If you ever told me I’d have a $200 paring knife in my kitchen, I’d have said you were nuts. But then again, if you said I’d have a $200 hunting knife in my kill kit, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.
Well, now I have both, and it’s the same knife. It might be an accident, but the Benchmade Flyway hunting knife is my favorite small kitchen knife of all time. And yes, it’s fantastic in the field, too.
In short: The Benchmade Flyway is a small hunting knife with a premium CPM-154 blade sharpened to a 14-degree SelectEdge sharpness. This scalpel-like knife is perfect for cleaning small game like pheasants, grouse, rabbits, and waterfowl. It could certainly handle cleaning big game. too. And it doubles as an absolutely fantastic tool in the kitchen.
A True Field-to-Table Knife
What makes a great small-game hunting knife? To me, it needs a very solid and ergonomic handle first. That’s because I make very careful cuts to clean the delicate meat found on birds and smaller mammals. Critters like grouse are small, and you want to get every bit of that valuable meat harvested from the carcass.
A razor-sharp blade is also a requirement. I like a drop point with a modest belly, which allows for precise, clean cutting and trimming.
And a blaze orange handle and sheath certainly don’t hurt. I love bright-color knives outdoors, which helps them stand out from the rest of my kit.
The Flyway blends all these attributes seamlessly into a great hunting knife. Its only downside is that the small size may make it undergunned for big game. And with just a 2.7-inch blade, it’s too short for much survival-style use like batoning firewood. But frankly, that isn’t why Benchmade made this knife. It built it to be an upland and waterfowl hunter’s dream, and there, it excels.
I’ve used it to process a dozen or so meals of pheasant and grouse so far this year. I usually use it at home, after taking field-dressed birds out of the freezer and preparing them for the skillet or oven. It’s perfect for this job, which led me to the realization that it’s a really sweet kitchen knife.
A Hunting Knife in the Kitchen
So, what exactly is a paring knife? For most folks, it’s one of the smaller knives in the cutting block. I don’t use it nearly as often as my Shun 8-inch Chef’s Knife. That’s the daily driver. But for smaller, more detailed work, the Benchmade Flyway is a go-to.
I stumbled upon this use after leaving the knife in the kitchen after cleaning some pheasants from a South Dakota hunting trip. I needed to make some fine cuts to a tomato for a salad and remembered it was in the drawer. Wow, I thought, as I enjoyed slicing through the vegetables with one of the sharpest knives I own. This thing was perfect. Then, I used it to devein some shrimp. Yep, it’s staying in my kitchen.
All the attributes that make it a great hunting knife — a wonderful G10 handle, aggressive jimping on the spine, and a fine point — add to its utility in the kitchen. Compare this to the relatively mediocre steel and handle material in most kitchen knives (the top paring knife on the internet is listed as using just “stainless steel” in its blade) and the light bulb should turn on for any knife nut.
Benchmade Flyway Final Thoughts
So, should you buy one for your own kitchen? Well, I’ll be the first to say that a $200 paring knife is over the top. But it becomes a lot easier to justify as a hunting knife that needs to withstand the rigors of the field.
The kitchen use is an awesome bonus that brings me daily joy during the 9 months of the year that aren’t hunting season.
And it’s worth noting that Benchmade will resharpen this knife for you, for life. That’s pretty important given that this steel is very hard to dull, and also hard to sharpen. A once-a-year trip to the factory will keep it hair-splitting sharp.
So, if you are considering a dedicated upland bird and small game knife, the Flyway is great. And if you need a little convincing on the price, well, remember you can add it to your kitchen and have quite possibly the nicest paring knife ever made.