Top 5 Best Gut Hook Knives You Can Buy (2018 Review Update)
When you’re out in the field a quality gut hook knife is an absolute must. After all, who wants to go hunting only to pull out a knife with a dull blade when its time to skin their game?
It’s frustrating yet it can be avoided. It all starts by having the right knife in your equipment.
A good, well maintained gut hook knife will make short work of any gutting and skinning you hope to do.
And the good news is that you do not have to spend a ton of money to purchase a reliable one of really good quality. Here are 5 of the best gut hook knives currently available in 2018, (with full reviews below).
- Buck Knives 0691BKG Buck Zipper Fixed Blade Knife with Guthook
- Schrade Old Timer Guthook Knife 7.25″ Skinner
- Gerber Myth Fixed Blade Pro Knife, Gut Hook
- WatchFire Guthook Skinning Knife
- Case Cutlery 00517 375-4G SS Gut Hook Hunter
- A Closer Look at the Gut Hook Knife
- The Main Use Of A Gut Hook Knife
- Field Dressing A Dear With A Gut hook knife
- Issues To Be Aware Of When Choosing A Gut Hook Knife
- Gut Hook Knife Maintenance
Buck Knives 0691BKG Buck Zipper Fixed Blade Knife with Guthook
Buck Knives have been manufacturing top quality hunting and tactical knives for over 100 years, (since 1902 to be exact).
The family run business currently has a 4th generation Buck at the helm, and their reputation for providing reliable, trustworthy edged products has never faltered. As the current CEO, CJ Buck states: “When your family name is on a product, you care a bit more about how well it works.”
It is this attention to detail that sees their BKG Buck Zipper Fixed Blade remain in our 2018 top 5 gut hook knife list.
The 4-1/8″ Drop Point 420HC Steel gut hook blade is designed to work with the ease of a zipper. The carefully proportioned combination of edge angle and hook length, really does make this knife a pleasure to use. It is extremely effective when skinning your own game – just insert the hook past the hide and pull downward for a seamless cut.
What we also love about the Buck Zipper is that the blade holds it edge phenomenally well, (in fact this knife has the best edge retention out of all that we feature here.)
The 8-1/2″ Overall Length with a, 6.6 oz weight, makes this slightly chunkier than the average gut hook knife, but it is still easy enough to manage. The textured Rubber Handle with Brass Butt / Guard ensures that you’ll have a good grip on this tool, even when tackling tougher material in wet conditions.
The Heavy-Duty Nylon Sheath looks good and does the job, but lacks the features of the Gerber, (double fastening and built in sharpener). The belt loop is also a little on the small side.
However, these are minor complaints – the knife itself is a beautifully crafted piece of equipment; and with the made in USA stamped onto the steel, it is a knife you will look forward to getting out in front of your friends.
What’s not to like about the Buck gut hook fixed blade knife? The quality edge retaining blade, and excellent ‘zipper’ hook, will see you skinning in the field with expert ease.
Add that to the Buck Forever Warranty from a American family-run company that has been around for over a century, and you have an essential tool deserving a place in any equipment bag.
Schrade Old Timer Guthook Knife 7.25″ Skinner
The Schrade Old Timer Guthook knife has made our list because it balances a really pleasing vintage aesthetic with great performance.
True, Schrader no longer manufacturer the Old Timer line in the USA, (Schrade actually went under over 10 years ago and were bought out by Taylor Brands), however the fact the knives now sport a ‘made in China’ stamp should not put you off. As we have already mentioned, the ‘Old Timer’ aesthetic is very much still present.
The 7.25 inch overall length is a nice size for the job. As you can see from the pictures, the design is a little thinner than the other knives in our list. The smaller handle may be an issue for those that prefer more bulk in their palm, however overall this knife works very well due to how easy it is to manoeuvre.
It also arrives out of the box very sharp. Edge retention is good despite the lower product cost. The sturdy blade has a base that runs through the entire handle, making this as robust as you need.
Another great feature is the slight re curve in its over all length, that makes for increased control and easier cuts.
The tan full-grain leather sheath is really well made and happens to look fantastic, raising the style of the product above many of its peers.
A stylish looking gut hook knife, the Old Timer also performs really well too. A little thinner than the other knives in the list; however this will not stop you from slicing through your game with ease. A good solid buy at a very affordable price.
Gerber Myth Fixed Blade Pro Knife, Gut Hook
Gerber have been crafting some fantastic knives in recent years. In fact they have a number of gut hook knives in their range.
We have selected the Myth Fixed blade pro as it balances affordability with robust quality. (Gerber rigorously field test their knives which is something a lot of the lower budget brands do not do).
The Myth has a 3.75 inch blade with an overall length of 8.5 inches. It is clear that Gerber have thought about the dimensions carefully here, the size is large enough to tackle and cut through stubborn material, while being small and manoeuvrable enough to get into all the difficult tight places. It is relatively lightweight too at just 4.9 ounces.
They have gone for a full tang high carbon stainless steel blade with this one, with a gut hook tip of course and a soft rubberized handle that sits well in the hand, (and grips well even in slippery conditions).
The Fixed Blade Pro’s puncture-proof hard plastic sheath is really innovative. Not only does it contain a built-in carbide sharpener, it also has a dual-lock system that uses both friction-lock technology and a pommel rubber lock to ensure your knife stays safely fixed in place ready for use.
If we have one quibble with the Gerber fixed blade pro, it would be that the steel blade does loose its edge quicker than other knives in this top 5 list. The built in sheath-sharpener is a very handy addition to mitigate this, however it does mean you should check your gear before heading out into the field, (a practice that any hunter worth his salt should do anyway).
A really well balanced fixed blade gut hook knife with some very nice innovative additions, such as the inbuilt carbide sharpener and double fastening lock mechanisms.
The Gerber quality is there even if there are other knives that hold their edge a bit better. Overall, an excellent knife for the money.
WatchFire Guthook Skinning Knife
The WatchFire Guthook Skinning Knife makes our list on the basis of pure value for money alone.
The WatchFire gut hook knife is a no frills affair, and comes from a manufacturer without the pedigree of others reviewed here. However, that hasn’t stopped it from performing as it should.
The 9” overall length makes the WatchFire the longest knife on the list. Simple in design, the stainless steel blade, (which is more resilient than you would expect) is covered with a black finish.
Straight from the factory it is by no means the sharpest tool in the box, however after a little bit of honing the hard steel edge sharpens up nicely.
The skid proof black handle has a nice texture, and does a good job of providing the user grip. The sheath comfortably packs the tool away ready for use.
As you’d expect, there are no tantalising features to make you want to rush out and buy this knife. It is a budget priced solution that just happens to fulfil the job it is meant to do without pomp or fuss.
The WatchFire Gut hook skinning knife is just a great tool to have as part of your gear. At such a low price point if it gets battered and bruised, (or even lost) – its not the end of the world.
It does the job well, and with a bit of honing really does turn into a sharp instrument. Excellent value for money all round.
Case Cutlery 00517 375-4G SS Gut Hook Hunter
The Case Cutlery Gut Hook Hunter is a handsome looking knife that is built to last. It is at the higher end of the price bracket when compared to the rest of our top 5, however it is the kind of knife that will be part of your trusted equipment for many years to come.
The reason for this is its superior build quality. Hand crafted by artisans based in the USA, the processes and components used to craft this tool are a cut above the norm.
The knife incorporates a True-Sharp surgical steel Saber Concave ground Gut Hook blade that is honed in the company workshop to a razor’s edge.
The hand-shaped, finished leather handle ensures a safe and secure grip while using the knife.
The weight and balance of the 375-4G SS is good too. Measuring 8 1/2″ overall with a weight of 4.8 oz, its versatile while being hefty enough to make short work of your game.
A handcrafted, genuine Leather Sheath is also included.
About W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Co.
As you are paying a little more for an instrument from this company, it is worthwhile knowing some of their history. In essence you are buying into the pedigree that is W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery, and the higher quality craftsmanship that comes with that.
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company has been a leading American manufacturer of premium, hand-crafted knives for more than a century.
Their knives are still manufactured in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The techniques used are time-honoured, and as we mentioned above, come from the skilled hands of American artisans using top quality materials.
From the knives carried by U.S. Army soldiers in World War II, to the M-1 Astronauts knife carried on the Gemini and Apollo missions, the rich heritage surrounding the company and its products, is hard too beat.
In short, a quality Case knife is an item that you will go on to treasure.
A superb knife from a special company. If you looking for a special gut hook knife to be a proud part of your collection, this is the one for you.
A Closer Look at the Gut Hook Knife
Our reviews above have been written for those that already have an idea of why they want a gut hook knife, and just need a little guidance on which is the best gut hook knife to buy.
However, lets delve a little bit deeper on what sets the gut hook knife apart from other hunting knives.
Essentially, the gut hook blade is a special type of blade that features a sharpened semi-circle at the end of the spine – this is the gut hook. However, the main edge of the knife is actually similar to a trailing point skinner knife.
The hook of knife is sharpened on the inside curve. One disadvantage of this is is that the hook cannot be sharpened with a flat sharpening stone or other general purpose knife sharpener.
However, this can be overcome by using a round file to sharpen the inside of the gut hook.
The Main Use Of A Gut Hook Knife
The knife is mainly used by hunters for field dressing their game. The “hook” in the spine of the knife is placed in a small cut in the the underside of the animal. A sharp gut hook knife can then be pulled like a zipper, splitting the skin of the animal.
The small hook is also used to open the abdomen of the animal without slicing into the muscle, a method that helps maintain the quality of the meat.
Field Dressing A Dear With A Gut hook knife
A gut hook knife really comes into its own when field dressing a deer. The process can be tricky for the inexperienced, as it involves opening the deer up from the base of the rib cage down to the anus.
- First the point of the gut hook should penetrate skin where the ribs come together.
- Rest he sharp inner curve of the hook against the skin and pull down towards the tail (in that aforementioned zipper motion), ensure to lift the skin away from the body of the deer as you do this.
- Once the skin has been opened up from the underside of the animal, use the gut hook to reach into the body cavity to sever the deer’s windpipe.
- Remove the intestines from the body.
Issues To Be Aware Of When Choosing A Gut Hook Knife
- As we have described in our reviews above, when looking for a gut hook knife, opt for a large fixed-blade knife. You need a sturdy and durable when out in the field, folding blades generally do not have the strength required.
- Smaller gut hook knives have the advantage of being able to reach those tight, awkward hard to access areas of the animal. Especially along the inside of the rib cage where the inner membranes can be fiddly work.
- Watch out for cheap badly designed gut hooks, (or dulled hooks.) These can make life difficult in that hair may clog inside the hook, making a smooth zip cut hard to obtain.
- The handle is in many ways just as important as the blade. You need something well balanced with a good firm grip. In wet and greasy conditions you need that knife fixed comfortably in the hand.
Gut Hook Knife Maintenance
- A properly cleaned and sharpened gut hook knife will be a pleasure to use and will last you a long time.
- After use, clean down your hook with a microfiber cloth dampened with warm soapy water.
- Ensure that all flesh has been been removed by cleaning out the hook and any other crevices with a toothbrush.
- Use a lint-free cloth to wipe the knife after cleaning.
- Apply a thin layer of knife oil to prevent rust.
- As we mentioned above, a round ceramic knife file can be used to sharpen the gut hook, however, if you are wary of damaging your tool, a knife shop can sharpen it for very little expense.