The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

August 15, 2023

A bloody hand holds an MKC knife, representing a discussion about the best small-batch hunting knives on the market.

At Montana Knife Company, we know our knives aren’t the only ones on the market.

I owe my success to the many talented bladesmiths who taught me how to craft knives. Many of those incredible knife makers refuse to manufacture their knives overseas — something I applaud and appreciate.

The small production, mid-tech, and custom game knife industry feels more like a family than a place of competition. In the spirit of family, I want to highlight the best hunting knives made in America by trustworthy companies.

Infographic: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Winkler Knives

Winkler Knives is owned by Dan Winkler, a master bladesmith with the American Bladesmith Society, and his wife Karen.

When the Winklers first started their business, they exclusively manufactured primitive knife reproductions, then slowly transitioned to mid-tech knives. Winkler Knives is an outspoken supporter of the U.S. military, and our soldiers love their knives just as much as Winkler loves our soldiers.

One of our favorite Winkler blades is the WK Highland Hunter. This knife has a useful tip and full-tang construction. I especially love its length and shape, the comfort of the handle, and the strength of the construction. 

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Chris Reeve Knives

Chris Reeve started making knives in South Africa in 1984 before moving to Boise, Idaho, in 1989. Thirty-six years later, he was inducted into the Cutlery Hall of Fame.

We’ve always been fans of Chris Reeve Knives — the company is highly respected and productive. They make some of the best hunting knives, each with a clean fit and finish.

Our favorite blade of Chris Reeve’s is the Inyoni, a smaller drop-point hunter-style blade with a sharp tip. The MagnaCut blade is small and useful, an excellent shape for small game, birds, and trout. It also has a KYDEX sheath, full-tang construction, and a thumb hole.

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Bradford USA

Bradford USA, based in Kent, Washington, is owned and operated by Brad Larkin and his wife. Brad also owns a grinding company, so he understands the ins and outs of American manufacturing.

Our favorite knife from Bradford USA is the 3D Guardian 3.5 Sheepsfoot. This 3.5″ stonewashed MagnaCut blade has a strong tip with a sheepsfoot design, so it’s great to use for both hunting and bushcraft activities during your next camping trip. The 3D Guardian has a full-tang construction with a thumb hole and comes with a leather sheath.

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Randall Made Knives

Founded by Bo Randall in 1938, Randall Made Knives is an inspirational, multigenerational company. Throughout the years, it’s crafted some of the best hunting knives for the U.S. military, NASA, and all kinds of outdoorsmen. Several Randall knives have come through my shop, and I always enjoy sharpening them.

Our go-to blade from Randall Made Knives is the Yukon Skinner. This skinning knife’s unique shape emphasizes the cutting edge toward the point to allow for long, sweeping cuts. The blade is short enough to carry but long enough to skin a deer or elk easily.

The knife’s design, including the stacked leather handle, has a classic feel that nods to the “old days” when Bo Randall made these knives himself. The knife also has a Duralumin butt cap and a long brass guard to keep your hand from sliding up the edge.

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Peña Knives

Peña Knives, based in Caballero, Texas, is owned by Enrique Peña. He honed his skills under legendary slip-joint knife maker Bill Ruple. Enrique is known for creating beautiful slip-joint flipper knives, and his company produces some of the cleanest knives in the industry at a reasonable price.

Our go-to blade from Peña Knives is Caballero • X-Series. This great little knife comes with an M390 blade, ceramic bearings and detent, a titanium pocket clip, and a black titanium spacer with a hidden lanyard pin.

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Richard Rogers Knives

Richard Rogers Knives is owned by Richard and Sally Rogers, who use their knives daily on their ranch in New Mexico. Richard is known for making beautifully clean and smooth-operating folding knives.

One of the best hunting knives from Richard Rogers Knives is the 4F. This flipper knife has a 4″ blade and a closed length of just over 5″. It has a tumbled finish and an anodized clip as a base. The Mid-4F is also a great knife. This one is smaller than the original 4F, with a blade length of 3.4″ and a closed length of 4.5″, but with all the same features as the original.

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Leatherman Knives

Leatherman Knives, based in Portland, Oregon, has been in business since 1983. Although they make a utility-grade line of knives in China, they produce many blades stateside at their facility in Portland, where they employ a substantial number of American workers.

Leatherman manufactures some great functional multi-tools in addition to knives. The Signal Multi-Tool is the company’s hunting-specific tool, complete with 19 different instruments, including a knife, a saw, a carabiner, a hammer, pliers, wire cutters, a sharpener, and a Ferrocerium rod. Would you believe me if I said it’s only 4.5″ long?

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

Koenig Knives

Koenig Knives, based in Boise, Idaho, makes high-quality knives with beautiful finishes. Because of its high construction standard, this company is quickly growing and becoming extremely popular — their knives are often out of stock and hard to snag.

The Arius, Koenig’s staple knife, is a 3.5″ frame lock folding knife with a drop point blade, which I like to use both in the field and for daily carry. It also has a titanium handle, which makes it light and strong, and a stonewash finish.

Photo: The Best American Made Hunting Knives of 2023 (According to a Master Bladesmith)

The Best Hunting Knives: Final Thoughts

Whether you carry an American-made blade from Montana Knife Company or a knife from one of these knife makers or master bladesmiths, you’re in good hands. These companies use only top-quality materials to create the best hunting knives that are perfect for your next adventure.


by Josh Smith, Master Bladesmith and Founder of Montana Knife Company



An MKC hatchet lies on a stone, representing a lesson on how to sharpen a hatchet or axe like a pro.
How to Sharpen Your Hatchet or Axe Like a Pro 

September 26, 2023

Learn how to sharpen your axe or hatchet with two common methods, and make sure you have a sharp edge for your next adventure!

View full article →

A man in camo sits in shadow at the base of a hill, contemplating the hunter’s role in wildlife conservation.
Adam Foss: The Hunter’s Role in Wildlife Conservation for Future Generations

September 19, 2023

Hunters safeguard wildlife for the future. Learn about the balance between hunting and conservation and discover how to actively protect ecosystems.

View full article →

John Dudley stands looking intensely into the distance with an arrow nocked and bow drawn, ready to shoot.
Meet John Dudley: Olympic Medalist, Archer, and Bowhunter

September 12, 2023

From hunting in Mississippi to founding the iconic Nock On brand, learn all about John Dudley: his life, his philosophy, and his collaboration with MKC.

View full article →