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Ka-Bar Combat Bowie Review

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Most people will associate the word Ka-Bar with the iconic knife. Especially if you’re a marine like myself. The Ka-Bar line of knives are high quality and hard use knives that can take a beating and keep on performing. The Becker or “BK” line of knives do just that and more. I’ve had the pleasure of using Ka-Bar knives over the years and two of Mr. Beckers designs, specifically the “Becker Necker” and “Bk 9″ or Becker Combat Bowie.”

These knives will impress even the most experienced knife user. I’ve had both BK knives in my collection for about two years now, and both have seen more outings than I can count. The two make a great pair for just about anything you need done in the field. The big boy will make short work of any wood processing tasks such as battoning. The long 9″ blade allows you to work through some pretty large logs. When it comes to chopping this is where I feel the knife outshines a lot of it’s competition. At just over a full pound it has all that good weight that you need to hack, the same as you would get from a hatchet.

Let’s talk a little about the steel used here. It’s made from 1095 Chromium-vanadium. Unless you’re really into blades that may not mean anything to you. Basically, this is a tool steel. An easy comparison would be Craftsman tools. They use the same material. So you can see why these blades are pretty tough. There are other commonly used steels such as D2, AUS 8, S30V and VG10. You can find arguments saying each is superior to the others. All have advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, the advantages of 1095 are that it is incredibly strong, holds a great edge, doesn’t become brittle in subzero temperatures, and comes in at a lower price point.

la-bar-review

Another nice thing about these knives is the fact that they are very popular. So because of that there are a ton of aftermarket options for these things. The factory sheath isn’t bad, a standard nylon with snap retention, moly webbing, Velcro closure accessory pouch, and an attached sheath for the smaller companion knife the Becker Remora. I prefer Kydex. A quick search can offer you many options in this material.

la-bar-review

The handle scales are made of a material called Zytel. It’s basically a strong plastic. Although they seem sturdy and I have never broken one, they are a bit slick. This is a complaint that I have seen many times. Ka-Bar does offer replacement scales in Mycarta, which, in my opinion, is a much better suited material. However, if you don’t want to spend the extra money, a simple and inexpensive fix is to apply what’s commonly called “skate board tape” in small sections to the handle. This is what I have done, and it seemed to have worked just fine.

About the only downside I have experienced with this knife is due to the steel used. 1095 Cro-Van is prone to rust easily if not protected. That may sound like a big problem, but I found that as long as I keep a good coating of CLP on the blade it does just fine, even when stored for long periods of time. It does come with a factory protective coating. However, this wore off fairly quickly under hard use.
For the roughly $90.00 you will spend on this blade it is difficult to beat. There are many great options out there, but this one gives you quite a lot of bang for your buck. I doubt you will be disappointed with the BK9.

Want to know more? Check out these related articles on our site:

HFT Survival Knife Review

UST ParaCuda FS Knife Review

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bill

    April 6, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    Lineman’s tape works well too. It is cushiony and tacky. I use it on my Buck “Special” so I can get a grip with it.

  2. Harshit Gupta

    January 14, 2015 at 4:49 AM

    Pretty good piece of Kabar fixed blade knife perfect to be used as boot knife with the use of the knife sheath.

  3. ray hammond

    April 16, 2019 at 3:23 AM

    i have $750 in ka bars love em all

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