We might earn income from the merchandise obtainable on this web page and take part in affiliate packages. Study extra ›

Up to date Feb 16, 2023 7:34 AM

Created within the nineteenth century by grasp knife maker Jim Bowie, the primary bowie knives had been constructed for hand-to-hand fight. Bowie made a buzz round his knife construct in 1827 when he used the knife within the “Sandbar Struggle,” and it’s develop into an American icon since. 

In fact, what over-40-year-old didn’t desire a bowie knife of his personal after watching Sylvestor Stallone use one within the October 1982 thriller, First Blood. The query, although, for a lot of who spend time outside searching, tenting, fishing, and so forth., is: Do I want a bowie knife, and are they practical? The reply is: Sure. Why? Bowie knives are full-tang fixed-blade knives with lengths sometimes between 11 and 18 inches. The mounted blades are normally thick and sharp, and the deal with has a circumference that enables the consumer to deploy torque to the blade. A bowie value its salt may even have some weight, and it’ll include a protecting sheath.

Other than their construct, bowie knives serve a number of outside functions. When you’ve got a sturdy bowie readily available, you may scale and intestine a fish, chop by way of wooden, and pores and skin an elk. I’ve used my bowie knife to carve pine tent poles, and put a rubber mallet on the butt cap of the deal with to poke further holes in a leather-based harness. Hours later, I used the identical knife to intestine a half-dozen salmon. A very good bowie knife will serve a number of functions. If you happen to ought to ever end up in a self-defense state of affairs, you may pull a Pual Hogan in Crocodile Dundee and say, “That’s not a knife; that’s a knife,” whenever you pull your bowie from its sheath. Whether or not it’s as a multipurpose searching and fishing knife, or survival and self-defense, the perfect bowie knives can deal with no matter you ask of them. 

How I Selected The Finest Bowie Knives

No, I didn’t check each knife talked about within the awards part. I did beat on a number of of them, which had been famous within the “Why It Made the Reduce” sections. Others had been chosen based mostly on suggestions from different trusted outside folks. 

If the knife can clear a fish, intestine, and pores and skin a deer and proved useful round camp, it was labeled a strong bowie knife. In fact, lesser bowie knives with brittle blades, blades that received’t maintain an edge, and fashions with slender, breakable handles had been rapidly sifted by way of and discarded. If the knife was given an award, there was a motive for it, and you’ll belief it as a strong knife that can serve the needs indicated within the assessment. 

The Finest Bowie Knives: Opinions & Suggestions

Finest Total: Ka-Bar U.S. Marine Corps Bowie Knife

Finest Total

Why It Made the Reduce: This top-end bowie knife has been round since World Conflict II, and it’s nonetheless vital merchandise for a lot of bowie knife homeowners, me included. The length-to-weight ratio is good — you get maneuverability, power, and dependability on this full-tang fixed-blade knife. 

Key Options

  • Leather-based deal with materials
  • 11.875 inches lengthy
  • .165 blade thickness


  • 56-58 Rockwell Hardness
  • Sturdiness
  • Maneuverability


  • Sheath
  • Deal with will get slippery

A top-end bowie knife that’s been round since World Conflict II, the Ka-Bar U.S. Marine Corps Bowie Knife is sturdy and versatile. The straight-edge knife is fitted with a 7-inch blade and branded with an total size of 11.875 inches. The full weight is .7 kilos. The butt cap/guard is sturdy 12GA commercial-grade carbon metal, which I admire as I’ve hammered on this butt cap greater than as soon as with rocks, logs, and rubber mallets.

One other win is the blade thickness and blade width duo. This 1.188-inch-thick blade holds an edge, and its thickness permits it to cut if wanted. It really works in addition to a fish scaler because it does for camp chores, and the gapped leather-based deal with provides the knife an important match and really feel in hand. The leather-based sheath, moreover being branded with the USMC image, is common as sheaths go, however this bowie is an amazing total knife that any severe bowie knife lover ought to have.

Greatest and Baddest: Condor Undertaker Bowie Knife

Greatest and Badest

Condor Undertaker Bowie Knife is the biggest and badest.

Why It Made the Reduce: The 5-inch excessive carbon metal blade is what catches the attention with this knife, however the smaller options are to not be missed. A walnut blade with gold pin attachments and a very good skill to carry an edge make this beast a great all-rounder. 

Key Options

  • 10.125-inch 1075 carbon metal blade
  • 15.5 inches lengthy
  • 5.0 mm blade thickness


  • Brawny construct
  • Joe Flowers design
  • Sharp


  • Slightly too heavy
  • Sub-par sheath

First, check out it. The Condor Undertaker boasts a traditional bowie look and is often priced between $120-$130 (although it’s underneath $100 at Amazon, proper now). The guard is lengthy and heavy, a superb characteristic for a knife with this blade kind, and I really like the walnut deal with with a number of gold pin attachments. This knife gives a number of brawn, however I’ve had quite a few hunters inform me they’ve skinned and gutted animals with it.

The blade is hand-sharpened, and the excessive carbon metal holds a superb edge. The knife gives an intimidating look, and it doesn’t harm to have it mendacity round camp in its welted leather-based sheath when some nosey camp neighbors come to look issues over. The knife is heavy, which can rob a few of its self-defense worth, however should you’re a beast and have some arm power, this can be the bowie you need if a pick-stickin’ match begins. 

Finest Price range: Buck Knives 119 Particular Knife

Finest Price range

Buck Knives 119 Special Knife is the best bowie knife on a budget.

Why It Made the Reduce: You’ll be able to’t consider bowie knives and never consider Buck Knives. The knife comes with Buck’s Perpetually Guarantee, and total size, blade size, and weight work in concord to make a superb do-all bowie knife that can serve you properly. You’ll be hard-pressed to spend a greater $70.

Key Options

  • Warmth-treating system
  • Black phenolic grip
  • 420HC chrome steel blade


  • Longevity
  • Made within the USA
  • Worth


  • Deal with can get slippery
  • Sheath is beneath common

This was my first-ever bowie, and I nonetheless use it. Designed by legendary knife maker Hoyt Buck, the 119 Particular is a wonderful bowie go-to. Buck notes on their web site that its knives should not for use as hammers, chisels, pry bars, screwdrivers, and so forth., however I’ve used this knife for all of these issues. The blade holds a good edge, the deal with with finger cradles promotes a strong grip, and I really like the butt cap. 

The knife has an total size of 10.5 inches, and the blade has been heat-treated to make sure a extra pronounced edge, ease of resharpening, and sturdiness. Blade thickness is .175, and blade size is 6 inches. The sheath might be higher, however the knife carries a Perpetually Guarantee, and the phenolic deal with options finger grips that assist you get a great maintain. The knife feels good within the hand and can be utilized for numerous functions. 

Finest with Damascus Blade: Bear & Son Cutlery Bowie

Finest with Damascus Blade

Bear & Son Cutlery Bowie is the best bowie knife with Damascus blade.

Why It Made the Reduce: Shy of 15 inches in whole size, the knife is a real bowie, and the 9-inch Damascus blade married with the India Stag Bone deal with makes it a stunner. The brass guard is beefy and prevents the hand from slipping down on the 58-60 Rockwell blade.  

Key Options

  • Indian Stag bone deal with
  • Excessive-definition Damascus blade
  • Fast-release leather-based sheath


  • Racy look
  • Extremely-sharp
  • Snug deal with
  • Sturdy


It’s dear, however a searching buddy I respect enormously advised me, “That is the perfect searching and tenting knife I’ve ever used. It’s the proper mixture of brute and wonder, and the Damascus blade is pretty much as good as they arrive.” Bear & Son Cutlery has a superb fame, and this top-end bowie solely strengthens its knife-crafting legacy.

The full size is 14 3/8-inches, and the high-definition Damascus metal blade measures 9 inches lengthy. A brass guard has been added to separate the blade from the India Stag Bone deal with, which provides to the knife’s magnificence and boosts security. The Fast Launch leather-based sheath is a pleasant contact, and at 11.5 ounces, the knife has an important strength-to-weight ratio. 

Finest Made in The USA: Buck Knives 120 Basic Knife – Heritage Collection

Finest Made in The USA

Buck Knives 120 General Knife - Heritage Series is the best bowie knife made in the USA.

Why It Made the Reduce: This knife is a traditional, and with the phrase “Basic” within the identify, you understand it was designed to be a multi-purpose knife. With a D2 instrument metal blade and a Cocobolo deal with, this made within the USA bowie is hard to beat. 

Key Options

  • 7 3/8-inch clip level D2 metal blade
  • 12 inches lengthy
  • Cocobolo wooden deal with


  • Sharp
  • Sturdy
  • Snug


This Buck showcases a crescent tip, making the blade thinner with a sharper level. I really like this knife for skinning deer, scaling fish, and carving up meals in camp. This construct promotes the usage of the blade for fine-detail work comparable to scaling and skinning, however the D2 excessive carbon, excessive chromium instrument metal blade is German-tank robust. And, it holds a big edge whereas resisting corrosion.

The normal cocobolo wooden deal with provides the knife an important look and the hand swell promotes a great in-the-hand really feel. The blade is a clip-shape blade and contains a thickness of .175 inches. The sheath might be higher, nevertheless it serves its objective, and the full-tang development with built-in finger guard and a deep choil make this bowie arduous to disregard. 

Issues To Think about Earlier than Shopping for A Bowie Knife

Aside from backcountry wanderers that scrutinize each ounce, I consider each outside individual ought to have a bowie knife. Nevertheless, not all bowie knives are created equal.

Don’t settle for an inexpensive bowie with a partial-tang blade. Bowie knives are constructed for use and abused, and a partial tang bowie received’t maintain up. Go full-tang. And make sure the grip boasts a good diameter that feels nice in hand. Smaller diameter handles cut back the quantity of torque you may place on the blade, and when punching by way of wooden, bone, leather-based, and so forth., torque is important. 

Blade materials must also be thought-about. There are lots of various kinds of metal used to craft bowie blades, and most bowie yielders need robust metal that can maintain an edge and never crack or break underneath stress. Damascus metal is changing into more and more widespread on the earth of bowie knives. 

Size is one thing else to think about. There’s a motive bowie knives had been developed to be preventing knives. A protracted blade and deal with combo gives energy and extends attain, and also you need your bowie knife to have some size. Weight is equally as essential as size. A flimsy bowie knife might be brittle and weak, and weak issues break. Heavier bowie knives permit the consumer to switch extra vitality into a chunk of wooden they’re chopping. Nevertheless, you additionally don’t desire a bowie that appears like a sledgehammer. Keep in mind, this can be a multi-purpose knife, and you’ll take pleasure in some maneuverability.

Normally, I don’t get too hung up on sheath design, however sheath design is crucial for bowie knives. Until the knife is in use, it must be in its sheath. Lengthy, sharp blades could cause injury, and I’ve seen some horrible camp disasters from a left-on-the-table bowie. Most bowie knives will include a leather-based or artificial sheath, and I don’t have a desire so long as the sheath holds the blade tightly when in transport however permits for simple elimination. 


Q: What are bowie knives used for?

Bowie knives are multi-purpose knives, and so they can be utilized for every part from a knife combat to skinning a rabbit. Their multi-function nature makes these knives widespread with the outside crowd.

Q: What is exclusive a few bowie knife? 

First, bowie knives look cool, however they serve many features. Most original, maybe, is you will be utilizing the knife to open a bundle of bacon one minute, after which the subsequent, be whittling away at branches to create a deadfall lure system. I’ve used bowie knives to intestine elk, scale crappie, and breast a dove. 

Q: What occurred to the unique bowie knife?

Rumors fly about this, however a bowie knife attributed to Jim Bowie’s massive brother, Rezin Bowie, was donated to the Texas Ranger Corridor of Fame Museum. Whether or not that is the precise bowie Jim used within the nice Mississippi “Sandbar Struggle” is unknown. The scabbard of the knife is engraved with a saying, “R.P. Bowie to Captain W. MY Lacey.”

Q: How lengthy was the unique bowie knife?

Western historians observe the unique Jim Bowie knife was doubtless 17 inches lengthy. 

Q: How lengthy ought to a bowie knife be?

This query will rial up most any knife guru. Some will say a bowie knife will be six inches lengthy, however most put whole knife size between 11 and 17 inches. 

Q: In what states are bowie knives unlawful?

Knife legal guidelines are ever-changing, and a few states even have knife legal guidelines that change by county or district. Knife legal guidelines are additionally tough in how they’re worded, particularly for bowie knives. A state like Arizona has knife legal guidelines that permit residents to have any blade and carry that blade hid. Then there are states like New York. New York knife legal guidelines state that it’s unlawful to personal any knife tailored to be used primarily as a weapon, but additionally observe it’s authorized to personal a searching knife. There’s a grey space in some states, and I like to recommend visiting knifeup.com and studying up on the legal guidelines in your state. 

Remaining Ideas on the Finest Bowie Knives

Until I’m headed into the backcountry with a pack on my again for an prolonged searching or fishing journey, I’ve a bowie knife. There’s a bowie knife in my truck, camper, kitchen, and so forth. I discover so many makes use of for them, and most of those blades have been in my household for generations. A bowie knife makes an important household heirloom — 5 of mine have been handed to me — and they’re merely a meat and potatoes knife. They don’t have a number of flash and flare. Positive, they appear cool, however at day’s finish, bowie knives had been constructed to serve numerous functions, and the extra you could have a bowie knife shut at hand, the extra makes use of you’ll discover for it. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *