To be a successful hunter, you will need to be more than just a great marksman. Killing an animal is just half the battle as you now need to field dress it.
To skin an animal effectively, you need to use the right tools, and one of those tools is the gut hook knife. It is essential for quick and easy cutting through hide.
The problem is that there are hundreds of models on the market, and only a few of those are actually useful for opening up the carcass.
This is why we compiled a list of the 6 best gut hook knife models you can buy. Along with the list, we’ve included an informative guide where you can learn more about the features of gut hook knives.
Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Gut Hook Knife – Reviews
The problem we had while searching for the best gut hook knives was not the quantity, it was the quality of the knives. We started our research with more than 50 knife models but ended up with just 6 that passed our rigorous tests.
Those 6 knives have the best price to performance ratio, and all work great for opening up the bellies of many different animals. You can’t go wrong with any of them
Mossy Oak Fixed Blade Gut Hook Knife
Material: 3CR13 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 4.5 Inches
Our number one pick when it comes to gut hook knives is the Mossy Oak Fixed Blade Knife. It has by far the best price to performance ratio of all the gut hook knives we tested, and we believe that for most people, this is the best gut hook knife they can get for their money.
The blade of this knife is made of 3Cr13 stainless steel that has excellent corrosion resistance, high toughness, and is super easy to sharpen. It is durable and will hold its edge pretty well for this price range.
The sharpness of the blade and the gut hook is incredibly high for this price point. The knife comes razor-sharp out of the box and is ready to skin deer, elk, boar, or anything that comes your way! The gut hook performs excellently for cutting through even the most stubborn and thick skin.
The size of the blade is 4.5 inches which is, in our opinion, a great all-around size, not too big nor small. Mossy Oak didn’t cheap out on the steel thickness as well since the blade is 0.625 inches thick. Because of the thickness the blade feels sturdy and can cut through the hide easier.
The definition of a high-quality knife is an excellent handle, and this is where Mossy Oak has done it right. The handle is beautifully crafted and is a great combination of comfort and control. This walnut handle has a great grip and doesn’t slip even if your hands get wet.
The brass finger guard is a great safety feature that looks and works great. The balance of the handle and the knife is superb. The weight is arranged perfectly so that the handling feels effortless.
Another feature that tells us about the quality of this knife is the full tang blade. Full tang means that the blade extends all the way through the handle, making the weight and control of the knife better. This also increases the longevity of the knife and is a great feature to have on all types of knives.
The sheath that comes with the knife is another surprise. It is a genuine leather sheath that holds the knife securely and doesn’t allow slippage or any movement whatsoever.
The features and extras that you get with this knife for this price are unbelievable. No knife matches this one on our list in terms of what you get for your money. It’s by far the best gut hook knife you can buy!
Damascus Steel Ram Handle/w Brown Leather Sheath TJ111
Material: Alloy Steel
Blade Length: 4 Inches
Weight: 7.04 Oz
The runner-up on our list of the best gut hook knives is the Damascus Steel Ram Handle/w Brown Leather Sheath. SharpWorld is Self-Explanatory of its Sharpness and Top Quality products. All Damascus steel knives are passed from different manufacturing cycles to get pure Damascus blades and to maintain their Top Quality. They don’t have any authorized distributors or sellers.
This knife features a alloy steel blade that comes honed and ready to go out of the box. The blade is 4 inches long and has a gut hook at the tip of the spine.
Both the edge and the gut hook are extremely sharp and go through the skin like butter. You will have no problem skinning animals of any size with this knife.
We really like the sheath of this knife. It is made of real brown leather. It holds the knife very securely in it and won’t allow for any movement, even if your running or jumping. It is made from real leather and should last a lifetime!
The handle really ties the knife together. First off, it’s a really nice-looking handmade carved horn. It’s intricate and designed so well it’s almost like a piece of art. It offers improved grip and stays in hand. No hand fatigue occurs after extended use, and the handle doesn’t slip even if your hands get wet or bloody.
All in all, this is a great knife that does a superb job at skinning moose, elk, deer, and other animals with the help of the super-sharp gut hook. You can’t go wrong with this one.
Outdoor Edge GripHook
Material: Japanese AUS-8 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 3.2 Inches
Handle: Rubberized Orange TPR
This outdoor edge gut hook knife is different from our previous 2 models and has its unique advantages. It has a folded blade, as opposed to the fixed blade, typically found on most of the gut hook knives. Its main advantage is convenience and portability.
The first difference is in the blade length. We usually find gut hook knives above 3.5 inches in blade length. This knife, however, has a 3.2-inch blade. The smaller blade is useful since it provides easy handling, and coupled with the folding feature, tends to be easy to store and transport.
The downside of the smaller blade is the lack of strength that is sometimes needed when field-dressing larger animals with thicker skin. You will most likely find it troublesome when cutting deer, elk, and similar large carcasses if you’re inexperienced. If you are not that skilled in field dressing, this knife will work best for smaller animals like hares.
The blade is made from high-grade Japanese AUS-8 stainless steel that has high hardness and resists corrosion excellently. This type of steel is super easy to sharpen, which is great if you prefer to save some money and sharpen the blade yourself.
The sharpness of the blade and the gut hook is incredible. It comes surgically sharp out of the box, which means that you can take it to the field right away.
The gut hook is sharp enough to go through any type of hide, but because of the size of the knife, you might find it difficult to cut through the larger carcass, especially if you’re used to longer blades. Still, you can use this gut hook knife to cut through the skin of any thickness, given that you use the proper technique. It is sharp enough to cut through anything!
The folding mechanism is excellent on this knife. This is always a thing to look for when you’re dealing with folding knives since a faulty mechanism can cause serious injuries. This one locks the blade in place and holds it securely.
We are pretty sure that this knife will last a lifetime, but if you happen to have any problem with it, Outdoor Edge will be more than happy to replace your knife. The lifetime warranty makes this knife a safe purchase.
Morakniv Belly Opener
Material: Swedish Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.6 Inches
No knife list would be complete without at least one Mora Scandinavian knife. The Swedish knife manufacturer is truly one of the best on the market, and it seems they have a high-quality model for every type of knife. The belly opener is a unique and very one-purposed tool that does its job of opening up all kinds of animals superbly.
Unlike all of the other knives on our list, this belly opener has only a gut hook with no traditional blade. It is only meant to be used for skinning, and because of that specialization, it does its job excellently.
The blade is very sturdy and is 2mm thick, which gives it enough ‘power’ to cut through even the most stubborn and thick hides. It is 2.6 inches long, which is more than enough for a gut hook only. The sharpness of the single bevel edge is superb and sufficient for cutting through elk, moose, boar, and deer skin.
The resistance and longevity of this blade are ensured with the quality Swedish stainless steel used to produce this blade. It’s highly resistant to corrosion and is very easy to sharpen.
Mora never disappoints with its handles, and this is the case this time as well. The non-slip plastic handle offers excellent grip and is very comfortable in hand. The shape of the handle is specifically designed to provide additional control and ergonomics.
This type of handle keeps the knife in your hand, even when your hands get wet or bloody. The balance of the blade and the handle is on point, which makes the handling even more controlled and enjoyable.
For easy and safe storage, you get a plastic sheath for this little gut hook knife. It holds the knife securely and makes it easy to carry since you can strap it on your belt.
Overall, this is a highly recommended gut hook knife that works excellently for skinning all kinds of animals. If you don’t need a knife and want a reliable and sturdy gut hook for field dressing, go with this Mora’s Belly Opener!
CASE XX 375 4G
Material: Tru-Sharp™ Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 4 Inches
CASE knives are known as premium quality knives that are made for those that appreciate finer things in life. Each of their knives tells a story and is of the highest quality. This hunter gut hook model is a combination of style and extreme sharpness that will help you open up the bellies effortlessly.
The handle of this knife really stands out from the competition. The beautiful leather design makes it both handsome and very practical. It gives you excellent grip and reduces slippage significantly. This knife will stay in hand and will be comfortable even with extended use.
The handle is, of course, full tang, which is what we expected from CASE. It gives the knife a perfect weight balanced between the handle and the blade and makes handling feel controlled. It’s really a joy cutting and skinning with this knife.
The blade is made of CASE’s Tru-Sharp stainless steel that has excellent corrosion resistance properties. It is also very easy to sharpen and keeps that edge for a long, long time. Maintenance of this blade is super easy, which is one of its main advantages.
Both the blade and the gut hook are sharp enough to cut through any type of hide with ease. It is worth mentioning that some users experienced fairly dull out-of-the-box blades, but with some wet stone honing, they easily achieved shaving sharp blade and gut hook.
This is a bit of a drawback and something not expected at this price range. Still, since this steel is so easy to sharpen, this shouldn’t be a problem for most people with basic knife sharpening skills.
The knife comes with a genuine leather sheath that goes with the knife and looks great. It is quality-made and holds the knife securely inside.
This is a knife that you would proudly show of. Its stylish looks and high-grade materials certainly make it a worthwhile purchase. There is no knife quite like it on the market.
Mossberg Gut Hook Knife
Material: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 3.5 Inches
This Mossberg knife combines affordability and convenience. It is very reasonably priced and has all the necessary features you would expect in a good gut hook knife.
The blade is folded, which, as previously mentioned, has its advantages. The knife is easy to store and carry and can fit right in your pocket. It is 3.5 inches long, which is just enough to cut through the thick skin of larger animals. We would have preferred a blade closer to 4 inches, but that would sacrifice the control and weight of the knife.
This blade is not conventional in shape since it has a curve that extends all the way to the tip. We are not sure why the manufacturer choose this shape as it is not beneficial when cutting skin. In our opinion, straight edge works better for field dressing, although we had no major issues with this blade for that purpose.
The sharpness of both the blade and the gut hook is excellent and comes perfectly honed right out of the box. You will have no problem cutting through rabbit, elk, or deer hide with this gut hook. The stainless steel used for this blade is solid and resists corrosion excellently.
What we like the most about this knife is its lightweight. It measures only 3.53 ounces, which makes it lighter than most modern phones and makes it easy to carry in your pocket. This, coupled with the compact size, make this little knife very convenient and a breeze to transport.
The transport is even easier and safer with the black sheath that you get with this knife. It fits the gut hook knife perfectly and holds it securely.
All things considered, this is one of the best gut hook knives in this price range. The folding feature, excellent sharpness, and compact size make this gut hook knife a worthwhile purchase.
What To Look For When Choosing Gut Hook Knife
Before we look at the most important features of gut hook knives, let’s first learn more about them.
Gut hook knives are knives that have a gut hook blade designed to conveniently skin carcass. There are regular hunting knives with the gut hook located at the spine area, while there are knives that have a gut hook only and are specifically designed for opening the bellies.
The gut hook can be single or double beveled, the latter being the preferable option. Double beveled gut hooks are very efficient at cutting skin and make the whole process feel effortless. They are sharper than the single bevel gout hooks but are also much harder to find and aren’t nearly as affordable.
Let’s start with the blade material. Most commonly, you will find stainless steel and sometimes carbon steel blades on more expensive gut hook knife models. Both work absolutely fine. The steel we recommend is 14C28N stainless steel. It has a great price to performance ratio.
Next, let’s look at the size. The size is quite important on gut hook knives. You don’t want something bulky that will get in your way, and you certainly don’t want a blade too small to get the job done. A blade between 4 and 5 inches is the best for most people. If you tend to hunt and field dress smaller animals like rabbits, going for a blade between 3 and 4 inches will be your best bet.
Make sure to look at the customer reviews about the out-of-the-box sharpness. This tends to be a problem for a lot of newcomers who aren’t experienced in honing. Read what people say about the sharpness after unboxing to make sure you don’t get a dull knife that requires honing right away.
The two main types of gut hook knives are folding and fixed blade knives. We recommend getting the fixed blade gut hook knife if you tend to like larger blade knives in general and if you hunt and skin larger animals like deer, elk, or moose.
Folding gut hook knives have the advantage of being easy to transport and use. You can put them in your pocket and forget about them since they are both compact and lightweight. These knives are usually easier to use because of the lightweight and small size. They are great for beginners and people that want to field dress smaller animals.
A little tip for ensuring that your gut hook knife blade lasts a long time is to use the best knife lube to preserve it.
The handle is as equally important as the blade. You can have the sharpest blade there is, but if you don’t have a proper handle to maneuver the knife, it becomes useless.
We recommend going for handles that have non-slip features. This is especially important because you can expect your hands to get wet and bloody when field dressing, and that’s when the slippage of the knife may occur.
Wood, plastic, and rubber handle all work fine as long as they are comfortable and provide you a solid grip.
To ensure your safety and the safety of others, you need to get a proper sheath that will hold the knife in place.
Leather sheats are usually a preferable option because of the comfort and stylish looks. Still, the most important thing for a sheath is to hold the knife securely and not allow it to cut through it or slip.
Make sure that the sheat is properly sized for the knife. If it’s too small and tight, it can damage and degrade the blade of your knife.
- Material: 3CR13 Stainless Steel
- Blade Length: 4.5 Inches
- Handle: Walnut
Last update on 2023-09-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Picking a good gut hook knife isn’t rocket science. All you have to remember is to pick the right size of the quality steel blade and pair it with a solid and reliable handle and a sheath for safe storage.
Any of the knives we reviewed are excellent choices. Go with any of those, and you won’t have any problems!