Our Top Picks - Best Russian Hunting Knife In 2023
- 1 Our Top Picks - Best Russian Hunting Knife In 2023
- 2 Rosarms
- 3 Olamic Cutlery
- 4 A&R Co.
- 5 Kizlyar
- 6 Final Thoughts on Russian Hunting Knife Reviews 2023
Russia has a long history of knife making, with many traditional knife makers still pursuing the craft that and passing the knowledge from one generation to another. Many areas, such as Dagestan and Zlatoust, are famous for their storied knife making traditions that reach back to hundreds of years.
However, due to laws stemming from the Soviet Union, it has only been recently that quality Russian hunting knives can be sold in the United States. Thankfully, the laws are slowly changing and you can take advantage of the exemplary quality that can only be found in knives that are handmade in short runs.
Many Russian knife makers still use traditional forging techniques and proprietary steel alloys that result in a sturdy blade with great edge retention. But this is by no means an exhaustive list of the knife makers in Russia, as many artisans work independently or only offer their work through limited means. The knife manufacturers we'll discuss here are more well known, and their high-quality knives can be easily purchased within the United States.
Each of these companies also makes numerous custom and specialty knives, so the few all-purpose hunting knives we've selected--while being excellent knives in themselves--are by no means a fair indicator of what these companies are capable of producing.
ROSarms is one of the largest distributors of Russian hunting knives as well as tactical, custom, and fishing knives. All of their knives are handmade, remaining true to the traditional sword and knife making history of the city of Zlatoust, where this company is based.
Thanks to a history of creating exemplary knives and swords that extends back to 1751, the name of this city has become synonymous with the type of steel produced there and used extensively with these knives. In addition to Zlatoust steel, Damascus steel is another common metal used thanks to its durability and beauty.
Sting Hunting Knife
The Sting Hunting Knife is a smaller yet good-sized hunting knife with an overall length of 7 ¾ inches. It has a blade length of 3 ½ inches, which meets everyday carry laws in many locations. This is a handmade knife and that quality is visible in every aspect of this knife.
It features a drop point blade with a thumb rise and slight serration just before the guard. This design makes it versatile, as the thumb rise allows you to grip the knife in more ways depending on what your job calls for. That drop point also provides a nice sharp point that increases the functionality of the knife, yet won't require you to carefully maneuver the knife in order to sheath it (as can be the case with blades with trailing points).
Sting Hunting Knife
The slight serration before the guard can be used with magnesium fire starters, adding another layer of versatility to this all-purpose hunting knife. The blade is made of Zlatoust steel -which is comparable to BG-42 steel. This type of steel has good corrosion resistance, is easy to sharpen, is strong, and holds an edge well.
The handle of this Russian hunting knife is easily mistaken for cork, however, the handle is actually made of birch bark with brown micarta guard and pommel. The birch bark is easy to care for, is remarkably durable, and holds heat well. This makes it a great knife for those chilly late fall and winter hunts where a knife that quickly warms and stays warm is always appreciated. Blood stains are easy to get out with a little hydrogen peroxide and oiling to protect the wood afterward. The end of the handle also has a lanyard hole and slight finger groove to provide a sure grip. It comes with a red leather sheath with an embossed emblem of ROSarms in Russian.
Raccoon Hunting Knife
This is a very practical knife that was designed with the input of real hunters. The result is a multifunction and ergonomically shaped blade. This Russian Raccoon Hunter Knife blade has a swaged clipped point with a finger riser and thumb riser along the spine. This allows you to functionally hold this knife in multiple positions to better suit the task at hand. The swaged point is ground, however, to be functional it will need additional sharpening. There is a slight upsweep to the point, producing a clean belly that makes skinning and caping easier as you can move the knife more fluidly. There is a slight recurve just before the guard.
Raccoon Hunter Knife
The blade is 5 1/4 inches long and made of Zlatoust steel -famous throughout the world for its long modern history as well as its strength, easy sharpening, and ability to maintain an edge despite heavy use. This type of steel has a hardness of about 62 on the Rockwell hardness scale. The blade is approximately 1/8 of an inch thick.
The handle of the Raccoon is black leather with brown micarta guard and pommel. The leather handle is ergonomically shaped with a slight finger groove to more comfortably fit your hand shape. The leather quickly warms in your hand so this knife is very comfortable to use in even the coldest of winter conditions.
This hunting knife made in Russia comes with a black leather sheath, embossed with the emblem of ROSarms in Russian. The overall length of this knife is 9 3/4 inches.
ARTYBASH Hunting Knife
This is one of ROSarms most popular hunting knives -and for good reason. It has a very sleek design that is both contemporary and classic. It is a little larger than the other ROSarms hunting knives we've looked at as it measures 10 1/2 inches overall. As with all ROSarms knives, this is a handmade knife using and it uses Zlatoust steel to provide you with a reliable knife that is able to take a beating and will still hold a sharp edge.
The ARTYBASH Hunting Knife blade features a drop point and has a smoother finish than other ROSarms knives. While this does make for a duller colored blade, that finish compliments the darker tones of the leather handle and is better accented by the aluminum guard and pommel. The blade is 5 3/4 inches long. This extra length compensates for the straight edge of the blade as it provides you with longer strokes. The blade is also fairly robust with a thickness of 3/16 of an inch.
ARTYBASH Hunting Knife
The handle on this hunting knife is 4 3/4 inches long. It has a slight finger groove and dropped heel that allows it to fit comfortably in your hand with a very natural feeling grip. Like most ROSarms knives, the handle is very solid and fits well in larger hands. The dark brown leather provides a comfortable surface that won't slip in your hand and warms nicely in your hand and flexes slightly to compensate for repetitive movements, such as when cutting through rope. The guard and pommel are a shiny aluminum that provides nice accents to this knife. The pommel does feature a lanyard hole. This Russian hunting knife comes with a black leather sheath.
Although operating out of California, Olamic Cutlery knives are produced in their shop located in Russia. This shop employs four master craftsman who have over 75 years of combined experience in knife making. Each of these masters specializes in a particular aspect of the knife making process, which is why Olamic knives are produced in short runs or are one of a kind works of art. Many of their knives incorporate a proprietary blend to produce their Damascus steel, however, they do offer knives in other steel types. Olamic Cutlery knives are handmade and come with a transferable lifetime warranty.
Of all the knives in this Russian hunting knife review, the Compact Wayfarer is the only folding blade style knife that we'll be taking a look at. The blade measures 3 1/2 inches which is a great size for an all-purpose pocket knife. It has a dropped point and is made of CTS-XHP steel alloy which is comparable to a 440C stainless steel. This gives it a hardness of about 58 to 60 on the Rockwell hardness scale. This alloy strikes a good balance between hardness and corrosion resistance while maintaining an edge fairly well. It's also relatively easy to sharpen even for a novice. The blade has a matte finish that is stamped with "Olamic Cutlery" along the obverse side and "Wayfarer Compact" along the reverse side.
The handle features a hand sculpted Damascus steel front bolster and belt clip. It has a titanium backspacer and frame with blue c-tek honeycomb scales. This gives this hunting knife a very distinctive appearance without taking away from the fact that it is a tough little knife that will serve you well while hunting or as an everyday carry knife.
A&R Co knives are made in Zlatoust where they maintain the Russian knife making tradition of using traditional materials -such as stacked birch bark or boxwood for the handles- and of making all knives by hand. While this does account for slight variances from knife to knife, it also ensures an attention to detail that is strictly missing from mass produced knives. The A&R shop is open to tourists who can tour the facility and witness traditional forges and knife making techniques first hand.
Shtrafbat Russian Hunting Knife
This Russian hunter knife is a beautiful example of traditional craftsmanship and the attention to detail that can only be found in handmade items. The blade measures approximately 5 1/2 inches long and is forged from Damascus steel in a raindrop pattern. It has a swaged clipped point, however, the swage is not sharpened. The blade is 2.4mm thick and features a strength groove.
The Shtrafbat Russian Hunting Knife handle is made of birch bark -a traditional handle material for Russian hunting knives. This "warm" wood is favored by knife makers due to how well it warms in the hand and retains heat. It also has a slight give to it that provides a very comfortable grip while performing repetitive movements. It has a steel guard with fore facing top quillion and rear facing bottom quillion. The pommel is made of aluminum.
Shtrafbat Russian Hunting Knife
This knife was designed after a 1940's scout knife for the Russian Special Forces. It is well balanced and designed to perform nimbly and with a good range of motion. It has an overall length of just over 10 inches and weighs approximately 5 ounces. It comes with a black leather sheath.
Kizlyar is based in the city that bears its namesake in Dagestan where it is part of a knife making tradition and history that stretches back to the 1400's. Kizlyar specializes in specialty knives made by master craftsmen who belong to families with a long line of knife making skill. They also employ many artisans and master craftsmen skilled in jewel work, gold and silver smithing, and blacksmithing. While museum quality pieces are their prime foci, they also produce a number of practical hunting knives, of which we'll take a look at two below.
Katran Hunting and Tactical Knife
This Russian hunting knife strikes a bold and commanding presence. The Katran Hunting Knife has a drop point and slight concave blade edge. The blade is approximately 6 1/2 inches long and is about 1 1/2 inches at the widest point. It's made of stainless steel with a hardness of between 57 and 58 on the Rockwell hardness scale. The blade is finished with a black powder coating that provides a matte finish that contrasts nicely with the rich brown handle.
The handle is made of textolite, a sturdy plastic that is very similar to micarta. It is a sturdy and wear resistant material that is able to withstand temperatures up to 266 degrees Fahrenheit. This material is what helps contribute to this knife's light weight. It has a dropped heel and finger grooves to provide a confident grip no matter the task ahead of you. There is a lanyard hole at the end of the handle. The handle is just under an inch thick.
It has an overall length of just under 12 inches. It comes with a leather sheath and certificate of authenticity.
Katran Hunting and Tactical Knife
Santi Tactical and Hunting Knife
This is all-purpose hunting knife that features a very utilitarian design. The blade features a drop point with a single smooth edge. The Santi Tactical and Hunting Knife provides a strong and sharp point with a clean cutting edge well suited to a variety of tasks. In addition to being used as a hunting knife, this blade design really lends itself well to an everyday knife as it can easily handle the demands of everyday life. The blade is also made of D2 steel. This is commonly thought of as a semi-stainless steel as it has higher chromium content. This type of steel is not only strong -with a hardness of 59 to 60 on the Rockwell hardness scale- but it holds an edge impressively well. The only downside to this steel is that it is harder to sharpen than other common knife metals. Of course, the trade-off is that you have to sharpen it less frequently, greatly increasing the life expectancy of this knife.
It features a full tang, producing a very strong knife overall. The handle is made of micarta scales in black. It has a reinforced lanyard hole at the end of the handle, as well as a matching hole at the fore end of the handle. It comes with a kydex sheath that has a clip that is both removable and rotatable.
Final Thoughts on Russian Hunting Knife Reviews 2023
If you're looking for a new knife but want something more unique, a Russian hunting knife may be just the thing you're looking for. As part of adhering to traditional knife making techniques, many of the above knives incorporate traditional handle materials, such as birch bark. They also use traditional metal types that, while not common throughout the world, have proven themselves in strength, hardness, and ability to perform. These knives offer a distinctive appearance with high performance that you can count on when out in the field.
Sources and Official Brand Websites
- ROSarms, Official Brand Website.
- Olamic Cutlery, Official Brand Website.
- Kizlyar, Official Brand Website.
- The Best Hunting Knife -- How to Recognize Good Quality, How Stuff Works.
- The Benefits of Hunting Knives, Ezinearticles.