ESEE 4 vs. Bravo 1

Discussion in 'ESEE KNIVES' started by Dragon63005, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Dragon63005


    Apr 28, 2007
    I have been going back and forth between an ESEE and a BRAVO 1. Both get fantastic reviews from their respective owners.
  2. fixer

    fixer Banned BANNED

    Mar 9, 2000
    the Bravo 1 is roughly twice the price (depending on scales), has more options for scales and comes with a leather sheath that has a firesteel loop. i've *heard* some people complain about the thumb ramp on the Bravo.

    ESEE 4 has a kydex sheath, fewer choices on the scales, coated blade and you can get a bolt on firesteel loop and also make the pouch that's for the 5 and 6 work on it. and it's roughly half the price of the Bravo. tang extends past he scales which may be a benefit if you end up beating on it.

    i think A2 is supposed to be slightly more stain and rust resistant than 1095.

    both companies have great warantees.

    you can get leather sheaths for the ESEE or kydex for the Braxo.

    blades are roughly similar size and blade profile.

    i don't think there will be much that one can do that the other can't. so it all boils down to personal preference... spend a little more for a prettier knife that's should be just as capable.

    no "wrong" decision... but i'd be less concerned about rough use on the ESEE... you'll see lots of pix of ESEEs that have seen some serious use and show it. nobody seems to care if the coating gets a little chewed up and for some it's almost a badge of honor.

    you can actually get a "custom" knife from some makers for the cost of the Bravo (or less). so that's a third option.

    buy both? :D
  3. Dragon63005


    Apr 28, 2007
    Thanks Fixer,

    I have an RC-3 (SWAT) knife, which I love already and was looking for a little variety, but you make a great point on the price point.
  4. Pilot1

    Pilot1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    I have and use both. What the previous poster said is pretty much true, except if you shop right or buy used, you can narrow the price difference down quite a bit. One minor correction. The Bravo-1 comes with a Kydex sheath, but a nice Bark River leather sheath is available for an extra $50 - $60. I have both sheaths and for some reason I've been using the kydex more as I got a tek lock for it and just attach it to my belt or whatever pack I'm carrying.

    I prefer the handle on the Bravo-1 as I have large hands with long fingers and it grips very well for me. The RC-4 is OK, but I just like the extra length of the B-1. I also prefer the blade shape/thickness and no choil on the B-1. But, again they are personal preferences.

    A2 vs 1095 is pretty much a wash for me, and the heat treatment by both companies is superb. Both companies also stand behind their products. You can't go wrong with either. They are both top notch, and as the previous poster said the RC-4 is less expensive but still high quality.
  5. Battle Creek Knives

    Battle Creek Knives

    Feb 23, 2010
    I look at it like this, if you've already budgeted the extra cost it would take to get the bravo1 and it doesn't affect your decision, I'd jump on that in a heartbeat.. especially for carry, it simply just looks better imo, performs the same if not better, has great edge retention and did I mention the steel? (puts on flame resistant suit).:eek:
  6. shotgunner11


    Dec 17, 2005
    Both are great knives.

    For me, the biggest difference is the handle. The Bravo has just about the best handle going as far as knives go. It's perfectly contoured and very comfortable in use.

    But the 4's handle rides flatter and more comfortable on your side in the sheath.

    And the kydex that comes with the Bravo is dismal at best. I hated it and ended up making my own.

    The price is also a concern to me, I find BRKT to be a bit too proud of their blades price wise, but I'm a cheap bastard.


  7. soapboxpreacher


    Apr 3, 2010
    The Bravo 1 is an amazing knife but it is thick...damn near a prybar. For a 4.25" blade it is .215" thick!!!! The RC4 is 4.5" long and .188" thick. I have a Bravo 1 and had a RC4. I really like the grip on the Bravo 1 a lot but it does have some drawbacks too. Here's what I like first, better contour, bigger, less boxes design. It is a more comfortable handle without a doubt!! Now the bad, it has a wax polish on the micarta. I do not like a shiny pretty finish on a survival/bushcraft knife...If I want a polished finish I'll buy a steak knife!! Just reminds me too much of a kitchen knife...Just my opinion, other might love it. Also sweaty grip seemed to be better on the RC4...but I didnt have a ton of time to really make that a substantial conclusion. Also being thicker makes fine tasks a little harder (the convex grind offsets this to a degree), not much but still harder. This is my opinion after using both...I use the Bravo 1 far more but that is because it is what I still have. I also like the convex grind better. And one final note the Steel...IMHO is better as well. The Bravo is the more durable of the bunch. It really is a tank!!! At this length it could be the toughest knife around. The warranties are very similar for both. Mike is a very nice guy at Bark River. If you ever get him on the phone you can easily talk to him for 30+ minutes!! Customer service at both are very good!! Warranty is a wash. So as it stands I like the Bravo 1 better but let me continue. I do like a lot about the RC4 too. For one the Price, $50-70 cheaper!!!! The choil, it really offers nice gripping for fine work and other tasks...I really like it!! The thumb serration are really nice...I really do like them as well and they are comfortable. I love them on my RC6 a lot!! Next, The RC4 sheath system is far far better, more mounting option, just a lot better overall. Tremendous amount of possibilities. The Bravo 1 sheath is not so good. It rides high on the belt and doesnt offer many mounting options. It is alos stiff as a board!!! Even after drawing it out several times. It is so stiff it takes two hands to put it back most times! But back to the RC4, I also prefer the matte micarta grip finish (not necessarily the grip itself but the finish) compared to the waxy polished bravo 1. You can get a good grip for fine work with the RC4 as I stated. I also like the exposed pommel. The Bravo 1 handle might feel a little big for some for a knife at that length which might make it less maneuverable for fine work (once again IMHO). I felt I could do fine work easier on the RC4..but much that has to do with the Choil. I do not care for thumb ramp on the Bravo 1 at all!!!! It is sharp and I know you are suppose to put your thumb on the other side of the serration on the down side of the ramp...but I still dont like it! It has its function but I dont care for it much. You can order the Bravo 1 without the thumb ramp but it is hard to find. You can send it in as well..but that is 12 additional bucks to spend it and have it returned. Both blades have their pluses and minuses. I will probably get another RC4 at some point. I do find myself missing it, especially the sheath!!! It is really a nice knife. This is the break down. If you want a tank (better steel, better grind)...get the Bravo. If you want a mount everywhere with well balanced performance across the board, get the RC4. Either will not disappoint.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  8. rifon2


    Oct 9, 2005
    I'm one of those people who found the thumb ramp on the Bravo 1 to be very uncomfortable.

    So, personally, I'd choose the ESEE 4.

    (But my go-to knife in that approximate size is the Fallkniven F1 in 3G.)
  9. soapboxpreacher


    Apr 3, 2010
    I certainly love my F1 as well..but I dont have it in 3G (Really expensive)...just VG-10. The F1 might even be a better choice. They run around 105. If you go that route...dont get the black finish. My A1 finish looks like hell! It doesnt last at all. Fallkniven doesnt coat nearly as well as ESEE. Also the sheath isnt as good as the RC4 nor is the warranty. The Grind and handle are better. I really like my Fallknivens. I am split between the ESEE and the Fallknivens. I have 3 of each now. The A1 being my favorite knife of all followed by the Junglas.
  10. eloreno


    Apr 22, 2010
    I personally love and use both knives.

    I did not like the ramp on the bravo, so I took it off.

    You cannot go wrong either way.:thumbup::thumbup:
  11. kilua


    May 25, 2010
    i agree both are great knives...I have always admired the barkie, but opted for the esee due to price... do i have buyer remorse? maybe... :). I would opt for the barkie. its A2 i feel is superior to 1095. i have larger hands and have held a barkie and its just an amazing fit considering.
    which ever you choose your gonna be happy. best of luck!
  12. matthewdanger


    Jan 29, 2003
    Both are great knives. There really isn't a wrong answer.

    That said, I'll share what I ended up doing. At one point I had 2 Bravo 1s and 2 ESEE-4s. I now have 2 ESEE-4s and 0 Bravos. The biggest single deciding factor is the sheaths. The Bravo's sheath options, while well made and attractive, aren't anywhere near as functional as the ESEE-4's sheath.
  13. viix


    Jan 18, 2009
    Hey! I went through that same situation as you! & Now I've got 2 bravos and the ESEE 4 & 6!

    Like all the other posters have replied, they are both great knives and you can't go wrong with both.. Personally though, the ESEE are my go to knives.. It's just feels more responsive in my hands, and with the no questions asks warranty, I wouldn't hesitate to to use it hard!

    The bravo on the other hand, have a better ergo designed handle.. it feels great and the balancing on the knife seem to make it more of a fighter style knife than a serious field tool (when I compare it to the ESEE 4). I love the convex edge, but the thick blade can sometimes feel a little too clunky when dealing with smaller stuff..

    Now why do I have 2 bravo? Cos they look great with all that handle options at first, but now I'm considering selling them to get the junglas!
  14. coyotebc


    Jan 26, 2005
    I love my bravo 1
    I like the ramp but you can order it without the ramp.
    I have the leather sheath which I really like.

    My daughter soaked my bravo in the sink last year after a hunting trip so it is rusted.
    Mike has offered to fix it up for the cost of shipping.
    A patina really doesn't bother me so I am leaving it

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