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200076 Ka-Bar BK7 Becker Combat Utility Knife
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- Designed Specifically for Soldiers and Adventurers
- Sturdy, Lightweight Skeleton-handled Knife
- Measurements: Blade length 7-Inches; Overall length 12.75-Inches
- Edge Angles: 20 Degrees
- Blade Type: Fixed Blade
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The ultimate Ka-Bar BK&T all-purpose utility knife was designed specifically for soldiers and adventurers requiring a sturdy but lightweight combat knife that can stand up to hard use. Clip point blade. Grivory overlays. Full tang blade. Textured thumb rest for secure grip. Includes polyester sheath.
Designed specifically for soldiers and adventures who need a sturdy yet lightweight combat knife, the Ka-Bar Becker BK7 all-purpose utility knife is built to stand up to hard use. The knife blade is made of 1095 Cro-Van steel, an easy-to-sharpen carbon steel that keeps its edge well. The Swiss-made Grivory handle, meanwhile, is constructed of a glass-fiber-filled nylon for added strength. Other features include a clip point, a flat grind, and a 20-degree edge angle.
- Stamp: Ka-Bar Becker
- Edge angle: 20 degrees
- Blade: 1095 Cro-Van steel
- Pocket clip: N/A
- Lock style: N/A
- Grind: Flat
- Handle material: Grivory
- Blade length: 7 inches
- Overall length: 12-3/4 inches
- Weight: 0.85 pounds
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Top customer reviews
Other reviewers are certainly correct that you won't find a substantially better knife under $200. Frankly, even if you spend considerably more, you won't get a qualitatively better blade; you'll get a roughly comparable blade (perhaps more exotic in material) with upgraded grips (micarta, etc.) and an upgraded sheath (kydex, leather, etc.). Ka-Bar's product philosophy is apparently to invest every cent into producing a high quality blade (of excellent design, material, and coating), while minimizing the costs of customizable parts and accessories. In the case of the BK7, this allows them to offer an outstanding tool at a flat out bargain price (~$75). I like that approach because it means I don't pay more up front for options I may not want. Instead, I can decide for myself whether I want to spend more to add custom grips, a custom sheath, etc.
Everything about the Ka-Bar BK7 seems designed to be the perfect "all around" wilderness utility and combat knife. The awesome beauty of the BK7 is a terrific instance of "form following function." This knife is all business, yet it looks wicked in a "I don't need to show off" kind of way.
It is built from highly-durable yet easily-sharpened 1095 cro-van steel, with a long, straight, flat ground edge that comes shaving sharp right out of the box. The metal, grind, and straight edge will make this knife simple to use, sharpen, and maintain in the field. It also has an impressive coating--thicker and more substantial than I expected. I don't abuse my blades unless I need to, but my intuition is that this coating will cling tenaciously and stand up to a lot of real-world abuse. With an occasional thin coat of lubricant, I'm certain this blade will resist moisture and corrosion very well. And there is no question that the substantial heft, long edge, excellent balance, and sharp piercing tip will make this knife very effective as a defensive weapon if the need arises. You can certainly find fancier and "cooler" looking blades, you might even find some that are prettier (arguably), but as far as function goes, I doubt you'll find one that is more functional or easier to use and maintain. Some may wish for a finger choil for delicate cutting work, but I don't think it's needed here. If you choke up your grip and lay your thumb along the top edge of the handle (with your knuckle resting flat against the side of the blade) you can get a very comfortable, effective grip for delicate work.
The thumb ramp on the blade is also unexpectedly convenient. It does not interfere with any normal grip or use of the knife, yet it provides a solid, comfortable spot to park your thumb which also seems to allow a little extra leverage during repetitive slicing. Many blades have jimping on the spine for enhanced grip, but when slicing into anything that offers resistance, you still have to tighten your grip and exert noticeable pressure with the thumb in a way that eventually fatigues the palm muscles. The BK7's thumb ramp permits a little extra leverage and, though hard to describe, kind of lets you lock out your thumb to transfer more leverage from the wrist/forearm muscles (i.e. with less exertion of the thumb or palm). It really feels like it may translate into noticeably less fatigue from your grip over time. I haven't done enough repetitive slicing with the blade to confirm this, but the point is that I like the feel of the thumb ramp and it does seem functional, which I did not expect.
The factory-equipped handles are made from "Grivory" which appears to be a no-frills high-density plastic or nylon. It is very smooth in texture, so the grips are technically more slippery than I would normally wish for on a knife, especially of this type and size, but as others have noted, that can be remedied by scuffing/etching them with sandpaper or a Dremel tool, or wrapping them with grip tape. However, despite the slippery texture, the shape and contour of the handles fit my hand so perfectly that any firm grip simply will not slip. The only real danger here is if you relaxed your grip, stopped paying attention to what you're doing without re-sheathing it, and then dropped the knife in a way that could injure yourself or someone else (most likely by dropping it on a foot). When I ordered this knife, I had expected to need a set of replacement handles right away, but now I'm not sure. The factory grips seem quite nice, and those who find their smoothness deeply disconcerting are probably over-thinking the problem (or perhaps their hands are very different in size than mine). A wrap of tape, grip or electrician's, can fix them right up.
Given the many negative comments about the sheath, I expected the BK7 to come with a painfully flimsy strip of fabric. I even envisioned fraying stitches and cheap velcro. Thankfully, that is not the case. The sheath is not nearly as terrible as others have suggested, considering the affordable price point and superb quality of the knife itself. The sheath is made from good quality ballistic nylon with double-stitched piping around the external edges. The upper belt loop has a quick attach/remove feature that allows it to be opened with velcro and a single snap (so you don't have to remove your belt to attach the sheath). When secured shut, I am confident it will stay shut and cling securely to your belt even if it gets jostled quite a lot. At the lower end, the sheath has a smaller sewn loop as well as two rivets--either of which will retain a strap to secure it the tip end to your thigh or a pack to prevent it from flapping or wiggling freely.
The knife blade rides in a plastic insert inside the nylon sheath. Since the sheath does not grip the blade snugly, you must fasten the retention strap around the handle to retain the blade securely during active movement. Technically, the blade is loose enough to "rattle" inside the plastic liner of the sheath; however, contrary to the experiences of other reviewers, the rattling was not audible when I walked around wearing the knife at my side. Would a leather or kydex sheath be preferable? Perhaps. But I appreciate that Ka-Bar doesn't build in that expense up front. For someone who simply wants a convenient way to belt-carry this knife for casual hiking and camping, the nylon sheath is plenty adequate. One caveat: you must draw and re-sheath the knife carefully to ensure you don't inadvertently slice off one of the retention straps that snap around the handle. It would be very easy to run the blade across one side and slice through the nylon. That's the only notable design flaw here, and it's easy enough to compensate for. While not perfect, I think the extremely negative comments are over-analyzing the sheath without being fair to the price point. In a side-by-side comparison, of course a better sheath would be preferable, but competitors who offer a comparable knife with "better" micarta handles and a kydex sheath also charge roughly twice the price (or more). If you really want those upgrades, you can certainly purchase them--or you can make your own and save money. But the included nylon sheath is not "junk." In fairness, I'd call it very basic and underwhelming, yet perfectly adequate for casual use.
This is one heck of an impressive knife. I certainly prefer it to the BK2 because it offers more blade for less weight. The BK2 is overbuilt in my opinion, and while that may make it a handy pry bar, I don't use my knives for prying. I'd rather have a longer, thinner, lighter (yet still PLENTY durable) blade that can do a lot of camp chores very well and that doubles as a defensive weapon against an attacker or rabid animal. I consider the BK7 to be comparable in quality to RAT and ESEE knives, yet significantly more affordable because Ka-Bar doesn't include handle and sheath upgrades in the up-front cost. If you want an all-around excellent knife for wilderness hiking and camping, you can't go wrong with this one. Highly recommended!
[UPDATE 6/15/2013: This past weekend, hiking with my 3-year old daughter, she asked if we could "make spears to fight monsters," so I finally had a legitimate reason (legitimate enough for a dad, anyway) to put this knife to harder use than usual. Wow! It made quick work of a 3" diameter sapling! I chopped the sapling down, sliced away about two dozen 1/4" thick branches, stripped its bark for about 6-1/2 feet of its length, and then whittled the tip to a spear point. I was finished in just a few easy minutes, and the edge was still razor sharp. When I rinsed and oiled the blade later to remove the bark scuff marks, the blade coating looked as good as new, with no new signs of wear. While the sharpness and edge retention is as excellent as I expected from a blade made with this steel, I was impressed the coating held up so nicely despite all the scuffing. And with the right grip, man does this blade handle nicely when chopping! I love it! So does my daughter: She kept saying, "Wow, daddy, cool knife!" over and over. Apparently, that means my enthusiasm for this knife is about on par with that of a three year old--but that's a serious compliment in this case!]
[UPDATE 1/25/2014: It's about a year later so I wanted to offer another update. This knife just keeps amazing me! I've now had an opportunity to use it for chopping and moderate batoning. I am teaching my daughter to build a fire set (bow and drill), and we built three sets this past weekend, each time chopping up sections of 1" and 2" diameter branches to make the bow and spindle, and batoning multiple passes through 5" and 6" diameter logs to make the (flat) hearthboard. After making three such sets, including all the carving involved in making the tapered points, the starter holes in the hearthboard and handle, etc., the knife still looks good as new and retained a surprisingly good edge. I gave it a few passes on my sharpening stone to bring it back up to shaving sharp, but only because I'm a perfectionist. That edge could've kept going for quite awhile. The steel is very good, and the only sign of wear is some abrasion on the black blade coating--which is still hanging on great, as well... no flaking! So, while I was already impressed with this knife's build and edge retention, I can now attest that it also stands up to much rougher use than I normally force my knife to endure anyway. If you had to rely on this knife in a survival situation, it wouldn't disappoint and would serve you well. What a great value. One other note: I wrapped my grivory handles with a long strip of rubber I cut from an old inner tube. This has worked out really well... good grip and comfort, and in a pinch (if I had the misfortune to slip with this knife and cut myself badly), I could remove the rubber strip quickly to fashion it into a tourniquet.]
[UPDATE 11/22/2014: This knife is PHENOMENAL. I have beaten on it harder than just about any tool I've ever owned, and it just keeps going, and going, and going... It sharpens easily, yet holds an amazing edge through all kinds of abuse. I can't believe a knife in this price point can be this good--not just good, better than any other knife I've ever owned (and I'm something of a knife addict). It excels at most bushcraft chores, from fine tasks like feather sticks all the way up to hard-abuse tasks like chopping through a limb as a make-shift axe or batoning through 5" diameter logs to make kindling. And after all this time, the black coating has held on like a champ. A few days ago, I decided to try sanding it to see how much coating was left, and it took a LOT of sanding to knock the coating down to the metal. I can't believe how durable that coating is, and unless you're going to customize your knife, I would recommend you leave it in place because it does a superb job protecting the metal from corrosion. I removed the coating on mine only because I was curious to see how thick it was, and because I wanted to customize the knife a bit. (I cut away the thumb ramp, polished the blade, then blackened it with gun blue to make it a dark satin-black color that looks much richer than the factory coating and also has a smoother finish that makes it baton through wood a little smoother.]
It would've received 5 stars if I hadn't had to sharpen it when it arrived, but otherwise I would have no trouble trusting my life to this knife.