10 Best Bowie Knives of 2020
Although originally designed for self-defense and combat, with the best bowie knife you now get a versatile tool for everything from hunting, butchering to wilderness survival.
The Bowie knife has been around since the early 19th century and it gets its name from Jim Bowie who it is believed was the first person to use one in a fight.
Although no one knows with certainty how the original Bowie knife looked like, historians and knife enthusiasts seem to agree that a Bowie knife is typically a large fighting knife that can be anywhere between 12 and 20 inches long.
There are now countless Bowie knives on the market and so you can be sure that you will have more than enough options. And with our reviews of some top quality Bowie knives in the market it should be easy to pick one that suits your needs.
10 Best Bowie Knives – Review
1. Buck Knives 0124BKSLE (Best Overall)
2. Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife (Sleek & Affordable)
3. Nescole Bowie Knife (Rugged Outdoor Survival Knife)
4. Ka-Bar BKR9-BRK (Best Combat Knife)
5. Ontario Knife Company 8684 (Versatile Long Blade Knife)
6. SOG SB1T-L (Sturdy High-End Knife)
7. Uncle Henry 181UH (Excellent Strength & Edge Retention)
8. Mossy Oak 14-inch Bowie Knife Wood Handle (Best Budget)
9. Case 286 (Reliable Hunting, Hiking & Outdoors Knife)
10. Puma Knives 116396 (Lightweight & Well-Balanced)
1. Buck Knives 0124BKSLE
2. Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife
(Sleek & Affordable)
3. Nescole Bowie Knife
(Rugged Outdoor Survival Knife)
4. Ka-Bar BKR9-BRK
(Best Combat Knife)
5. Ontario Knife Company 8684
(Versatile Long Blade Knife)
6. SOG SB1T-L
(Sturdy High-End Knife)
7. Uncle Henry 181UH
(Excellent Strength & Edge Retention)
8. Mossy Oak 14-inch Bowie Knife Wood Handle
9. Case 286
(Reliable Hunting, Hiking & Outdoors Knife)
10. Puma Knives 116396
(Lightweight & Well-Balanced)
1. Buck Knives 0124BKSLE – Best Overall
- Overall Length: 11.75 inches
- Weight: 0.83 lb
- Blade Material: 420 High Carbon Steel
- Sheath: Leather
Buck Knives is one of the best Bowie knife brands and so even before you use this particular one you can be confident it is high-quality, high performing and durable.
Although it is one of the priciest on our list, it will be worth every coin you spend on it. The blade is a razor sharp 420 high carbon steel that is 6-1/4-inch long and with excellent edge retention and resistance to corrosion.
Also, the handle on this full tang Bowie knife is equally high-quality and it is a black micarta that guarantees that you always get a safe and secure grip. And there is also an integrated finger guard and aluminum pommel that enhances both the aesthetics and balance.
Carrying this knife is also easy as it comes with a genuine leather sheath with snap fastener and an integrated belt loop. Hence everything about this Bowie knife is as perfect as it can get.
Handle may feel a little chunky for some users but this is only so when the knife is new because once you get used to this knife it has one of the most comfortable handles.
2. Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife – Sleek and Affordable
- Overall Length: 16.5 inches
- Weight: 2 lbs
- Blade Material: Stainless Steel
- Sheath: Leather
If you are a Bowie knife collector looking for an aesthetically appealing and inexpensive one, here is a great option for you. And despite being one of the cheapest on our list it is still quite a high-quality Bowie knife.
This fantastic knife features an 11-3/8 stainless steel blade that is one of the longest on of Bowie knife reviews, and it will offer a lot of cutting power.
It is a full tang blade knife that also comes with a very attractive gray hardwood handle and brass-plated guard that combine to give it a very appealing overall appearance.
This knife also comes with a genuine leather sheath for convenient storage and carrying.
The fact that the blade is not very sharp from the box might be a setback for some users but if you have a good sharpener this is a small issue to fix.
3. Nescole Bowie Knife – Rugged Outdoor Survival Knife
- Overall Length: 8 inches
- Weight: 0.75 lb
- Blade Material: Dasmacus Carbon Steel
- Sheath: Leather
The Nescole bowie knife is another great product for collectors as it has an impressive overall appearance. It is also a great choice for those that prefer a small knife that is easy to carry or conceal. And with its rugged construction it will be perfect for the great outdoors.
The premium steel blade is just 3.9 inches long and although it might not be very versatile it will offer more precision than most of the regular long blade Bowie knives.
Also, it has a unique and very adorable handle that is hand carved wood with a piece of camel bone and walnut wood. And it has a comfortable and ergonomic design for an easy grip.
This small Bowie knife also comes with a genuine leather sheath, which with proper care should last for as long as the knife.
When compared to others on our list, the blade is quite small but it should still be enough for camping and outdoor survival.
4. Ka-Bar BKR9-BRK – Best Combat Bowie Knife
- Overall Length: 14.75 inches
- Weight: 1.05 lbs
- Blade Material: 1095 Cro-Van Steel
- Sheath: Nylon
Ka-Bar Becker BK9 is a great purchase if you are shopping for your first combat knife and it will be ideal both for collection and outdoor services. It is also a great quality product for a mid-price range knife.
The relatively lightweight knife is easy to handle and it feels well-balanced on the hand.
This full tang Bowie knife has a tough and easy to sharpen 1095 Cro-Van steel blade and ergonomic Grivory handle with a lanyard hole to give you more carrying options.
The longer 9-inch blade comes pre-sharpened and so this knife will be ready for use straight from the box. And there is also a nylon sheath with a belt loop for convenient storage and carrying.
The nylon sheath is the let down for this knife as it is not very durable but you can always get a genuine leather one for a few bucks.
5. Ontario Knife Company 8684 – Versatile Long Blade Bowie Knife
- Overall Length: 15.25 inches
- Weight: 1.5 lbs
- Blade Material: 1095 High Carbon Steel
- Sheath: Nylon
Although the mid-price range Ontario Knife 8684 SP-10 will not cost as much as other top Bowie knives, it is still good enough and with a relatively longer blade for more versatility and power.
The tough 9.75-inch carbon steel blade will come in handy for various outdoor activities whether you are out camping or hunting. And it combines with the comfortable Kraton handle to make this a fantastic Bowie knife.
The full-tang construction and tough high carbon steel blade make this quite a sturdy knife that can handle the abuse that comes with outdoor use
This full tang knife also comes with a tactical nylon sheath that will make carrying and transporting it more convenient. But, the nylon sheath is not as durable as the leather ones that come with many Bowie knives on our list.
6. SOG SB1T-L – Sturdy High-End Bowie Knife
- Overall Length: 12.88 inches
- Weight: 1.1 lbs
- Blade Material: AUS-8 Steel
- Sheath: Leather
For the Bowie knife enthusiasts that do not mind spending some extra cash to get a top-notch premium quality knife, this SOG one is a good choice.
It is the priciest product on our list but the tough blade and handle, and the sturdy overall construction makes it worth the extra cost. This knife comes with a 7.5-inch blade with a clip point shape for quicker and deeper puncturing.
The ergonomically designed and well-balanced handle makes the knife easy and comfortable to use. And it is made from leather washers which besides providing a more natural look also ensures a comfortable fit.
This Bowie knife is also easy to carry and store as it has a lanyard hole, leather lanyard, and black leather sheath.
While the leather sheath is top notch quality, the fit does not seem very good but it should improve as you use it more and more to break it in.
7. Uncle Henry 181UH – Excellent Strength and Edge Retention
- Overall Length: 15.37 inches
- Weight: 1.06 lbs
- Blade Material: High Carbon Stainless Steel
- Sheath: Polyester
It is hard to imagine that such an amazing Bowie knife costs very little. The Uncle Henry 181UH is one of the cheapest Bowie knives on our list but it is still a decent quality knife.
This high carbon stainless steel blade is 10-inches long provides high strength and excellent edge retention and will make this knife tough and ideal for different uses.
And the full tang blade combines with the sleek Staglon handle to create fantastic looking knife.
There is also an equally attractive nickel silver guard on this knife and it will come with a convenient polyester belt sheath.
The handle is cheap plastic despite the sleek look but with proper care it should still last long.
8. Mossy Oak 14-inch Bowie Knife Wood Handle – Best Budget Bowie Knife
- Overall Length: 14 inches
- Weight: 0.88 lb
- Blade Material: Stainless Steel
- Sheath: Leather
Here is another highly affordable Bowie knife that will also be a great choice for anyone shopping for something high-quality on a tight budget.
The 14-inch long knife comes with a sturdy and razor sharp blade that is ready to use straight from the box. And for the handle, you get a classic design made from genuine rosewood that provides a comfortable and non-slip grip.
It is also quite a versatile knife that will be great for everything from hunting, survival and tactical application hence making it the best Bowie knife for the money.
When you buy this affordable Bowie knife you will also get a genuine leather sheath with a belt loop for easy and safe carry.
The finishing on the bronze section needs improvement but it does not affect the functionality of the knife and given the small price tag it is something you can live with.
9. Case 286 – Reliable Hunting, Hiking and Outdoors Knife
- Overall Length: 14.25 inches
- Weight: 1.25 lbs
- Blade Material: Surgical Stainless Steel
- Sheath: Leather
You can tell that this is a sturdy and high-quality survival Bowie knife just by looking at it. Everything on the 14.25-inch long knife looks well made and it will be a very handy tool.
The blade in this Bowie knife is 9.5 inches which makes it great for everything from hunting or hiking to most other outdoor and survival activities. And the blade is mirror polished and with a lovely brass guard to give the knife an appealing overall look.
This Bowie knife is available in both black and white handle options and it will come with a genuine leather sheath.
Lack of tang indication can be a reason to worry for some potential buyers but it does not take anything away from the fact that this is a high-quality and attractive Bowie knife.
10. Puma Knives 116396 – Lightweight and Well-Balanced Bowie Knife
- Overall Length: 11 inches
- Weight: 0.44 lb
- Blade Material: 440c Stainless Steel
- Sheath: Leather
Puma 116396 is one of the lightest Bowie knives on our list but it feels well-balanced and it should be easy to use even for inexperienced individuals.
It is a handmade knife with a 6.1-inch stainless steel blade and 4.9-inch genuine stag horn. And besides from being a top quality tactical Bowie knife, it also looks good enough.
This knife does not come with a sharp enough edge but it is easy to sharpen and it will retain the edge for long enough. And it will come with a leather sheath and lanyard to make it easy to store and carry.
The factory edge that you get on this Bowie knife is awful but it is nothing that a few strokes with a good sharpener cannot correct.
How to Buy the Best Bowie Knives
To make sure you get the best Bowie knife you should always consider the following vital factors.
The handle is an important part of any knife, and so it is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a Bowie knife.
And when it comes to the knife handle you will need to consider the design, material, and the length.
For the length, the simple rule is to go for something long enough to fit your hand but not too long that it adds unnecessary weight to the knife. On average, the handles will be between 4 and 6 inches.
The handle material will vary from one manufacturer to the other, and there are plenty of options available. The most common ones are wood, metal, rubber, and plastic. But, you can also get knives with bone handles which are great for collectors.
Wood and metal handles are great when you want something decorative while most rubber and plastic ones tend to be ultra-durable.
For the handle design, you should go for something ergonomic like what you get on the Ka-Bar BKR9-BRK that gives you excellent control over both the tip and edge of the knife. Also, the handle design should make it possible to retain the knife in your hand when cutting and also when it is wet.
Since the blade is what makes the cut, it the most important factor to consider when choosing your Bowie knife. And like with the handle, you need to consider the length, design, and material.
Although Bowie knives will come with different blade lengths, those that are between 6 and 9 inches are the most popular as they offer more versatility.
But, there also some shorter ones like the 4-inch Nescole Bowie Knife that will also be very useful.
However, as you choose the ideal blade length it is important to note that small blades will give you more precision and the longer ones tend to be more powerful.
For the blade material, carbon steel is the traditional Bowie knife material. But, there are still a few other blade material options like stainless steel and laminated steel.
Carbon steel blade knives like Uncle Henry 181UH are significantly tougher than the other types, they are easier to sharpen and it is easy to hone them to a fine edge.
And when it comes to the blade design, most Bowie knives will come will have a straight edge that extends from the handle to the belly and this design is often the best for general purpose use.
While the straight edge is ideal for both carving and slicing it is not the best for chopping. And so some Bowie knives will have a recurved edge design to make them great for chopping.
The Bowie is quite a heavy knife and so it is important for it to have a full tang to ensure that it does not crack or snap in half after a few uses.
However, non-full tang Bowie knives can still work for those that want something inexpensive for occasional use or for collectors that want them for display and wall hangers.
When buying any knife the sheath is probably the last thing that you think about, but it is important to note that it is almost as important as the knife itself.
And besides from just going for a Bowie that comes with a sheath, it is also important to look at the quality of the sheath.
Since the sheath houses and protects the knife from the elements, you need to make sure that it is the best quality. Leather and synthetic sheath are the best as they last the longest. But also make sure that the sheath will not wear out the knife’s edge when in storage.
A Bowie knife is a versatile knife that will be ideal for everything from hunting and camping to combat, defense and survival. But, it will only serve any of these purposes if you choose the best Bowie knife.
Our reviews provides some amazing recommendations and from these products the Buck Knives 0124BKSLE is our vest overall as it offers a razor sharp blade, full tang construction and comfortable Black Micarta handle.
Bit, if you prefer something more budget-friendly, the Mossy Oak 14-inch Bowie Knife Wood Handle will be an impeccable choice.
- 10 Best Bowie Knives – Review
- 1. Buck Knives 0124BKSLE – Best Overall
- 2. Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife – Sleek and Affordable
- 3. Nescole Bowie Knife – Rugged Outdoor Survival Knife
- 4. Ka-Bar BKR9-BRK – Best Combat Bowie Knife
- 5. Ontario Knife Company 8684 – Versatile Long Blade Bowie Knife
- 6. SOG SB1T-L – Sturdy High-End Bowie Knife
- 7. Uncle Henry 181UH – Excellent Strength and Edge Retention
- 8. Mossy Oak 14-inch Bowie Knife Wood Handle – Best Budget Bowie Knife
- 9. Case 286 – Reliable Hunting, Hiking and Outdoors Knife
- 10. Puma Knives 116396 – Lightweight and Well-Balanced Bowie Knife
- How to Buy the Best Bowie Knives