Victorinox Ranger vs Huntsman – Outdoor Knives Comparison

The Victorinox Huntsman with all of its main tools unfolded

Swiss Army knives have been employed by the Swiss Army for a long time. They’ve proven their usefulness in the field, as well as EDC knives. They are light, quality-built multitools that can mean the world in a pinch. In addition to this, because of their size and weight, they will find a place in almost any backpack and pocket. Victorinox is probably the most well-known Swiss Army knife manufacturer. The company is famous worldwide and basically synonymous with the Swiss Amry knife.

The Ranger and the Huntsman are arguably the most famous models of Swiss Army knives. They provide the most necessary tools while keeping the weight to a minimum and the versatility to the max. They are similar in many aspects such as the handle length and the main tools in the knife. They also have a few differences when it comes to weight and the number of layers each tool has.

Ranger

The Ranger is a semi-bulky, five-layer pocket knife that is designed to handle any task you might encounter in everyday life, as well as on the trail. It weighs slightly over 4 ounces and has 12 tools packed inside, not counting the toothpick and the tweezers.

  • Length: 91mm (3.5 in)
  • Height: 23mm (0.9 in)
  • Weight: 118g (4.16 oz)
  • Layers: 5
  • Functions: 21
  • Handle material: ABS/scale

The functions are as follows. Keep in mind that there are 12 tools on the Ranger, but that some tools on the knife have more functions.

  1. large blade
  2. small blade
  3. can opener
  4. screwdriver 3 mm
  5. bottle opener
  6. screwdriver 6 mm
  7. wire stripper
  8. reamer, punch, and sewing awl
  9. corkscrew
  10. scissors
  11. wood saw
  12. nail file
  13. nail cleaner
  14. metal saw
  15. metal file
  16. screwdriver 2.5 mm
  17. chisel 4 mm
  18. multipurpose hook
  19. toothpick
  20. tweezers
  21. keyring

Additionally, the Victorinox Ranger supports a placement hole for a metal pin. It is located in the handle, under the corkscrew. Most models of the Ranger don’t come with the pin, but you can get it online for a couple of bucks.

Huntsman

The Huntsman is more popular than the Ranger, mostly because it’s lighter and provides roughly the same main toolset. It is a perfect everyday carry since it has everything you might need. It can be your main outdoor knife if you’re into ultralight camping and hiking. You can also use it as a backup blade for processing food and sourcing tinder when on the trail. The handle houses 9 tools, as well as the tweezers and the toothpick.

  • Length: 91mm (3.5 in)
  • Height: 21mm (0.8 in)
  • Weight: 97g (3.4  oz)
  • Layers: 4
  • Functions: 15
  • Handle material: ABS/scale

Similar to the Ranger, the Victorinox Huntsman also has more functions than there are tools on it. Many tools have more than one application.

  1. large blade
  2. small blade
  3. can opener
  4. screwdriver 3 mm
  5. bottle opener
  6. screwdriver 6 mm
  7. wire stripper
  8. reamer, punch, and sewing awl
  9. corkscrew
  10. scissors
  11. wood saw
  12. multipurpose hook
  13. toothpick
  14. tweezers
  15. keyring

Similarities Between the Victorinox Huntsman and the Ranger

Like almost all Victorinox knives, the Huntsman and the Ranger have a lot of similarities. After all, they were made by the same company to fulfill similar purposes and be used in similar situations.

Main Tools

The main tools are the same on both knives. These main tools include:

  • Large blade
  • Small blade
  • Saw
  • Scissors
  • Can opener/screwdriver 3mm
  • Bottle opener/screwdriver 6mm

Apart from these, there are a few auxiliary tools that are the same on both knives. Tools such as the corkscrew, universal hook, and reamer are present in almost all Victorinox knife models. This is basically the same as carrying a multitool with you when camping.

Additionally, both knives have unlockable blades. This means you cannot lock the large nor the small blade. This isn’t a dealbreaker issue, but it would be nice to have that extra security on the blade.

Finally, when it comes to the main tools, you cannot open them with one hand on either of these knives. Both the Ranger and the Huntsman require you to be able to use both hands if you want to get to the main tools. This is also less than ideal in the wild, where you might need to open a blade quickly with one hand while holding something else in the other. However, this type of blade deployment is what you can expect from most multitools, and the Victorinox knives are just that.

Made From the Same Materials

In addition to the same set of main tools, both knives and their handles are made from the same materials.

The blades, as well as other tools, are made from Victorinox stainless steel. This martensitic steel alloy is renowned for its hardness and durability. While it is not as hard as 1095, or other high carbon steel types, it is surprisingly durable and can handle a lot of wear and tear.

The handle is also the same on both models. It comes in ABS plastic or scale, and it contains housing for the toothpick and the tweezers. The handle is very durable and we have yet to hear of a single Victorinox handle to be broken or chipped. Also, the handle is the same length on both the Ranger and the Huntsman, about 3.5 inches.

Multipurpose and Application

The similarities between both models crown with their versatility. You can use them for simple tasks such as stripping the bark off a walking stick to making feather sticks for a fire. Also, for such small blades, they perform very well even when doing series tasks such as making stakes or carving wood. If you know what you’re doing and how to handle your gear, you can even use them for batoning firewood, but we do not suggest this.

Finally, with so many tools on a single handle, you can achieve a lot of things. From carrying bundles of firewood to punching holes in wood, leather, or cloth, both the Ranger and the Huntsman will perform beautifully.

A Victorinox Huntsman knife in front of a fire

How Is the Victorinox Ranger Different From the Huntsman?

While they are similar in a lot of ways, the Huntsman and the Ranger are not the same tools. Each comes with its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Overall Bulk

The Ranger is thicker and heavier than the Huntsman by 1/10 of an inch. While this may not seem like too much, in smaller hands it can make a huge difference in comfort and usability. This difference in height is due to the extra layer that the Ranger needs to house all of the tools it has.

Additionally, because of the same reason, the Ranger is slightly heavier than the Huntsman. The difference in weight isn’t that big and won’t affect you that much unless you’re going on an ultra ultralight trip and you’re counting every single gram that goes into your pack.

Auxiliary Tools

The other significant difference between these knives is that the Ranger provides a greater variety of auxiliary tools. For example, you will not find a wood chisel or a metal saw on the Huntsman, but the Ranger has them both. While these tools may not be the most relevant in a survival situation, some campers believe that it’s better to have them and not need them instead of needing them and not having them.

We’ve tested both of the knives in question and we believe that the wood chisel is a nice touch, especially since it can double as a small file and an additional screwdriver in a pinch.

On the other hand, the metal saw and file is not the best way to cut through metal. Sure, it will cut through, but it requires a lot of effort and patience. It takes about 15 minutes of hard, non-stop sawing for it to go through a standard pointy screw. That is a lot of time and energy consumed. But, it can serve as another saw, in a pinch.

Why You Should Use a Swiss Army Knife on Your Adventures

It’s always useful to have a multitool with you when you’re out and about. And Victorinox Swiss Army knives are some of the best multitools out there. Using one is as your primary blade is also an option, but it will require a lot of skill and experience.

We do not suggest taking either the Ranger or the Huntsman as the primary blade for your adventure unless you have a  lot of experience in the wild and a lot of experience using either of these knives.

However, there are situations where a Swiss Army knife will be the perfect choice for your main blade. For example, most of their knives are very lightweight, especially if you consider how many tools they can replace. This is why they are the blades of choice for most ultralight campers and hikers.

These types of knives also provide a lot of versatility and are good for basic bushcraft tasks as well as some finer carving and food preparation. This is a great plus if you already have a different main blade and need something that you can clean easily and use to make and eat your lunch on the trail.

Disadvantages of Using a Swiss Army Knife in the Wild

Unfortunately, no tool is completely perfect for all situations in any set of conditions. If there was a tool like this, everyone would buy it and only it. And while Swiss Army knives are a great solution, they do come with their own limitations.

The Swiss Army knife is a jack of all trades, but a master of none. While they do well in many different situations, they’re not particularly great at any single one. So, if you expect you’ll need a specialized tool on your trip, you might want to look for a different solution.

Additionally, they are not the sturdiest blades. Sure, they are extremely durable for their size and width, but they are also more likely to break if handled incorrectly. So, they are great for striking the fire steel and landing those sparks on the char cloth to light a fire, but not the best solution for heavy-duty tasks such as batoning and chopping. And if you try to use them as levers, to pry something open, they will almost certainly break. Either the blade will snap, or the joint where it opens will give out. In any case, you’ll be left without a tool.

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