Buyers Guides

Last Updated April 9, 2019

Buyer Guides



Best 14 Bowie Knives

While every guy at some or other point imagines that he may be able to concur the wild using no more than razor sharp wits and well-toned biceps; the truth or the matter is that being well prepared is the best way to rise up to the challenge. Being ready for every situation you may find yourself in usually involves having a thorough knowledge of the great outdoors and some awesome outdoor utility gear. This is true, whether you are undertaking a weekend ‘glamping’ trip or chancing an ultimate survival expedition.

Now, while you may not be able to simply run to your nearest store and grab years of outdoor experience, you can definitely get yourself set in the gear department. While many have their reservations on which exact model or brand to go for, there’s a general consensus that the most essential tool you can equip yourself with is a good knife. Just for the sake of clarity, a butter knife is not really going to get much done when you are out camping with family and friends, other than butter your bread.

What we mean is equipping yourself with a survival knife, or as guys in the industry refer to them as, a bowie knife. This will most likely be your most useful tool while braving the great outdoors. In the hands of an expert, a bowie knife has a thousand-and-one uses.

For those who are a little less familiar with the tools of the wilderness trade, choosing the right bowie knife can be a little daunting, especially since these tools of survival come in all shapes and sizes. While any respectable dude will no doubt be taken in by the sleek designs and color combinations of these bad-boys, the devil is certainly in the detail as each and every design feature is purposefully chosen to optimize its use.

This combined with the fact that there are just so many awesome bowie knives on the market does make choosing only one hard, but don’t panic! We at Men’s Gear have carefully collated a list of the 15 best bowie knives for 2019. No thanks needed, because we love them too.

Top 3 Bowie Knife Picks

Best Overall Bowie Knife

USMC KA-BAR Knife

USMC KA-BAR

There are serious contenders for this mantle, but it just has to go to the USMC KA-BAR Bowie knife. This tried  option will blow the pickiest of hnife users.

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Best Design Bowie Knife

Whetstone Tactical Bowie Knife

Whetstone Bowie

A modern design might not be for everyone. However, one look at the Whetstone Tactical Bowie, with its sleek  curves and you’ll be a believer.

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Best Value for Money

G7533-CF

G7533-CF

Really a people’s choice award in our list is the G7533-CF Folding Knife, which is also the only folding bowie knife on this list – a truly classic piece.

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BEST BOWIE KNIVES IN 2019

1Mossy Oak Survival Knife

Mossy Oak Survival Knife

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Starting our list off is a knife that probably looks as awesome as it is tough. This fine 10 inch fixed blade, bowie specimen by Mossy Oak, offers quite a bit of bang for your buck. The black trim with the dark color of the steel makes for an extremely pleasing on the eye bowie knife.

The blade itself is fashioned from 440C stainless steel which will not easily dull and should be minimal on the maintenance side of things. That being said the blade itself is just under 2/16 of an inch which does make the knife much lighter and easier to handle. Albeit so, the knife is still quite large which makes it better suited for chopping and abrasive jobs, but not the best option for filleting.

The edge itself may dull with harder or regular use, but that’s what makes the addition of a sharpener so great, as you should have this knife sharp and ready to go in no time at all.

This larger-than-life and tough-as-nails bowie knife also come with a fire starter, which makes it the perfect tool to complete an outdoorsman’s must have list. Perhaps not the highest quality on this list but for the amazing price you could buy one of these just to add to your collection and still be more than satisfied.

Specs

  • Blade Length 10 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 15 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.12 inch
  • Sheath Nylon Sheath
  • Tang Full Tang
2SOG Seal Strike- Black

SOG Seal Strike- Black

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The Seal Strike is a serious piece of hardware, brought to you by SOG who are renowned for their military grade wares. This bowie knife is aimed at the more serious hunters and survivalists out there. This is definitely a smaller 4.9 inch fixed blade, which offers much greater utility.

The AUS-8 steel used for the construction of the blade is certainly a higher grade of steel produced through a specialized heating and cooling technique. This high grade of steel will not easily dull, chip or crack. In addition to the amazing quality of the steel, this bowie knife also sports a small serrated section on the blade which offers extra assistance which carving up a kill during hunting.

As it was designed with underwater use in mind, the textured high impact nylon handle fits snugly into your hand and will not easily slip, even during more rugged use. This handle additionally requires no care and is extremely light weight. Apart from being an absolute pleasure to handle, this knife’s design is also extremely eye catching and should not take up much space or even be noticed on your hip.

For a few extra dollars you can also upgrade to the deluxe sheath. Both however do have a belt clip attached which can either be clipped to your belt or woven through, depending on your personal preference.

Definitely a bit more than just a camping blade and even though it does cost a bit more than some of the other knives on this list its worth the extra cash and also makes a great gift for any hobbyist or serious user alike.

Specs

  • Blade Length 4.9 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 9.6 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.16 inch
  • Sheath Hard Molded Nylon Sheath
  • Tang Full Tang
3Whetstone Tactical Bowie Knife

Whetstone Tactical Bowie Knife

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The Whetstone Tactical Bowie Knife comes in a matte black and steel finish, which really is breath-taking just to look at. The most impressive features of this knife are the ergonomics and modified features for ease of use. This includes the slim design with black rubber handle and cut-out in the blade for reduced weight.

The Whetstone Tactical Bowie Knife knife is mainly aimed at those looking for something to take along on camping, hunting and fishing trips and should have no issues cutting up meat, smaller bones and even some kindling for the fire. This is a great design for a utility knife which is designed not only for its eye-catching features but also for its great versatility.

This knife is light weight and easy to use, making it an excellent companion for hunting and camping. The handle additionally has a hole for threading a wrist wrap through, which is perfect for keeping it nearby when skinning game. This knife comes standard with a nylon sheath.

This knife has by no means a small blade, but its elegant design lends it to some finer uses, not really the heavy bush-wacker some bowie knives can be. This bowie knife does not come with any extras though. All in all, you would struggle to find a better blade for the price.

Specs

  • Blade Length 10 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 15.25 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.14 inch
  • Sheath Nylon Sheath
  • Tang Half Tang
4Handmade Damascus Steel 14.00 Inches Bowie Knife

Handmade Damascus Steel 14.00 Inches Bowie Knife

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One look at this beauty and almost any knife enthusiast will be sold- love at first site! This hand crafted bowie knife is one of the bigger boys on this list but certainly holds it weight. The blade is comprised of a beautiful alloy steel forged with 176 layer or folds which finishes with an almost iridescent speckled shimmer.

The handle and sheath are also hand made. The handle is made from a Marandi wood while the sheath is a leather sheath. Now, this is a handmade bowie knife and may not stand up to some of the high-tech wizardry on this list but still does make a good all-round knife. We would however not recommend intensely hard usage of this knife as the steel is forged by hand and therefore a softer steel.

This may thus require a bit of extra care through regular sharpening of the blade as well as treatment with oil to avoid any potential blemishes on the lovely surface. This knife probably will not be your best bet for heavy-duty skinning and cutting up of meat and bones, but should be able to if it is required. This gem of a bowie knife is also extremely well balanced which just feels so at home in your hand. It absolutely fits like a glove.

Definitely more of a collectable than a utility type of bowie knife, but still for something made by hand (which is increasingly rare these days), this knife still cracks a nod from us just because it’s amazing to look at an not too pricey all things considered.

If you do plan on getting yourself one, we recommend general camping usage or even display, just be sure to make sure you keep this bowie knife in tip-top condition.

Specs

  • Blade Length 9 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 14 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.19 inch
  • Sheath Leather Sheath
  • Tang Full Tang
5USMC KA-BAR Knife

USMC KA-BAR Knife

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These are just one of those things where you get that, “what more can I say” feeling- literally the most famous knife in the world! The amazing thing about the KA-BAR is that it lives up to all the hype. Originally given to U.S troops deployed during WWII, not much has changed in the design since, mainly because it’s just that hard to improve on.

Let’s just for a minute try to get past the uber iconic looks of this masterpiece and get down to brass tax. The steel of the blade is made from 1095 Cro-van steel, finished with a leather handle. The blade is 7inches long with a 4 inch handle, making it a really comfortable size, but most definitely not too small.

Now, this may not be the hardest steel on the market but this old-faithful will not chip crack or break and what makes it so amazing is how easy the blade is to sharpen. Of course the right tools for the job are always recommended but, this knife could literally be sharpened with so many basic pebbles or stones one may find in the woods.

Maybe because of its history, this knife has been used as a blade, digging tool, pry bar, screwdriver, and who knows what else. Whatever you may potentially need the bowie knife for, it will almost certainly fit the bill.

A boon for woodsman, hunters and armed forces alike, all users swear by it and say it’s likely the last knife you’ll ever buy. It’s just that good. It little more than you likely to pay for most new bowie knives, but when it comes to such a tried and tested knife what’s a couple extra dollars for peace of mind? Not really a purchase but more of an investment.

Specs

  • Blade Length 7 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 11 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.165 inch
  • Sheath Leather Sheath
  • Tang Rat Tail Tang
6Winchester Brown Large Bowie Knife

Winchester Brown Large Bowie Knife

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You might be thinking, do they do knives as well? Luckily for the world of knives they do. Now when they say large bowie knife they mean large! This iconic throwback to a simpler time pays homage to the great James Bowie himself with this classic design.

This Winchester Bowie Knife is crafted from AUS-8 stainless steel which means you get high durability from this item which should be able to tackle any heavy duty use you can think of. Now, one must note that for this price you are not getting the very top of the line bowie knife, the finish is quite simple and the handle is crafter from wood with brass studs for finishing.

The large design and large blade complete with full tang make this a perfect utility knife for rugged outdoor such as skinning, chopping and digging. Sharpening may be a bit of a task, but because it is surgical stainless steel, the blade does not quickly dull and should last you for decades.

Some serious outdoor enthusiasts sing this bowie knife’s praise and quite frankly it would even be great just as a show piece. Do not be fooled by the relatively low cost of this knife, it is definitely value for money and just gives you that frontier, manly-man feeling holding it in your hand.

The only potential drawback of this knife is that it may feel too big for a smaller set of hands and because of the smooth wooden handle, could be a touch slippery if being used to baton wood. Our verdict is however that one should definitely consider this as a valuable addition to any knife collection.

Specs

  • Blade Length 8.75 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 14.25 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.17 inch
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Tang Full Tang
7Marine Force Recon Sawback Bowie

Marine Force Recon Sawback Bowie

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Wish a jagged blade measuring a whopping 11.5 inch, this bowie knife is perhaps one of the most visually intimidating knives on this list. Just how big that is may be lost on most readers without seeing it in person, but do make a clear mental note that the blade alone is just shy of a foot in length!

Now, the blade itself is made from quality AUS-4 steel, which provides you with decent durability and at that size, should easily be able to take care of most hacking and chopping you can throw at it. This bowie knife is perfect for survival, camping and hunting purposes. Many of the buyers however are just happy to add it to their collection, as the design is just so breathtaking.

Having said that, most will find it a bit big for sticking on their belts and carrying it around as it can be a bit heavy. The rubber mold handle however does give one a firm grip when handling this knife even if it may not be suited for more finicky tasks, such as skinning of smaller animals or using for fishing.

Even though this knife it on the heavy side, it compensates for that buy being a well-balanced weapon/tool. Now you should first consider your intended use before settling on this specific bowie knife, but at a reasonable price point, even if it doesn’t fit into the “take it everywhere” category of knives you will be glad to have this by your side. This bowie knife will serve you well and is an excellent value buy- not exactly the cheapest but certainly a far way off from being the most expensive knife on the list.

Specs

  • Blade Length 11.5 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 16.4 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.182 inch
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Tang Rat Tail Tang
8Smith & Wesson SW3B

Smith & Wesson SW3B

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The Smith & Wesson SW3B, prides itself on being a high quality, reliable, all-purpose bowie knife. Now this bowie knife may hold a bit more appeal for those who are interested in getting a bayonet for their Smith & Wesson Special Ops M-9 rifle, but is still an excellent choice for general outdoor use.

This bowie knife is made from high quality 420J2 powder-coated, black oxide stainless steel. As oxide stainless steel tends to be a higher grade of steel, you will most likely not need to sharpen this bowie knife regularly and it should be up to most tasks. Thus one can easily incorporate it into most hunting, camping or survival trips.

Interestingly, enough its functional yet understated looks are also a selling point for this knife which is touted as a concealable self-defence tool or “every day carry”. The knife also comes with a wire cutters and stone sharpener.

The black finish and notched spine do give it somewhat of a more military professional swag, which just makes this both pleasing on the eye as well as intimidating to any potential attackers or assailants.

The handle is finished in a textured nylon fibre, which enhances the gripping capabilities of this knife without adding unnecessary weight to the product. Overall this bowie knife is a classy showing by Smith and Wesson. While this is certainly not the most expensive knife on the list, be sure to note that you will be paying a bit more than the average bowie knife price for this item, which based on the overall quality, will not let you down.

Specs

  • Blade Length 7.8 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 12.8 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.14 inch
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Tang Full Tang
9Survivor Fixed Blade Tactical Hunting Survival Knife

Survivor Fixed Blade Tactical Hunting Survival Knife

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This bowie knife falls into the no nonsense category of knives, in that the design itself may seem a bit fancy but it’s as straightforward as you may expect from just about any bowie knife. This bowie knife is around the average size, when comparing blade sizing, with a pretty standard 7 inch blade length. Be that as it may, the blade is constructed from a very modest stainless steel. This is however offset by the fact that the blade is finished in a very stylish black with some serration on the front and back edges.

The black color theme is carried over onto the handle which is made of a tasteful mix of rubber and nylon fiber and finished in black and olive green. On the whole quite a pleasure to look at even though this bowie knife is quite simple.

The sheath is also made of plain nylon which rounds out this great value for money offering by Survivor. This is however more along the budget side of the options on the list and it should be noted that the steel itself should best not be put to rough work as it may quickly dull.

Perhaps a small price to pay as this is still quite a great buy for the price and should be more than capable of handling general camping, hunting and survival duties. This may not be your best bet for cleaving bone but while sharp should make light work of simpler cutting duties.

Specs

  • Blade Length 7 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 12.5 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.126 inch
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Tang Full Tang
10Anaconda Bowie

Anaconda Bowie

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Now a look at one of our high end selections on this list, the Anaconda Bowie, fixed blade knife by Tops Knives. Once again, just like the famous USMC KA-BAR bowie, the Anaconda is made from extremely high quality 1095 steel. Also quite similarly, this fine bowie knife is made locally in the U.S which is generally a sign of quality you can rely on, for decades to come.

As with the USMC, the blade of this knife is extremely solid and will not chip or crack but due to the slightly softer nature of the 1095 steel it may dull with heavy use but should be easy to sharpen. It may be worth noting that due to the curvature of the blade this bowie knife would be easiest to sharpen with a sharpening tool and not just a random stone you find while trekking across the jungle.  That being said sharpening the blade should be relatively easy, but is possibly not something you are likely to do often.

This is mainly owing to the fact that the blade is rather sizeable and thick, making this a very durable blade that is great for chopping through dense undergrowth or being used to baton wood. It should work just fine for cutting and skinning but may be a bit heavy when it comes to more delicate slicing jobs.

On the whole, this is a well-balanced and well-constructed blade which should make the perfect survival and hunting companion; perhaps a bit heavy duty for camping but one can never be too well-prepared either. Definitely on the pricier side but not a purchase you will be likely to make twice during your lifetime. This fine blade also comes up spades as far as aesthetics are concerned. Basically a bit more refined than the USMC, but still a tool for those in search of a bit of rugged adventure.

Specs

  • Blade Length 7.5 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 13 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.25 inch
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Tang Full Tang
119" G10 Tactical Survival Rambo Hunting Knife

9" G10 Tactical Survival Rambo Hunting Knife

Editors Rating

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Here we have an entry that is one of those really cool knives you can purchase for your next camping trip and really make all your friends envious. This is what may be referred to as a small bowie knife, with a blade length of only 5 inches, this bowie knife is a lot more compact than others on this list.

Don’t be fooled though, this nuggety blade is nearly 0.2 inch thick which makes a stout bowie knife more of an apt description. Because of its compact dimensions this knife works well as a carry-everywhere tool or weapon. For survival, camping or even hunting, this blade offers a compact companion that can easily be thrown onto your belt and should be more than capable of taking care of grittier jobs that other regular bushcraft knives may be a bit too fragile for.

Whether you need to open up a can of beans or quickly skin a kill, the G10 is your guy! You should also note that the design along with smaller size, makes this a stand-out among its peers and should easily turn a few heads. The stonewash finish on the blade is also just another one of those little details that make this knife so great, especially for the price- a real knife to be used.

The handle does seem a bit shorter than some and this may be a concern for those fellas with slightly bigger paws, but it is deceptively comfortable and provides a solid grip for heavier duty jobs. The sheath may also not be the flashiest or sturdiest material but once again is very practical and should fit snugly on almost any belt.

A lovely blade for any outdoor enthusiast and can even be taken along as a “smaller” option with a larger bowie knife, as you can’t really have too many bowie knives now can you.

Specs

  • Blade Length 5 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 9 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.18 inch
  • Sheath Nylon
  • Tang Full Tang
12CRKT Rakkasan

CRKT Rakkasan

Editors Rating

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Here we find another short bowie knife on the list, but unlike the previous entry, this one is on the higher end of the budget for a shorter blade bowie knife. This finely crafted tool just screams understated elegance while still providing a gritty and menacing appeal. From the very base, we find a high quality black powder coated SK5 carbon steel, which is some serious steel for a bowie knife.

This superior construction on a smaller blade means that it is highly unlikely that you will damage the blade, especially seeing as most of its uses will be centered on cutting or slicing and skinning. Don’t be fooled though even though the knife itself is perfect for more precise work, it should be more than capable of keeping up the pace with some of the more rugged boys on this list.

While it makes a splendid utility tool, this bowie knife was designed by a war vet for troops still on tour, so needless to say that this is a fine defensive tool as well. While the slightly smaller size makes it a lot less conspicuous- one may even say concealable. In addition to some of the obvious advantages of this knife, the G10 handle offers a comfortable and stable grip for this well-balanced bowie knife.

As it goes, shape of the blade is a preference that will vary from person to person with some finding that a curved end of the blade may in some ways compromise control while others may find it simply sublime. Either way, the sheath offers amazing draw/sheathing capability which just makes this such a wonderful and practical choice.

The quality should last you for a lifetime and if you are a person that enjoys a more modern take on a classic knife then this is definitely for you.

Specs

  • Blade Length 4.875 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 8.875 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.125 inch
  • Sheath Hard Molded Plastic
  • Tang Full Tang
13

Jet Pilot Bowie

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This is one of the less traditional selections on this list and should peek a healthy amount of interest just by observing its slightly curved blade on a regular-sized bowie knife. This dark-bladed bowie knife is, as mentioned, something outside of the norm, but still does provide a few tried and tested specifications. Regular bowie knife inclusions such as a stainless steel blade with a leather covered handle provide some of the tried and tested things that most knife enthusiasts look for in a hunting or survival tool.

That knife itself is well balanced and the leather on the handle is not only confortable but also provide you with a sturdy grip. Having said that, the quality of the steel is not exactly the best on this list and while the knife can be sharpened to razor-like sharpness, one should tread carefully when handling around more robust or heavy duty tasks.

The stainless steel means that the blade is not likely to dull too easily but will require a bit of effort to sharpen. This has been taken into consideration by Marble and they have very thoughtfully provided a sharpener as part of the package, very conveniently nestled in the leather sheath.

It’s often those little things that knife collectors like to see when reviewing a bowie knife and with these unique looks and attention to detail, this could easily form part of a knife collection; even if you not going to go up against mother nature with it every other day.

An interesting take on a very popular knife and for a really reasonable price it could easily sit up there with some of the more mainstream offerings on this list. Just so you know- you don’t have to be a pilot to try this one out.

Specs

  • Blade 7.6 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 11.8 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.12 inch
  • Sheath Leather
  • Tang Rat Tail Tang
14G7533-CF

Ganzo G7533-CF Folding Knife

Editors Rating

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Last but not least on this list is the only folding bowie that managed to crack the nod from the boys over at Men’s Gear. Folding bowie knives can be a very divisive topic, but we felt it only fair to include at least one option on the list and to be quite fair, this one does stand up pretty well to some of the fixed blade bowies on this list.

So, what we have here a well-crafted knife by a company that is renowned for giving customers bang for their buck and that’s something almost anyone can appreciate. The blade of this knife is 440C stainless steel which is something that can be found on a few knives that are quite a bit more, granted this knife is quite small.

However, what you also get are a few higher end features with this blade as compared to other folding knives, such as the axle style lock and the G10 handle with a carbon fiber finish. All in all this is quite pleasant on the eye, considering that it is aimed at budget conscious consumers.

The blade is not too thick, which can be an issue with budget friendly knives that try to hide poor quality, which means that you are getting a comparably good bowie knife. Be that as it may, this is a small bowie knife which is normal for folding bowie knives, making is convenient to carry and still giving you some of that sturdy craftsmanship you may be expecting from something labeled a bowie knife.

This provides a great concealed option for personal protection but can just as easily find a spot among camping and fishing gear or in a survival kit. The sturdy blade should not let you down but it won’t be of much use to baton wood or cut down thick bushes and small trees.

Specs

  • Blade Length 3.5 inch
  • Overall Knife Length 8.25 inch
  • Black Thickness 0.13 inch
  • Sheath None
  • Tang N/A

BUYING GUIDE & FAQ'S

What is a bowie knife and what can it be used for?

A bowie knife truly is something that is hard to describe in a very exact manner because of the multiple designs and uses that have evolved since its inception. Be that as it may, the bowie knife was described by a historian as in essence being, a knife lengthy enough to be a sword, as sharp as a razor and as heavy as a hatchet. Essentially, this was the one-size-fits-all knife for the distinguished manly-man.

Originally the bowie knife was conceived as a weapon which could be used in close combat situations, and could be carried on your person. Most bowie knives are most easily recognized by the clip point on the back of the blade. This is usually a smallish curvature of the back of the blade, which brings the tip back in line with the handle for greater accuracy during use.

There are however other distinguishing features of the bowie knife which also meets general conformity among the myriad of available designs. This includes the fact that all blade lengths vary between 8 and 12 inches, the handle is fitted with a hilt to protect the user’s hand and the blade itself is between 1/16 and ¼ inches thick. The blade of the bowie knife is also made out of steel, although not all steel is made equal and its grade may greatly vary from one knife to the next.

The overall design in terms of esthetics and functionality can vary greatly depending on the intended use of the knife itself. While you would probably have seen these knives on just about any movie that features the armed forces, many find these extremely useful when camping and hunting. Of course, owing to their popularity and prevalence throughout history and in pop culture, there are also many collectors of these knives. Some of them can fetch up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, in addition to hunting they can also be extremely handy for fishing, especially some of the smaller bowie knives.

On hunting trips, bowie knives are preferred as they have longer blades which give you more power when skinning and butchering your kill, without compromising any of the accuracy needed to work some of the trickier spots. This can be an incredible boon on longer trips as  you may want to skin and butcher the meat while still fresh in order to preserve the fruits of your labor.

Alternative if you need to defend yourself against human or animal attackers, the bowie knife provides you with superior reach and is capable of dealing considerable damage owing to its weight.

As a general survival tool, which has become increasingly popular lately, the bowie knife allows you to cut down smaller trees and branches as well as carve the wood for creating basic utensils and even making simple shelters. Because bowie knives are so durable, literally military grade in most cases, you are unlikely to damage or break the blade so the sky is really the limit as far as its uses are concerned.

How to select the Best Bowie Knife and what to look for?

Selecting the perfect bowie knife is really a personal thing, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder and who wouldn’t want a do-it-all knife that they think looks bad to the bone? But the aesthetics of a bowie knife would generally appeal most to those who want to buy one for collecting and display.

For the vast majority of you, there is generally an intended usage or purpose for getting a bowie knife, so let’s go through some of the features to watch out for when getting one- especially your first one.

Size:

Let’s just end the debate right here and now; size does matter! When selecting the perfect knife to use, size is a critical criterion to consider, but surprise surprise- bigger is not always better. The size of the knife will greatly impact its weight and maneuverability. While having a bowie knife with a foot-long blade is almost guaranteed to scare off a would-be attacker, you are not likely to easily maneuver is when skinning a deer. In addition to the general size of the knife, you have to decide what suits you physically better, if you’re a big boy, you probably won’t be looking at the entry level 8 or so inches.

A bigger blade is likely to offer a bit more power and durability, which in turn could make brush clearing a lot easier when constructing your shelter for the night.

Material:

If you’re thinking to yourself, that’s simple, steel- you have another thing coming. The blades were traditionally made from carbon steel, which was generally durable and quite easy to sharpen. For purists or collectors, this may be all you will ever need. However, modern materials such as stainless steel are the norm these days with some even being made available in metals such as aluminum alloys.

That being said, most of these will do just fine for hunting, fishing and bushcraft purposes. The question you will however need to ask yourself is, how will the blade’s material affect the weight of the knife, what is the durability of that blade, how quickly will your use dull the blade and most importantly, how easy will sharpening and general care of that material be.

While there are just too many varieties to touch on each of them, you should be aware that some types and grades of steel may stay sharper for longer but these will generally require much more work to sharpen after the fact. Additionally the use of softer materials in the blade itself may reduce shock during hardier uses, but this will come with a bump in the price.

Tang:

The tang is the skank that connects the blade of the bowie knife to the handle and while many are divided on what you will need in a tang, it is understand that a full tang offers greater durability. That being said some have argued that certain swords do just fine with a partial tang, but if you are considering more heavy-handed use of your bowie knife, it’s probably best to opt for a full tang.

Skill Level:

This may seem like a moot point as I’m sure we all envision ourselves to be John Rambo when we pick up a bowie knife, all of us may not have the same level of expertise with a knife. A big bowie knife may not necessarily be easy for an inexperienced user to handle and could make the task more difficult or seem more labor intensive. Of even bigger concern is general safety. If you don’t know your way around a knife, you may want to consider something with a bigger cross-guard and a blunt or non-sharpened back edge on the blade as you can easily harm yourself if used incorrectly.

That being said, if you are not too experienced, it’s often the best to get some form of professional training in using your new knife. Not only does this ensure your safety, you may just learn a couple of cool tricks too- which is always good to know, just in case.

Should I go for a Fixed Blade or Folding Bowie Knife?

Once again you will have to consider your intended use and which option suits you better personally. Both options have clear benefits which should make it easy to decide, but if you do really like your toys and can’t choose either, then both is also a perfectly ok option.

Folding Bowie Knives:

Even though many consider a folding blade to be less sturdy, a high quality folding knife should have a blade that’s just as durable as a fixed blade.

Perhaps the biggest draw of a folding bowie knife is its ease of storage and transport. They can literally fit in your pocket and because of this are also easier to conceal, should the need arise. If convenience and space is king, then a folding knife is the clear winner for you.

Fixed Blade Bowie Knife:

The list of advantages for fixed blade bowies are a bit more extensive as you will see, but still we reiterate, it’s all about personal choice.

Fixed blade bowie knives tend to have longer blades, which automatically makes them seem like more serious tools/weapons. That being said, they do not have any moving parts which makes them easier to clean and maintain, as well as less likely to break.

The final advantage of the fixed blade bowie is it’s tactical superiority, as these knives can be drawn or brought into a situation much faster than their folding blade relatives.

A question of which one suits you better usually depends on the intended environment of use, as outdoorsman tend to prefer the fixed blade bowie, while those looking for a knife to carry in an urban environment will tend to rely on folding blade bowies.

Should I go for a small or large bowie knife?

Well a large bowie knife does have a certain grandeur to it, and is likely to turn heads on your next hunting trip. It is hard to pit these two options against each other as ideally, if you needed an a-z tool, you would want both a large and a small blade.

Be that as it may, larger bowie knives are more useful if you need to them for survival in the wild with just your wits and your knife. They are easier to cut down and branches and brush for creating a shelter, as they will require to time and effort for this purpose. In addition to this they make for better protection against wild animals and can even be used for hunting and killing certain types of prey such as wild boar.

Large bowie knives can then be used for cutting off chunks of meat and even severing bone if needs be. The will also make decent digging implements and can be used for digging up tubers from the ground.

While big bowie knives work better as powerful cutting and chopping instruments, small bowie knives work much better for gutting, skinning and cleaning smaller game and fish, which may just be impossible with a big blade. Also, for crafting utensils and traps from wood, you will have much better luck making things like notches with a small blade. Last but not least, a small blade is much lighter which makes it much easier to carry and even conceal, which may be convenient if you need to optimize mobility.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion

Just so many wonderful knives to choose from and if you are anything like us, surely you will want at one of each of these 15 bowie knives, or at least more than one! However with such great options to choose from, you may only need one for the rest of your life as well.

It really is hard to pinpoint any one that would serve you best, that all depends on what you need it for. Some options are heavy duty, some have more finesse and some are simply put utility jack-of-all-trades. You should probably also narrow down what you may want based on how much you looking at spending on a bowie knife, although with the exception of one or two, most of these bowie knives are really budget friendly.

The crazy thing is that even though they won’t really hurt your pocket, you can still get a bowie knife made of some of the best materials available, with some of the finest design and construction on the market. We completely understand if you feel a bit like a kid in a candy store.

If however, you need to fulfill very specific tasks with your bowie knife, pairing it up with a second knife could also be an extremely viable option.

That being said, most outdoorsmen tend to have several knives in their collection, as getting to know the various pros and cons first hand can not only improve your understanding and skill with the knife but can also provide you with more precise options for whatever you may want to achieve. Some of the purists may prefer some of the more traditional designs and constructions while some of you may want something a bit more modern sleek.

It is also advisable, if you still can’t decide, it may be useful for you to head down to a retailer that stocks bowie knives to try out some options for yourself. The weight and size of the knife will definitely speak to you a little more once you have it in your hand, especially for those of you with less knife experience.

The most important thing however is that you realize, there is definitely something for everyone!

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