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Life of a hunter means a lot of things – you don’t always stay in one place; you have to withstand the sight of blood and always be agile. Knives and bullets are your best friends. So this time, we want to help you choose the best skinning knives that will accompany you for your next hunting trip.
In particular, we will be reviewing the seven best skinning knives available on Amazon right now. And while most skinning knives are pretty affordable, we also know you shouldn’t be spending days and weeks throwing $10 and $20 just to find out which one works for you. We want to help you save your time and budget to find the right skinning knife for you.
Oh, and let us enlighten you as to why your hunting knife won’t work (or at least, not as good as a skinning knife can).
What is a skinning knife (and all other knives) does?
Skinning knives have one sole purpose – they are designed to allow you to skin your hunted preys easily. They typically have wider and razor-sharp blades to cut through the skin. Skinning knives are also usually smaller much like a pocket knife, but one has to be super careful because, again, they are very sharp.
In comparison, hunting knives are the all-purpose knives that can be used to skin, chop, and sometimes, cut tree branches or thick vines. Survival knives are similar, but bigger with higher durability compared to a skinning knife. They might not be as sharp, but survival knives are what you want to be left with when you’re stranded on an island. For example, Survival knives can also be turned into spearheads if they have holes in their handles.
Camping knives are much larger knives and come in different sizes. It depends what you want to use it for, but most campers with this knife use it to chop woods for the campfire.
Top 7 Best Skinning Knives in 2020
1. HavalonPiranta Z Folding Blade Skinning Knife
The HavalonPiranta Z is crazy sharp. This folding skinning knife is one of the sharpest and we’re not the only one who thinks so. The folding knife comes with an easy handle to make sure that you have a firm grip on it. The knife uses a 60XT blade that is known for its super sharp quality. The handle is also of military standard, featuring Black Zytel military plastic handle.
The blade is 2.75” long and 7.25” wide, your typical skinning knife dimension. It has the same dependability as a surgical knife. The blades are replaceable and you get 12 replacement blades along with the sheath. It’s also made in the USA.
The biggest drawback of the knife would be the risk of the blade falling off the handle. Which is actually quite a big risk to users as the blade is razor sharp. When it comes to skinning big games, you do have to exert quite the power and your blade has to be able to withstand the pressure. Several people have mentioned that the blade falls off the knife after quite a quick use of it.
2. Old Timer 152OT Sharpfinger 7.1in Stainless Steel Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife
The Old Timer is determined to make products that you can pass on to your next generation, hence, their Sharpfinger 7.1 stainless steel skinning/clip point blade. The knife is 7.1 inches long with a 3.3-inch tang fixed blade. The blade is made of 7Cr17MoV High Carbon S.S. that ensures high durability.
The blade is fixed in saw cut handle slabs made out of Delrin and is designed with such balance you won’t easily slip when skinning. It also has a brown leather sheath that can be hung around your belt. The clip point blade makes it easy to slash through any thick skin. But due to this shape, you won’t be using this for rough cutting or stabbing as it’s prone to break.
Some of you are probably wondering if the Sharpfinger is made in USA or China. Previously, Schrade was a company based in the USA before it went under and bought by a Chinese company, Taylor Brands LLC. Since then, the blades are made in China, but you don’t have to worry about the blade quality – it’s still the same razor-sharp blade with a fancy, functional belt to boot.
3. ESEE Knives 5P Fixed Blade Knife w/Kydex Sheath
ESEE is a company known for its high-quality blade knives of various purposes, design, and functions. The 5P fixed blade knife is a hunting knife that works great as a skinning knife as well. This is proven by the razor-sharp edge, pointy end with a comfortable grip that will help your skin without accidents.
The knife is 11 inches long and the blade alone is 5.25” long. This is considerably bigger than the usual skinning knives, but also means you have one knife for all the job you need to be done. The thickness if .25” inches. The blade is made of 1095 Carbon, 55-57 Rc with powder coat finish for increased durability. It’s a 1.56” wide saber ground blade.
The handle also has a bow drill divot and has a glass breaker pommel. It’s canvas micarta material which has the slightly rougher appearance and steadier grip.
Additionally, the ESEE 5P comes with a fancy black Kydex sheath for the knife and a clip plate. This is also a product made in the USA.
4. Buck Knives 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife
The Buck Knives are known to make quality blades that last long, such as their 113 Ranger Skinner Hunting Knife. As the name implies, this skinning knife can also alternate as a hunting knife thanks to it’s stronger built. The drop point blade makes this a suitable knife for not just skinning, but also surviving as it’s less prone to break for prolonged or rough use.
But because it’s a drop point blade, this type of knife usually takes more to pierce into thick skin when compared to clip point blades like the ESEE 5P. The blade is made of 420HC, which is corrosive-resistant. The blade is fixed in an American walnut handle with brushed Brass Bolster and a lanyard hole. Everything about the blade is made in the USA for best quality control.
It also comes with a sheath made of genuine leather and the manufacturer brags selling sharp knives that stay so for long. After using the knife quite a while, you can actually feel the knife still easily slicing through hides and when you need to, the knives can be sharpened easily.
5. ESEE ESLSP-BRK Laser Strike
The ESEE Laser Strike is another highly capable knife whose sole purpose isn’t for skinning only. With a total length of 10 inches, it’s certainly the ideal size of a skinning knife but with the versatility of a camping or hunting knife.
The 4 7/8” blade is 1096 carbon steel with a thumb ridge and has a powder coated finish. The blade is fixed full tang to the canvas Micarta handle which also has a bow drill divot and a Lanyard hole. For the knife, ESEE provides a black sheath with clip plate and OD green nylon lanyard and boot clip. The ESEE Laser Strike is also completely made in the USA.
ESEE also provides a lifetime warranty on their product and it’s not limited to anything at all. The only worrying thing about the knife is the carbon steel that remains fine when the powder coat remains. You will have to begin oiling their steel afterward to prevent rusts.
6. Buck Knives 0103 Skinner Fixed Blade Knife with Leather Sheath
Another Buck Knives made it our list and it’s not surprising seeing the superior quality of their products. The 0103 skinners fixed knife is 4” wide and has a 420HC blade fixed. It’s also corrosion-resistance and is full tang fixed with Integrated Finger Guard and Deep Choil.
It is made exclusively for skinning, the blade as a narrow tip and wide curved belly that makes the skinning process smooth. The overall length of the knife is 8.25” and comes with a genuine leather sheath with a snap fastener that can be hung on your belt for easy carry. Everything about the knife is also made in the USA.
The knife also comes in two different variances. The wood/brass is particularly aesthetic with hardwood Cocobolo handle that is designed with curves to give you a firm grip. The pommel is made of brass and gives it a luxurious look for those who want a functional knife that is also aesthetic.
7. Outdoor Edge Swingblade Double Blade Hunting Knife
If you’ve ever wondered whether taking a single knife for all your effective game prepping process is possible, the answer is yes. At least with Outdoor Edge Swingblade Double Blade Hunting Knife, you can have skinning and gutting knife on a single knife. The secret lies in the rotating handle that easily swings to the other way at the push of a button.
The skinning blade is a 3.6” long drop point blade while the gutting blade is 3.2” long. It’s a Japanese Aichi AUS-8 stainless-steel blade that extends up to 8.3” long. The blade was heat treated and the gutting knife is bluntly treated to prevent damaging the internal organs that can spoil the meat.
The handle is a black rubberized TPR that prevents slipping and gives you an ergonomic grip even when wet. Having a longer blade, the knife is slightly heavier at 7 ounces. It also comes with a black nylon sheath for easy carrying. The blade’s handle comes in various colors with blazed orange meant to keep the knife visible even in the middle of a jungle.
It also comes with a lifetime warranty on the knife.
Skinning Knife’s Blade Shapes and What They Do
You might have heard that there is a skinning knife with a drop point or clip point. What do they mean and how can you know that you got the right blade for your need? Before that, here’s a quick go over on what is a skinning knife and how it differs from the others.
Skinning knife typical features
A skinning knife has the sole purpose of skinning your game and to get the most effective result. Your knife has to be sharp and make a smooth cut between the skin and the meat. That is why skinning knives are typically saber-grinded to get that smooth thin shape on edge, but thick on the other side. They are also dead sharp and can make a really big gash if your hand slipped when using them.
Skinning knives typically have super-sharp tips that easily break, so you don’t typically stab them on hard surfaces or you’ll lose that clip point. If you need to break something with your skinning knife (under super emergency situations), you use the handle to do that. Some knives have a glass breaker pommel that works much better than the tip of a knife.
Clip point, drop point and everything else
- Clip point refers to the shape of the front half that looks like it has been clipped off. This ‘clipped off’ part makes it easy to maneuver while cutting and is usually much sharper than drop point. Clip point knives easily penetrate things but put a little too much pressure on them and they’ll break. The bowie knife, commonly used in hunting, is an example of a clip point knife.
- Drop point knives are convex-shaped with a lowered point and sloping spine and a wide belly. Because of wide shape, it is also common for skinning knives to be made this way. The tip is resistant to breaking since it’s not as pointed as clip point is. The knife basically trades its sharpness with durability and this is vital for survival. It’s especially good for people who use the knife for skinning and other survival needs.
- Spearpoint knives are, like what they’re called, can be used for spears and are usually throwing knives with a symmetrical shape and a tip that lines up with the blade’s center. They are great for stabbing, piercing and are thick enough to withstand continuous use compared to clip point that is prone to breaking. On the other hand, they can’t make clean cuts like clip point knives do.
- Sheepsfoot knives are the ones you need for cutting and slicing as they feature a long, horizontal sharp edge. The false point is minimized to prevent unwanted piercing or puncturing while using the knife. This is the typical knife that emergency responders use to cut through stuck seatbelts or sailors through ropes.
Frequently Asked Questions
A skinning knife is mandatory for every hunter out there to get the best results of their big games. The function of a skinning knife typically makes it unfitting to use your skinning knives for other things, unless you buy something like Outdoor Edge Swingable that comes with a gutting edge as well.
Clip point or drop point? Micarta or G-10? Many things about a skinning knife rely on your purpose as well as your preferences. Clip point knives sound better in making a clean cut while drop point sounds more durable and make smoother cuts. It falls onto what kind of knife you prefer and the manufacturer you are purchasing from.
Micarta and G-10 are both made from different materials, but end up with pretty similar results when it comes to practical use. No matter what finish is used, even if matte looks ‘grippier’ you might find both give you the same firmness. Or maybe non-matte finish works better because it prevents hot spots.
Thus, why our review is important – you can’t be made to spend hundreds of dollars and months to see which skinning knife works best for you.
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