Knives For Airgunners – A Starting Point

Many people find that it’s handy to have a knife around, especially when in the field, hunting and shooting. But not all of us are experts in knowing what to look for when looking for knives for airgunners.

Ed Caffrey has a lifetime’s experience with knives – both using and making them. He’s also a long-time shooter who has recently discovered the wonderful world of airguns and shoots a Benjamin Marauder.

This makes him the perfect person to explain, advise and educate HAM readers about knives for airgunners.

As a custom Knifemaker, Ed has his own business – “The Montana Bladesmith”. When you check-out his website, be prepared to drool over the exquisite custom knives he makes!

Take it away Ed…

First I would like to express my thanks to Steve Archer for asking me to become a part of the HAM Team!

Becoming a contributor to anything not directly associated with a person’s field of expertise, is often difficult. Why? Simply put: common understanding.

My name is Ed Caffrey, ABS Mastersmith, out of Great Falls, Montana. I’m a rank beginner in the airgun field, but I have over 30 years of experience as a Bladesmith/Knifemaker, and am one of less then 120 ABS (American Bladesmith Society) Mastersmiths in the world.

I know all things that go “cut”, inside and out. But am not so wrapped up in myself to not understand that I will need help from the entire HAM readership to get all of you the best information on knives that are suited to the specific needs of airgunners.

Eventually, I would like to turn my participation into somewhat of a question and answer type section. HAM readers can email me questions. Then I can answer by turning them into full on articles in future installments.

That being said, we’re gong to start as I do when teaching Bladesmithing Classes. From the lowest common denominator!

Knives For Airgunners - A Starting Point

OK. Here we go…

Knives are some of the oldest tools of man. They can take the form of many materials, from obsidian to the most modern, high tech ceramics and steels.

The common theme of all is to CUT or CHOP whatever material(s) they are designed for.

Knives are NOT intended to be pry bars, screwdrivers, or anything else that usually ends in their damage or destruction. I’m as guilty as the next person of trying to use a knife for a purpose other then what it was intended for (before I became a Bladesmith). And I have the scars to prove it!

Just as with airguns, knives can be had at all price levels. There’s “bargain basement” models, that barely are able to perform their intended function. In comparison, super high end custom/handmades not only perform their intended function in a superior manner, they also do with style! 🙂

In up-coming installments, I will do my best to get down to the details of all things that go “cut”. But – more so – I hope to help educate you to help you make informed/intelligent decisions when looking for and/or purchasing a knife to suit your personal/individual needs.

To start that education, we have to look at knives as I assume most people would airguns.

Knives are all about choices, and more importantly trade-offs. What does that mean? It means that as with most things, we are often required to give up certain attributes in one area, in favor of, or in order to acquire desirable attributes in another area.


What that means is a knife designed for filleting a fish, is certainly not going to be up to the task of clearing a path through the brush, nor chopping some limbs for use in a campfire.

At the same time, a camp style/type knife, designed for heavy duty tasks, such as chopping limbs for the campfire, is a very poor choice to fillet/clean a fish.

So where does that leave us? I would suspect it’s not at all different from buying yourself a new airgun.

In order to make an intelligent choice in a knife, you first need to consider just what tasks you expect it to perform.

Will it be something you use and/or carry every day? In what setting? At the office? On the jobsite? Only when you are shooting? Hunting?

Based on my experiences, most folks who carry a knife daily tend to lean towards smaller fixed blades or 3-Inches or less, or some type of folding knife.

Some of us (hint…me) are old enough to remember carry a 2-4 bladed pocket knife, that was given to us when we were young.

For me, growing up an Indiana farm kid, it was my Grandfather, and a 2 blades Barlow knife, when I was 9 years old. That knife did everything from cutting the twine on hay bales, to cleaning squirrels and rabbits all the way until my middle teens. By that time the blades had been sharpened to nearly toothpicks, and it was honorably retired.

So what is it that you would use a knife for? And when? And where?

Those are just some of basic questions you need to ask yourself, to begin to navigate the plethora of knives available to you.

If my guess is correct, it will be just like our guns. More than one is simply not enough! So use those self-answered questions to begin the selection process. Once you’ve done so, your choices will start to make more sense, and become less overwhelming.

Next time we will continue our quest to help you narrow down your knives for airgunners choices with information on knife types/styles, and blade materials.

Until then…. All the best from “The Montana Bladesmith”