Anatomy of a Hunting Knife

Examining a knife you will see it consists of several components each with their own specific functions. In this article we will break the knife down into its various components as follows.

BLADE- used for cutting, slicing, skinning or stabbing.

Blades come in many styles and sizes and are composed of various steels and alloys. The alloys are produced by adding elements such as carbon, chromium, manganese, silicone, and molybdenum to steel producing various characteristics such as hardness and flexibility.

KNIFE GUARD- prevents hand from sliding onto blade

The guard is usually made of metal or is part of a molded handle, being large enough to prevent injury from the blade.

HANDLE- used to hold the knife in the position needed

Hunting knife handles are important as you need a firm grip on the knife at all times for safety and accuracy. Composition of knife handles address such things as looks, shape, durability and utilitarian use. Examples of materials are: Stag, bone, wood, G10 (fiberglass), micarta(form of linen), carbon fibre, zytel (thermoplastic), titanium, aluminum, and leather.


The pummel is attached to the end of the handle and is usually metal. Its primary use is to protect the handle end from damage. Some pummels have a small storage compartment under them for emergencies and others have a built in compass.

SHANK- extension of the blade

The shank is an extension of the blade being made of the same material. In modern knives the blade and shank are stamped hammered or laser cut out of the same piece of steel thus giving it more strength. The handle and knife guard are attached to the shank by means of rivets. Thus allowing the handle, blade and guard to become a single unit that is stronger, more durable and safer for the user.

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