A skinning knife is a specialized hunting knife that focusses on skinning the game only.
A skinning knife’s blade is often shorter, thin and has a fat curved belly to cut through tissue underneath the skin cleanly and precisely while not damaging or puncturing the hide during the skinning proces.
Check out my current top 5 skinning knives of 2020, in order to find the best skinning knife that matches your wishes, needs and budget.
HAVALON PIRANTA Z FOLDING BLADE
My absolute favorite budget pick is the Havalon Piranta series. Unlike most skinning knives, Havalon introduces a new system where you can easily switch the knife’s blade. This fantastic option also allows you to change the blade type completely within seconds to specialize the knife even further for a specific type of game. But the most important part about this feature: maintenance. Dull edge? Old blade? Pop it out and put a new one in for less then 0.50$ within a minute! And the best thing is you get 12 free blades along with the knife! The blade itself out of the box are one of the sharpest I have ever seen in my life and it takes no effort at all to replace them.
The size of the unfolded Piranta is 7 1/4″, and the blades itself vary but the standard is 2 3/4″. I personally do not like the handle on the Havalon. Although the grip is quite decent in some area’s, it lacks grip at the top. Which is where I often put my thumb while doing delicate work. The handle material is made from ABS plastic, which is a very inexpensive material often also used for boxcutters. It feels cheap, clunky and the ergonomic shape isn’t optimal for my hands as the handle itself is on the thin side. The folding mechanism however works great, it locks when you slide it into the groves. And because of the option to remove the blade itself quickly, cleaning becomes a lot easier. There are however options to upgrade the handle.
This is my go to budget knife, it offers insane performance due the razor sharp blades and I would recommend this for everyone who hunts small sized game. For med-big sized game I would recommend it’s big brother the Havalon Baracuta which has the exact same features as the Piranta, but a size bigger. Its great to see such a good skinning knife with replaceable blades for such a low price as the Havalon Piranta. It might not be the best skinning knife, but it sure is the best low budget skinning knife out there!
BUCK KNIVES 0103 SKINNER
When you ask someone “What is the best skinning knife?” Then 90% would answer with: USA made Buck Knives. Buck Knives offers a wide variety of hunting knives and is one of the most popular knife brands for hunters. The Buck 103 skinner (also known as the Buck Knives 0103 Skinner) is currently one of the best skinning knives available on the market for an exceptionally low price compared to the quality that it offers. The 4″ blade is made from 420C Stainless Steel, and has a total length of 8 1/4″. The tip of the blade is very narrow, but the Buck 103 skinner has a good fat belly to cut right through thick and tough layers. It has a beautiful Cocobolo Dymondwood handle with a brass pommel and guard.. The downside of the Dymondwood handle is the loss of grip compared to other handle materials. And personally, function always tops form for me.
The narrow blade makes tight and narrow places easier to reach, and this comes in handy for smaller sized game while not losing any performance on skinning big game. The 420HC blade itself doesn’t require a lot of maintenance and is pretty sharp considering its stainless steel. Stainless steel also provides the resistance to rust which is a big pro when choosing a skinning knife.
The Buck 103 skinner comes with a very high quality genuine leather sheath which holds the knife perfectly firm while carrying it around. And Buck’s fantastic lifetime warranty. All in all, this is truly one of the best skinning knives out there for the money and a fantastic choice for any hunter seeking a good skinning knife.