Large and versatile, a bowie knife is a must have for the outdoorsy adventurers. From processing game to cutting up wood for kindling and even self defense, your bowie knife will always be awaiting to get the job done. And today we’re here to look at the best bowie knives on the market.
We’ll skip the fluff and get straight into the list of the best knives out there. If you want to read more about each of our recommended models, you can do so by reading our reviews after the table.
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|Ka-Bar Becker BK9||Best overall Bowie Knife|
Blade: 9″ (23cm)
Weight: 1.05 pounds (475g)
Material: 1095 Cro-Van steel
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|Timber Rattler Knife||Best Style Bowie Knife|
Blade: 11.4″ (29cm)
Weight: 3 pounds (1.36kg)
Material: Damascus steel
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|Mossy Oak Hunting Knife||Most Popular Survival Bowie|
Blade: 10″ (25.4cm)
Weight: 0.9 pounds (410g)
Material: Stainless Steel
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|OKC Bowie Knife||Best Budget Bowie Knife |
Blade: 10″ (25.4cm)
Weight: 1.7 pounds (770g)
Material: Carbon Steel
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|Winchester Brown||Great Budget Alternative|
Blade: 8.57″ (22cm)
Weight: 1.72 pounds (410g)
Material: Stainless Steel
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Best Bowie Knives on the Market Today
Not all bowies are created equal and it’s more than just having the sharpest blade on the block that matters. The products that I am reviewing below are indeed the best of the best and you will be extremely satisfied with any of them.
So let’s check out the reviews of the best bowie knives on the market at the moment!
Ka-Bar Becker BK9 – Editor’s Choice
Ka-Bar is a name that is synonymous with high quality tactical and utility knives. The Ka-Bar Becker BK9 is yet another excellent product from this company. It has a nearly flawless rating on Amazon at the moment of writing: 4.9 out of 5 stars, based on over 1,100 reviews. Now that’s impressive!
A beautiful bowie knife, with a durable and excellent 1095 Cro-Van steel blade. It is rough and utilitarian, perfect for any outdoors situation, as well as survival. I especially love its no-nonsense design. Straight to the point!
The knife only weighs about a pound, but it feels surprisingly solid. The Grivory handle provides the much-need ergonomic feature that actually minimizes user fatigue, which should come in handy for long, intensive tasks.
The blade itself is extremely sharp out of the box and of high quality. The blade itself is 9″ long and the knife is used in the military too, so you know you’re getting a top product.
Have in mind that for those with larger hands, the handle might seem a bit on the smaller size. Definitely usable (it’s an ergonomic handle, after all) but a bit narrow.
The Ka-Bar Becker BK9 is our favorite product on the market at the moment, with the only downside being that it is pretty expensive. But you do get what you’re paying for and won’t be disappointed!
Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Damascus
A Damascus steel knife is a must have for any serious collector and this bowie knife does score high in style. It looks absolutely amazing!
Sure, the Damascus Steel is not the best choice of steel when it comes to actual usability, but you can still safely take this bowie knife out in the woods and rest assured that it will do its job. However, this one is more of the collectors and the looks.
With a beautiful, long (and surprisingly sharp out of the box) 11.37″ blade, the Timber Rattler Knife is massive and heavy and feels amazing when you hold it.
The hardwood handle, really wraps up its classic look, and it provides decent grip and comfort as well. Perfect choice for a manly man.
A full tang beast of a knife, it’s still pretty expensive – but just look at it and you’ll understand why. As I said, perfect for collectors, but not just a piece to keep in a locker. It can do a great job out in the wild, although it’s clearly not an utilitarian type of knife and we’ve seen blades that do get sharper.
But sometimes you just need a beautiful piece that’s out there for the wows. And this real Damascus steel bowie is THE choice for those moments!
Mossy Oak Hunting Knife
Sometimes, the best choice is to go with the crowds. And the Mossy Oak knife is what you’d get if you follow this rule. It’s the most popular knife at the moment of writing this article and it does tick all the boxes, although it’s a very cheap knife overall.
Sporting a 10″ blade and with a weight of 0.9 pounds, it feels a bit light when you hold it. The rubber handle itself is pretty solid, although it does have a cheap look. But it gets the job done, it’s anti slip – and that’s all that matters.
Made of stainless steel, the blade is very sharp out of the box and can be easily sharpened to perfection. It is durable and high quality despite the low price.
As a bonus, it comes with a fire starter and a small sharpener – both adding extra value to the already low price.
So we can understand why this is such a popular choice. It’s cheap, it’s good and it gets the job done. And usually that’s all that you need!
Ontario Knife Company Bowie Knife
This knife is a juggernaut with its 10-inch blade that’s made from 1095 carbon steel. As a result, this knife is stronger and more durable, requiring sharpening less often. This is one of the main reasons why I prefer carbon steel knives to regular stainless steel ones.
It is also ridiculously sharp out of the box and didn’t require sharpening for the longest time, edge retention is definitely top-notch. Corrosion is also less of a concern due to its anti-corrosion powder coat.
It is a heavier knife at 1.7 pounds, but I personally prefer these to the really light ones. It depends on what you use them from, but heavier bowie knives are generally better.
The Kraton handle is made from synthetic rubber materials and comes with finger grooves for a more secure grip. It doesn’t look too bad either!
The nylon belt sheath is not the nicest one out there, but it’s plenty functional and decent. At the end of the day, this is a solid knife that can handle any tasks from outdoor survival to tactical applications. However, it’s not for those who are looking for a lightweight bowie knife.
Winchester Bowie Knife – Great Budget Alternative
Looking for an every day carry knife that won’t break the bank? The Winchester Bowie Knife should be more than enough to meet your needs.
This knife features an 8.57-inch blade which makes it the smallest one featured in this article. It’s also pretty relatively heavy and nice to handle.
However, don’t let the size dissuade you because this bowie packs quite a punch. It also comes very sharp out of the box and is well made.
The knife is not only made with strength and reliability in mind but also precision. The smaller blade gives you that precise control and stability that you might not find in larger blades.
We have used this knife for tough tasks like skinning carcasses, stripping wires, repairing ropes and nets and it did a great job. For a cheap knife, it really is solid and high quality, with good stainless steel used for the blade.
The wood and brass combination for the handle really gives it a stylish and classic look.
Even when wet, we didn’t have a hard time holding on to the grip. The overall quality definitely exceeds the price, even though this is a product made in China and some prefer to stay away from those. No reason to do so though
Features to Consider when Buying Your Bowie Knife
Any self-respecting outdoorsman or survivalist knows the importance of adding tactical knives to their arsenal of survival gear. We already talked about the best bushcraft knives – make sure to check that article out as well!
Many people have this popular notion that tactical knives are only for combat due to their rugged design which can be attributed to how they’re depicted in movies and television shows.
What most people don’t know is that the main purpose of tactical knives lies more on the utility side. When it comes to survival / tactical knives, the bowie knife is one of the most popular. Your chances in a survival situation are significantly improved just by having a bowie knife that meets your needs.
Thus, you need to take into account several factors and features before you decide to buy one. Here are some features you should consider before buying a bowie knife.
The traditional bowie knife is made from carbon steel as it is instrumental in keeping the blade sharp.
Over the years, stainless steel alloy production has advanced and enabled blade makers to create knives that could measure up to the quality of the carbon steel versions.
Those who wish to go with the traditional bowie knife can still buy them in the market. It’s a good thing that both types of material are sufficient for both utilitarian and hunting purposes.
Blade Size and Length
When choosing the blade size for a bowie, one should take into account its intended usage. Large blades are for tasks that require power and smaller blades for precision jobs. Large blades are great for clearing weeds or chopping small pieces of wood.
Hunters and fishermen use smaller blades for skinning and cleaning meat. Overall, bowies are known to be large blades so evaluate your intended usage and choose the right knife for the job.
As mentioned, long blades are the trademark of bowie knives. The very first bowies had a standard length of 9.5 inches.
Nowadays, bowie knives are manufactured in various lengths but they’re usually not shorter than 5 inches. After all, the length is required for tasks that regular knives can’t achieve. Again, you need to assess your intended usage to determine the blade length you want from your bowie.
And since you need to keep that blade sharp at all times, make sure to read my guide on how to sharpen your knife with a stone.
Many people buy knives just by looking at their handle alone. It’s really not that hard to be impressed with a knife just by seeing its handle.
For the most part, handles are made with aesthetic purposes in mind. However, it’s not strictly just to make the blade look handsome, but it’s for grip and comfort as well.
A bowie with a beautiful handle will not serve you well if it fails to provide a solid grip, it may even end up in injuries.
Some handles also serve a special purpose like for example how antlers and stacked wood feel great in the hands during colder climates. The best rule of thumb is to take the grip yourself and determine how it feels in your hands.
Another thing that buyers should check when buying a bowie knife is the tang. The tang is the part of the knife that connects the blade to the handle.
Bowie knives in general are large including the blade, so it needs a full tang to prevent the blade from breaking at the hilt, especially during intensive tasks.
For knife collectors intending to display their knives, a full tang might not be a necessary feature, but if you plan on using it regularly, then a full tang would be a smart choice.
You need something to protect your knife from the elements as well as to keep it sharp so it’s also important that you invest in a good sheath.
Make sure you get a good quality sheath, preferably something that’s made of leather or synthetic material.
Again, buying a bowie knife is not just about picking the sharpest or the most eye-catching one. You have to take several factors into account to ensure you end up with a knife that best fits your needs.
How to properly care for a bowie knife
Bowie knives are some of the most reliable hunting and survival tools that you can find. However, even the most expensive and highest quality knives can fall victim to rust, corrosion and the good old wear and tear.
If you know how to take care of your bowie knife properly, it can potentially serve you for many years, not to mention minimized safety hazards. So, here are a couple of tips for caring for your bowie knife:
Clean up after use – Another surefire way to lengthen the lifespan of your knife is to keep it clean at all times. This means that you need to clean both the blade and the handle. Keeping it clean will keep away harmful bacteria from the blade. Just use running water and dish soap on the blade and handle.
Keep it lightly oiled – To prevent friction, oil your knife on a regular basis. Oil provides a protective coating that prevents rust from forming on the blade. Be wary about oiling the handle because it can get slippery. Bowie knives with wooden handles can be treated using linseed oil. Just keep in mind that a little oil can go a long way.
Keep it dry – The traditional bowie knife is made of carbon steel, which is not as rust-resistant as stainless steel. Thus, you need to make sure that the blade is dry after each use in order to prolong its life.
In extreme critical situations, a good bowie knife can mean your very own survival. When shopping for your first bowie, make sure you don’t buy the first product you come across regardless of how impressive it is.
You need to consider many factors to ensure that you can wield it properly and fulfill its intended usage. You have the best options on the market, in our opinion, above – so choosing any of the ones listed above will surely keep you happy.
Are you a fan of bowie knives? What’s your favorite model? Let’s get that discussion going in the comment section. Also, make sure to share this article with folks who are looking to start or expand their bowie collection.