by someone who has the knife  at his will .

What are the limitations?

However, the knives concern may also be used in public if there is a “ legitimate interest ”, for example because the hunting knife serves a “ generally recognize purpose ”. The practice of hunting , including the way to and from the hunt , is one such recognize purpose . Other reasons for a legitimate interest would be, for example , the practice of a profession , the maintenance of customs or the practice of a sport (requiring a knife) .

However, if no legitimate interest (eg during free time ), then the knife may only ( not ready for access ) transport are. Specifically, the knife must then be in a close container . Something is consider locked if it can not be accessed with just three movements or within 3 seconds. A small padlock can undoubtedly be use here.

Conclusion on the weapons law

In summary, it can be said that owners of hunting knives are not subject to any restrictions when hunting . The knife may be guide to and from the hunt so that it is visible and readily accessible . In the leisure area , the knife may only be transport on private property or in a close container in public .

2) Purpose

The intend use of a hunting knife is a very important criterion. We therefore deal separately with the special needs of different user groups.

Hunting knives for hunters

The classic use for a hunting knife is of course the hunt itself. Hunting includes work on the hunt piece such as breaking open , gutting and cutting up the game. But ground operations such as the removal of branches to the high seats or minor repairs are also include. For hunting a knife should be very sharp and cutting properties be and remain.
If the hunting knife is use specifically for catching game , specially design deer or boar catchers should be use.

Hunting and survival knife for bushcrafter

For Bushcrafter , a good knife is an important tool . Here, a special design for the handle and case is less important than practicality . The knife should therefore be as robust as possible . The knife is then often use for rough work such as batoning ( splitting wood with a knife and a bat) or making a fire with a fire steel. To do this, the back of the knife, which in this case should have a sharp edge , is pull over the fire steel to generate sparks.
In survival situationsBut then the knife is also use to take care of hunting prey and as a universal tool . Most survival knives often offer additional accessories in or on the knife, e.g. a whetstone , fishing accessories and emergency kits .

Hunting knives for collectors

It is  collectors attach particular importance to the appearance of the knife. Hunting knives for collectors are therefore available with particularly high-quality materials on the handle, such as various precious woods , stag horn , deer crowns or chamois necks . Here special emphasis is place on tradition . Such neat knives are often use as traditional knives . It also usually have particularly elegant packaging and are accordingly more expensive to buy.

Universal hunting knife for leisure

Hunting knives for leisure are often a compromise between a low price and good quality . These knives are also less specifically intend for a specific purpose and therefore suit a broader group of buyers . But simple hunting knives at entry-level prices can also be good tools for hunting. Especially if you see the hunting knife as a pure tool and value a good price-performance ratio .

3) longevity

How long you can enjoy a hunting knife mainly depends on the quality of the knife and the care it is taken. The most stress part of the knife is the cutting edge , which is why it deserves special attention.

Steels for hunting knife blades

In order to influence properties such as edge retention , hardness , elasticity and rust resistance , steel alloys with various additives are use for hunting knives. Steels with carbon are generally more resistant , but at the cost of being more susceptible to rust . The hardness is given in Rockwell . There are various methods of determining hardness, with the hardness of hunting knives being test using the cone method . The unit of measurement for this is HRC.
The following table gives an overview of the types of steel often use for hunting knives and their properties . In order to give the layman a better way of differentiating the usefulness of the knife steel , we have given a rating of the steel type in the range of 1-10. This represents our assessment and should only be understood as a rough guide .

Types of steel commonly use for hunting knives

4) design

The design of a knife determines the first impression and whether you feel comfortable with this tool. Hunting knives are available in different colors and made of different materials . Luminous signal colors have the underestimate advantage that the knife can be found again quickly in the forest . The traditional hunter will probably rather enjoy a wood and antler look .
But not only the aesthetics have to be right, but also the dimensions . The decisive factor is how you want to transport the knife later so that it is always to hand.

  1. Hunting pocket knives and one-hand knives can be carry in your pocket . They are therefore stow quickly , quietly and in weather and branches protect .
  2. Hunting knives , stag and boar catchers and survival knives are usually carry on the belt in the knife sheath. Personal preference decides whether it is perpendicular or, as is also possible with some knives, horizontally to the belt .
  3. If, for example, the knife is to transport conceal on the way to the hunt for reasons of inconspicuousness , it should be place in the hunting backpack . While it is legally legitimate, it can make sense not to necessarily display your hunting hunter on your way to the hunt.

5) handle

The handle is of particular importance. It is the connection between man and weapon and should therefore suit the owner well in terms of hand size and feel . A slippery hunting knife is not only uncomfortable but also dangerous . This is especially true because hunting knives are often use in damp environments , e.g. due to wet weather or the sweat when breaking open. If the hunting knife has a crossguard , the hand is also prevent from slipping on the blade . Some knives also haveIndentations for the fingers to increase grip or to improve the ability to break open .

Materials for hunting knife handles

Knife handles are made from many different materials. Every material has its strengths and weaknesses. You should know these before making a purchase decision:


Along with antlers, wood is a classic, as it looks very good on a hunting knife. Depending on how it is process, wood is also very robust and durable . For example, pakka wood, a type of glue layers of wood, is harder than natural wood, very weather-resistant , offers different patterns and is relatively inexpensive .

Horn / antler

Traditional knife with stag horn handle

Almbock traditional costume knife with stag horn handle and decorations

Handles made of horn are truly unique , as the natural materials are never the same. Due to the rough structure , it is very easy to grip and at the same time weatherproof . Antler handles are often found on traditional knives . Overall, however, such handles are quite expensive .


Modern knife handles are made from different plastics. Usually G10 or carbon fiber reinforced versions are used. What they all have in common is that this material does not require any maintenance, is very durable and insensitive. The material can be manufacture cheaply and is often very handy with additional rubber coating. The only thing that stands in the way of the positive properties is the aesthetics that take getting used to.


Hunting knife handle with parachute cord

Hunting knife handle wrapped in paracord

Metal handles are also very durable and rustproof . Paradoxically, depending on the metal, a metal handle can also be very light . Additional recesses in the material or the use of aluminum or titanium can help.
However, metal is very cold, which makes it uncomfortable , especially at low temperatures . The Paracord Knive from Gerber , which is wrapped in parachute cord around the handle, offers a particularly smart variant to soften the negative aspects .

6) Practicality

In order to enjoy the hunting knife for a long time, it must be able to prove itself in everyday life. This includes the many small subtleties that you may not immediately think about when buying.


In line with the general trend, sellers now always include the weight of hunting knives. Not without reason when you say thank you that you can easily collect a few kilos on the hunt with rifle , ammunition and hunting backpack . On the other hand, a heavier knife is the better choice for rough woodwork , as a massive hunting knife simply looks very different in the hand.

Knife sheath

The knife sheath on hunting knives and larger hunting knives should be made in such a way that the knife cannot fall out unnotice . With sheaths made of leather, this is often ensure by an additional safety device with a push button , with plastic sheaths the resistance can be made to fit exactly . This should be borne in mind, especially when attaching it lengthways to the belt .

Cleaning and care

A hunting knife should not only be easy to clean because of its durability , but especially if it is use to break open the food game . Then that is a thorough disinfection before departure imperative. In this case, Jagdnicker without moving parts and cracks are particularly advantageous. Depending on the type of steel, the blade should be clean , dried and occasionally oil after each use. For hunting Scrimshaw Pocket Knives, oiling also applies to the joints of the individual tools.

7) price

What a knife that canuse for hunting naturally depends on your individual situation and your options, but in general the following can be said. A useful hunting knife does n’t have to be expensive . A Mora Companion with a plastic handle is also very useful for hunting. The emotional bond with such a hunting knife may then be less pronounce, but not for everyone anyway.
But if you are looking for a knife for life , you should invest a little more money . The differences between entry-level knives and more expensive knives lie in the steel use and the handle materialsand the quality of workmanship .
For a usable hunting knife you should calculate 35 €  and up. Premium hunting knives are then available from 90 €  and more.
A good hunting knife can still be pass on to the grandson or can be proudly present at the next company hunt. The premium knives are also more likely to be view as timeless than a beautiful plastic handle in neon orange.

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