What are Bowie Knives – The Answer Revealed!

by Knife Expert on April 29, 2013

For all the knife experts out there, this question should be a no-brainer but for all the budding enthusiasts and first-timers, I’m sure this question would have popped up in their minds by now. For this you need to be aware of the person, Jim Bowie, who became legendary and well-known for his knife fighting skills thanks to the popular Sandbar Duel.

His winning that epic fight thanks to his knife gave birth to this term and since that day that particular type of knife is known as a “Bowie Knife”. To add to the history of this knife, did you know that the first Bowie knife was made by a blacksmith called James Black and was given as a gift to Jim by his brother!

A lot of people argue about the shape of the knife and its origin but the truth is that that this knife is the all American blade although its design was inspired by the Spanish knives of old. Bowie knives are distinguished from others thanks to their distinctive clip point where the blade dips downwards to form the tip of the knife.

Although this knife is made from many materials (see my post on Best Steel for Knives), more often than not, it’s stainless steel that features on most Bowie knives. The reason for this is because stainless steel is quite durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. Another point to keep in mind while shopping for these knives is that you need to look closely at the quality of the handle because that will really help you in terms of getting  a good grip. From experience, I can tell you the importance of a good grip especially when you’re outdoors in extreme hot or cold weather and gripping the knife becomes your biggest challenge.

Although there are quite a few Bowie knives out there in the market, I’ve listed below 3 of my personal favorites that I’ve used and would recommend to others.

KA-BAR Marine Fighting Knife

First up on this list of the 3 best Bowie blades is the KA-BAR Marine Fighting Knife that features a 7 inch blade and is made from 1095 cro-van steel. This knife has an interesting story behind it that dates back to World War II when these knives were initially produced and came stamped with a US Marine Corps symbol.

One of the key features that I personally like about this knife is that it comes with a good leather sheath that is very easy to grip and durable at the same time. I’ve used it in conditions where it was extremely sweaty and had no problem whatsoever. It’s also a good knife for dressing and skinning thanks to the sharp, narrow tip.

It’s also very easy to sharpen and re-sharpen and I’ve not faced a great difficulty in this area as the knife holds a pretty effective razor sharp edge. As expected, ex-servicemen show a particular preference to it and I know of quite a few of them who would not trade this knife for anything else in the world.

Jungle Master Hunting Knife

Another great Bowie knife is the Jungle Master that measures 10.5 inches in total and has a blade made of stainless steel. It’s a pretty big knife with an overall length of 15 inches and is one of the biggest knives I’ve personally used in the wild.

Thanks to the thick blade and long length, it makes for an ideal machete and wood cutting is a breeze with the Jungle Master Hunting Knife. The handle is comfortable to hold and has a good grip as well and is well protected by a nylon sheath.

Another interesting thing that can be done with this knife is that it can be used as a decorative piece. I have a friend who owns a mountain lodge near Alaska and I’ve seen this knife there mounted as a decorative piece and it really looked impressive sitting on that wall.

The Smith and Wesson Bullseye Fixed Blade Knife

Another of my favorite Bowie knife is the Smith and Wesson Bullseye Search and Rescue Bowie knife that’s made of stainless steel and has a blade length of 5.8 inches. Once again this is a great knife for tricky outdoor situations and will prove to be a good tool by your side.

The handle is sturdy with a rubber coating to prevent slippage. This one’s a lot smaller than the 2nd knife above so it’s much more useful and better suited for tight situations. This Bowie knife also comes with a nylon sheath and a sharpening stone which are great accessories to have around.

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