Every hunter knows that a good knife is a necessity. With so many new products consistently hitting the market, it can feel overwhelming to find the right knife, so we’ve done the research for you. At SHOT Show 2018, we talked to the manufacturers, held the knives, felt the grip and weight, checked out spine thickness and talked about what you’ll get for the listed price. Below are this year’s top five new hunting knives you need to check out.
1. Benchmade Altitude
This ultra-lightweight Benchmade knife is all about edge retention and dexterity. The Altitude is a drop-point fixed blade knife made out of S90V, a super-premium stainless steel, specifically designed to retain its edge far longer than other types of steel. The grip includes a carbon fiber micro scale for added comfort, which exponentially improves functionality. This knife was field tested for 2 years prior to its release. It’s extremely easy to clean, comes with a full lifetime warranty and a configurable Kydex sheath. Two colorways are offered: black knife with a black sheath, or orange knife with a First Lite Fusion camo sheath. When the colorway with a First Lite sheath is purchased, a portion of sales will be used to support public lands. MSRP: $230; benchmade.com.
2. Gerber Spine
The Gerber Spine features a nice weighted feel and a full tang, with a thick and sturdy spine. This drop point knife is built from S30B steel, and it’s designed to be easy to sharpen in the field. The rubberized grip is extremely comfortable, and the stonewashed blade gives the Spine a really nice look overall. If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, the Gerber Spine is a great option. MSRP: $46; gerbergear.com.
3. Browning Speed Load Fixed
Featuring six replaceable blades made out of 420J2 steel, this interchangeable fixed blade knife is a fantastic option for any hunter. The Browning Speed Load Fixed comes with a deep belly skinner, drop point, guthook/saw and three fillet blades. The polymer handle has rubber grip inserts for added comfort. This knife comes with a snapping nylon belt sheath and a hard polymer case for extra blade storage. This is an unbelievable value: a great knife with six functional blades, a sheath and a case, for less than $50. MSRP: $49.99; browning.com.
4. Buck Knives Open Season Skinner Drop Point
Buck Knives makes high quality knives—it’s no surprise that every product in the Buck Open Season line is impeccable. The line itself is not new, but it has been re-designed for 2018 for optimal performance in the field. The Open Season Skinner Drop Point has a full tang, a blade made from an upgraded S35VN steel, and a rugged Micarta handle with a large finger choil for added comfort and dexterity. Made in the United States, the Open Season Skinner is 4 ½ inches long and 0.150-inch thick, and nicely weighted at 5.0 oz. This is a knife that just feels great in your hand. It comes with a high-quality black genuine leather sheath, and is a great option if you’re looking to invest in a premium quality hunting knife. MSRP: 175; buckknives.com.
5. Buck Knives Open Season Folding Skinner
This is another top-of-the-line hunting knife for those who prefer a folding blade. The Open Season Folding Skinner features a new lockback design, and the drop point blade is made from 420HC steel. It is 3 ¾ inches long, 0.120-inch thick and weighs a nice 6.2 oz. The red wooden handle is comfortable to grip, and it comes with a durable heavy duty black polyester sheath. MSRP: $90; buckknives.com.