February 08, 2023
Knives made a respectable showing at the world's largest firearms networking event. The National Shooting Sports Foundation's 2023 SHOT Show was everything the shooting industry could have hoped for, miles of booths showcasing new firearms, firearm-related products and updated favorites, as well as the chance to make new connections and reaffirm old ones. At some point, though, when the overhead vicinity numbers and booth floor placard numbers became a dizzying maze, one occasionally found oneself at the booth of a knife manufacturer. Thus began a quest to seek out some of the latest and greatest sharp and pointy implements for 2023. Nothing beats playing with the deployment method of a knife or two or getting a hands-on feel for a knife’s fit. Here are 23 of our favorites for hunters and fishermen from the 2023 SHOT Show.
1. and 2. Remington Cutlery Stacked Leather Set
Remington Cutlery returned late last year, and new for 2023 is its stacked-leather-handled fixed-blade set. These knives are just as sharp-looking as they are acting. Both knives are made of 440 stainless steel with rat-tail tangs and satin-finished blades. The 10-inch clip point and 6.5-inch junior skinner can be bought separately or as a piggy-backed set in a leather sheath, secured with Remington-logo snaps. The handles on both blades are stacked leather with high-polished green and black micarta spacers. The classic look is complete with stainless pommels and guards.
- Piggy Back Set w/Leather Sheath MSRP: $129.95.
- 10-in. Clip Point w/Leather Sheath MSRP: $89.95.
- 6.5 Junior Skinner w/Leather Sheath MSRP: $49.95
Designed by Alan Folts in Melbourne, Florida, this CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) bird-and-trout knife is lightweight and feels great in hand. The full-tang satin-finished blade is made of Sandvik 12C17 steel, which offers decent edge retention, high corrosion resistance due to the 13.5 percent chromium content, good wear resistance, easy sharpening, and—for the manufacturer—machinability that produces a quality knife at a reasonable price. Bottom line, this steel is ideally suited for wet and humid conditions. Handle is black resin-infused fiber. Overall length is 6.63 inches, with a blade length of 3.02. At 1.6 ounces, 2.70 with its rich-looking stitched black leather sheath, this sweet knife would make processing birds and fish a joy.
4. and 5. Benchmade Raghorn and Flyway
Neither the Benchmade Raghorn nor the Flyway is new, but both fixed blades will be re-released in August with facelifts. The drop-point Raghorn is ideal for processing large game, such as elk, moose or caribou. The overall length is 8.9 inches; weight is 3.56 ounces, 5.26 with blaze orange sheath. The concept behind the high-visibility sheath is for ease of spotting in a dark pack. The Flyway straight back is ideal for breasting out upland birds and waterfowl. Overall length is 6.96 inches; weight is 2.1 ounces, 3.8 with sheath. Both knives sport handsome OD Green G10 scales with attractive rivets. Steel is CPM-MagnaCut, which boast the hardness of D2, the corrosion resistance of N680 and the edge retention of 154CM. The 60-61 standard on the Rockwell Hardness Scale (RHS) is just right for avoiding brittleness.
- Raghorn MSRP: $300
- Flyway MSRP: $260
6. and 7. Hogue Knives Expel and Extrak
The Expel Scalpel from Hogue Knives is a fantastic knife for those without the time or skill to deal with repeated sharpenings while processing large game. It allows you to change the 440C stainless steel scalpel blades with slick, bloody hands without ever having to touch either the used blade or the fresh one. The design incorporates a switch that acts as both an ejector and a lock. You pick up and deposit the blades into a five-blade cartridge for easy transport and disposal. The blade length is 2.5 inches with an overall length of 7.0 and a weight of only 1.4 ounces. The removable scales are G10 in solid orange with peel ply texture, which to me felt like it would provide sure purchase without being overly aggressive.
The Extrak is a clip point with a 3.3-inch blade, 7.375-inch overall length and 1.9-ounce weight. The blade is made of CPM M4 tool steel with a flat grind and hand-honed edge with a black or hunter orange Cerakote finish. The black G10 scales with peel ply texture are removable for thorough cleaning. The Extrak comes with both a blade guard and a Kydex sheath for multiple carry options. Both knives have lanyard holes.
- Expel MSRP: $114.95
- Extrak MSRP: $199.95
8. and 9. Spyderco Stok Bowie and Stok Drop Point
Normally, you don’t think “hunting knives” when you think Spyderco, however, the company’s urban fixed-blade Stoks, in Bowie and Drop Point, feel great in hand and would make sweet little hunting knives. The designer, Dutch marketer of knives and outdoor gear and classically trained artist Sjoerd Stok, is also a knife junkie who prefers his everyday carry to be fixed. The Stok Bowie is saber-ground, full-tanged and made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The G10 scales and ergonomic flair seem like they would work well for large or small hands. Blade length is 2.95 inches with an overall length of 6.45; weight is 2.1 ounces, 3.6 ounces with the discrete and adjustable IWB or OWB Boltaron sheath.
The only differences with the Stok Drop Point are the full-flat grind and swedge near the point. It also weighs slightly less at 1. 9 ounces, 3.4 with the sheath. Lanyard hole is generous enough for heavier cordage.
- Bowie MSRP: $100
- Drop Point MSRP: $100
10. Case XX Gray Birdseye Maple Fishing Knife
No, it’s not a new design, but the gray birdseye maple wood is new and makes this do-it-all fishing knife from W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co. a must-have. And, if you’re a collector of Case Knives, you’ll want one in this attractive gray hardwood. Where to start? A hook-sharpening stone is embedded into the handle. The folder has two blades: a 3 3/8-inch clip point, which is thinner at the spine than, say, a drop point, making it ideal for fish processing tasks, and a 3 3/8-inch scaler with a hook extractor. Plus, there's also a bottle opener, because, well, … you know. This model features the Case XX arrowhead shield and nickel silver bolsters.
11. and 12. Ontario Knife Co. SPL Pack Knife and Bushcraft Seax
It was hard not to get distracted with all the snicking and fidgeting at the OKC booth, but two new offerings will be of particular interest to campers and bushcrafters. The SPL (Sport Leisure Pack) Knife is a simply designed full-tanged thin drop point blade with a full flat grind, ideal especially for camp cooking chores and yet still capable of light wood chopping. Overall length is 8 inches, with a 3.9-inch blade of MagnaCut steel, which, again, provides a superior combination of hardness, corrosion resistance and edge retention. The G10 handle scales are blaze orange, and the matching plastic sheath has a clip as well as molded belt loops for varied carry options.
The latest addition to OKC’s Bushcraft series is the Bushcraft Seax, which is Old English for “knife.” True to centuries of tradition, the blade design is a deep clip point, which is ideally suited for fine work, mimicking the action of a sheepsfoot, but with full-tang strength for tough work. The 420 stainless-steel blade is 4.43 inches long; overall length is 9.63. The scales are laminated hardwood, and the accompanying sheath is nylon.
- SPL Pack Knife MSRP: $169.95
- Bushcraft Seax MSRP: $77.97
13. and 14. Camillus Knives Swedge Knife and Comb
New to Camillus this year is the Swedge Knife, a chisel-tipped beast with a .26-inch spine that excels at batoning wood. It’s made with titanium-bonded 420 stainless steel, which is a titanium and chromium nitride mix, not painted or plated but permanently adhered to the blade for increased corrosion resistance and edge retention. The handle sports a textured grip. Molded sheath included. Overall length is 8.75 inches, blade is 4.3 and weight is 12 ounces with the sheath.
Fishermen will want to get their hands on Camillus’ Comb for the molded hard sheath alone, if for no other reason. It contains a quick-cut slot, knife sharpener, bottle opener and hook sharpener. The blade is stainless steel with a somewhat clip-pointed drop-point design. The handle is glass-filled nylon. Overall, the length is 7.25 inches, and the blade is 3.5. The use of a five-sided hole in the blade and five holes in the handle brings this utilitarian knife in at 5.5 ounces with sheath.
- Swedge Knife MSRP: $24.99, $32.99 with sheath
- Comb MSRP: $34.99
15. and 16. Buck Knives Alpha Hunter and Alpha Scout
Sometimes a knife just gets you, and you all know what I mean. Maybe it’s the deep brown genuine leather sheath (engravable) or the walnut-like handle or envisioning a rawhide lanyard, but these two new drop points from Buck lend a luxurious old-timey feel to hand. The steel on both is S35VN. The Alpha Hunter’s blade is 3.625 inches, 8.125 overall, and the knife weighs in at 4.59 ounces. The Alpha Scout blade length measures 2.875 inches, 6.625 overall, and the weight is 2.79 ounces. Both are full tang and both the walnut DymaLux (resin-infused dyed laminate) or textured richlite handle scales provide a sure grip even when wet. Jimping along the spine provides additional purchase for tasks that require choking up. The Hunter presents both a sharpening and finger choil, while on the Scout, the sharpening choil flows indistinguishably into the finger choil. The feel is top-notch.
- Alpha Hunter MSRP: $214.99
- Alpha Scout MSRP: $189.99
17. Bear & Son Stag Delrin Bird-and-Trout
Bear and Son Cutlery—in addition to a new Widow series of balisongs, but I digress—has a not-new, but very nice feeling and well-balanced bird-and-trout in its Stag Delrin Handle Knives family. Delrin is the brand name of a type of plastic called polyoxymethylene, which provides exceptional stiffness and dimensional stability. These scales are made and colored to look like antler but with surer grip and less deterioration. The 6.5-inch knife has a 3-inch blade of 440 stainless steel. Weight is 2.4 ounces and sheath is leather.
Outlier Knife Co., a DoubleStar brand, is featuring a high-visibility drop-point hunter designed by custom knifemaker U.S. Army MSG Kim Breed (retired), 5th Special Forces Group. This straight-back, flat-grind, full-tang blade is made with stainless Nitro-V steel with a tumbled finish. Nitro-V is essentially an improved AEB-L with good toughness and edge retention; it’s easy to both grind and machine. Overall length is 8 inches, with a cutting edge of 3.75, blade length; weight is 5.76 ounces. G10 handle scales are an olive drab and orange swirl mix, and the sheath is olive drab thermoplastic with black eyelets for an overall eye-catching combo.
19.-23. Assorted Everyday Carries
Although not specifically designed with hunting and fishing tasks in mind, here is a rundown—in no particular order—of a few new folding knives that caught the eyes of our crew members.
Case XX Westline: These modified-drop-point blades of stonewash-finished S35VN steel come with black, red, blue or silver anodized aluminum handles. The dual-sided thumb studs make the spring-assisted opening a breeze for both lefties and righties. Liner lock secures the blade firmly in the open position. The pocket clip allows for deep carry from either side.
Benchmade Narrows: This so-called drop point features a spear-like appearance, and, boy, is it striking-looking. Handle is 6Al-V4 titanium, and the steel is M4 (M390) stainless. Closed, you’re looking at 4.58 inches, open, 8.02. Weight is 2.41 ounces. The AXIS lock mechanism is a Benchmade invention, and the company does it well. It allows for one-handed opening and closing without getting your fingers in the way of the blade. Aptly named, this knife is thin and attractive, and no trouble for the outdoorsman to carry. Exquisite.
Camillus Rovax: This drop-point folder features a 3.25-inch titanium-bonded 420 stainless steel, glass-filled nylon handle in blaze orange, dual thumb studs and a Cuda lock, which is Camillus’ version of the AXIS mechanism. Open length is 7.63 inches; weight is 3.2 ounces.
CRKT LCBK and Definitive: Manufactured by Hogue for CRKT, these two crossbar lock folding knives were designed by husband-and-wife knifemakers Matthew and MJ Lerch of Sussex, Wisconsin. Both use 154CM steel, black G10 handle material and are fully ambidextrous. The LCBK (lightweight crossbar knife), designed by Matthew, takes a decidedly quality-over-gimmicks design approach with angular lines. It’s 4.50 inches closed, 8 open, and weighs 2.8 ounces. The blade finish is bead-blasted. The Definitive, designed by MJ, is fast, smooth and fidget friendly. Finish is stonewashed, closed measurement is 4.91, open is 8.63.
- Definitive MSRP: $215
- LCBK MSRP: $215