As simple as they appear, most knife enthusiasts and survivalists will tell you that knives aren’t made the same. While there may be no significant variations between different models, the slightest dissimilarity can attract a huge difference in the performance and convenience level each knife offers.
Actually, even with the minimalist designs, there are a whole host of things to take in mind when shopping for a decent knife. Be sure to examine the construction type, blade thickness, design, price, and most importantly, the brand!
YES! The brand you buy matters really a lot. Pick one that has a rich history in making high-quality knives. That’s why we insist time and again that you should only focus on the industry’s leading brand, Ka-bar.
After her inception in 1898, Ka-bar established new standards for cutlery that remain unmatched by any other brand to date. That explains why their knives remain the most popular among survivalists and different branches of the military. Here are some of the top-notch Ka-bar knives.
13 Best Ka-Bar Knives
#1 KA1245-BRK Black Tanto
As the first model on the list, there is plenty of things to admire about this unit. It’s one of the top-rated products in the industry, so chances are that it has all the qualities that most people want in knives.
Firstly, the KA1245-BRK is of 1095 Cor-van steel. Hence, it’s incredibly tough to stand up to everyday abuse in the most inclement weather conditions. The durable epoxy-coating protects against rust when also playing a central role in improving aesthetics.
For those looking for a versatile knife, one of the important factors to consider is the thickness. A thicker blade means that you can use the knife for different tasks without distorting the shape. And yes, the thickness of the KA1245-BRK indicates that it’s conceived with multi-functionality in mind.
The Kraton G handle is very durable and will remain comfortable in the palm. Thus, if you are looking for a high-quality cutter that you can use for many hours with minimal hand fatigue, you won’t be wrong to invest in this version.
The Kydex sheath is of excellent grade and will keep the knife put when not in use. The carry system offers three knife-retaining mechanisms. Hence, even if one mechanism fails (which is very unlikely), you still have others to count on.
#2 KA1218-BRK USMC Fighter Serrated
The next option worth giving a shot is a partially-serrated version. I mean, it has a flat edge to work like any other straight-edged knife but with some section of the blade coming with serrations for greater versatility.
The serrations near the hilt indicate that you can count on this model to impress when using it for the most demanding applications where a straight-edge blade doesn’t make the most appropriate option.
The 1095 Cro-van steel is very tough. Hence, if you are only willing to direct your cash to a versatile knife that will last a lifetime, not many models will match the long-lasting performance of the KA1218-BRK.
The length of the blade is slightly shorter than that of the preceding option. That said, it should serve better for EDC compared to our previous suggestion. The durably-constructed handle feels comfortable in just about any hand.
It comes sharp and ready for the job. And since the 1095 Cro-van steel retains the razor’s edge for longer than stainless steel, expect to do more with this knife between sharpening cycles.
#3 Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie Fixed Blade Knife
The Ka-Bar Becker BK9 packs all features that most people want in a knife that can support a wide range of combat and field-craft chores. Hence, no matter the type of chore you throw at this knife, there are very minimal chances of it disappointing.
The blade here isn’t of different construction from our preceding options- simply because no material will serve better for knives than solid 1095 Cro-Van steel. And with that said, we are safe to see it as one of the most durable options you will find in the market.
The unit comes sharp and ready to face the day right off the bat. The carbon steel construction also maintains its sharpness for a very long time. But if it grows blunt, the 20-degree blade sharpens with ease.
The Grivory handle is of glass fiber-filled nylon. Hence, it’s also very long-lasting and will give you the much-needed non-slip grip and reduce hand fatigue when tackling large projects.
To ensure that the Ka-Bar Becker BK9 does all that it promises, each knife passes through rigorous tests. Hence, it’s one of the models you can buy with the confidence that you are getting a unit that will deliver top performance.
#4 KA-BAR 1317 Dog’s Head Utility Knife
Whether you want a knife for bushcraft, camping, hunting, or other outdoor chores, this amazing model by Ka-bar is one of the top-rated multi-functional knives we have in the market.
Ranging from the blade to the handle and sheath, everything about the KA-BAR 1317 is just amazing. Therefore, it’s a hardworking knife sure to deliver the legendary performance of the military variety to a non-military setting.
The carbon steel construction lets you tackle the toughest projects with the confidence that it will not bend like some models. The sturdy blade also has impressive edge retention, so you may not need to carry a knife sharpener on your next camping trip.
The handle is of polished leather for extended durability. This material alongside the oval shape makes the grasp more grippy to ensure more comfortable use and to minimize the likelihood of accidents.
The brown leather sheath is thick enough and will hold the knife securely when not in use. Nonetheless, a few users claim that the carry system is a little stiff when new, so you may need to oil it if you don’t like it that way.
#5 Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker Companion Fixed Blade Knife
Although Ka-bar knives are a fantastic variety, not many can make the cut as an EDC option. Some are overly large to carry while others are too small to rely on when handling tougher jobs.
Now, if you are looking for an option to include in your EDC bag, the Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker should make a nice purchase. It’s neither small nor large, but just the right size that gives an excellent balance of portability and functionality.
It is a well-balanced cutter made to remain comfortable in your hand, no matter how demanding the project gets. You can use it for food preparation, kindling, prying joints apart, and almost any other field job where a decent knife will come in handy.
The blade in this case is quite thicker, so it may not be the ideal option for jobs that require a high level of precision such as carving woods and the like. But since that’s the case with most Ka-Bar knives, it shouldn’t put you off, unless you are willing to try out a different brand.
The sheath is of heavy-duty polyester that lasts for a very long time. The black powder finish of the Ka-Bar BK-22 Becker, though, isn’t the best, especially for people who value looks a lot.
#6 Ka-Bar 1282 D2 Extreme Fighting Knife
The Ka-Bar 1282 also packs the versatility and functionality you need on your camping trip. The famous model is of D2 steel, one of the sturdiest materials that can ever be used in knife making.
Therefore, even before we go deep to examine the knife’s other superb features and capabilities, we already know that it’s one of the strongest and most durable you will ever buy.
It’s larger than some members of the list, though. But don’t let that discourage you as it still retains a lightweight design. Therefore, this high-quality piece won’t slow you down when carrying it for camping, hunting, and other long outdoor trips.
It arrives with an ultra-sharp edge that doesn’t require any further fine-tuning. Thus, you can put the Ka-Bar 1282 into use seconds after bringing it from the box. The hard plastic sheath provides a safe and convenient way to haul it.
On price, the Ka-Bar 1282 may not be the most inexpensive model you will come across out there. Nevertheless, every knife enthusiast will tell you that most of the time you get what you pay for when it comes to knives.
#7 KA-BAR 2-1211-6 Blk Fighting
This version uses materials of the highest quality for its construction. Therefore, it is a very durable option that will hold up well for years when using it for a wide range of the most demanding field applications.
The 1095 carbon steel means that we don’t expect it to disappoint in any way no matter what nature throws at it. The premium powder coat protects this knife from rust when using it in corrosive outdoor settings.
The 20-degree edge angle suits heavy use. This design also makes sharpening the knife a breeze once it loses the razor-sharp cutting edge it carries from the manufacturer. Nonetheless, some users still find it harder to sharpen compared to softer metals like stainless steel, although this is repaid through its ability to hold the edge for longer.
The Craton G handle feels great in the palm and provides a non-slip grip. Another impressive thing about the handle is that it’s of the right level of thickness and length for different hand sizes.
The black sheath is of top-grade leather that takes a beating. Lastly, this unit comes with a hole at the bottom of the handle. This feature allows for easy attachment and helps drain water when you submerge the handle.
#8 KA-BAR KBAR1217 Full-Size USMC Fighting Knife
If you asked most campers and adventurers, they will confirm that things aren’t easy out there, especially if you don’t have the right tool for the job. And with the endless uses of a knife in any outdoor trip, the importance of getting the right one is something we can’t emphasize enough.
Avoid frustrations and keep your away moments as fun as you were intending by getting the KA-BAR KBAR1217. It’s one of the world’s most-trusted knives by military and non-military professionals, so it won’t frustrate easily.
Like all the Ka-bar knives, this model uses a combination of high-strength vanadium and chromium in the steel construction. The full-tang design of the blade means that it can handle some of the outdoor’s most tasking chores and still sustain its day one shape.
Although steel is very solid and durable, it has high susceptibility to rust. That’s why this top-notch model comes with a rust-resistant black oxide finish. But for better protection, you will still need to apply a thin film of oil occasionally.
Unlike any of the previous models, the KBAR1217 has a gold-plated curved brass guard. This unique property serves as a safety mechanism that blocks your fingers from coming into contact with the sharp edge.
#9 KA-BAR #1213 Black Straight Edge Knife / Hard Sheath
Tough outdoor conditions call for an extra-tough outdoor knife. That’s why you should never go for the lowly-priced models at the expense of quality. While this model will claim a few more bucks, it’s worth every penny you pay.
The blade material of this version is of carbon steel. Hence, other than performing excellently in almost everything you throw at it, this model should serve you for very many years with proper maintenance.
For optimal blade strength and durability, the steel has a black-oxide finish. We also appreciate that it comes with an ergonomic handle to offer you a comfortable home-grade cutting experience away from home. The grip in this case feels more rubbery, so it’s non-slip when using it with wet hands.
Furthermore, unlike some options with a contrasting handle and blade, the color of the handle, in this case, matches that of the blade for a cuter look. In fact, the model could make the cutest knife you ever brought along on any trip.
The Kydex sheath is almost indestructible. Also, the carry system gives you plenty of carrying options. Finally, with the onboard curved finger guard, it’s clear that the Ka-bar knife comes with versatility in mind.
#10 KA1214-BRK USA Fighting Knife
Since the KA1214-BRK is also part of the robust Ka-bar lineup, it packs all the pros that go in that line. In other words, whether you look at it from the angle of durability, ergonomics, or quality: price ratio, there isn’t much to complain about.
The high-quality materials alongside the excellent craftsmanship imply that it will hold up well through the heaviest of abuse. Actually, there are very high chances that it will outlive you and your children as well.
The Kraton polymer grip outlasts the majority of other materials. It also has low demands in terms of maintenance. Hence, with the KA1214-BRK, you are getting a non-slip handle that will last for many years with very minimal maintenance.
Additionally, some section of the blade has serrations. Thus, with this Ka-bar unit, it’s like literally having two knives packed in a single piece that’s easy to carry along. Unlike in some models, the serrations here are rounded for less snagging.
The knife fits very well in the sheath when not in use. The drop point tip indicates that other than chopping and prying things in the field, this model will double up as a perfect self-defense tool in case of an attack.
#11 Ka-Bar 7503, Jarosz “Turok”/Ultramid Handle
Although all the Ka-bar knives are from the United States, more often the sheaths originate from other countries. That’s why they don’t perform the same way when it comes to durability.
The Ka-bar 7503, however, is different. The carry system and the knife are all from US-based facilities. Hence, you can buy this model with confidence that every component will give you the maximum value for your money.
Since it’s of high-quality, there is much you can do using this knife. And with that said, it will also make an excellent purchase for anyone looking for a decent option that will fill different roles in the field.
Most people claim that the size is a bit larger than they want for an all-around utility knife. But since it’s lighter with excellent balancing, you will find it comfortable for use on different chores at home and in the away setting.
The Kydex sheath retains the cutter very firmly in place, so you don’t have to worry that someone will grab it easily from your possession. But beware, the handle size may not be the most comfortable for people with huge hands.
#12 Ka-Bar BKR16-BRK Becker Knife
The KA-BAR BKR16 option adopts a one-piece design for a sturdy feel when using it for serious cutting. Chromium and vanadium are added to the steel construction to improve its overall performance.
The high-strength blade is shorter than that of any of the previous picks. But don’t let the shorter blade fool you, the BKR16-BRK is very solid for its size. The smaller design is also very convenient to bring along on long journeys.
The blade has serrations on the upper part next to the handle. This unique feature comes in handy when doing pressure cutting. And since its factory-sharpened, you are good for any job seconds after arrival.
The sheath holds the knife very well and will stand the test of time. The small pockets at the sides provide excellent storage for some EDC essentials you might want to carry on your trip.
However, some users feel like the sheath looks quite bulky for the knife. A few knife enthusiasts also feel that the coating is way too thick. But apart from these minor drawbacks, everything else about this top-notch model is amazing.
#13 KA-BAR 2-1249-9 Kukri
Although it doesn’t come anywhere near the top when talking about the most popular knives in the market, the KA-BAR 2-1249-9 model outshines some of the industry’s most common options in multiple ways.
For example, this piece of outdoor gear has an exclusive design. The unique Kukri shape renders the unit a go-to option for a camping enthusiast who wants to stand out from the rest of the campers.
The pronounced curve at the bottom ensures a better balance of this knife, making it one of the most comfortable units for use. You can use it for clearing weeds, cutting small branches, and more field-based applications.
Apart from the shape, this unit doesn’t differ much from our previous models. The Cro-van steel is incredibly tough and will withstand the most severe field conditions. The coating on the blade is of top-quality for superior protection against rust and other potential threats.
The soft rubber of the Kraton handle interacts well with the palm and won’t slip in wet conditions. However, several users feel that the shape of the handle is too round although it won’t rotate when using.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Ka-bar stand for?
We’ve all heard about Ka-Bar knives, right? But have you ever known that it’s an abbreviation of the brand’s full name? Well, “KA-BAR” stands for “Knife Attachment-Browning Automatic Rifle.”
Should I register my Ka-Bar knife?
You don’t need to register your Ka-bar knife with any government authority. However, if the knife is under warranty, it’s wise to register it with the manufacturer to evade loss in case of damage before the warranty period expires.
How should I store a Ka-Bar knife?
Since these knives are usually very sharp, you need to put the necessary safety measures into place. For instance, keep them in the sheath when not in use and far from children’s reach.
Are Ka-bar knives full tang?
Although most Ka-bar knives are full tang, we have a few that aren’t. Therefore, before you buy any model, it’s worth double-checking the specifications if you aren’t willing to settle on any other design.
Do Marines still use Ka-Bar knives?
Ka-bar knives remain popular among military professionals. Other than the navy, they are still in use by the army and other branches of the military.
Although Ka-bar knives don’t come with the best price tags, their amazing capabilities make their price look unreal! While they all work well, there is still the need to find the models that work better than the rest. And since it isn’t as easy it sounds, we have sifted out some of the market’s top-performing models. Pick one from the list for a user experience like no other.
Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API