The Bowie knife is an iconic blade that has been around since the mid-1800s. It is a large, fixed-blade knife that is usually carried in a sheath. Bowie knives generally have a cross-guard and a clip-point blade. This knife was originally designed as a fighting blade but has a number of other uses. The size and shape make it well-suited as a hunting and skinning knife. It is also great as an all-purpose survival tool. Bowie knives can even be used for processing wood and food. We will be taking a look at the top five Bowie knives available today.
An Introduction To Bowie Knives
The Bowie knife has a long and fascinating history. The knife is named after the famous pioneer, Jim Bowie. Bowie played a large part in the Texas Revolution and died in the Battle of the Alamo. He was born in Kentucky in 1796 but spent much of his life in Louisiana. Bowie became something of a folk hero after his famous Sandbar Fight in 1827. What started out as a formal duel, ended up as a large brawl. Bowie was seriously wounded by both blade and bullets, but managed to kill a man with his own knife. His prowess with blades lead to the fame of the Bowie knife.
The first Bowie knife was created for Jim Bowie by James Black. James Black was a famous knife maker and blacksmith who made the blade, but the design was, in fact, Bowie’s. When Bowie returned to Texas with his new knife, he was attacked by three would-be assassins. Bowie fought off and killed all three men, furthering his legendary status as a knife fighter.
Jim Bowie continued to refine the design of his knife throughout his lifetime. Today, there are hundreds of manufacturers making Bowie knives. They are still extremely popular with knife collectors, hunters, and outdoorsmen.
Choosing Your Bowie Knife
The following list includes our top picks for the best Bowie knives available. We will start with the number five choice and count down to the best overall.
The Natchez Bowie knife from Cold Steel has an enormous 11 3/4 inch blade with a 5 3/8 inch handle. The blade is made of 0-1 High Carbon Steel.
The handle is made of polished Black Micarta. Micarta is one of the most durable materials that a handle can be made from. The only downside to this handle is that it is quite smooth, which makes for a less-than-perfect grip. The blades are heat treated, precision ground and tempered for great strength and edge retention.
This knife has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $299.99, but it can be found for just under $190.00.
The Magnum 26 Bowie knife is handcrafted in Spain from 440c steel. It has a rating of 54-58 degrees on the Rockwell Hardness Scale. The blade length is approximately 10 1/4 inches long. The total length is over 16 inches. The blade comes super sharp and retains its edge even after heavy use.
This knife features a real crown stag handle with a solid brass guard. The handle not only gives the knife a beautiful look, but it also provides a great gripping surface. This Bowie knife comes with a handcrafted leather sheath and a lifetime warranty.
The average cost of this model is around $500.00.
Buck has one of the best lifetime warranties in the business. They will repair or replace knives for almost any reason with no questions asked. The Frontiersman Bowie has a blade length of 6 1/2 inches and an overall length of 11 3/4 inches. The size is perfect for hunting, outdoor survival or self-defense.
The blade is made of 420HC steel for excellent strength and edge retention. A satin finish provides good protection from corrosion. The Micarta handle is textured and has finger grips for an ergonomic feel. The pommel and finger guard is made of sturdy aluminum.
This high-quality Bowie knife is a bargain at around $110.00.
This knife has an AUS-8 steel blade that is easy to sharpen while still maintaining an edge for a long time. The clip-point blade is 7 1/2 inches long and the overall length is just under 13 inches.
A Titanium Nitride coating protects the blade from scratches and corrosion. The finish is dark and non-reflective. It should hold up to a lot of outdoor use in any climate. The brown handle is constructed of leather washers. This gives the knife a nice grip and feel. A real leather sheath is included along with a lifetime warranty.
This Bowie knife from SOG costs around $220.00.
Legendary knife makers Ka-Bar top off our list with the BK9 Bowie Knife. Ka-Bar is known for its famous USMC Combat Knives. The Becker BK9 takes that iconic design and improves upon it. One of the only weaknesses of the USMC knife was its thing tang. The BK9 has a full-size tang that even protrudes past the end of the handle. This can be used for hammering or prying tasks.
The leather handles of the USMC Knife has been replaced here with a more durable Grivory material. This handle is not susceptible to moisture damage like the leather ones. The knife is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel. This is a great steel for hardness and edge retention. The handle has an ergonomic design. A finger guard and jimping make any tasks easy to achieve.
The fit and finish on this knife are second to none. There is even a 7-inch model if you prefer something a bit smaller. The BK9 costs around $96.00.
Our number one choice is not only of the highest quality but is budget friendly as well. This makes the Ka-Bar a great value. Please let us know what your favorite Bowie models are.