Montana Knife Company | Working Knives for Working People

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Montana Knife Company | Working Knives for Working People

Josh Smith started making his own knives at the age of 11, which he funded himself by mowing lawns before and after school. After years of hard work and dedication, he went on to join the American Bladesmith Society (ABS). By the age of 15, he became the youngest Journeyman knife maker in the world, and by the age of 19, he officially became the youngest Master bladesmith in the world. It was during that period that he registered the name of the company, Montana Knife Company, with the state of Montana.

Fast-forwarding many years, Josh’s wife Jessica encouraged him to quit his job and pursue his passion and dreams by launching Montana Knife Company. Josh began making some prototypes and around the same time met Brandon Horoho, who became his business partner and co-founder. Together, Brandon and Josh started creating marketing materials and more prototypes, and on January 1, 2021, they both quit their full-time jobs to go all in with Montana Knife Company.

In just two years, MKC has taken off like a rocket ship, and they’ve done it all without a single outside investor. It has grown completely organically into one of the most talked about brands in all of the hunting industry. Their limited drops of knives have consistently sold out in minutes (yes, I said minutes)! The quality, practicality, and durability of their knives have been unmatched, but people have also loved getting to know Josh and Brandon as great people. They continue to amaze their customers with giving back to the community, uplifting other brands, and standing true to who they are and what they believe in. No matter how big MKC gets, Josh and Brandon are always interacting with each and every customer with a genuine smile and appreciation. These are just a few reasons why so many people, me included, have been rooting for them to succeed.

Unapologetically American

Montana Knife Company makes and sources 100% of all of their materials here in America. Their knives are always built, manufactured, assembled, finished, and sharpened in the United States. They have stated many times that outsourcing overseas is non-negotiable, and regardless of the higher cost of goods to do this, they will never make knives overseas. That’s a promise you just don’t hear much these days. They stand completely behind their products (more on that later…), and customer service is a priority to them, not an inconvenience.

They have stayed rooted in Montana, and Josh, having grown up hunting and fishing on the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, knew the importance of making hunting knives for hunters to use as effective tools, and not as mantel display pieces. Montana Knife Company is composed of real people who hunt, fish, shoot, and practice what they preach. In fact, every knife is named after different places, animals, and mountain ranges in Montana. They are devoted to making knives that you can pass down to the next generation. The intention is for you to use your knives with purpose and function, and these hunting knives are built as rugged tools. Having the confidence that the quality knife that you use to break down wild game will surely be an heirloom, is a special feeling.

Stonewall Skinner

I had previously always used very small blades in my kill kits (both for weight savings and for packability), but after every animal was skinned and gutted, I found myself working twice as hard with a smaller knife. The ergonomics of a small blade and handle were always uncomfortable in my hand. They would lose their blade retention more quickly than expected, which resulted in me carrying several smaller knives as backups. I was fed up with the unpleasant experience and wanted just one durable and dependable skinning knife that would be able to handle anything.

Having learned about the Montana Knife Company story, quality, and vision, I decided it was time to get my hands on one of these to put it to the test. I knew that I wasn’t going to count ounces. After all, one slightly heavier knife that works is lighter than two or three that don’t. I wanted a knife that would make skinning, gutting, caping, and cutting meat an enjoyable process again. For that reason, I opted for the Stonewall Skinner, which was named after Stonewall Mountain in Lincoln, Montana where Josh grew up.

Having seen many pictures of the Stonewall prior to choosing it, I wasn’t surprised at how greatlooking a knife it was when I received it in the mail. However, what I didn’t expect was how amazing it felt in the hand. The ergonomics of the G-10 handle and the overall balance of the weight of the knife were astounding–by far the best feeling knife I have ever held. The deeper belly on this blade was designed specifically to be the workhorse of the knife, providing you with longer slices on hide and meat. This allows the blade to do the work it was intended to do. The tip of the blade was made to have a bit of a drop point if you needed to do any caping, but the deep belly lets you use the entire length of the knife to your advantage.

The Stonewall Skinner can be purchased in two blade material options, ball-bearing steel and Magnacut stainless steel, but I chose the option made of 52100 ball-bearing steel. Ball-bearing steel has an excellent wear rating and gives you an edge that holds up very well to constant use but is still very easy to resharpen. The blade of the Stonewall Skinner is 4 ¾ inches long, with an overall length of 9 ¼ inches, and an overall weight of 5.5 ounces. At .135” thick at the spine, this blade is stronger than any task you’d throw at it, yet at only .15” thick at the edge, the knife will easily cut through any animal like butter. In fact, my Stonewall Skinner was used to completely break down two mule deer within a day of each other without sharpening. It worked as flawlessly on the second buck as it did with the first. The Stonewall was the only knife used, and I was remarkably happy with how it performed in the field. Each knife is equipped with a G-10 handle (several different color choices), which is exceptionally tough and hard-wearing. My handle was exposed to thick brush, jagged rocks, and debris over the entirety of several long and demanding hunts in the unforgiving deserts of Arizona, and it remained completely undamaged. When entirely covered in blood, the handle does not slip in the hand and retains an excellent grip when breaking down your kill.

Each knife also comes with a Kydex sheath that is vacuum form molded to the exact profile of the knife, providing a very responsive click into and out of the sheath. It has a quick-attach belt loop that can be applied horizontally or vertically, and it is fully adjustable to be used with any hunting pack or system. I personally attach my Kydex sheath vertically to use on my hunting pack shoulder strap (left side so when I take the knife out of the sheath the edge is always pointed away from my person).

The Generations Promise

Montana Knife Company doesn’t just stop at a phenomenal American-made product, they back up their customers and their knives with the “MKC Generations Promise” for the lifetime of your knife. Their knives are made to be used as tools. That means getting them bloodied, dirty, and scratched up. When you do, you can send them to MKC, and they will restore your knife to its original working condition. They’ll completely clean, repair, and sharpen your knives…for free. To get the full Montana Knife Company experience, I decided to send my Stonewall Skinner to them after my season’s hunts came to an end to try out this Generations Promise for myself. It took less than a week to get my knife back to my front door in brand-new packaging, cleaned and sharpened. It’s ready for its next adventure thanks to Montana Knife Company and their devotion to their customers.

If you’re in the market for a durable, high-quality knife that can handle any big game that you throw at it, and that you can pass down to your children and grandchildren, then look no further than Montana Knife Company. While it’s the last knife you’ll ever need, you’ll probably find yourself wanting all of the knives in their collection.


Pedram Parvin

Pedram has lived in Arizona most of his life and his strong passion for hunting and the outdoors have led him to Western Hunter’s marketing team. Pedram wears a lot of hats within Western Hunter, and when he isn’t putting various gear to the test, you can find him spending time with his family.

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