Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Product Review: Knives of Alaska Trekker Series Pronghorn Knife

When I read a review on a knife or a blade of any sort, I want to know that it's going to cut 'like buttah'. Don't you? That's exactly what discovered when I used the Knives of Alaska Pronghorn Knife last year. Yes, I realize I have been a schmuck for not posting about this yet. It should have been posted a LONG time ago.

I have had great experiences with Knives of Alaska knives in the past. Each has been razor sharp right out of the box. It was no different when KOA sent me the Pronghorn last year to do a review on, but first, let me describe my findings from start to finish. 

First, the knife info from the KOA website:

Category:    The Trekker Series
Item Number:    00176FG
Metal:    D2
Rockwell Hardness:    59-61
Bevel:    18-20°
Knife Length:    8.25"
Blade Length:    3.25"

When I opened the box, the very first thing I noticed was the incredibly strong aroma of oil-tanned leather. My initial though was 'Damn! An animal could smell that from ten miles away!' It's an awful smell, and while I know it's common to have a leather sheath, I dislike this sheath just on the smell alone. The build and functionality of the sheath is awesome, but to put it plainly, it stinks.

The one benefit to the oil-tanned leather was that the sheath was soft and pliable. When I had it attached to my belt and took it hiking, well, it felt very comfortable on my hip. It is also very lightweight. Rarely did I notice the weight as I walked. I have owned plenty of knives that weigh a ton. Heck, i still do, but having a lightweight blade is something to consider when hunting the backcountry. A lightweight, strong blade that holds an edge is a must!

The KOA Pronghorn is made out of D2 steel (which is incredibly strong) and the blade, right out of the box was insanely sharp. As I looked over the knife, I decided to clean it using alcohol, as opposed to soap and water (this will prevent your blades from corroding quickly) and then I went to my fridge. Inside, I was thawing out a venison shoulder roast. It was only halfway thawed and that was perfect for me to test out the knife. I opened the package, took the meat out and sliced through it with the Pronghorn. It didn't take much effort and I was hitting the cutting board with a perfect cut through half-frozen meat. Impressive! (I then cleaned it with soap and hot water. Then a quick swipe on each side with alcohol.)

The Suregrip on this knife is a very nice feature for a couple of reasons. The obvious one is that it is blaze orange. I've set my go-to knife down while gutting a deer before and lost sight of it in the leaves and branches. If you have yet to experience that, it's a sinking feeling to say the least. The Pronghorn handle almost glows against the backdrop of leaves and dirt. Even in low light it stands out. Plus one for that! How do I know this? Well...

Last year, I went hunting with some friends and one of them was fortunate enough to kill a nice deer. He was all ready to gut it when I volunteered to do it with the KOA Pronghorn. The funny stares were priceless. 

'You WANT to gut the deer? Have at it!'

So I did! I don't mind it and I really wanted to test out the Pronghorn in the field. Remember how I said I want a knife that cuts 'like buttah'? Yeah, this one lived up to that and more. Sure, the blade cuts like buttah, but the Suregrip allows you so much more flexibility and confidence. The grip is non-slippery, even when it gets wet with blood and water.  Yes, I said water because it had been raining and the grass around the deer was covered in condensation. I was still able to field dress this deer very quickly and the knife stayed put in my hand. I set the knife down a few times, in the tall, wet grass and not only found it right away, but the grip was sure. I was able to finish cutting and gutting in no time. The blade stayed wicked sharp throughout the entire process, too. I touched it up when I got home, but for what was needed in the field it worked great. (Again, I cleaned it well before putting it away.)

The other feature associated with the grip that I found useful was the finger grip cutout on the blade. You wrap your index finger around that and it secures it even more to your hand. It's yet another great way to prevent slippage. 

The MSRP on this knife is listed at $99.00 on the KOA website. Other retailers have it listed for $80.00 and that's a fair price, but I think for many DIY guys that's a bit steep. Would I pay $99.00 for this knife? Probably not. Would I pay $80.00? Sure I would. I own a few knives that I have had for nearly 20 years that perform superbly and cost less than $50. I think you are paying for the Knives of Alaska name, but it does have the Suregrip feature which is nice to have if you are hunting the backcountry or just on the family farm.

Overall, I give the Pronghorn a 4 out of 5. The sheath doesn't count, but if I were to rate that I'd give it a 2 out of 5 - that leather smell is nauseous!  That being said, the Knives of Alaska Pronghorn would be a great addition to anyone's pack.

Disclaimer: The reviews on The SoCal Bowhunter are solely my honest opinions. These products were either provided to me for the purpose of review or I purchased them myself. I receive no monetary compensation in exchange for these reviews.


  1. Sounds like a descent buy. Glad to read a review on something like this, you read the claims of staying Sharp, but seldom do you head it first had.

  2. I'm currently doing a review on the Knives of Alaska Muskrat! I own a Bush Camp and a Cub from KOA and love them. I'm expecting the Muskrat to hold up to the same quality as well.

    Nice post on the Pronghorn.

  3. Nice post. Found you via OBN. I use a KOA Coho filet knife for fileting my fish and it's a winner as well.

  4. That is an awesome knife. I am looking for something like that to go in my possibles bag.

  5. Good review, Al! I have heard good things about KOA knives. I am a huge Benchmade fan myself. Did you decide to take the sheath into the field with you, and just keep it in your pack or something?

  6. @Cody - Very good knife for the money.

    @Bill - Can't wait to read your review!

    @SoCalSalty - Welcome to the blog and happy to connect! OBN is a great resource. I have one other KOA knife and it's so sharp I have to take much care when opening it. It goes on ALL of my hunts.

    @Rick - Keep your eyes glued to the blog in the next couple days - there just might be a giveaway ins tore.

    @SoleAdventure - Benchmade makes some great knives, too! I did a couple of reviews on them last year. Very well built! I took the sheath into the field with me and kept it in my bag. I didn't see any animals near me, but I am guessing if I laid the knife down a bear might come in and want to eat it!

  7. Great review Al, I need to get a new knife for for game processing. My 40yr old PIC Bowie knife is a little bulky. Thanks BB

  8. Knives of Alaska make good blades! That appears to be a great knife for all kinds of hunting chores. Your review, as always, is detailed and provides all the necessary information. Excellent job, Al!

  9. Just got one myself. Can't wait to use this baby. I did not experience this nasty smell. The leather is very soft and for me, has little to no odor. Just the handle, weight and feel, it seems to be tops. I do feel the price was a tad steep and your right, reputable names cost money but, MADE IN THE USA is good too. Good hunting.

  10. I have KOA Bush camp & cub bear combo, These knives are of very good quality and shaving sharp right out of the box. I had another sheath made for the cub bear and plan on using it as everyday carry. I dont think it was to high priced the combo was 139.00 and you get two great knives the bush camp is a brute and will serve you well. I use a cold steel hawk for heavy chopping I dont baton my good knives thats what my hawk is for