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What Is a Bowie Knife?

Learn about bowie knives in this Howcast video with expert Dan Delavan.


Hi. My name's Dan Delavan. I'm the owner/operator of Plaza Cutlery in Costa Mesa, California. We have a great selection, we also have a website, and today we're going to be talking about knives.

The Bowie knife, of course was made famous by Col. James Bowie who died at the Alamo. He was known for his knife fighting skills and all the different things that you can read up on him on the Internet. He was an interesting character.

This is a standard Bowie. Most Bowies will either have a clip blade or an angled towards the tip. You know a lot of the original ones were perfectly straight and some of them had just straight guards. And earlier ones and the most popular ones usually have a horn handle or stag handle of some type. This particular one is made by Randall Knives of Florida. Small production company.

This Bowie is a modern tactical type bowie made by Strider Knives. It has more of the straight, just a very slight drop in it. Doesn't have the heavier clip. It has the tiger striping to break the silhouette, and again it has the double hilt. Which is standard with most Bowies. And then in this particular one because it is more on the tactical side, has a hole for lanyards so you don't want to lose it, which, in a lot of Bowies that usually try and do that.

There's also custom knife makers that Bowies, this is a Chris Danko Bowie. It's a local knife maker that works here. This is a mustard finish so it kind of looks like Demascus but again it has the false edge on the top it's not sharp. Before I cut myself there. Again brass double hilt and stag corn so the horn goes all the way around there. When they shed their antlers each year and these fall out, they'll usually try to get these to use as the handle.

There's also Bowies that are also smaller, again this is a Randall, a little bare Bowie. This particular one is sharpened on the back side and brass buck cap for the hand stag handle. Hand stag can vary in color from the crown stag on a Chris' knife to the amber stag on this one. And again with the sharpened on the backside, we consider it a dirk or a dagger because it is sharpened on both sides. So those are restricted in some areas.

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