I really don’t believe there is such a thing as one knife that will do everything well. However, there are a few knives out there that can do most jobs adequately, and the KA-BAR Becker BK2 is one of them.
Ethan Becker, describes his BK2 design as the “Armageddon knife.” A friend of his aptly recommended the BK2 as “the perfect knife to take along to field dress a Buick.”
One thing is certain, you will be hard-pressed to find a more durable knife on the planet. This knife has been subjected to more insane destruction tests than any other survival knife on youtube.
The Kabar Becker BK2 is a very stout full-tang survival knife. The 1095 Cro-Van steel is a 1/4 inch thick! It is widely regarded as one of the toughest survival knives you can possibly buy. At sub $100 on sale, it is also remarkable value compared to its peers.
As you can see below, the BK2 performs adequately in a broad range of categories which is actually not that easy to do.
Becker BK2 Specs
- Price: $87.95 at Blade HQ / Check Latest Price on Amazon
- Made in the USA
- Overall Length: 10.75″
- Blade Length: 5.25″
- Blade Thickness: 0.250″
- Blade Steel: Full-tang, 1095 Cro-van with 56-58 RC hardness rating
- Blade profile: Plain edge, Drop point, Saber grind
- Weight: 1 lb
- Handle: Black Ultramid®
- Sheath: Black plastic with a friction clip
- One of the most durable knives on the market
- Thick, good quality steel
- Excellent Value
- A very good first survival knife
- Not suited for detail work
- Sheath sometimes ships too tight (Solution below)
It’s a beast! The blade is a full quarter-inch thick! When you combine its beefy thickness with its relatively stubby 5.25″ length you get a practically unbendable blade with more strength than a small pry-bar.
This no lightweight knife. It weighs a full pound. It’s also an excellent wood splitter. You could baton this thing through cords of hardwood without a problem…using an axe would be smarter move though.
The sheath is…meh. It’s plastic, and the friction clip was too tight when it arrived. I had to fix it by heating it with a blow dryer(see end of this article). Nonetheless, the sheath is adequate, durable and has drain holes to keep the knife dry.
Carry & Handling
The BK2’s handle isn’t fancy at all but is one of the most comfortable and secure handles in the cutlery industry.
The BK2’s thick blade makes it a champ at battoning wood under 3 inches thick. Any thicker than that and the 5 1/4″ blade will struggle to span the wood.
It doesn’t matter what knife I had, after two days in the woods I’d be regretting leaving the hatchet at home.
I have to admit that I seriously underestimated the Becker BK2 in the chopping category.
Limming branches and chopping down 2-3 inch trees was surpisingly easy. It is a much better chopper than my ESEE 6 or Gerber LMFII. The BK2 bights deeper with every chop due to its extra weight and the thicker blade that wedges out the chips a lot more efficiently.
The BK2 certainly doesn’t have a lot of finesse for fine things like whittling, but it will still make short work of planing a plank, drilling a hole, and smoothing a drill for a bow-drill setup.
If push comes to shove you can always choke up on the knife by placing your index finger on the spine near the tip.
When it comes to slicing, the word “adequate” comes to mind but the BK2 certainly is not stellar in this department. If you want an epic slicer get the KA-BAR USMC (see my review).
Thinner longer plain-edge blades excel at this slicing. The BK2 is short and thick…you see my point. The BK2 is a better meat cleaver than a chef’s knife.
A Brief History
The official name for this knife is the KA-BAR Becker BK2 Companion.
Ethan Becker, the designer, is an avid outdoorsman and founder of Becker Knife & Tool Products. He is a highly respected knife designer who initially made a name for himself designing Kukris. Ethan used to produced his knives in partnership with Camillus before it folded. He now partners with KA-BAR.
The Becker BK2 is Ethan’s oldest and most durable design still in production. It is also his best-seller.
Anatomy of the Kabar Becker BK2
There are are a number of factors that make the KA-BAR Becker BK2 one of the most durable knives on the planet:
- Physical Proportions: Length, thickness & blade width
- Extra-thick Blade
- 1095 Cro-Van Steel
- Saber grind
- Drop point
Typically survival knives have a blade thickness of around .144 inches. The Becker BK2 is nearly twice that at .250 inches. When you couple that with the wide and stubby 5.25 inch blade it would be very hard to break this knife even with heavy prying.
The Saber grind is arguably the most durable blade profile a knife can have. This is because the thickness of the saber grind blade only begins to taper between 1/3 to 1/2 way down flat the side of the blade. This preserves the thickness of the blade giving the entire blade much more strength compared to a blade that begins tapering from the spine.
This knife is already among the thickest blades you can buy. The fact that it is a Saber grind adds even more strength.
The spine of the Becker BK2‘s drop-point remains straight until just before the very end. This yields a very strong tip. A drop-point blade is ideal for tasks like gutting and skinning game, or opening box without damaging or snagging the contents.
In days gone by, the Becker BK2 was available with a serrate portion. Many purists, though, prefer the simplicity of a plain edge anyway because it is m much easier to sharpen than serrations.
Becker BK2 Handle
Ethan Becker’s knife handles almost all follow the same basic design.
The Zytel polymer handle looks relatively smooth but actually isn’t slippery at all. As Foxwalk Primitive demonstrated in the video below, Becker handles offer a surprisingly secure grip even in slippery conditions.
The ergonomics are excellent. I can work this knife hard for a long time without developing hotspots or blisters.
I like how the handle flairs on both ends of the grip which prevents accidental over-run.
Becker originally designed his handles by wrapping the oval handle of a USMC KA-BAR (see my review) with modeling clay and then gripping it in his hand. He then used the impression to create a one of the most comfortable and ergonomic handles in the industry.
Granted, the black Zytel handle is a bit boring and cheap to look at. Thankfully, a whole cottage industry has grown up making beautiful custom handles for Becker knives. The knife handle is easily replaced by simply removing three hex screws.
Becker BK2 Pommel
The BK2’s pommel is simply an extension of the 1/4 inch-thick steel tang that is squared-off at the end. This enables you to penetrate very hard surfaces (like sheet metal) by striking/battoning the pommel like you would a tent-stake.
So yes, you could absolutely field dress a Buick with it!
Beyond that, you can use the pommel as striking surface for pulverizing, cracking shells, or cracking faces(did I say that?)
A lanyard hole allows you to attach the knife to your wrist to prevent slippage when chopping or choking up on the blade for detail work.
Becker BK2 Sheath
The BK2’s plastic sheath is not fancy but it is tough and functional. You can mount it to your backpack via the Molle webbing slots or to your belt using the nylon belt loop. The one draw back is that you will need to partially remove your belt to mount it.
Since the knife is heavy (1lb), you’ll need to cinche up your belt if you’re wearing it on you hip. The sheath is low slung which keep the butt of the knife out of your ribs when you crouch. On the downside, since the knife is tail-heavy, you’ll need to keep the handle clip in place or the sheath will hang at weird angle
When I got my Becker BK2 the plastic sheath was so tight I could not actually remove the knife in a safe manner.
I almost sent the knife back! The retention clip was so tight it was impossible to remove the knife without it suddenly releasing(very dangerous if people are behind you).
Apparantly, this is a hit-and-miss issue.
How to Fix a Tight Becker BK2 Sheath
Thankfully, there is a simple and permanent solution to this annoying issue. So, if your BK2 arrives with an overly tight sheath just do the following. It worked brilliantly for me.
The BK2 is Good At…
- Making it happen: This knife will get it done even if it ain’t pretty. It won’t fail you, and will “sort out” 90% of your needs adequately.
- Handling Abuse: If your inept friend wants to borrow a knife, give him your BK2. You won’t have to worry about him breaking it.
- Chopping: The most efficient chopper I’ve seen for a blade under 6 inches.
- Prying: Yes, it’s a bad practice but the BK2 is the strongest there is if you simply must pry.
The BK2 is Bad At….
- Traveling Light: this is not the BK2’s forté. At a full pound, the BK2 is much heavier than it’s piers. Every ounce matters when you loaded down with miles to go.
- Slicing: The 1/4″ thick blade makes fine slicing much less efficient than thinner blades like the Kabar USMC fighting/utility knife or the ESEE 6.
- Tactical/self defense: Sure, it can still inflict serious damage, but BK2 is certainly no Bowie knife. Blade length and weight limit reach and speed.
Having a practical friend that’s a “jack-of-all-trades” with you in a survival situation is very reassuring – psychologically speaking. The Kabar Becker BK2 is just that. It’s that buddy you can count on that can fix pretty much anything even if it ain’t perfect.
After all, survival is about surviving not looking pretty and doing bushcraft perfectly. A good survival knife has to be “scrappy” and able is manage, mitigate and push through a huge variety of unforeseen and extreme circumstances. I think the BK2 has all the brawn and usefulness you’ll need to see you through and get you out alive.
It’s no surprise, then, that the Becker BK2 is one of the best-selling survival knives in the world. It’s cheap, tough and will do pretty much anything you ask it to. So, if you’re in the market for your first survival knife I think BK2 is the best value on the market.