Hunting pocket knives – Buying Guide, Reviews, and Comparison
If you’re looking for a good folding knife that can also meet the needs of the hunter, but you don’t have the inclination to browse through all the data available on the subject, then you came to the right place. We’ve looked through dozens and dozens of hunting pocket knives reviews and made a small selection of the products we found to offer the best value. Among these, the Kershaw Emerson 6034 stands out thanks to its ease of handling and a couple of well-thought-out convenience features, such as a reversible pocket clip and a wave-shaped opening tab. Since the people at Emerson felt confident enough to associate their name with this product, you can be certain that its build quality is up to par. If the Kershaw Emerson isn’t available, then you might look towards Mtech Ballistic Red Pakkawood as a good alternative.
Our Top Choice
The 3” stainless steel blade with dual blade finishes offers uncompromising performance. This modified clip-point blade is ideal for delicate handiwork, cleaning small game, and preparing kindling. The manual blade opening is a favorite feature among the military, rescue and law enforcement.
Customers have reported that the blade of this option tends to wiggle a bit. This is not a problem per se but it might end up becoming an issue further down the road.
For hunters that want to purchase a versatile and sharp knife, the Kershaw Emerson 6034 promises to offer great value for the money and increased reliability.
The satin stainless steel blade and the rugged redwood handle combine to create a knife that looks solid and elegant and that is a perfect match for any outdoor setting. The 440 high carbon stainless steel used for the blade is guaranteed not to rust or require too much maintenance over time.
Buyers commented that the knife is a bit too heavy to wear for everyday use and that the wood finish of the handle can feature chipped wood and grooves that don’t line up.
If affordability is a key feature for you, the Mtech Ballistic Red is a cheap knife that manages not to disappoint when it comes to the quality and reliability of the blade.
The blade of this model comes sharp right out of the factory and the coating provides surprisingly good corrosion resistance once considering the low price-point. What’s more, this unit features a very stylish design with a dark brown pakka wood handle and a black coating over the blade.
There were a few reviews that complained about the screws on the handle coming loose after extended usage, but this can be solved by simply tightening them back.
The Elk Ridge Wood Hunting is another budget-friendly option that stands out due to its stylish design, quality construction, and the high-performance of the blade.
Our top choices
With the high number of products available for sale, finding the best pocket knife for hunting might be a difficult task. That’s why we’ve narrowed down the list of knives to just a handful, based on the positive feedback they received from customers and reviewers alike for their good value and quality.
Kershaw Emerson 6034
Also known as the CQC-6k, this folding knife came about as an association between Kershaw and the famous Emerson company, and it aims to offer the high functionality of Emerson products at a somewhat more reasonable cost.
Without having to fork extra dollars for the brand name, you’ll get the patented wave shape opening feature. This allows you to open the knife without using your fingers, by employing a small hook on the spine of the blade that latches to things such as the edge of a pocket.
Another interesting feature is the reversible pocket clip, which can adapt the knife be effectively carried in either side-pocket, to conform to the needs of left or right-handed users.
The main opening action relies on a thumb disk, which means you won’t have any problem flipping the blade one-handed with enough practice.
Like any good outdoors folding knife, it also has a sturdy blade lock, to safely keep it open while it’s being put through its paces.
The only inconvenience reported about this product is that the manual opening mechanism is somewhat stiff when new, but it generally wears in after little use or by applying lubricant.Buy from Amazon.com for ($32.29)
Mtech Ballistic Red Pakkawood
This Mtech Ballistic model received great appreciation for its aesthetics. The rugged redwood handle and the satin stainless steel blade make it look both solid and elegant, which will fit right in with a great outdoor setting.
Users also appreciate how well the handle fits in the hand, and the good balance it provides to the rather chunky 3.3-inch bowie blade. With 3.2 mm of heft around its spine, the blade should stand out to some serious punishment while used around the camp.
The 440 high carbon stainless steel used for the metal parts should hold well to the elements or to the grease that invariably accumulates inside a folding knife, without rusting or requiring too much maintenance, while also being easy to sharpen into a reasonably fine edge.
The opening mechanism is thumb operated, by pushing on a small lever attached to the blade, which means it will be easy enough to operate one-handed. You shouldn’t be worried about your thumbs getting tired though since the opening mechanism is spring assisted.
The only thing bad with this knife is that it’s made in China, but the owning company mentions that it’s offering American supervision over the production.Buy from Amazon.com for ($9.95)
Elk Ridge Wood Hunting
Regarding the blade, customers appreciated how sharp it is out of the factory, and the coating should provide for some additional corrosion resistance, which can constitute a significant threat for outdoors folding knives.
The opening mechanism is nothing out of the ordinary, but it does its job well. It can be operated with one hand, and it’s also spring assisted, meaning it won’t put that much strain on your thumb and you will also be able to flip the blade faster.
Once opened, the blade will be kept safely in place by a line locker type of mechanism. While experts suggest this might not be an ideal solution, customers haven’t reported any failure as far as we know.
As an additional convenience feature, the knife has a pocket clip so it can be easily carried around the belt or on the outside of your pocket.
This product did receive some complaints regarding the screws on the handle coming a little loose with extended usage, but these were easily solved by simply tightening the screws.Buy from Amazon.com for ($8.98)
Even the best pocket hunting knife won’t be as durable as a fixed blade one since it has a built-in weak point by design, and if you want the best edge retention or cutting ability, you’re looking in the wrong place. What the folder does offer, however, is great portability, to which you can add adaptability, since being able to carry it in your pocket opens it up to a wide range of uses. With this in mind, what are the things to look for when buying a folding knife for the outdoors?
Size and resilience
While portability is its main advantage, the hunting pocket knife should be a lot heftier than a switchblade. The blade is usually bulkier, with around 3-3.5 mm in thickness and 3-3.5 inches in length, to better withstand to the requirements of the outdoors. This will naturally also make the hilt bigger and the opening mechanism bulkier.
This is not a bad thing since between small size and resilience, it is always better to opt for the latter when hunting knives are concerned. You will be putting the knife through its paces by carving wood and maybe cutting bone, and the blade beginning to wobble after some use will make it next to worthless.
A mechanism that locks the blade in place while you’re working is especially important for outdoor knives, so make sure to choose one that gives you this option.
There are a lot of blades to choose from, and this mostly comes down to preference. Drop points, for example, are especially good at piercing and hard to break, while bowie knives are good choppers but also apt piercers.
In regards to the material used, keep in mind that folding knives are harder to clean than regular ones and orient yourself towards steels that offer the best corrosion resistance instead of outstanding cutting performance.
Accessibility and convenience
The knife won’t really be always at the ready if it’s not easy to open once pulled out of the pocket. There are manual, and spring assisted opening mechanisms, with the latter offering somewhat better swiftness while the former being more reliable.
The knife being a little stiff to open when new shouldn’t necessarily be regarded as a deal breaker since the joint almost always loosens over time and you can also remedy this by applying lubrication.
A pocket clip will be a handy thing to have. These won’t just keep the knife tight in your pocket but will also allow you to hang it from your belt etc.