Bowie knife has been designed by Colonel James Matthew Bowie in the 19th century as an alternative to heavy portable knives that was mainly used then. His new design made the knife look heavier and much longer than a common dagger yet much shorter than a standard sabre.
Professionals describe the bowie knife as a knife that must be sharp enough to be used as a razor, have enough width to double as a paddle and long enough to be used as a sword. With these characteristics, it is no wonder the bowie knife has become so popular especially that the curved, thin and very sharp tip helps hunters skin carcasses fast and precisely.
Moreover, the flat section of the knife can be used to slice or chop other types of meat or even wood. Having one such knife will drastically reduce the number of tools an average camper or hiker will need to carry with them. Furthermore, Bowie knives are always made with stainless steel blades that are longer than 6 inches hence you can use the bowie knife as a hatchet or as a chopping knife to cut down the wood so as to keep the campfire burning.
Top 10 Best Bowie Knife Reviews in 2023
Mossy Oak Fixed Blade Bowie Knife
This stunning knife is a massive 15 inches in length. Despite that, it’s only about 17 ounces in weight. So if you’ve been looking for a lightweight Bowie knife that’s not going to add extra burden, this Mossy Oak knife is the way to go.
The blade itself is massive, measuring an impressive 10 inches in length. While 440 stainless steel isn’t something to write home about, coupled with the serration on the spine and black anodization, it’s quite perfect as a survival knife or hunting knife.
As the blade is rather long, it means the handle is a little on the short side. Despite that, the classically designed rubber handle provides a comfortable and soft grip. The knife also comes with a versatile nylon sheath, a firestarter, and a sharpener, making the knife perfect for the outdoors.
- Great for bushwork
- Great value for money
- Well constructed body
- Rust and corrosion-resistant
- Easy to sharpen and maintain
- The blade is not very thick
Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife
Timbler Rattler is a very popular knife among individuals who hike or camp regularly plus the knife is great for self-defence and hunting. The knife is very durable, well balanced despite its big size and surprisingly affordable for a knife of this quality. The blade is made from durable stainless steel that is 11 inches long and 0.6 inches wide moreover it has a full tang that is a little rugged to be able to handle hard duty work.
Furthermore, the blade is easy to clean, sharpen and store in the fabric sheath. However, customers have reported the knife is hard to sharpen mainly because the blade was not designed to be a high precision knife. The manufacturer has stated that this Timbler Rattler was developed for camping and hiking with light regular work.
The handle is made from a hardwood material that was painted grey for a modern and sleek look. The customers have reported the knife to be very balanced and comfortable to grip. The knife comes with a leather sheath that has been designed to snugly fit the knife and protect it from any damage.
- Reputable manufacturer
- The durable and thick blade does not chip
- Leather sheath cover
- Suitable for cutting logs
- Not suitable for hard duty cutting
- Very heavy and long
Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie Knife
The Ka-Bar Becker K9 bowie knife has an overall length of 14.5 inches making it one of the largest bowie knives on the market. However, it does have a durable long clip point on the blade that can be used for opening jars and other small things making it very useful during camping or hiking trips.
The blade itself is quite thick at 3.5 inches and as reported has a high flat grind with a black powder nitride coating for added durability. Customers can choose between the black and premium clear coating at no additional costs.
The coating is thick thus perfectly protects the knife from rusting or corrosion especially during rainy weather. The coating, however, has been reported to wear off with time plus the blade is not very sharp thus do not count on using it to prepare meals or cut wood.
- Long stainless steel blade
- The optimal thickness of 3.5 inches
- Great for camping and hiking
- Does not corrode or rust
- The handle was reported to become slippery when wet
- Does not slice or cut well
- Comes without a sheath
Schrade SCHF45 Leroy Bowie Knife
The Schrade Bowie knife has a very attractive and intimidating look to it with a balanced and comfortable handle despite its big size and heavyweight. Moreover, the belt sheath has been reported to be very durable as it is made from a high-quality nylon material that will perfectly protect the blade when the knife is not in use.
The knife is held in place by a hook and loop strap that is attached to the nylon sheath plus there are grommet holes and slots for straps so as to provide plenty of other lashing options. The blade itself is made from titanium coated carbon stainless steel blade that is a little over 11 inches in length.
Customers have reported this knife resembling the traditional bowie blade knife as it too features a clip-point with a sleek swedge along the spine of the blade. Furthermore, the handle is covered with an anti-slip layer that will prevent the knife from slipping during use regardless of weather conditions.
- Sleek look with a durable design
- Anti-slip nylon handle
- Titanium coated carbon stainless steel blade
- Easy to control the blade and use in any weather conditions
- Too big to be carried on the belt
- Some customers have reported the blade chipping when large chunks of wood were cut
- The thin blade that is not suitable for serious camping tasks
Elite Survival Bowie Knife
Elite 12 inch bowie knife will be a great option for outdoor lovers that are on a tight budget plus it can make a good gift too. According to professionals, a best bowie knife should be at least 6 inches in length as it will be the most manageable. Plus, Elite 12 inch Bowie knives feature a 7 inches wide stainless steel blade that is one of the most reviewed tactical blades currently on the market.
However, the tang is made out of plastic albeit a strong plastic that most customers noted was durable and long-lasting. Moreover, it has a good weight that helps obtain the right balance when chopping thick wood or cutting wide branches of trees. Survivalists have reported that this Elite 12 inch knife is best kept as a back-up one and not used for main duties.
- Black anodized stainless steel blade
- ABS sheath can be used to carry the knife on the leg strap
- Pretty design
- Plastic handle
- Will not baton hardwood
United Cutlery USMC Marine Bowie Knife
United Cutlery has been a long-time manufacturer of the army and marine knives hence they have garnered a loyal customer following around the world. The blade is made of one piece tang stainless steel piece that has been reported to be super durable and great for batoning, cutting and chopping.
The blade is on the larger size at 11.5 inches however this does not make the unbalanced or very heavy to hold. Over-moulded rubber makes the handle anti-slip. It is especially useful during rainy weather. Plus, the knife comes with a nylon sheath that has a snap closure and can be carried on the belt.
- Over-moulded rubber handle
- Great for cutting and chopping
- Trustable brand
- Long blade
- The blade is rather dull and needs to be sharpened
- Made in Taiwan
- Very heavy compared to other models
Buck Knives 124 Frontiersman Knife
Buck knives are made with razor-sharp bowie blades that have solid edge retention and are coated in an anti-corrosion layer so you can be sure that this knife will serve you for years to come. The knife has an overall length of 11 inches however the blade is only 6 and a half inches and will be suitable for hunting enthusiasts as well as avid fishermen and campers.
The handle is made with black coloured Micarta material that has been curved to have enough palm swells so that your grip would feel comfortable. Plus, the handle helps keep the knife well balanced as well as adds to its overall beauty. Moreover, the manufacturer has included a genuine leather sheath with a snap closure for easy and safe storage.
- High-quality blade and handle
- Micarta coated handle
- Well balanced with optimal weight
- 11 inches total length
- Leather sheath
- Sheath straps quickly snapped
- The blade has to be sharpened
Survivor HK-766T Bowie Knife
A solid 9-inch knife made in the USA with a premium stainless steel blade, that is highly resistant to rust and corrosion. Plus, I would recommend this for avid survivalist and outdoor lovers. It has a sturdy and balanced handle made with anti-slip material that is easy to clean and does not slip in rainy weather.
Moreover, this knife comes with a beautiful sheath made out of real leather that you can use to carry your knife on the belt. Intricate needlework covers the sheath and will make a great gift for cold weapon enthusiasts.
- Beautiful knife
- Acceptable price for this high-quality knife
- The US-made stainless steel blade
- Easy to clean and anti-slip handle
- Needs to be sharpened frequently
- Available in one design only
- Available in one blade size only
Cold Steel 39LSWB Marauder Knife
Cold Steel Marauder Bowie knife has a beautiful rugged surface. Customers reported it to be very reliable and relentless. The blade is very big with an extremely sharp Japanese razor. Hence, this bowie knife is great for slicing, chopping and cutting. A balanced and comfortable quillion handle encases the blade. Lastly, you can fasten the knife to a backpack or a belt.
- Japanese blade
- Durable handle
- Can be fastened to a belt or the backpack
- Plastic knife guard
- Made in China
- The small sheath that does not fit
SOG SB1T-L Super Bowie Knife
SOG Bowie 7 inch fixed knife is made from straight edge clip point stainless steel blade that has been modelled off the knife models that were used by the British military during the Vietnam War. Moreover, the stainless steel used in the production of the blade is sourced from Australia and is coated in a thin layer of Titanium Nitride for added durability and a modern look.
Plus, the SOG knife features a full tang that spreads through the entire anti-slip handle that is wrapped in beautiful brown real leather for perfect grip. Also, the packaging box contains a sharpening stone that is easy to use to sharpen the blade once it starts to wear. In addition to a sharpening stone, the box contains a leather sheath for safe storage and easy attachment to the belt.
- The blade is made from Australian stainless steel
- Beautiful leather sheath
- Titanium nitride coating for added durability
- Modelled after authentic knives used during the Vietnam War
- The sheath was reported to be too small
- The knife is made in Taiwan
How to Choose the Best Bowie Knife?
Firstly, look at the size of the bowie knife because if the blade is too big or long then you will have a lesser ability to use the knife. Simple yet useful tasks such as skinning a small animal or cutting smaller firewood. However, if you are planning on using your best bowie knife to chop or baton wood. Then a smaller size blade might be exactly what you need.
Secondly, always look to buy a bowie knife with a fixed blade rather than an EDC blade as a fixed blade is far more durable and reliable in the long run. Remember, that any joints are practically major knife weakness points hence by choosing a one-piece blade you are ensuring yourself that you will never find yourself in the wild with a broken knife.
Moreover, buying just a fixed blade knife is not enough. Potential buyers should look for a full tang blade. Other types of tang include the half tang, rat tang or push tang knives that with time tend to loosen and sort of “play” in the handle. Therefore, a full tang stainless steel knife is the best investment you can make when buying the best bowie knife on the market.
Buying Guide for Getting Yourself a Quality Bowie Knife
Bowie knives are used around the world for various purposes. They are versatile tools that can be used as hunting weapons or conventional tools. If you want to perform a kill or cut anything during camping, the Bowie knife comes in handy. There are various Bowie knives on the market, and it might be tricky getting the right knife that fits your needs. With this guide, you can select the best one for your needs.
The truth is, a Bowie knife is not complete with an ergonomic handle. The essence of ergonomics is to ensure the user exercises complete control when using the knife. If you don’t have a profound grip on the knife, it might slip off, or you could injure yourself in the process. Hence, you have to watch out for bowie knives with good handles that provide a good user experience.
A Bowie knife has to be made with materials that ensure sharpness and durability. If you use soft materials, they can break at any time. To opt for durable and quality materials, it is best to opt for either high-carbon steel or stainless steel bowie knives. Using these materials ensures the blade retains its sharp edge for a long while.
A Bowie knife can have a minimum blade length of 5 inches and a maximum length of 15 inches. Bowie knives with larger blade lengths come with an enhanced cutting edge, and they are useful for heavy-duty tasks. In comparison, smaller blades are perfect for high-precision tasks like deboning or skinning. For defense purposes, you need a bowie knife with a smaller blade.
Not all Bowie knives come with a sheath, so you have to look out for this. A knife sheath is a good accessory that helps to retain the blade’s sharpness. And with the strap, you can fix the sheath on your belt or leg.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What Makes a Good Bowie Knife?
A: Three qualities that mark a proper Bowie knife are:
- A large and conspicuous clip-point blade, preferably with serration along the spine or partial serration on edge.
- A full tang construction. Anyone who knows anything about Bowie knives would tell you that a knife with anything less than a full tang shouldn’t be categorized as a Bowie.
- The last is a fingerguard, which keeps the user’s hand safe from cuts while they’re hacking away vigorously.
Some people also consider a wooden handle essential for a Bowie knife, but that’s debatable. Nowadays, more comfortable and durable materials are being used to make knife handles, and they’re far more practical than wood.
Q: What Is the Best Steel for a Bowie Knife?
A: Since you would need the Bowie knife to take quite a bit of abuse, you would need it to be quite sturdy. This is why instead of the more traditional carbon steel, more and more Bowie knives are being made of improved versions of stainless steel.
Q: Is a Bowie Knife a Good Survival Knife?
A: Bowie knives are excellent as survival tools. The full tang construction makes them perfect for heavy-duty use. Moreover, since modern Bowie knives are lightweight, they’re perfect for camping, hiking, and hunting trips.
In addition to all the points mentioned above, look for an exposed tang when buying the best bowie knife as this is possibly the best guarantee that you will purchase a real full tang knife that will not break with time. Also, outdoor enthusiasts recommend expecting the knife blade for any joints and if possible, avoid buying the knife if it has any because joints are knives most vulnerable points.