Knife Buying Guide

Benchmade Knife Company builds knives for the most demanding customers, from special operations forces to elite backcountry hunters, and building for the best requires the best raw materials. #TheHuntingPages Knife expert Carlton Schumacher shares his expertise in the latest Seminar Series Video: Knife Buying! Hunting!

Posted by Hunting on Friday, October 6, 2017

Knife Buying Guide 

Making the decision to purchase a knife is a fairly simple decision. However, with so many different options available for knives it can be challenging to navigate all these nuances and make a final purchase decision which will adequately match your expectations and/or needs. Knives are tools, like fishing rods, guns, shovels. There is never a reason to throw one away, you just get stuck with a lot of subpar ones and use the good ones. There are criteria to use when selecting a knife to  ensure you are getting the right knife for you. The information shared here is for the consumer who cares about buying a great knife. Price and performance go hand in hand.


In the order of importance:

Task- Choosing the right knife for the task is the first thing to look at when purchasing a knife. The shape of the blade really determines the task it is used for.  If you are looking for a hunting knife purchase a drop point or clip point bladed knife.

Quality-This can be a folder or fixed blade.This is determined as the degree of excellence of something. It is measured against a standard and can measure different components of a product.  For knives, we need to look at the quality of the steel, sharpness of the blade, and the craftsmanship of the end product. It is a safe assumption that USA made knives will be very good quality.  Good quality doesn’t come cheap so price and performance are linked. Also consider if the manufacturer stands behind their components and quality of their craftsmanship with a solid warranty.

Steel- is key, and maybe the most misunderstood part of a knife.   Don’t assume you are getting good steel because it is a well-known company. A little research can give you a good understanding of what the manufacturer is working with.  You want to make sure you are getting a premium product, and not just premium marketing!  So, do your homework, the main criteria you judge steel properties with are edge retention, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpening.   Research the type of steel manufacturers are using against those criteria.  There are many other good steels with different qualities like extreme hardness or corrosion resistance but they have tradeoffs like brittleness or poor edge retention that few steels have all of. When compared against other steels and evaluated by many industry experts the best all-around steel for hunting knives is S30V.

Access to the edge- How do you want to access the cutting edge of the knife?  A fixed blade knife requires a sheath while a folder can come with or without one.  Most people who carry a knife want easy access to it. This is where a pocket clip attached to the knife comes in handy, the knife can be simply placed in the pocket.  An assisted opening mechanism like Benchmade’s AXIS Assist allows the deployment of the blade with one hand which is very useful for most tasks and also fun to operate. Unassisted folders can be deployed one or two handed.

Brand-It is something to consider when you purchase. Is this a brand you are proud to represent? Will the company stand behind the product?  You want a reputable company with a proven track record of good customer service. Where are they made? US companies like Benchmade, manufacture their knives in Oregon City, OR.   Having a US made knife is something many knife buyers are proud to own and represents excellent quality.  LifeSharp Service is something that Benchmade offers to re-sharpen and “tune” your knife for the cost of postage to send it to them.  They also have a lifetime warranty all of their products from defects and will repair and replace free of charge.

Check your local and state laws before carrying or purchasing certain knives. It is something to think about beforehand. Your local knife retailer will be well aware of these laws. You can also visit: We encourage people to visit the AKTI