Best Bowie Knife – Reviews and Guide

Bowie knives – so named for Jim Bowie, who popularized the knives in the 19th century – are a type of large hunting and combat knife, which are well-known for their size and durability.

In addition to their usefulness as hunting, tactical and combat knives, they are also noted to be useful survival knives. Due to the toughness of their blades and their ability to hold a sharp edge, they are exceptionally useful in many different situations.

Choosing a Bowie knife requires a lot of consideration and knowledge of what exactly to look for in your knife. For this reason, we have prepared this guide using expert reviews to help you make the right decision for your Bowie knife needs.

Top Bowie Knives Summary Table

ImageNamePros and ConsOur Rating
United Cutlery UC3024 M48 Combat Bowie-Very tough and resistant blade, serrated edge for better tearing capabilities, good handle
-Very heavy and long, saw is slightly cumbersome
Ka-Bar Heavy Bowie Knife-Tough and durable, good handle, excellent balance
-Prone to rust, needs lots of upkeep
Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider-Excellent edge retention, extremely tough,
-Poor quality sheath, prone to rust, heavy for a knife of its size
Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife-Strong blade, rust resistant, excellent design
-Unwieldy and heavy, too long for a lot of tasks
The Outback Bowie Knife-Strong blade, excellent design, great sheath
-Too large for many tasks, somewhat unbalanced.

Top 5 Best Bowie Knives Reviewed

Below are reviews of five of the best Bowie knives available on the market today. Each of these knives brings with its own set of strengths, and each should give you an idea of what you should be looking for in your knife.

United Cutlery UC3024 M48 Combat Bowie Review

A true combat knife, this formidable sixteen inch Bowie blade is one of the best options available for anyone in the market for combat and hunting oriented Bowie knives. Its weight and length make it an ideal tool for hacking and slashing.

The blade is made of 420A Stainless Steel with a Titanium electroplated finish, offering superb toughness and resistance, as well as rust-resistance. This blade is fashioned into a serrated edge with a pointed tip, allowing for superb sawing and tearing capabilities. On the other side, the blade has a sharp cutting edge, perfect for slicing and slashing.

The handle is made of reinforced plastic to bring about impact resistance, protecting the user’s hands and wrists from the heavy impact of different motions of knife use. This model also comes with a sheath that includes ties and a pouch, meaning that you can be sure to protect the blade as well as carry it around with ease.

Pros and Cons:

  • Very tough and resistant blade, serrated edge for better tearing capabilities, good handle
  • Very heavy and long, saw is slightly cumbersome

>>Check price and more reviews on Amazon<<

Ka-Bar Heavy Bowie Knife Review

Ka-Bar is a famous name in survival knives, and with good reason. These tough tools are considered some of the best knives in the world, and this model is no exception. This nine inch Bowie is a slightly smaller offering than some, but it more than makes up for it with its cutting abilities.

The blade is fashioned from 1085 Carbon Steel (0.85% Carbon). This high Carbon content makes the blade extremely strong and durable and means that the edge will hold for long periods of time. However, the caveat is that the blade is less resistant to rust than many lower-Carbon blades. Such a blade requires regular treatment and coatings.

Rather than having a serrated edge, this knife has a super sharp cutting edge. With the Carbon Steel’s edge, this should offer unparalleled cutting power. It is also sharply pointed, making the tip a useful tool.

At one point three pounds, this knife provides excellent balance and is lighter than many of its contemporaries. This means that the knife is greatly portable as well as weighty enough to get some real force into your cutting.

The handle is a guard-less rubber handle, which offers a comfortable grip and resistance to wear and tear. The leather and nylon sheath is a nice addition which allows you to easily carry the blade wherever you may wish.

Pros and Cons:

  • Tough and durable, good handle, excellent balance
  • Prone to rust, needs lots of upkeep

>>Check price and more reviews on Amazon<<

Ontario Spec Plus Marine Raider Review

The Ontario blade is another Carbon Steel blade coming in at less than ten inches. This tough military style combat knife is another contender for those looking for a great edge on a Bowie knife, and it makes a great companion for any survival knife enthusiast.

The high Carbon Steel is once again in play here, rocking in at 1095 (0.95% Carbon). This means that this blade is even more durable than the Ka-Bar mentioned above, and will hold its edge even longer. However, it also means that it is much more likely to rust badly if not protected and treated properly.

The only slightly disappointing thing about this knife is the sheath, which is not as good as it could be. It is prone to soak up moisture, making rusting even more of a problem than it needs to be, and is not as high quality as it could be.

However, the knife’s overall balance is once again good. Though a little weighty, the blade is well balanced with the handle and offers great control. The handle offers a little more protection than some others with a guard between the hand and the blade. This can often be useful in situations in which you are liable to cut yourself.

Pros and Cons:

  • Excellent edge retention, extremely tough,
  • Poor quality sheath, prone to rust, heavy for a knife of its size

>>Check price and more reviews on Amazon<<

Timber Rattler Western Outlaw Bowie Knife Review

Another huge Bowie knife to consider here, measuring in at just under twelve inches. The Timber Rattler is a bright, old-fashioned looking blade with a sharp, straight edge and an excellent aesthetic. However, a knife of this size comes with a price.

The blade is another Stainless Steel build, which again offers that same resistance to rust. The edge is sharp and the point is true, and the blade would make a useful tool to anyone in any survival situation. A full tang blade, this knife is sturdily notched into its handle, offering increased toughness and durability.

The handle is pleasantly designed and fashioned from grey hardwood. This means the handle is relatively comfortable, but can be somewhat slippery and brittle at times. The guard is once again in play, protecting fingers from the maw of the blade, useful for those sessions of wild hacking and slashing.

The problem here is the size. This knife is very, very large. Weighing in at two and a half pounds, this enormous knife has more in common with some swords than Bowie knives. While it is a formidable knife, it sacrifices portability and wield-ability for its size.

Pros and Cons:

  • Strong blade, rust resistant, excellent design
  • Unwieldy and heavy, too long for a lot of tasks

>>Check price and more reviews on Amazon<<

The Outback Bowie Review

Down Under Knives’ offering to this list is by far the biggest, sitting at sixteen inches and weighing in at one point eight pounds, this enormous Bowie knife is enough to strike fear into any foe you should come across, be it flora or fauna.

Made of 440C dual heat treated Stainless Steel, the blade is extremely tough and resistant even to high temperatures. However, at eleven inches, the balance of this knife is thrown off somewhat, with too much weight being pushed on the front. However, this is also one of the most heavy duty knife on the list, making it perfect for those heavy duty jobs.

The knife is designed beautifully, with the brass guard and pommel and ebony and leather handle offering a classic finish to the aesthetic. But what really stands out is the sheath, which is made of genuine leather and includes a sharpening spike for maintenance on the go.

Pros and Cons:

  • Strong blade, excellent design, great sheath
  • Too large for many tasks, somewhat unbalanced.

>>Check price and more reviews on Amazon<<

What Should You Look For In A Bowie Knife?

As with most any tool, there are a lot of different factors to consider when purchasing a Bowie knife. These knives are special tools which require a great deal of care and proper upkeep, and so finding the correct knife to fit your task is important as the wrong knife could end up being unfit for purpose.

The Blade Steel

One of the main considerations one must undertake when looking at Bowie knives is the type of Steel used to make the blade. Typically, knives will be made of one of two types of Steel – Carbon Steel or Stainless Steel. Each of these has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Stainless Steel is excellent for many survival situations as it tends to be quite tough and it highly rust-resistant, meaning that damp conditions won’t spoil the blade and there’s less need to treat it. However, Stainless Steel typically does not hold an edge as well as Carbon Steel, and is often harder to sharpen.

Carbon Steel contains much higher levels of Carbon than Stainless Steel, which makes it a much harder and tougher material. It also tends to sharpen easier and hold its edge longer, which makes it a formidable tool. It does, however, require more upkeep than Stainless Steel as it is prone to rusting.

The Handle

It is important that the handle of your knife offers a comfortable grip. This is because an uncomfortable grip can lead to blistering or discomfort while working, decreasing the efficiency with which you can work. The handle is also liable to wear down or break if made of an unsuitable material. Therefore, it is of vital importance that you make sure to look for well-designed handles.

The Blade Type

Different Bowie knives come with different types of blades for different jobs. Hunting oriented knives often come with serrated edges to offer better tearing motion when cutting up prey. Other Bowie knives will make use of a straight edge, which is more useful for simple slicing and hacking. For different tasks, these will each present different advantages and disadvantages.

The Weight

A heavy knife is often a sign of sturdiness. However, it can also make it tiring to use and cumbersome to carry. A good knife will strike a good balance between weightiness and ease of wielding. It is important to consider your own situation and a task when assessing the different weights of knives, as certain jobs and situations will demand different things of the knife.

The Length Of The Blade

Much like weight, length is an important factor. A longer knife is useful for heavy duty hacking and slashing but loses the precision that a shorter knife gives. You must also consider your own height and ability to wield longer knives when factoring this into your decision. For many tasks, medium length knives hit a good middle ground.

The Origin of the Bowie Knife


Now that you have read this ultimate guide, you have all the information you need to go out and make an informed decision when purchasing your Bowie knife. By considering the different factors outlined and comparing the options available, you should be able to find the perfect Bowie knife for your purpose with no problems. Of course, if you do have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.

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