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Knife Noobie needs a bit of help. Full-tang?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Drame22, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Styg


    Oct 3, 2012
    I could be wrong on this, but I don't think there is any such thing as a "normal" bowie and a "fighting" bowie. I was under the impression the bowie was designed with fighting/self defense in mind.

    Also, if no one has mentioned the smatchet yet, look that up.
  2. Goosey


    Mar 19, 2012
    That's true but as always, it comes down to personal preference, some people would want something heavy and choppy, other people might want something quick and stabby. A lot of bowies seem designed with camping or outdoors work in mind more than killing, which most people tend not to do these days. :p
  3. FTR-14c

    FTR-14c Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 24, 2011
    The RD 4 may be a little robust for small work. Here is a decent set up for around $100
    RD 9 Bush series that is 3/16" rather than the standard 1/4" and a Mora Forest / Bushcraft.

    Edit: You could make a mess of anybody with either one of these.

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2013
  4. elkins45


    Jun 17, 2006
    I think that would do it. Personally if I were in the market for a fighting knife I would very seriously consider on of the Entrek models. Entrek is one of the great unsung bargains of the knife world: each knife is essentially handmade by Ray Ennis himself and sold at about the same price as ones made by robots elsewhere.
  5. Drame22


    Mar 15, 2013
    Well I'm keeping all these links in a folder on my chrome for later use.

    The Entrek knives look pretty cool. Same with that RD9 blade.

    I'm still curious though, how do you tell a good blade from a bad one via the description? They all come with a bunch of numbers I don't understand, among other things!

    The smatchet looks like it came out of a cartoon. Or the African heartland. (No offense to any African-blade fans, but you do have to admit some of their blades look a bit silly).

    I suppose I should stop asking what the 'best' material is. What's the easiest to keep from rusting and to keep sharp?

    Also if there's an option, I'd prefer a quicknstabby bowie knife. The more traditional one(like the Teddy Roosevelt) looks very heavy and choppy. I'd still like to keep the length, and preferably the clip-point(which doesn't seem to be a problem with bowies).

    So I've heard a lot of positive things about the RD4. Should that be my utility knife?

    Also just keep in mind that I currently have $150, but I'm able to save up more for better knives. Quality over price any day, I'd rather wait a few more months and get a lifelong companion than drop a few bucks now and have to replace it in a few years.

    Thanks for all the info guys, this is awesome!

  6. BePrepared


    Aug 26, 2010
    Save your money, and buy a Becker BK9 or BK7... it's more than worth the extra cash

    what you have posted is junk

    The most important details to look for are as follows

    in a large knife, you ALWAYS want carbon steel for large knives. If the steel is not listed, or it's listed as 440 stainless or something of that type, it's junk

    Personally, i go for 1095 unless i'm getting INFI. The Aus8 on the one you listed CAN be usable, but it's a low end steel, and it's stainless so it's going to be much more brittle

    second, all those serations are USELESS. they weaken the blade, but do nothing at all for function.

    Third, stick to quality makers. Becker, Busse, ESEE, for a few examples
  7. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    Wow, I would have suggested locating an Ontario Spec Plus SP18 Frontiersman, as that was the cheap version of a Bagwell fighting bowie design. It was discontinued years ago, but I figured you could still get them for a decent price. Boy, was I ever wrong, one sold on ebay for $500 less than two weeks ago. I believe that is right around 10 times what I paid for one. Trust me, at $50 they were not really a bargain. I keep finding out that all the knives I sold are being traded at ridiculous prices.

    Anyway, the easiest to keep from rusting and to resharpen is going to be a polished blade of stainless steel with a lower amount of carbon.
  8. Goosey


    Mar 19, 2012
    You have to understand the numbers and the company's reputation, knowledge improves with time :p or ask a bunch of people.

    There really aren't that many pointy and light bowies out there (at least not production ones). Like Hardheart said, there used to be the Ontario SP18 and the Ontario Bagwellsm but the prices have shot waaay up since they went out of production.

    For a "fighting" knife, check out the Condor Jungle Bowie. It's not the most traditional but it's affordable at just over $40, the blade is decently (1/8-in) thick, it's got a secure grip and a very pointy, double-edged tip...


    Condor makes good stuff.
  9. Torm


    Jul 12, 2007
    Those type of serrations are all but useless for wood or rope. Value for dollar in a knife you can beat on its hard to top any of the ESEE, Scrapyard Knifeworks, or Swamprat Knives product lineups. If you find you have to cut a lot of rope then you could consider a serrated Spyderco folder as a backup. Any decently made plain edge that is maintained will zip through rope with no problems though so you won't likely need to worry about serrations. If you increase your budget later then Busse, Fallkniven, Becker, or Fehrman are all good choices.
  10. ridnovir

    ridnovir Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    I would suggest

    Follkniven F1 or TK2

    Bark River Gunny

    Bark River Bravo 1
  11. Buck 535

    Buck 535

    Mar 4, 2008
    I think some folks don't care for the OP's bowie idea.
    When the Zombie Apocalypse is here, he'll have the last laugh.
  12. Drame22


    Mar 15, 2013
    Buck: One of the many situations I'm trying to prepare myself for!

    Goosey: I was more asking specifically what they mean. I know I don't know what they mean. That's why I'm asking a bunch of people :) But is 1054 worse than 1095? I just made those up, but there has to be a system there somewheres!

    Well I would agree that serrations now seem pretty useless on a work knife, I still believe for a fighting knife they have a place. If only for the mental pressure it puts on your opponent. Namely 'Hey, this guy has a giant scary knife. I probably don't want to fight him.'

    Cheers all!
  13. marcinek


    Jan 9, 2007
    "His knife has a sawback...he must be like Rambo! Run!"
    "But I have a gun."
    "So what! Run!"

    The sawback isn't going to add any extra scariness. Only a scary knife name does that.

    The 10XX series of steels is named based on the percentage of carbon in them. That is the only thing that varies in their composition. Less carbon is softer. Softer is good or bad depending on your application.
  14. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    Get a cutting tool that suits your actual cutting needs. Carrying a Rambo knife around only weighs you down and creates an uneasy atmosphere with your friends. You do not need the weight and you do not need the stigma. "that guy with the huge knife"

    Why is a large fighting knife necessary? Any sharp object in the hands of somebody determined to use it will put the hurt on you. If someone is determined they can get the job done with a bushcraft knife, box cutter or spoon if needs be. This camping trip is for fun is it not? The only reason you need to worry about the fighting attributes of a knife at the expense of its practicality is if you are actively placing yourself in situations where you will are likely to need it. Even in those situations most troops carry something more suitable for the task like a gun. Frankly if you are likely to need protection, you should camp elsewhere.

    If you are worried about bears bring a shotgun with slugs, better yet bring two and learn to set up your campsite in a way that does not attract bears. Cook away from the tents and do not store any food or clothing with food residue on it in the camp.
  15. Torm


    Jul 12, 2007
    Outside of action movies the serrations on the back are more than useless; they can be a hindrance by being just one more thing to get caught during use. Fighting knives throughout history haven't commonly used any form of serration so, from a historical standpoint, they weren't even used when wars were fought and won with blades. If you're looking for advice from the many folks here who know their stuff through decades of experience then it may be worth taking heed and following that advice. You'll likely be much more happy with your purchase if you do. Good luck in your search and make sure to post some pictures up once the blade you decide on arrives.
  16. goodeyesniper


    Aug 31, 2009
    there is not much of a uniform naming system for steels. there are some runs that make sense like 1075, 1085, 1095. Which basically have more carbon as the number gets higher, which means once they are heart treated the knives with higher carbon stay sharper longer, but lose some toughness. out of that family of steels 1095 is by far the most common in knife blades, the lower carbon ones are often found in machetes and things that need to be tougher. But 1095 is still plenty tough for a knife, it's basically the standard, benchmark steel for fixed blade knives and is very respectable.

    From there, steels get very confusing and their names are not comparable. L7, versus w6, versus O2, versus A2, etc...

    in my opinion, don't search by steel name, search by the reputation of the knife maker. from there, if you find a reasonable design you like you can do a more specific search for peoples thoughts on that steel and heat treat used, handle material and design, etc....
  17. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    these are just AISI designations, there are naming conventions in many countries.

    D - dies steel
    L - low alloy steel
    W - water hardening steel
    O - oil hardening steel
    A - air hardening steel
    S - shock resisting steel
    M - moly high speed steel
    T - tungsten high speed steel
    H - hot work steel
    P - mold steel
    1000, 1100, 1200, 1500 series - carbon steel
    1300-9700 series - alloy steel

    tons and tons of proprietary names also. D2 steel is also called SKD 11, 1.2379, X155CrVMo12-1, Airdi, 610, etc. depending on the company or the country.
  18. Drame22


    Mar 15, 2013
    So the higher the number, the better the material? like, 1055 is worse than 1095?

    sideways: I'm not placing myself in these situations, however, if I were ever placed in such a situation, I want something bigger than a pocket knife to defend myself. I have been mugged a few times, and each time it was a knife-wielding opponent. This summer, in addition to a few survival courses, I have signed up for a combat knife course. I don't ever plan to use it, but then who actually plans to use their self-defense weapons? Generally it's when you don't expect an attack, like say walking home with groceries. So I need something I can actually carry, and Portland police are notorious for arresting citizens for concealed carry even if they have their paperwork ON THEM.

    My jacket has a custom sheath-like pocket(in the small of the back area, not sure what that's called on a coat) from the previous owner. I assume, at least, bought it at Goodwill. No one would even know it existed until I needed it. I don't plan to be that guy who takes any opportunity to show off his knife. However, I DO want to be that guy who has the capability to defend himself or others instead of standing there or(and this one makes me laugh every time) expecting the police to show up in time.

    But that's a bit besides the point of this topic. Let's assume for the moment I am not a crazy old Australian bushwacker who will whip out his fighting knife for any curious bloke, and that knife-fighting is a last resort. I've been stabbed before, and I don't have any inclination to repeat that feeling. I'd much rather talk my way out, or just give them what little money I keep in my wallet.


    But I still want a fighting knife.

    In terms of weighing me down, I already have upwards of 40lbs of gear for camping. An extra pound or two will hardly be noticed. At least it would weigh me down less that two shotguns and ammo! Also for various reasons, I am not allowed a firearm in my current house. My roommates would probably kick me out if I bought one, so for now, I'm stuck with no guns.

    Cheers all,

    My friends have their own gear, but it's all from Wal-mart or similar stores. Cheap aluminum cookware, small plastic-ey tents. Good enough for a few days camping. My camping gear is more inclined towards long-term survival. Almost exclusively military-surplus. ALICE packs, MRE's, paracord, etc.
  19. sideways


    Feb 19, 2013
    The bring a shotgun thing was for if you are in bear country. I was not suggesting you carry two of them but to bring a friend who also has one. Going after a bear with a knife is pure fantasy. I am not trying to say you should be defenseless but if you want to buy one blade to do it all you will likely be disappointed with a big shiney expensive bowie.

    See that bold part of the quote? Would you actually carry a big bowie with you to the supermarket or those times when you don't expect to need it? It's the same thing with guys buying full size 1911 pistols for ccw, if they are big and awkward you are unlikely to carry them. The tool with you is more use than the tool at home in the nightstand. Look in the prac tac section of the forums, there are currently 2 threads about small fixed blades for concealed carry.

    Ok, lets not debate this further I'll throw in a few larger tacticool knives and you can say what you like. Just to be clear I would not use any of these to fillet a fish. :D

    Blackjack model 1. Vietnam chic.

    SOG seal 2000. It comes with serrations. I edc'd its little brother for about a year and only ever used it to do tasks a swiss army knife did better, turns out the knife does a crappier job than a mora of processing wood. Lesson learned. A mora will also pierce body armor, go figure.

    Cold steel natchez bowie and laredo bowie
    These are big knives.

    Fairbairn sykes dagger. This thing had its trial by fire in world war 2. In world war one they used more sophisticated trench weapons like sharpened spades (dig a hole to hide in with it then hit the enemy with it), trench knives, maces, shotguns, grenades and pistols.

    Cold steel recon scout. Pretty reasonable knife

    kukri's are a Nepalese design and have been used for a long time to hack and slash in nepal and the British army.

    Machete. Cheap and effective, most recently used in parts of Africa.

    Hukari. Heavy short chopper, design started by someone cutting a sword down to a more manageable size.

    Von tempsky bowie. Big hunk of steel.

    kizlyar combat 1. Big and stabby.

    Kizlyar dv 2. Big and less stabby
  20. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    I would again say you should reference the course you will be taking. There are classes that specifically teach techniques for long blade dueling, reverse grip, curved blades, double edge, and folders. But you are at least pursuing training, so whatever knife you have will be more worthwhile for it. It is pretty important to match the class and the tool, there are a whole lot of options.

    From just a quick search, is seems your only legal limitation for a fixed blade would be that it cannot be double edged. No length restrictions, and you are fine as long as some part is visible to preclude concealed carry. Of course you need to verify this before you go walking past an officer with a sword on your back.

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