When I asked for the Skallywag Tactical Hunter to review, I wanted something practical not only for hunting but for everyday type of use. Since the Hunter model has a 2.75-inch long blade, it seemed to be a good choice for general cutting chores. Since we’re on the subject of the blade, I’ll mention that the steel is comprised of D2. While it’s not one of the new “super-steels” that are so much in vogue these days, it’s still a solid steel that performs well.
Design of the Skallywag Tactical Hunter
The overall length of the Skallywag Tactical Hunter is 8.5 inches and it weighs .35 pounds without the sheath. The steel is .16 inches thick, which seems to be a decent compromise between being too thin and overly thick. It’s a stout knife, so you’ll not have to be concerned about breaking it.
The Hunter was designed by Javon at Grays Custom, with the main uses being targeted at allowing the user to harvest, skin, and field dress game. To that end, I’d say they hit a home run, as it will do all of those tasks with aplomb.
I did take this knife with me this past November in whitetail deer season in PA, intending on giving it a field test when I harvested my deer. Things did not go according to plan, however, because I was not able to bag a deer despite traipsing around the woodlands for a few days. Despite not bagging a deer, a good time was still had by all.
Quality of the Cut
Still, I was determined to test this knife’s qualities out, so I used it to cut some meat, including a log of sweet beef bologna, which was purchased at a favorite local Pennsylvania Dutch butcher. As an aside, if you’ve never tried the stuff, you really should, it’s sweet, smoky, and delicious!
The bologna has a thick skin on it, which needs to be cut off before it’s sliced up. This task gave me a vague approximation of what the knife’s skinning characteristics are. Happily, it did extremely well! The Hunter made short work of skinning and slicing up all of the meat.
In addition, the knife cut every other material that I used it on, including cardboard and plastic wrap. The blade exhibits a good amount of “belly”, which lends itself to being a superb slicer. Basically, this thing is a regular slicing machine. The point is fine enough that precision cuts are a pleasure to make, and the jimping at the end of the blade allows the user to choke up on the blade while placing the tip of the index finger out there to help with the finer cuts.
Grip and Sheath
G-10 is used for the scales of the knife, so it gives a very positive grip that will not slip when the user’s hands are wet and slippery. Also, the G-10 makes for a very easy clean-up when you want to wash the knife up after working with meat. To help the grip be more positive, the G-10 has some checkering molded into the handle, which is a nice touch. This knife has a full tang, so it is very strong.
My only slight criticism is that the handle of the knife could be slightly shorter for my taste. It would make the knife more compact overall and a bit livelier in the hand. Mind you, this is a very small preference and does not detract from the overall quality of the knife and its capabilities. At the base of the handle is a lanyard hole, should the user feel the need to attach one.
Also worth mentioning is the sheath, which is made from Kydex, and overall, it is very well done. The sheath locks the knife in with a pleasing “click” and provides enough tension that the Hunter will not fall out, and yet allows easy extraction from the sheath when you need to use it. They got it just right! The attachment is a Tek-Lock that has several holes in case the user wants to mount it at a different angle; all you have to do is take out the screws and use the different holes. The additional holes also serve as grommets in case you want to lash the sheath to your kit. The Tek-Lock easily adjusts to various belt widths.
Overall, the Skallywag Tactical Hunter is a pleasure to carry and have along. It’s not large enough to be in the way, and yet has plenty of size when it comes to cutting chores. I toted it along all hunting season, and then carried it some more afterward to run it through its paces. It carries beautifully. Although 2.75 inches does not seem like a very long cutting edge, the amount of belly that the knife exhibits, along with its width, makes this blade perform as if it were a larger knife.
Whether you’re intending to use this blade for hunting, tactical use, utility, defense, or whatever other use you can dream up, I’m confident that it will not let you down.
At the time of this writing, these are selling for $75. No, that isn’t a misprint, it’s just an insanely low price for this level of quality of a knife. Head on over to the Skallywag website and check out all of their offerings, because they have an all-star lineup of knives to buy. And it’s a real treat dealing with them!