Is Bowie Knife a Good Survival Knife?

You don’t necessarily have to be a knife enthusiast to know what a Bowie knife is. With its clipped edge and short handle, its classic look is easily recognizable anywhere.

The knife was popularized after it was used in a now historical duel way back in the 19th century. For those that used knives for self-defense or fighting, the Bowie knife was an ideal choice back then.

But how does it fare in terms of a survival weapon? Keep reading to find out.

Before diving into further details you may want to check out our article on the top 10 bowie knives

What Are Some Useful Things You’re Able to Do with a Bowie Knife?

The defining characteristics of a Bowie knife are undoubtedly its sturdy, well-made body; and heavy, sharp blade. This makes the Bowie knife well equipped to handle a number of operations, such as cutting, chopping, slashing, and carving.

What are the images that come to your mind when you hear those juicy words? Hunting for a wild boar or bushwhacking through a tough hike trail, for sure. However, you can also use it to prepare ingredients to cook.

Now, as we mentioned earlier, the original purpose of a Bowie knife categorizes it as a fighting knife. It’s easy to see why; it’s basically a small sword. So to sum it up, your Bowie knife can help you in a number of situations, be it everyday scenes or high-stakes situations.

Is the Bowie Knife Good for Self-Defense?

Given that the Bowie knife was first used as a dueling accomplice, it would be silly to think that a Bowie knife can’t help you when it comes to self-defense. In fact, that’s literally its reason for existence!

Seriously, if you’re carrying this bad boy around, then no attacker in his right mind will dare to approach you. If you’re wondering why — just ask the 12-inches blade with its sharp pointed tip.

Some modern Bowie knives feature unique new designs, such as serrated edges. This only makes them all the more intimidating and ensures that you’ll stay safe.

All of that being said, it’s extremely important to get the right training required to handle a Bowie knife properly. This is not only to ensure that you don’t accidentally harm/injure others, but also yourself.

How Dangerous Is the Bowie Knife in a Fight?

To answer this question, you need to only consider one fact: people have been killed by Bowie knives in the past, and we’re sure that in many parts of the world, this is still happening. Not that that’s hardly any surprise, given that it is primarily a hunting/dueling knife.

If you remember, we discussed the blade of the knife earlier. It is heavy, slim, and robust, making it ideal for slashing. Yes, that does mean it’s also good for stabbing.

The long and short of it is that a Bowie knife can not only be dangerous, but devastating when used in a fight. This is especially true for those who might be handling the knife without proper training. Unfortunately, this isn’t a rare occurrence, given the ease with which one might purchase a Bowie knife.

Furthermore, it’s important to consider the quality of one’s Bowie knife before using it for actual fighting. Lots of Bowie knives on the market these days tend to be made poorly to reduce production costs. As a general rule, Bowie knives are fairly expensive; trust the price tag if it seems too low.

Is It Possible for a Man to Kill a Bear with a Bowie Knife?

Is it possible? Yes. Should it be attempted? Not really. The justification for this answer has less to do with the knife and more to do with the animal in question: a bear.

Not only are they large creatures, but they’re also extremely fast. If a bear is moving towards you in a dangerously fraught situation, there’s every chance you’re going to miss your aim when throwing a knife at it.

And let’s not forget that training and practice are crucial to the proper usage of a Bowie knife. If you’re staring down a bear, there are high chances that you’ll be shaking too hard to properly aim when throwing the knife.

The short version is that you are likely to have very little luck against a bear if you’re armed with just a Bowie knife. So no, don’t attempt it.

Is the Bowie Knife Good for Survival?

So now you know all the wonderful benefits you can enjoy with a Bowie knife. Whether it’s self-defense, hunting, or survival, you can depend on it.

However, despite its swiftness and slim design, it must be admitted that the Bowie knife is quite heavy due to the weight of its blade. A good survival knife will ideally be one that doesn’t slow you down or make it difficult to perform certain tasks.

Furthermore, while it is a nimble and robust weapon, its proper usage is contingent upon the handler’s level of skill and expertise. If you don’t properly know how to use a Bowie knife, then it’s probably best not to bring it along when you think you might be in a tight spot.


So is the Bowie knife a good survival knife? The answer could go both ways. As we have seen, it depends on the quality of the knife, how well you can handle it, and the type of scenario you are in. Whatever the case, we hope you enjoy your Bowie knife!

Brian Casey
About Brian M. Casey

As a food lover, Brian M. Casey developed a fascination for cooking at an early age. He soon realized that not only the ingredients matter but also the knives and the accessories used to turn those ingredients into a delicious dish. This way, Brian began his journey on the magnificent world of kitchen knives, outdoor knives, knife accessories, and much more. After years of experience with many ups and downs, Brian now wants to share everything he’s learned during his journey as an avid knife collector, a well-seasoned knife maker, and an all-around knives enthusiast.

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