From the daring paratroopers at D-Day to their critical role in securing bridges on Operation Market Garden, the Allied Airborne Army was one of the most effective fighting forces during World War II. Pushing themselves against seemingly impossible odds and risking their lives for freedom, these brave soldiers secured flying victories with a matter of skillful cavalry maneuvers through hostile skies. But what were they equipped with to make such heroics possible? Here’s a look at the top hunting knives that formed part of an airborne soldier’s standard equipment and allowed them to prevail in any game or terrain.
What to Look for in a Hunting Knife
When shopping for a hunting knife, there are some features you’ll want to consider. What type of blade do you need? How will it feel in your hand? Does the handle provide a secure grip when wet or cold? Is the blade made from quality materials? Is it easy to sharpen and reshape as needed?
Different Types of Blades and Their Uses
There is a variety of different types of blades that can be used for hunting knives, each with its advantages. A full tang knife offers the most control over cutting because the blade runs through the entire length of the handle, while drop-point blades offer sharper edges and easier slicing. Serrated blades are ideal for quickly skinning game, while gut-hook blades are great for field dressing animals.
How to Choose the Right Knife for Your Game
Every hunter’s needs will be different, so it’s important to take into account what type of game you hunt and how often you plan on using your knife. If deer hunting is your specialty, then a full tang drop-point blade would be ideal, while if you’re more likely to pursue smaller animals such as rabbits or wild hogs then an easier-to-handle folding knife might work better.
What Materials Are Best for Hunting Knives
When choosing a hunting knife, materials matter almost as much as the style of the blade. Most knives feature stainless steel blades that are resistant to rust and corrosion, but there are other options such as Damascus steel which can offer superior edge retention. The handle material is also important; wooden handles provide a classic look, while G-10 or micarta handles usually offer better grip in wet or cold conditions.
The Best Fixed-Blade Knives for Deer Hunting
Fixed-blade knives are the most popular choice among hunters who pursue larger games such as deer and elk. Here are three of our top picks:
- Benchmade Hunt 15001 Saddle Mountain Skinner Knife – This full tang fixed-blade knife offers a drop-point style blade made from CPM S30V stainless steel that stands up to years of use and resists rusting and corrosion. The handle is made from G-10 for an improved grip in any weather.
- ESEE 6P Fixed Blade Knife – This 6-inch knife features a stainless steel blade and an orange G-10 handle that offers exceptional grip in wet or cold conditions. It also comes with a kydex sheath and a clip plate to easily attach it to your belt or other gear.
- Spyderco Manix 2 XL Folding Knife – With a 3.37-inch S30V stainless steel blade, this folding hunting knife offers superior cutting power while remaining lightweight and easy to carry. The ergonomically designed handle fits securely into the hand without slipping even when wet or cold.
The Best Folding Hunters for Coyotes and Wild Hogs
For hunters who pursue smaller games such as coyotes and wild hogs, a folding knife can offer the ideal balance of portability and performance. Here are five of our top picks:
- Spyderco Native 5 Lightweight Knife – With its blade made from CPM S30V stainless steel and an ergonomically designed handle made from G-10, this folding knife provides superior strength and grip in all weather conditions. It also comes with a pocket clip for easy carrying.
- Buck Knives 841 Sprint Pro Folding Hunter – This lightweight folder features a 2.8-inch 420HC stainless steel blade that offers excellent edge retention while remaining slim enough to slip into any pocket. The ergonomic handle features a rubberized diamond texture to maximize grip even in wet or cold weather.
- SOG Trident Elite Folding Knife – This folding knife offers superior strength and durability thanks to its 3.6-inch AUS-8 stainless steel blade and anodized aluminum handle with G-10 inserts for improved grip. Its assisted opening mechanism makes it easy to use even when wearing gloves.
- Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife – This slim pocket knife features a 2.75-inch 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade and a stainless steel handle with G-10 inserts for improved grip. It also comes with an integrated frame lock for added safety.
- CRKT Drifter Folding Knife – With its 3-inch Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel blade, this folding hunter offers superior cutting power while remaining lightweight and easy to carry. The ergonomic glass-reinforced nylon handle provides comfortable handling in any weather.
Whether you’re hunting deer, wild hogs, or any other game in between, having the right hunting knife can make all the difference in achieving success on your hunt. When choosing a knife, look for one that is made from quality materials such as stainless steel and offers a comfortable and secure grip in any weather. With the right knife, you can be sure that your hunt will be sharp, reliable, and successful.