When it comes to survival knives, there are numerous options available on the market. However, none of them quite pack the punch of the impressive Bowie knife, a fixed blade knife known for its stature.
My Top 3 Bowie Knives
|United Cutlery USMC Marine Force Recon Giant Bowie Knife and Sheath||445 Reviews||Buy Now|
|MOSSY OAK 2-pieces Bowie Knife Fixed Blade Hunting Knives with Leather Handle||625 Reviews||$24.99 $21.99||Buy Now|
|Columbia River Knife & Tool CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife: Compact Fixed Blade Knife, Folts...||1,045 Reviews||$23.96||Buy Now|
I take great pride in collecting Bowie knives, as their rich history speaks to their impressive functionality. First popularized by the legendary “sandbar fight” of American hero James Bowie, these knives have made their way into pop culture making key appearances in beloved films like the Rambo and Crocodile Dundee movies.
In this article, I’ll go over some of the best bowie knife options available so that you can bring one of these impressive blades into your life. I’ll also go over exactly what makes these knives so special so that you can enjoy these impressive blades with full confidence.
Top 7 Bowie Knives
Here are my favorite picks for bowie knives out on the market today.
This large, utilitarian knife by United Cutlery is an excellent survival and hunting tool to get you through your toughest adventures. The 11.5-inch blade is serrated deeply for pure sawing power.
I love using this knife outdoors as its stainless steel construction and corrosion-resistant coating makes it perfect for any and all weather conditions. Plus, with the included sheath, you’ll enjoy keeping this knife in tip-top shape when not in use.
- Large blade size
- Included storage sheath
- Serrated edge for sawing through a dense wood
- Marine-grade design
- Hefty size may make it difficult to store
- Weighs a whopping 1.4 pounds
For a more compact solution, check out this 2-piece set by MOSSY OAK. With your purchase, you get a 10 inch and 8-inch bowie knife for maximum flexibility. These fixed blades are made with ergonomic leather handles to keep you comfy while out in the field.
Plus, the stainless steel construction of these knives makes them durable enough to last you a number of years. I love the included carrying sheathes that make it easy to take this set on the go.
- 2-piece set
- Top-notch stainless-steel construction
- Classy leather handles
- Included storage sheaths
- No serrated edge for sawing power
For a unique knife you’ll love keeping on display when not in use, check out this minimalist option by CRKT. The extra-long handle of this blade makes it ideal for a variety of users, and the included glass-reinforced sheath keeps the knife protected on a day-to-day basis.
This compact Bowie knife has a 2-inch blade for basic cuts while out on the field. I love the compact size of this knife and lightweight feel at just under 2 ounces.
- Included limited lifetime warranty
- Lightweight, utilitarian blade
- Unique design
- Embedded paracord and sheath
- Best suited for smaller jobs
This classic bowie knife is pretty enough to keep on display, but won’t disappoint in terms of functionality. The large 18-inch fixed blade comes with a brass guard and leather sheath to really give you that extra touch of authenticity.
The behemoth blade weighs in at a whopping 2.2 pounds, so this certainly won’t be your run-of-the-mill everyday blade. You’ll love the top-notch stainless steel construction of this knife and ergonomic design of the included wooden handle.
- Extra-large blade
- Ornate design suitable for display
- Heavy-duty construction
- Included leather sheath
- Not suitable for everyday use
- May be difficult to transport
Don’t be fooled by the modest price of this knife. Though it’s undeniably affordable, this knife is super useful with its stainless steel construction and serrated blade. This blade is perfect for regular use due to its compact size and an included storage sheath.
You’ll love the unique blade design and ergonomic handle for maximum comfort.
- Compact size
- Comfort-grip handle
- Serrated short blade
- Perfect for regular use
- Modest price point
- Unique blade design not suited for all-purpose jobs
- Best suited for smaller cutting tasks
Looking for the perfect knife for the outdoor enthusiast in your life? Check out this knife by Elk Ridge. These knives come with a free custom engraving so these pocket knives are as personal as they come.
The fixed blades are made out of high-quality 440 stainless steel and have fixed wooden handles. You’re also given a nylon sheath for easy storage, making these knives an excellent choice for a variety of users.
- Unique personalized design
- Stainless-steel construction
- Included storage sheath
- Comfort-grip handle
- Straight blade not suitable for regular sawing
This “outlaw” bowie knife will really give you that authentic Western feel at a fraction of the price. The knife is 11-inches long and made out of high-quality stainless steel. I love the look of the brass-plated guard making this a great knife to put on display when not in use.
The thick blade is perfect for intense cuts and comes with an included storage sheath to keep your knife in top-notch shape. The genuine leather sheath is as beautiful as the knife itself, so you’re sure to be happy with your purchase.
- Large knife true to authentic bowie knives
- Stainless steel blade
- Included brass-plated guard
- 11-inch blade
- May be difficult to store due to large size
What is a Bowie Knife?
Now that you have a couple of excellent bowie knives to choose from, let’s make sure you get a full understanding of the complexities of this blade. The bowie knife is a fixed-blade combat or hunting knife commonly used for heavy-duty jobs.
These knives have evolved heavily over time and have come to be synonymous with any large knife with two important features:
1) The crossguard, defined as important angling in the construction of the blade and 2) A clip point design, which is a type of blade that is sharpened on one edge curved to a single point, like the common pocket knife.
Though Bowie knives are often considered collector’s items, these blades are far more useful than their beautiful, signature designs. Bowie knives have a myriad of uses, and can actually be valuable tools in our everyday lives.
The original bowie knife very much resembled a Spanish hunting knife with the heft and weight of a butcher knife. Hence, these knives are unique with their sleek, sharp design but added weight for sheer cutting and chopping power. Bowie knives were traditionally stored at the waist with a holster of some sort, which continues to be the case today.
History of the Bowie Knife
So, how did the bowie knife get its iconic name? Well, like any great tool, these knives have a great story behind them. Though its exact origins are heavily debated and not well documented, most people agree that the bowie knife got its name from revolutionary fighter James Bowie, who lost his life at the famous Battle of the Alamo.
James Bowie was a legendary fighter who was brought in the public eye by reports of the 1927 sandbar fight. In this battle, Bowie defeated two other men with the single use of what we now know as the bowie knife. After the sandbar fight, James and his brother received a number of requests for similar Bowie knives, popularizing the tool even further.
Bowie went on to make himself a key player in the Texas revolution until his death, but his legacy through the legendary bowie knife lives on.
In fact, Bowie knives have made a pivotal appearance in the literary classic “Dracula” as the final tool to slay Dracula himself. Bowie knives also make in appearance in the “Crocodile Dundee” and “Rambo” movie series, making them well-known to the public.
Some laws originally created to prevent the western battle practice of “dueling” still exist, so there may be some restrictions on bowie knives depending on your area.
Clearly, these knives have a rich history essential to their craft. With their super-sharp construction and unique design, it makes sense that these knives were born out of an epic battle.
Common Bowie Knife Uses
With such a rich history, you may be wondering how you can properly use Bowie knives in the modern age. Here are a few of the many uses of these unique blades.
As long as you’re up to date on the rich history of these blades, bowie knives are excellent tools to keep on display. Their unique long blade design makes them sure-fire conversation starters. Plus, many of them come with included leather sheaths or coverings true to their original design, which can seamlessly add a sense of western style to your home or workshop.
These knives are not entirely different from the original butcher knives, and for good reason. Their characteristically bulking design makes these knives heavy and hefty enough to hack and cut through meat with no trouble at all. Plus, the unique curvature of bowie knives may offer some extra versatility where traditional butcher knives can’t. Believe it or not, bowie knives can be game-changers in the kitchen.
Due to their clean-edged blade and hefty construction, these blades are perfect for a variety of hunting uses. The blades are sharp enough to kill small game, and they are perfect for skinning furs with no trouble at all. The fixed blade is perfect for cleaning and cuts through smoothly and efficiently. In general, bowie knives are made with ergonomic handles making them more comfortable for prolonged use, unlike other hunting tools.
Bowie knives got their names from a famous battle, so naturally, they make great hunting knives. While you probably won’t need to use bowie knives for combat purposes, at least not on a regular basis, having one of these in your tool kit is sure to make anyone feel more secure. The hefty knives make excellent self-defense tools. In addition, the oftentimes included holsters and sheaths make these knives super easy to carry and have ready.
When you’re out in the elements, you rely on your tools and general knowledge to keep you safe. Bowie knives are a great all-purpose outdoor knife to keep you safe while out exploring. These knives can saw through light wood with ease, and lend themselves to a variety of chops and cuts. Their large size is extremely reassuring when you’re out in the great outdoors, though it may be a bit heavier than your traditional pocket knife.
Clearly, these large yet sturdy blades have a variety of excellent uses that translate to the needs of today. You’re sure to find a number of ways to use your bowie knife on a regular basis, making these blades an excellent value for an endless amount of tasks.
Important Factors to Take Into Consideration
Are you still having trouble finding the best bowie knife for your needs? Use these factors to help you find the perfect tool. With a little research and patience, you’re sure to find the best bowie knife for your needs.
Bowie knives are usually made out of stainless steel which makes them excellent for cutting and cleaning various items in the wild. Stainless steel has varying degrees of hardness which may make a knife more durable for prolonged use, so look out for an impressive scale reading.
However, stainless steel is not without its faults. It is more prone to rust than some other comparable knife types. If possible, look out for coated stainless steel or metal made with rust-resistance to keep your knives in the best shape possible.
The most authentic bowie knives are characterized by a long blade size, fixed construction, and heavy-weighted feel. Make sure that your blade is properly carved to stay true to the integrity of bowie knives.
Bowie knives are characteristically longer blades, especially since they were originally crafted for self-defense/combat. While getting a long bowie knife will keep the blade as authentic as possible, it may not be the most practical for everyday use. In this case, don’t be afraid to check out Bowie knife variants.
These knives are often just as sharp, just in a more compact, portable size. Blade size is important for preserving the authenticity of a blade, but if you need a knife for serious business, you may want to reconsider.
Grip is one of the most important aspects of any knife, especially one that you plan to use outdoors. The knives on this list have a variety of grip types, each with its own unique design. Make sure you are selecting a grip that feels super comfortable in your hand to ensure that you’ll have no trouble using it out in the field.
Don’t be discouraged if the first one you pick out isn’t for you, because finding the perfect knife for your needs can take years. The important thing is to not let yourself settle for a mediocre option.
Tang refers to the amount of unexposed blade or metal in a knife. For example, a knife with full tang would have a blade that continues into the handle, even though it is not overly exposed. Generally speaking, knives with full tang tend to be sturdier tools and easier to handle since the knife is likely to be well-balanced. Be sure to test out different tangs to find the best knife tang according to your preference.
Blade length is another characteristic of bowie knives that makes them unique. Bowie blades are characteristically long for combat which gives them such a distinct appearance.
If you’re looking for a knife with a rich history to put on display in your home, finding a bowie knife with an authentic blade length is essential. However, for more practical use, this may be one of the factors you can give yourself a bit more leeway in. All bowie knives are weighted, but generally speaking, the longer the blade, the heavier it tends to be.
Care and Maintenance of Bowie Knife
Now that you have the perfect bowie knife picked out, it’s important to consider the best ways to keep your blade in top-notch shape. Here are a couple of quick tips for proper care of your bowie knife.
Like any other knife, bowie knives must be sharpened regularly to maintain their superior edge. Bowie blades are usually made out of stainless steel, which requires its own set of sharpening parameters. Make sure you’re looking for knife sharpeners that are made for stainless steel, should you use the wrong tool, you could damage your blade.
If you’re not up to the task, there a plenty of online shops that you can send in your blade to professionally sharpen your blade. However, this may not be the most financially friendly option and can be largely time-consuming considering regular maintenance.
The internet is your friend! Do a quick Google search to uncover a bevy of DIY sharpening videos to learn the trade from the comfort of your home. Just be sure to listen to experts surrounding the stainless steel material.
Washing and cleaning your knife properly is important, especially if you plan on using your knife for outdoor or hunting uses. If left unchecked, a knife can build up contaminants over time which can greatly affect the performance of the blade and is not to mention, gross.
To clean your knife properly, you’re going to want to know the exact metal content of your blade. Assuming that your blade is stainless steel, which most bowie knives are, you can use a mild soap and warm water to gently wash the surface of your blade.
However, be especially careful to dry your blades immediately after washing them. Pure metals are prone to rust, so save yourself the hassle of replacement by proactively drying your knives appropriately.
You’ll want to take care that your knife is stored safely and appropriately. The unique design of the bowie knife makes them particularly long and heavy, which can be a challenge to store. Make sure you’re looking out for included knife sheaths while shopping for your blade initially.
These knives should be stored in a cool, dry place when not in use to prevent any weathering or rusting of the blade. In addition, a lot of bowie knives come with holsters for a reason—storing these long, sharp blades in a crowded backpack can be dangerous.
One of the best ways to maintain and protect your blade is by using it properly from the start. For example, a serrated bowie knife is going to be able to saw through the material much better than a smoother blade. Read up on your particular knife’s specialty to keep it in top-notch safe. Not only will this protect the blade, but it will also protect you in the long run.
A Knife Like No Other
It’s rare nowadays that you’re able to acquire knives with such deep, rich history, and the bowie knife is certainly an exception to the rule. These knives are one-of-a-kind and deeply rooted in American history, making them precious time capsules to display in your home.
At the same time, these blades are extremely powerful and serve a variety of modern outdoor and hunting tasks. One of the things I love the most about Bowie knives is their unmatched strength with such a skinny blade.
Bowie knives truly are unique hybrids, which is part of the reason they are so special. Finding the best bowie knife for your needs can certainly be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. At the end of the day, these artisan blades are sure to please with a variety of blade styles, sizes, and included ornate sheathes.
Enjoy all of the benefits that come from owning these powerful pieces of history!
Last update on 2020-03-30 at 06:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.