Ka-Bar BK-2 Knife (Becker Companion) – Follow-Up – Update

Ka-Bar BK-2 Becker CompanionMan, I kind of hate writing this follow-up to the review I did on the KaBar BK-2 Becker Companion knife. I would suggest you read the first part of the review before reading this follow-up, everything will make more sense. That post appeared on 8/15, two days ago.

Well, let’s get the good news out there first. I was able to put a pretty decent edge on the knife. I was even able to get a decent point on it as well. It will never equal my CRKT Hissatsu. Then again, the BK-2 isn’t meant to be a high quality knife like the Hissatsu. The downside is…I had to use my new WorkSharp to get the edge on the BK-2. I can probably keep the edge on it now with just my stone but I am not sure.

Here’s the downside, remember I mentioned that the cheap plastic grips/handle on the BK-2 really, really suck? But, I was willing to keep the faith that I could turn this into a “keeper” knife with a little work and a little more money. So I ordered a pair of Micarta grips for the knife.

When they came in I loved the color, very sharp looking. But as I looked at them closely I started to be less and less impressed with their quality. But, I was going to keep an open mind.

I tested the new Micarta grips for fit and quickly realized they didn’t really fit all that well. The grips were a slightly under-sized allowing for the tine to be felt all around the edge of the grips. Now, if they had been slightly over-sized then I could have taken a very fine file and smoothed it all out to a precision fit. But that wasn’t possible, I wasn’t going to start grinding away on the tine to make it match the grips.

I was impressed with the “nut holes” on the grips, they fit the nuts perfectly and held the nuts securely in-place with no slop as I tightened the screws down.

Once I had the grips on there I felt encouraged that I was going to really like this knife. Sadly, that is just not the case. Here’s why:

  1. I don’t like the grips being undersized. I don’t like feeling the tine in my hand when I should be feeling the grips.
  2. The grips cover the glass pummel on the end of the tine. I imagine it will still work, but why cover-up a working piece of the knife.
  3. The knife still doesn’t feel balanced in my hand. It feels awkward in my hand.
  4. While the edge is sharp and the point is plenty good enough for piercing, I am not sure how long that will last.
  5. The knife is still the Jack of No Trades, and Master of None. In other words –
    • It’s not a fighting knife at all.
    • It doesn’t feel like a combat knife either.
    • It simply isn’t a good hunting knife.

So, is it a good survival knife since it is none of the above? No. Plain and simple “no.”

To me a survival knife has to be a combination of a fighting knife, a combat knife, a hunting knife, as well as having solid bushcraft characteristics. The KaBar BK-2 Becker Companion is a good bushcraft knife. But, in my opinion, it lacks any of the qualities of the other three kinds of knives. So, no, it is not a good survival knife.

If you wanted a knife to replace the KaBar BK-2 Becker Companion with extreme quality and perfection of manufacturing it would be the ESEE 5 knife. The ESEE is a little more expensive. But then again, you get a knife that is at least three times as good as the BK-2…probably more when you really look at it.

Bottom line…”Do NOT buy” the KaBar BK-2 Becker Companion knife!

 

Thumbs Down Review

 

 

 

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Ka-Bar BK-2 Knife (Becker Companion)

Ka-Bar BK-2 Becker CompanionI was able to pick up this very heft, sturdy looking, nice profile Ka-Bar BK-2 Companion knife in used condition for a decent price. I thought it would be a great addition to my knife family and useful in one of my various bags. Or maybe just dumped into the camping supplies to be used as needed.

The specs on the knife are as follow –

Ka-Bar BK-2 Becker CampanionI finally had a little time to do some knife testing and put this in the group to tryout. Time came to pull it out and give it a try. Bummer!

Ka-Bar bk-2 becker companion is junkAs soon as I grabbed hold of it I noticed three things:

  1. The handle was loose. While it has screws that hold the handle on the tine, why was it loose to begin with? Any good knife should not end up with a loose handle period. And the screws should not back out unless you are working on the knife and unscrewing them. So this was strike one.
  2. Another thing I noticed about the handle was the handle material. It was one of the smoothest knife handles I ever held. Is that a bad thing? Of course it is. How are you going to maintain a grip on the knife it is really smooth. So I get the handle wet and it was a real pain to try and hang on to. If it was wet with body fluids from a deer or elk I can’t imagine this knife doing anything but being a slippery mess.
  3. Finally, the knife is way out of balance. It is very weighted to the cutting side of the knife. Just no offsetting weight in the handle portion.

Ka-Bar BK-2 becker companion cheap plastic handle with weak hollow spots

KaBar BK-2 low quality handle cheap plastic poor qualityI was going to say that the sheath is decent. But once I really started looking at it I noticed it is poorly designed for use on MOLLE gear but is usable enough for belt hanging. And the snap to hold it secure, redundancy, is nice. That plastic sheath material is thin and very cheap feeling. I would imagine that it will break with little effort. There are plenty of holes and slots down both sides which will make it easy to attach to gear. With all that being said, as I handle it I can’t help but get a feeling that the plastic sheath belongs more on a $19.95 knife at Walmart.

About the blade…I am not impressed with the tip, it just isn’t sharp. By my measurements the knife is almost 1-11/16″ wide. That is really wide! The first 7/8″ is the edge and then the bevel of the blade. I like the way it splits wood. I could really pound on the blade to drive it through the wood to split it. I never worried that the blade would break or bend. On the pounding side of the blade I never saw the first little ding from pounding on it. That is nice.

I am also not crazy about the edge on the knife. Yes, I bought it used but I worked on it with my diamond sharpener but never go it to a fine sharp edge. I will try to put a better edge on it with my “WorkSharp” and will let you know how that goes.

What amazes me is the 4-1/2 star rating it got on Amazon. I just don’t understand it. But something I did find interesting is the full retail price is $127. Amazon’s price is $65. almost 1/2 the full retail price. That has  to tell you something.

When I had the handles off the knife the full tine steel blade just felt like a big ole hunk of steel. There was no feel to it of being a great knife. But I am willing to see how it feels when I get some a new handle on it.

Also, due to the sheer size of the knife I don’t see it as a hunting knife. The knife is simply too large for most hunting applications. The dang knife is bigger than a squirrel and almost the weight of a rabbit. A little too much for prepping either. Also, I don’t see it as a camping knife. Again, it is simply too large and cumbersome for most camp chores, including cooking.

The only true application I see for this knife is in a survival situation. You can hack on trees and limbs all day long. You can split wood with ease. Some might refer to it as a “bushcraft” knife and I can see that as well.

So far the only really positive to this knife…I bought it used and I don’t have that much money into it. If I had bought it retail it would have been returned as soon as I got it out of the box.

I am going to try and salvage this knife. There is a knife maker in town and I am going to talk to him about fabricating a decent handle for it. I am also going to look online for a better sheath for it. I will update you if I get either of those things done.

I am pretty brutal with my expectations. This knife failed on two fronts and that earns it a “Do not buy!” I may change my opinion once I get a new handle on. I will let you know.

 

Thumbs Down Review

 

 

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Knife – CRKT Hissatsu

CRKT - Hissatu 2907D flat dark eartSeveral years ago I was seeking a true self-defense, or tactical, knife. A knife that I could defend myself with knowing it would accomplish that task very efficiently and effectively. Since I am no knife-fighter I started asking around of those that possess that particular skill set. My question, “What was the best self-defense knife?”

There really weren’t that many answers that varied a whole lot. What they universally did say, “Knife fighting is ugly and you are going to get hurt?”After a number of discussions I understood what they meant. I decided then to avoid knife fights.

But, I still need to possess a good knife for tactical purposes. The experts helped me narrow it down. But they also pretty much said the same thing pistol experts say when asked what is the best pistol to own. It has to “feel right” in your hand.

Of course there are some standard traits of a good tactical knife:

  • Sturdy blade that won’t break easily
  • Piercing capability
  • Sufficient cutting edge surface
  • Handle that is the right size
  • Handle that maintains grip even when wet

After doing a lot of research, testing a number of knives, and making a couple bad decisions I finally found the right hardcore tactical knife for me. It is a CRKT Hissatsu.

Here are the specs:CRKT-Hissatu-002

  • Open Overall Length:  12.25 inches
  • Blade Length:  7.125 inches
  • Thickness:  0.2 inches
  • Blade Material:  440A
  • Blade-HRC:  55-57
  • Blading Coating: titanium nitride
  • Grind:  Dual
  • Edge:  Plain
  • Handle Material:  Double Injection Glass Filled Nylon/Soft Textured Rubber Grip
  • Carry System:  Glass Filled Nylon Sheath

That knife is amazing! It fits my hand perfectly and I can move it with ease and confidence. That knife can pierce by simply setting it’s tip on something. I tested it’s puncture capability very unscientifically. I placed it on a substance that imitated human flesh. When very little pressure it pierced with ease. Next came slicing meat…again, with ease.

It takes an edge well with my diamond sharpener although I have to work at it. But, it holds an edge incredibly well. The blade is very sturdy and I have not a single concern that it will break being used as it is intended.

Yes, as you can tell, I really like that knife. And it is part of my tactical kit since 2012.

But, it does have one drawback…size. It is over 12” long, the blade is over 7” of that. In a tactical situation that is not a problem at all. You secure it to your tactical vest and you are good to go. But, trying to carry it in a non-tactical (a.k.a. civilian) setting can get you some unwanted attention.

And then there is the situation where you want an easier to access knife for close quarters battle situation. Example: You enter a room, bad guy grabs your AR that is attached to a sling, and you have to get up close and personal. It may be difficult to draw your CKRT knife in close quarters, or take too long. Having a smaller tactical knife readily available might be the logical choice. But that is another article all together.

Here is some information directly from the CRKT website –

James Williams, the designer of the Hissatsu™, is a former Army officer and martial arts practitioner/instructor with over 45 years of experience. He knows cutlery as President of Bugei Trading Company, producer of fine Samurai swords. As one who has trained tactical law enforcement and military forces for the SureFire Institute, he has developed a unique and powerful approach to unarmed combatives. His system of defensive tactics, known as The System of Tactical Strategy, has its origins in the ancient Samurai military systems as well as the Russian military art of Systema.

CRKT - Hissatu 2907D flat dark eartA key part of this system is the Hissatsu based on an old Japanese design. The unique shape of the blade, made famous by the legendary Samurai warlord Takeda Shingen, provides enormous penetrating power and superior slashing capability in one blade, which works with the natural motion of the body. James arrived at this modern version as a backup weapon for close-quarters combat. This is a focused single-purpose knife for use in anti-terrorist/close-quarters battle (CQB) environments, either as a primary or a secondary weapon to augment the handgun in the hands of trained professionals.

The Hissatsu’s dual grind Tanto blade is 440A stainless steel, high satin finished. For those who prefer a non-reflective finish, the Hissatsu is available with a black EDP blade or in Desert Tan dress with titanium nitride blade coating.

The handle is in a traditional Japanese pattern, but is Twin-Fused™, double injection-molded with a high-impact polypropylene core, butt and hilt, and a non-slip soft textured rubber grip handle surface. Oyatsubo, the emperor node on the omote (outside/public side) of the tuska (handle), allows you to know which direction the blade is facing, even in compromised lighting conditions, by touch.

The custom injection-molded glass filled nylon sheaths (in matching black, Desert Tan or blue) grip the knife firmly, and have removable belt clips which can be attached high or low, vertical or horizontal with the black two-piece screws provided. There are also holes and slots for carry on belts, webbing or equipment.

The Hissatsu is intended for use only by trained law enforcement and military tactical team professionals. Enormous power in a light, flat package makes for easy carry with many options for placement on tactical gear.

Know that the CKRT Hissatsu is an excellent choice, my choice, for a tactical self-defense fixed blade knife. It is in every way a “BUY!”

Buy It !

OK, so now here is the downside…please don’t hate me…the knife is no longer in production, CRKT discontinued making them. The good news is they are still out there to be bought. If you want a desert sand color you have to go to eBay. They only show up occasionally. For Black you can get them on Amazon.

Amazon - CRKT Hissatu 2709 knifeNow a really cool thing…there is a “training blade” version. These are great to train with. No rubber blade crap, the trainer version is dull aluminum. This trainer blade gives you a great opportunity to train like you will fight.

CRKT - Hissatu 2709 blue training knife

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Cold Steel Knives: Secret Edge & Brave Heart

Cold Steel KnivesEvery once in a while a product comes along that is so obviously bad that I just can’t contain myself. I am talking about a couple of knives that will probably hurt you more than any potential attacker. But let me digress for a minute…

I have been working on a knife review for some time now. I’ve reviewed ESEE knives already. They are some of the best knives in the world. But, here is why I am so into knives right now. Remember, I took onPointTactical’s Surviving Deadly Contact class in September? < read the article here > In that class I learned about knife fighting. Nothing too in-depth but some great skills, but most of all I learned the value of a good quality tactical knife.

Our instructor had a great knife on him that he used for demonstration purposes. A fantastic little knife…and $500.00!!!!  No, that isn’t a typo…$500 for that little beauty. No way I can afford a knife that expensive. So I started looking for a decent substitute. Cold Steel knives were recommended to me, specifically the Cold Steel Brave Heart model.

While doing the research on it I also came across another model, the Secret Edge that also look promising. I bought both. I am sorry I did. Let me explain.

Cold Steel – Secret Edge:

Cold Steel Knife - secret edgeFantastic little Kydex sheath for it. And that is the last of the “pros” for this knife, everything else is a “con”, literally I believe. The steel is a very bright and shinny, and the Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel just doesn’t feel as if it is a good steel for this knife. It was extremely awkward and difficult to get out of the sheath. The size of the handle was extremely small and I could never get anywhere near a decent grip on it. But here is the worst part… Everything I tried my hand wanted to slip onto the blade. And while I might not like the steel it would slice the crap out of my fingers the first time I tried to penetrate anything.

The knife retails for over $40.00 It isn’t even a good deal at $9.99. This knife sucks and will get you hurt!

Specifications –

•   Blade Length: 3 1/2″
•   Overall Length:6 1/2″
•   Steel:Japanese AUS 8A Stainless
•   Weight:2.4 oz
•   Blade Thickness: 2.5 mm
•   Handle:3″ Long. G-10 Griv-Ex™ Style
•   Sheath:Secure-Ex® Neck Sheath

Do not buy this knife!

Cold Steel – Brave Heart:

Once again, nice Kydex sheath! I think Cold Steel should think about just making sheaths for the good knives Cold Steel Knife Brave Heart knifeon the market. The cheap little clip on the back of the sheath would last about 10 minutes under harsh conditions. But the sheath does have some slots for paracord to be used.

Taking the knife out of the sheath was much less awkward than with the Secret Edge, but still not smooth and natural. And while the handle material is better quality and less likely to see your hand slip and slide, there is still protection preventing your hand from slipping forward onto the blade.

And once again, the blade is Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel just doesn’t feel as if it is a good steel. This knife retails for nearly $70.00!  The stitches required after using it will cost you much more.

Specifications –

•   Weight: 2.8 oz.
•    Blade: 4″
•    Thick: 2.8mm
•    Overall: 7 3/4″
•    Handle: Kraton®
•    Sheath: Secure-Ex®
•    Steel: AUS 8A Stainless
•    Made in Japan

Do not buy this knife!

Summary –

Both of these knives really suck and will get you hurt. No, I am not some fancy “know-it-all” knife fighter. And maybe that is the problem. But from everything I tried and everything I saw I don’t like either of these knives.

 

 

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Gerber StrongArm Knife

Gerber StrongArmIt isn’t often that I am kinda giddy taking something out of the box, but it does happen. And what did it happen with? A Gerber StrongArm Knife.

This knife, sitting there in the box, is just downright impressive. Right away I loved the sheath and the looks of the knife handle. But once it was out of the box and in my hand I just loved the way it felt. The balance to it was near perfect. The blade is plenty heavy enough but it was balanced out by the handle and full tine.

The handle is just simply built right. It is made out of diamond-texture rubber. The little nubs all over it make it a sure grip in your hand. The little indents in the handle on each side also just seemed to make it fit even better. All-round…it was an awesome “feel” in my hand.

Let me share the technical specs with you first, then back to the review.

  • Blade material: 420HCGerber StrongArm
  • Handle material: glass-filled nylon with rubber overmold
  • Blade length: 4.8” (12.2 cm)
  • Overall length: 9.8” (24.8 cm)
  • Knife weight: 7.2 oz (204 g)
  • Overall weight: 10.9 oz (309 g)
  • Fine edge, full tang 420HC steel blade
  • Ceramic blade coating
  • Rubberized diamond-texture grip
  • Striking pommel
  • Nylon webbing for drop-leg carry and secondary retention
  • Detachable belt hoops for horizontal belt carry
  • Snap-in MOLLE strap
  • Made in USA

There was a little confusion as I was looking over the sheath. It was kind of complicated to me at first. I kept trying to figure out how the heck the sheath would attach to something. I mean, it was pretty obvious how it would fit on a Gerber Strong Arm knife reviewbelt, but the rest wasn’t not self-evident. And then there were these two plastic pieces as well that were just laying there. So I did the commonsense thing…I got out the instructions.

Whoever designed the sheath system for this knife is a freaking genius! Once I laid it all out and read the instructions it was amazing to me how many different ways this sheath could attach to pretty much anything tactical, or just a belt. I fell even deeper in love it. Yeah, kinda creepy…sorry.

Back to the knife…I looked closely at the blade, it is one hunk of solid steel. This isn’t some thin fighting knife blade. This blade is heavy-duty enough to split wood with no problem. I did it. Yet, there is enough of a sharp point to easily penetrate whatever you needed to, especially an enemy at close range. And that opens another door.

I grasped the knife in a number of fighting grips and made a few moves with it, then a few more. The knife was effortless to move, well-balanced, had the feel of a top tier fighting knife. I would not hesitate to put my life in its hands.

The blade came out of the box razor sharp and with a light coating of oil. That is a mark of a good knife maker…sharp and oiled. The oil on the blade applied by the knife maker will ensure that the knife blade, especially the cutting edge, won’t rust while it sits in a warehouse somewhere waiting for a good home.

I really hesitated to take this knife outside to the fire pit, but I had to test it. I started with splitting wood, and it did just fine. I felt a little strange banging on it to drive it through the wood. But hey, how else are you going to figure out if the knife is any good or not.

I worked the edge against some wood for a bit longer, and then tested it for sharpness. It was still as sharp as I started, I was very pleased. FYI…The blade takes an edge well and isn’t difficult to sharpen.

I went back inside the house and for about 2 hours while I watched some football I just handled the knife. Man, it just kept getting better and better. The feel to this knife is awesome!

I would say this knife isn’t a true fighting blade like the CRKT Hissatsu. But the blade is plenty pointed enough for piercing and the edge will cut just fine. However, the blade is also wide and thick enough to be used around camp or for survival. So I would call this blade a “hybrid” of combat, fighting, hunting, and survival. Probably best to describe it as a solid military-style knife.A great all-pupose, well-rounded knife. This knife will make it onto my tactical vest real soon.

Here are some of the carry methods with the Gerber StrongArm sheath system –

This is what I started with...

This is what I started with…

Gerber Strong Arm horizontal carry optionGerber Strong Arm vertical carry optionsGerber StrongArm MOLEE upright carry optionGerber StrongArm MOLLE inverted carry optionI would have no problem carrying this knife into the wilderness camp or in a grid-down survival & combat situation. The knife is just that good!

Combat knife:  A
Survival knife:  A-
Hunting knife:  A+
Fighting knife:  B+
Sheath & Carry System:  A++

No questions…a very, very solid “Buy!

Buy It !Amazon Gerber StrongArm knife

 

 

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Gerber Guardian 05803 Knife

The deadly, and small, tactical knife.

In one of my previous articles about choosing the best fixed blade tactical, or self-defense, knife I talked about the CKRT Hissatsu knife being an excellent choice. It is an all-round good combat and an awesome fighting knife. However, in that article I also mentioned its one drawback – size.

But, its size (a bit lengthy) is only a drawback in relation to civilian carry vs. combat carry. In combat carry it will be attached to my Knife - Gerber - Guardian 05803 Reviewtactical vest ready to be used when called upon. I don’t care who sees it.

However, in the civilian world the presence of such a obvious use knife could bring you unwanted attention, namely from Johnny Law. The size of the CRKT Hissatsu just makes it a bit to cumbersome for civilian carry. That is how my quest for the right EDC (Every Day Carry) knife came into being.

The Gerber Guardian knife is an amazing beauty. I have several Gerber knives and I like one of their multi-tools as well. Before I get too far into the this article let me cover the specifications of the knife:

  • Overall Length: 7.28″Knife - Gerber - Guardian 05803 Review
  • Length of Blade: 3.41″
  • Weight: 3 oz.
  • Blade Material: 400 Stainless
  • Handle Material: Glass-filled nylon with Softgrip Inserts
  • Blade Style: Spear
  • Sheath Material: Molded Plastic
  • Blade Type: Fine

Additional knife information –

The Guardian is a dagger style knife designed for carrying on your belt, boot, or strap. A non-reflective black coating covers the full tang stainless steel blade giving it a stealthy appearance. The handle is comfortable with a nice grip thanks to the Santoprene nylon covering. The sheath is full adjustable allowing you to set the draw tension for removing the knife. Some may want the Gerber Guardian to have a loose draw while others may want a more stiff draw.

Now for my opinion:

  1. The knife feels really nice in my hand. The handle is well-made, non-slip grip. It doesn’t get slippery when coated with fluids
  2. The knife is well-balanced and handles well while going through movements.
  3. I like the very sharp edge. It will cut along both edges piercing. Moving the blade around will create a substantial wound channel. If you are off a little from hitting a tendon, ligament or artery, the double edge is forgiving.
  4. The knife is very compact and easily concealed.
  5. The sheath is decently made and holds the knife securely.

The one modification I made was sharpening the second, or opposing, edge. Out of the box there was some edge to it but not really a cutting edge. So I went to work on it with my diamond sharpener. I am not completely satisfied with the edge I put on it.

Knife - Gerber Guardian 05803 2-edgeI am going to completely redo the edge when I get my new “Work Sharp” set up and running. Until then I am very satisfied.

This knife is a great knife for self-defense, it is easily concealed and readily deployed. The point is more than sharp enough to do the job. The Gerber Guardian is a knife to go anywhere with.

This knife is an awesome “Buy!

Buy It !

 

 

 

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