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Not a single collection is complete without a good bowie knife. Bowie knives are extremely beautiful, practical, and elegant. But did you know that there is a select reason why it’s named so? We discuss the answer to that and much more.
What is a bowie knife? Is it legal?
Bowie knife is a type of fixed-blade fighting knife. The first knife was made in 1920 by James Black specifically for Jim Bowie, hence the name.
Most people believe that there was a single unit with this name, and all others were the same. Many different units of bowie knives change and adapt over time.
Most of the knives you can get these days will be between 12 and 30 inches in overall length. This refers to the blade plus the handle of a knife. The blade itself will be between 5 and 23 inches long.
The best bowie knife always features a clip point and is made from strong metal. The blade is efficient, and we can see that most of these knives are used by hunters and for those who want to survive in nature for a long period.
In most states and countries around the globe, a bowie knife is perfectly legal. The same rules as for hunting knives apply, and there are no differences. However, due to the length of the blade, it may be prohibited in some areas. Make sure to check with local authorities.
2023’s 5 Best Bowie Knives Reviews
Here is our list of top bowie knives in the market. Their detailed reviews are given below.
- SOG Super Bowie Fixed Blade – New adapataion of original SOG bowie
- Cold Steel 39LABMS Natchez Bowie
- Buck Knives 124 Frontiersman Fixed Blade Knife – Made in USA with forever warranty
- Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie Fixed Blade Knife – Best value for money bowie knife
- Muela MAGNUM-26 Red Stag Horn Handle Hunting Knife – Expensive bowie knife with a very large blade
SOG Super Bowie Fixed Blade
SOG Bowie is a great knife, and now you will see why. It is far from an ordinary knife, and it is made for users who will push the blade to the limit. We can only add that the knife is durable and a worthy investment, especially if you plan on using it for heavy-duty purposes.
The knife is designed and made to look like a real and original bowie knife. All the elements are carefully made and make this knife one of a kind. If you are a collector or looking for the best bowie knife with perfect design, this is a model for you.
The finish applies to the blade, and it is black. But the finish looks fantastic and adds value to the overall knife. It is also extremely resistant and makes the blade glide through anything you are cutting. We also liked the look and must add it is one of a kind.
The handle isn’t something you can see all the time. It is made from leather washers, which makes it extremely grippy and comfortable to use. Of course, it is safe as well and meets all the requirements we had. The feeling you will get while holding a knife is a bit different and rare to see these days.
- Washer based handle
- TiNi finish of the blade
- Exact design as original models
- Poor sheath
Cold Steel 39LABMS Natchez Bowie
Cold Steel 39LABMS Natchez is one of the best bowie knives due to several things. It is strong, well-made, and it looks special. You will be more than just happy with this unit, and you will want to use it as often as possible. There are three main characteristics we liked.
The knife is made from high carbon steel, which makes it super strong and capable of withstanding any purpose you can throw at it. The sharpness retention is impressive, and you will always have a sharp knife within your reach.
The steel in question is 0-1, and it is common in the world of knives. Of course, it is reserved for high-end models, something additionally we can add for this unit. You will need a bit more time to sharpen the blade, but it will stay sharp for a longer period.
The handle is black, strong, and comfortable. Honestly, it has one of the best designs, and it even looks like an original unit. We also liked the overall shape and attention to detail. Polish design makes the knife looks even better.
You always need a sheath for a bowie knife, and this one offers precisely that. The sheath shares the same qualities as the rest of the knife, and it can be used for years. It also looks great.
- High carbon steel
- Micarta black handle
- Great sheath
- Belt holder of the sheath
Buck Knives 124 Frontiersman Fixed Blade Knife
The knife we have here is made in the United States, and it is one of the most popular models now. There are perfectly good reasons for that, and all of them will be mentioned below. The design is classic and shiny.
The sheath is made from genuine leather, and it isn’t something you can easily find online. It is specially made for this knife, and it met our expectations. In some way, it completes the look of the knife and enhances its purpose.
The steel is a particular version of stainless steel and capable of withstanding a considerable level of stress, pressure and to be used for an extended period. The strength is top-notch, and the finish is even better. Sharpening is reasonably straightforward and isn’t time-consuming.
- Leather sheath
- Type of steel
- Finger guard
- Handle and steel links
Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie Fixed Blade Knife
It is a modern version of a bowie knife, and it is made to be used as a combat knife. There are a lot of things you need to remember about this model. All of them will be explained below so you can get a complete idea about this unit and why it is on the list.
1095 Cro-Van steel is rare due to its price. On the other side, we have strength and sharpness retention. Both are at the highest level possible, and the knife is capable of being used for any purpose you can imagine.
The steel finish is black and makes the knife suitable as a tactical weapon. It looks appealing, and we liked testing it in nature. It feels solid as well, and you can feel the hardness of the steel. It isn’t very lightweight, around 1 pound.
The next best thing about the knife is the Grivory handle. It is made from reinforced nylon, and it is incredibly comfortable to use. The handle is strong, as you would expect, and we were unable to find any issues here. The grip is average, even when the hands are wet.
The blade is sharpened under 20 degrees, which makes it sharper than usual. The blade is suitable for hunters, military personnel, and for collectors. It is one of the best knives and the one that is going to be even more popular in the future.
- 1095 Cro-Van steel
- Grivory handle
- 20-degree sharpening
- Should provide better grip
Muela MAGNUM-26 Red Stag Horn Handle Hunting Knife
We have a big knife that is reliable, tough, and something we all liked. Keep in mind that this is a massive knife, and you will need to adjust to the length of the blade.
The blade is made from stainless steel, a German type of steel ore precisely, and it measures 10 inches in length. The entire knife is over 16 inches long, so you can get a clear idea of how big this model is.
Thanks to the long blade, the knife is more versatile than you may believe. We recommend it for hardcore users who need and want to have a massive blade due to all kinds of reasons.
You can calculate that the handle is 6 inches, but this isn’t the central fact here. The main advantage is a comfort. Thanks to the unique shape of the handle, your blade will always be ready to use, and it will be in a cutting position.
The handle is made from wood and looks antique. There is strength present, so don’t think the handle is fragile.
You need a sheath to carry the knife. It is made from genuine leather, and it comes in the package. The sheath isn’t as unique as the knife itself, but it looks decent, and it is practical.
- Massive blade
- Handle looks and feels nice
- German steel
- Size may be an issue for some users
- Handle requires some time to get used to it
- Very expensive
How to Choose the Best Bowie Knife for You
To find the best bowie knife, you need to know what to look for. Yes, if you are an experienced knife collector or owner, you will already have an idea, but if you are like most other people, you will need this buyer’s guide.
Below you can see all the questions and even more answers regarding this specific knife. The factors we used here are also the ones we use when reviewing a knife so you can get a clear idea of how important they are.
How does a real bowie knife look like?
A bowie knife has a long blade, which is perfectly sharp and robust. You can see the attention to detail, and you can see the overall practicality. The knife looks powerful and can be the most versatile weapon.
A sheath is something a bowie knife must include. Without it, it is incomplete, and there are no a lot of real bowie knives without this accessory.
Can I throw a bowie knife?
Yes, you can. After all, the blade is super strong and perfectly sharp. This gives you the option to use it for any purpose you want, including throwing. There are a lot of guides and helpful videos that can assist you in learning how to throw a bowie knife like a professional.
There is no need to tell you that a knife should be thrown at a tree or a wooden board rather than on animals or people. The edge will remain the same and without any cracks or issues, if you get a high-quality unit.
What is a bowie knife used for?
There are several main options here. First, some people like having a bowie knife specifically for history it is linked to. Others like having it just because it looks excellent and powerful. However, this is a high-end knife that is made to be used.
The main advantage is hunting. A bowie knife can be used for hunting, butchering, or when surviving in nature. The size of the blade, the handle, and the strength are all designed for this purpose.
What type of steel do I need to consider?
All bowie knives are made from steel. But there are so many different types of this metal that we can’t list all of them right here. It is important to remember that two versions of steel are the best and the only alternative.
The first one is stainless steel. It is more common, more affordable, and easier to sharpen and maintain. It also looks a bit better than the second option. We liked the fact this metal is immune to stains and corrosion.
High carbon is a select type of stainless steel that contains more carbon. This makes it stronger, rigid, and a bit more complicated to sharpen. On the other hand, it will maintain that sharpness for an extended period.
You can see knives made from other metals, and they share the same fate. They should be avoided. You do not want to break a handle in the middle of hunting or usage.
What handle do I need?
Handles in bowie knives are the most versatile of them all. First, we have wood. The traditional knife had a wooden handle, so we can add that this material is still the most common today. A wooden handle is strong, comfortable, and ergonomic.
Composite handles are possible as well. They are slightly better than wooden handles, but they compromise the overall design of the knife. The last option includes rubber handles. They are reserved for cheap units.
Regardless of which handle type you choose, make sure it is comfortable to use and offers a lot of grip. Without these characteristics, the handle will fail to meet your expectations and make the knife impractical.
What about finger guard, do I need one?
Yes, you need it, and unless you are a professional, you need to include it in your consideration as soon as possible. This is the same as with all knives with a long blade. A finger guard is a mandatory element that enhances the safety of a knife and can prevent possible cuts and injuries.
You will see that almost all models have a finger guard. They are different, though. Some are bigger, others smaller, and third are even minimalistic. The bottom line is that you need one, and you should have it on your blade.
What is a full tang design, and is it important?
A full tang refers to the design of the knife, where a blade goes all away through the handle. It is made from a single piece of steel, and it is much strong than any other type. These knives are the best and the strongest, so yes, you need to consider this parameter as well.
A partial cable tang is a choice as well, but it isn’t as strong as the first one we saw here. You will be able to use it, and you may enjoy added practicality, but the strength is around 20% lower than with a full tang model.
SOG Super Bowie Fixed Blade is our favorite bowie knife as it’s affordable, great looking strong knife. It’s a worthy addition to your knife collection.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.