Discover The 5 Best KA BAR Knife’s

So, you’re looking for the best KA Bar Knife? You’ve come to the right place. Because...

If you're lost in the wilderness without any gear, you're hungry, tired and wet and it's getting dark and the only tool you have is a KA-BAR knife strapped to your belt then you can still survive! 

As with that 1 tool alone you can trap and skin animals for food plus chop wood to build a shelter and start a fire, so it should be part of your Every-Day Carry if possible.

So here's the deal...

After 20 hours of research consulting the toughest survivalists on the internet, delving into the history of the manufacturer and their product specs, as well as...

...considering 5 different products then analyzing over 10,000 user opinions I'm confident that the best KA Bar Knife for surviving almost any situation is my “top pick” below...

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These Are The 3 Best KA Bar Knives

OUR TOP PICK

Square in the midpoint of our list is a quintessential utility knife, the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife.

It’s a plain-edged, clip-pointed knife that looks like the knives at number one and number two were merged together.

That’s intentional since it’s a combat utility model, intended for general cutting maintenance and busywork as well as a weapon if the situation at hand gets out of control.

The blade’s specs read off quite similar to the KA-BAR USMC.

It’s about twelve inches in length if you measure it all, or seven inches if you’re just measuring the fixed blade.

As we already mentioned, the blade has a clip point on the end for superior penetrating power.

It weighs in at about 340 grams or roughly three-quarters of a pound.

It's one of KA-BAR’s more popular knives, which isn’t surprising considering its all-purpose versatility.

And so it also uses that 1095 Cro-Van steel that the last two models use.

This is a chromium and vanadium, sometimes molybdenum, composite steel that functions a lot like standard 1095 steel.

Its Rockwell hardness rating consistently scores between 56 and 58, which is a safe and reliable average for Western outdoorsman knives.

The main difference between this and the USMC, however, is this knife’s Swiss-made Grivory handle.

Grivory is an advanced thermoplastic that combines glass fiber and nylon to combine lightness with nearly unmatchable durability.

It’s also black at both the handle and the blade, that much is obvious.

So you won’t scare anything away with the glint of this blade since it absorbs light and holds onto it.

It’s the sheath that lets this knife down if anything.

The knife will easily slide out if you’re doing any rotational movements, which isn’t great for a utility knife that’s likely to be an EDC or frequently worn outdoors.

Pros:

  • A clip-pointed combat utility knife ideal for all-purpose utility and combat.

  • An 11”, 7” blade that weighs 340 grams meaning the blade is long enough for most tasks and yet light enough to carry.

  • Made with 1095 Cro-Van steel that’s graded to 56-58 HRC, which means this is a tough blade that can cut through most items.

  • Lightweight Swiss-made Grivory glass-fiber-nylon handle keeps the model weight down while staying strong.

Cons:

  • The accompanying sheath with this knife isn’t anything to write home about so if that's important to you keep it in mind.

EDITORS CHOICE

Our second KA-BAR knife we have is the Becker BK2 Campanion, a drop-pointed blade designed for hunting and camping, hence the name.

It’s a smaller yet more substantial knife than the USMC that put KA-BAR on the map.

Being approximately ten inches long with five of that being that drop-pointed blade that’s also .25 inches thick.

That’s thick for a knife but perfect for heavy-duty camping and hunting use.

Part of this heavy-duty design is also the fact that it has a full tang across the entirety of the handle, which you can see is secured throughout.

That tang is buried into a black Ultramid nylon handle that’s very lightweight, so you really don’t feel the extra thickness that this blade has.

It’s made with the same hardened 1095 Cro-Van steel that our first knife was made from too.

It’s treated to an HRC of 56-58, so you can be sure it’ll bite through anything you should want to throw at it.

So why is this a better knife for camping?

There’s one important feature this knife has that sets it apart from the rest and that’s the fact it has a choil that can double as a ferro rod striker.

This means you can ignite fires the primitive way if you have some dry kindling and a ferro rod handy.

The knife needs proper maintenance to stop it from rusting, so you should really take care of this model if you’re going to buy it.

It’ll come with a hard plastic nylon sheath that’s MOLLE compatible and has adequate drainage holes to keep rusting at bay, which should make it easier to keep the blade clean.

Pros:

  • A thick, drop-pointed blade intended for heavy-duty hunting and camping use out in the field.

  • A full tang anchors the blade firmly into its Ultramid plastic handle giving a well balanced knife.

  • Made with KA-BAR’s hard 1095 Cro-Van steel which is tough and can cut through most things you're likely to encounter. 

  • Has a ferro rod striker foil for igniting fires the old-fashioned way should you ever need heat.

  • Comes with a hard shell black nylon sheath that’s MOLLE-friendly.

Cons:

  • Will rust if not properly maintained.

BEST VALUE

Square in the midpoint of our list is a quintessential utility knife, the KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility Knife.

It’s a plain-edged, clip-pointed knife that looks like the knives at number one and number two were merged together.

That’s intentional since it’s a combat utility model, intended for general cutting maintenance and busywork as well as a weapon if the situation at hand gets out of control.

The blade’s specs read off quite similar to the KA-BAR USMC.

It’s about twelve inches in length if you measure it all, or seven inches if you’re just measuring the fixed blade.

As we already mentioned, the blade has a clip point on the end for superior penetrating power.

It weighs in at about 340 grams or roughly three-quarters of a pound.

It's one of KA-BAR’s more popular knives, which isn’t surprising considering its all-purpose versatility, and so it also uses that 1095 Cro-Van steel that the last two models use.

This is a chromium and vanadium, sometimes molybdenum, composite steel that functions a lot like standard 1095 steel.

Its Rockwell hardness rating consistently scores between 56 and 58, which is a safe and reliable average for Western outdoorsman knives.

The main difference between this and the USMC, however, is this knife’s Swiss-made Grivory handle.

Grivory is an advanced thermoplastic that combines glass fiber and nylon to combine lightness with nearly unmatchable durability.

It’s also black at both the handle and the blade, that much is obvious, so you won’t scare anything away with the glint of this blade since it absorbs light and holds onto it.

It’s the sheath that lets this knife down if anything.

The knife will easily slide out if you’re doing any rotational movements, which isn’t great for a utility knife that’s likely to be an EDC or frequently worn outdoors.

Pros:

  • A clip-pointed combat utility knife ideal for all-purpose utility and combat.

  • An 11”, 7” blade that weighs 340 grams which means the blade is long enough for most tasks and yet the knife is light still.

  • Made with 1095 Cro-Van steel that’s graded to 56-58 HRC - this is a tough knife built to last.

  • Lightweight Swiss-made Grivory glass-fiber-nylon handle keeps the model weight down while staying strong.

Cons:

  • The accompanying sheath with this knife isn’t anything to write home about.

RUNNER UP

Now here’s an option that’s a little fun, and great for those who want to have a more Eastern edge, literally.

The KA-BAR 1266 Modified Tanto Blade is exactly what it sounds like, a big and intimidating eight-inch slice of metal that’s based on the original Japanese tanto design.

With an eight-inch blade and almost thirteen whole inches in total length, this knife is officially the largest on our list.

That big blade is made from high-carbon 1095 Cro-Van steel. If you’ve been reading the rest of this article, you know the deal with this composite that many of KA-BAR’s higher-end knives are made from.

It’s a durable 1095 alternative without actually being standard 1095, using chromium and vanadium instead.

We’d prefer to talk about the color again, black as to not glint and give away your position to nearby animals.

Speaking of black, the Kraton G handle is the same. Kraton G is a group of polymers that are very light, very resistant to temperature and UV, and very durable against good old physical punishment.

When you have a knife as big as this, you really appreciate the lighter handle.

Pros:

  • A Japanese-inspired tanto blade that has been given KA-BAR’s modern treatment.

  • The large blade is fashioned from high-carbon 1095 Cro-Van steel which is durable and strong.

  • Kraton G polymer handle is very lightweight yet very durable.

  • The largest blade on our list at 8” and almost 13” in total means it has far more uses than the smaller knifes.

Cons:

  • A common sticking point with KA-BAR’s synthetic sheaths, the plastic can break. We’d advise getting your own sheath.

RUNNER UP

The last KA-BAR on our list is the humble but effective KA-BAR 3189 Folding Hunter Knife.

It’s exactly what it looks like, a flip-action blade that benefits from the manufacturing prestige of KA-BAR, and it’s very affordable.

Sure, it looks a little like an old-timey switchblade, but KA-BAR has kept the important mechanical specs modern while keeping this disarming design that’s perfect for an EDC.

The knife’s blade is made from grade 420 stainless steel.

This isn’t as impressive as some of the more advanced metals KA-BAR uses, sure, but it’s on the higher end for stainless steel with a 52-54 HRC rating.

For what this blade was designed for, low-intensive hunting applications, it’s more than enough and quite durable.

Its hollow grind also slices through materials easily, lessening any chance you’ll accidentally damage this classic knife, even when resharpening.

Part of this knife’s modern makeover is the fact that its handle is made from G10. It’s no space-age metal, don’t get us wrong, but it does help the knife look more modern.

G10 is a pretty durable epoxy resin laminate that uses fiberglass, and it’s formed using high pressures so anything you come across in your travels shouldn’t be enough to break it.

On the handle is a pocket clip for convenient storage too.

It can be hard to close due to the straight lock that the closing mechanism uses.

Maybe it’ll lessen with time but it’s definitely enough to put someone who wants a smooth and easy sheathing off.

Overall, it’s a great small knife for fishing or precise carcass prep, and it’s the most affordable knife here too.

Pros:

  • An older and more subtle switchblade-style knife design brought into the modern age with KA-BAR’s manufacturing.

  • A hollow blade made with 420 SS steel with a Rockwell rating of 52-54.

  • A handle made from G-10 epoxy resin laminate for strong grip.

  • The most affordable KA-BAR knife on this list.

Cons:

  • It can be difficult to close with one hand. This may get easier with time, however.

Best KA BAR Knife Buying Guide

Choosing A Knife That You Can Rely On

We’ve slipped in this small buyers’ guide for those of you who are new to buying, or otherwise just want to scout everything related to your purchase before you pull the trigger.

Whichever one you are, you should be able to get something from this guide.

We’ve broken down the average KA-BAR knife into its different parts and described what we like to see in every category.

Even if you have a different knife brand in mind, comparing with our standards might help you identify a problem area that your knife won’t cover, or give you peace of mind that you’re getting a quality product.

The Blade

It goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway, you should know what blade size you want before you make any moves. You don’t want a massive tanto blade if you only need a little jackknife for gutting fish. 

Once you have that ironed out, start looking at the blade material. Metal, obviously, but it’s more complicated than that.

You’ll see most of our KA-BAR favorites are made with 1095 Cro-Van steel, a hard and expensive composite metal that many of KA-BAR’s higher-end knives have.

Hardness and color are the two main things you should pay attention to when looking at blade material. Fortunately, hardness is quantified through the Rockwell hardness scale or HRC.

For outdoorsman knives, most will be in the 50 to 60 HRC range, and you should aim for harder blades if you have more intensive uses planned for your knife.

Color is simple, do you want a blade that glints or not? Beware that a pretty glint can cost you good game during a hunt.

With KA-BAR knives, you’re usually looking at a clip or drop-point knife.

You can get tanto and hawkbill KA-BARs, as we’ve demonstrated above, but they have less versatile uses.

Clip points are great for penetration and detail work while drops are durable points that are pretty versatile in how you apply them.

It may be daunting to see measurements of a knife’s edge angle, so let us make it nice and simple. Twenty degrees.

That’s it. If you’re getting a tactical knife, reaching for a twenty-degree edge angled knife is the best compromise between sharpness and edge retention.

The Handle

Just like the blade, the handle should be durable too. This means you need to pay attention to the material that the handle is made from.

Some like it classic, using wood or leather like the KA-BAR USMC at number one.

We love this classic design, but others might prefer sleek, dark polymers and high-tech resins to get the job done.

Fortunately for them, the modern tactical knife market is full of those too.

We’d suggest Kraton G, G10, Grivory, or Zytel.

Check reviews of any knife you want since reviewers will certainly call out a subpar handle.

The Sheath

You want a sheath to be three things, accessible, secure, and protective.

Accessibility is simple enough, it should be easy to unsheathe and sheathe, for you that is. That’s because you want it to be secure.

Security means that it won’t fall from the sheath during movement, and it should especially be harder for someone to take the knife out of its sheath without wearing it.

By protective, we meant that the sheath should keep the blade clean and functional.

This usually means some kind of ventilation system that lets air and any built-up moisture like water or blood to pass through the sheath.

That way it doesn’t stay on the blade, which would cause harmful rust if left untreated. There’s no good in a sheath that slowly ruins your blade over time.

I hope that you've now found the Best KA BAR Knife that money can buy.

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