As a hunter and a chef, one of the most important pieces of equipment I own is a knife. Whether it’s my chef’s knife or my skinning knife, each is equally important. Before purchasing a knife, I look for a few characteristics.
- They need to be sharp and be able to hold an edge. I don’t want to be honing or sharpening the knife constantly. It becomes annoying and wastes time. Can you buy cheap knives that are sharp? Yes, you can, but that sharp edge is going to dull quickly. This means you are going to need to resharpen a cheaper knife more often. Another consideration before buying cheap knives is that they tend to break a lot easier than higher-end knives, which can be dangerous. I have had some cheap knives in the past with blades that snapped or rusted and handles that broke. Some of the blades were unable to be re-sharpened due to the small serrations on the blade, the so-called “forever sharp” blade which is bullshit.
- The blade has to be solid and have a full tang. A knife with a full tang has a blade that extends into the handle, making the knife one solid piece of steel. A full tang knife provides better control while cutting, has better overall balance of the blade, makes the knife stronger, and prevents the blade and handle from separating. All these traits are important for safety and durability.
- A knife should have good balance. It shouldn’t be forward heavy or handle heavy. The weight should be distributed evenly throughout the knife. This balance provides better handling and control while cutting.
- Lastly, the knife should be comfortable in the hand. Everyone is different when it comes to deciding what’s comfortable. I prefer a slimmer, lighter feel while others prefer a bulkier, heavier knife. I like a smooth, nontextured surface on my knives’ handles, but others may prefer a textured or rubberized handle for better gripping. Everyone has different preferences. It doesn’t matter which kind of handle you have as long as the knife and handle are made with high-quality parts. They should be crafted properly to maintain a strong, sharp, and well-balanced blade.
Now that you know my quality control process and knife expectations, I would like to tell you about this new knife I picked up before hunting season. I needed a high-quality hunting knife and was deciding whether to buy one from Benchmade Knife Company or Montana Knife Company. I was able to find a Benchmade knife for about $150 cheaper than the Montana version. That’s a pretty big difference, so I went with the Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner and have not been disappointed with this knife at all.
The Saddle Mountain Skinner is lightweight, slim in the hand, and very durable. I chose a steel, drop-point satin blade and paired it with a Richlite/Orange G10 handle.
The specs are below:
|Blade Length:||4.20″ | 10.67cm|
|Blade Thickness:||0.12″ | 3.048mm|
|Open Length:||8.70″ | 22.10cm|
|Handle Thickness:||0.66″ | 16.76mm|
|Weight:||4.30oz | 121.90g|
|Sheath Weight:||2.46oz | 69.74g|
As you can see, the knife is not huge. It’s a very packable knife. The only improvement that I would recommend to the company is to put a clip on the sheath. I used an old gun holster clip and screwed it onto the sheath. This way, I can clip it to my backpack, belt, or leg holster. It’s not a perfect fix, but it works. (If anyone from Benchmade is reading this, please consider adding a clip to the hard sheaths for the future.)
This knife’s MSRP is $280.00. The brand has another model with an MSRP of $220.00. Either one is a good choice. I have used this knife during the deer season, and it has performed very well. Between my clients and me, we have gutted four deer and skinned five deer with only minor honing of the blade.
The blade is still very sharp. It holds an edge very well and is comfortable to use. I never felt like the knife was out of my control while gutting the deer, even when my hands were covered in blood and slippery. The handle grips my hand perfectly. During the skinning and breakdown of the deer, my hand never got fatigued as it has with other knives I have used. I think that has a lot to do with the slim design. The knife is small enough to get into those hard-to-reach areas like inside the rib cage. It’s also helpful for rounding out the hind end (or, in other words, “cutting its butthole out”), yet the knife is still big enough to handle full-skinning jobs. The thickness of the blade is solid, and I had no issues cutting through the briskets of each deer with it.
All in all, this knife is a great option for any hunter, angler, or other outdoor adventurer in need of a quality packing knife. I foresee myself using this knife for years to come with no issues. With that being said, all Benchmade knives are covered by the “Yours, For Life” policy. This policy ensures that if any issues arise, Benchmade will make the situation right. They also have the “LifeSharp” service that lets you send the knife back to get it sharpened, oiled, cleaned, and adjusted if needed. This service is free for the knife’s lifetime. Pretty awesome, if you ask me!
I have been very happy with the Saddle Mountain Skinner, and I know I will be buying other Benchmade knives in the future. If you are looking for a new knife for hunting, packing, filleting, or cooking, give a Benchmade one a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Check out my affiliate links below for quick and easy access to the Benchmade product line. The link is not only simple to use, but it helps us out at Sizzlin Arrow. Thank you for reading, and Happy Hunting!
Sportsmans Warehouse – Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner with Orange G10 handle
Sportsmans Guide – Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner – Orange G10 handle
Optics Planet- Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner
Palmetto State Armory- Benchmade Saddle Mountain Skinner with gut hook