It was almost a year ago to the day that I bought a Becker BK2 for my wife and honestly, I wish I would have done this review a long time ago…
In case you aren’t familiar with it, the BK2 comes from the Becker line of knives that is currently produced by famed knife maker Ka-BAR. They were designed by Ethan Becker. He seems to stay really plugged into at least one fairly large online crowd that loves his knives. I’ve seen quite a few posts by him on Bladeforums, commenting on other people’s threads about his line. This is very cool to me and is a sign that Mr. Becker is interested in producing knives that would be found useful by these communities.
I first stumbled upon this knife a few years ago and based on the stats, the design, and the reviews online (which were numerous), it looked like a very solid knife for a day hiker or camper. When my wife told me last November that she wanted a solid survival knife and explained her preferences and what she was looking for, the BK2 fell into that category and was one of the knives I showed her. I know you don’t know my wife but if you did, you would know that she is very intuitive. She has an ability to naturally pick the right piece of kit or take the right action at the right time. She saw the BK2 on the internet and instantly knew it would be an awesome piece of kit. Me, being the man that I am, I continued to give her other options just to make sure she’d seen the best knives in that class of knife but she stood firm on her original decision. I’m glad she did.
Soon thereafter, we found ourselves in a local sporting goods store holding the BK2. I was surprised to find that in a city of nearly 500,000 people, there was only one place that stocked the BK2 among probably a half-dozen that I checked and these were sporting stores that carry quite a few knives. This is really a disservice to this knife and what is probably the flagship of the Becker line. I believe that a much better job could be done distributing this knife. Just holding it is all a prospective buyer needs to be convinced that it’s a purchase worth making.
Fast forward a year from there and I can tell you that the BK2 is one hell of a knife. Where do I even start?
We’ll start with the ingredients…1095 cro-van. 1095 is a great metal to my knowledge. I know the basic differences between many of the common steels used for “survival” knives and 1095 happens to be one of the more common varieties. It’s fairly easy to sharpen in the field and although I would probably prefer a quality 5160 over the 1095, Ka-BAR is a well known manufacturer with solid heat treating processes. I can’t express how important it is in a working blade to have it made by a reputable manufacturer and Ka-BAR is exactly that. Also, they have added a little extra chromium and vanadium to their steel to improve it. I am not sure of the details on this though so I will only mention it. The scales on the handles of the BK2 are “grivory” scales. They appear to be a high impact plastic of sorts. I beat on the spine side of mine while batoning and they didn’t seem to have an issue with it. A lot of people that purchase the BK2 tend to replace these with the micarta scales (approximately $40 on amazon.com) although I don’t believe this is necessary. They complain that the grivory scales are too slick but I did not experience this issue.
When it comes to the design of this knife, there are three things that I find most noteworthy:
The BK2 is a 1/4″ thick. For a knife that measures under 12″ (10.5″ in length, blade is 5 1/4″), this is a thick blade and the legendary durability of the BK2 is a direct result. I have literally pried with with my wife’s BK2 as though it were a crowbar and because it’s so short, you can only apply so much force. Were it much longer, maybe there would be more of a chance that you could damage it but I have pried and pried using the tip of the BK2 and I am surprised to say that I have not broken it off. I wasn’t trying to break it but I was applying force that would have been quite unacceptable were the blade less thick. I am pretty sure that I would have broken the tip were it a 3/16″ thick blade.
When it comes to knife tips being durable, I truly believe that the drop point is where it’s at. It’s a design that keeps the most material directly behind the point and lends it additional strength. I carry a BK11 daily and yes, I have pried with it as well, regularly pulling nails with the spine near the tip and it’s never even concerned me at all. The drop point design on the BK2 makes an already solid knife stronger. In my experience, you can carve with the tip with impunity and not be worried about breaking it off. This is good for me because I tend to value knives with an overall functional use than specialist type knives.
Full Tang Construction
The BK2 is obviously full tang from a glance. You can see that the grivory scales are attached to the tang, which is exposed the full length of the knife from tip to butt. Also worth mentioning is the butt. It’s got a flat pommel that can even be used to hammer nails or smash things. In addition, a lanyard hole is drilled through this pommel. This just adds to the confidence of the user and allows you that extra little bit of safety afforded to you by the lanyard hole if you choose to use it. You cannot hold this knife in your hand without knowing for sure that it’s an extremely solid and capable tool. I like that.
Now if that wasn’t enough reasons to get a BK2, there are more. The sheath is one of them. It’s a glass-filled nylon sheath that was pancaked and attached to some nylon webbing for a belt strap. Sounds simple but for a knife that costs so little online ($59.99 on amazon.com), I’m amazed at the quality of the sheath. Truly amazed. If Ka-BAR could do this with every knife, they’d have a monopoly. I almost just skipped over it but $60 for this knife? Seriously? That’s yet another reason to get a BK2 since it performs in a class far above the price point. Thank you, Ka-BAR and Mr. Becker!
I didn’t come up with some test criteria or some kind of grading scale to decide where this knife would be in some kind of line-up. I just put it to good hard use and over the course of two weeks were it saw heavy use, the BK2 excelled. As a matter of fact, it did things that I wouldn’t have tried with knives of similar size but I felt so confident in it’s ability just by the heft of it that I had to give it more of a workout.
I literally batoned through logs thicker than the blade length (not normally recommended) by batoning the edges of the logs and thinning them before splitting them down the middle. We are talking 7″pine and oak logs. I literally beat the shit out of the tip of this knife and the back of the grivory handles while batoning because at times, only 1/4″ of the blade tip was exposed. Eventually, one of the screws that hold the scales on came loose but after tightening it up, no more problems there. I used it like a pry bar and pulled on it so hard a few times that I nearly reached muscle failure in my arms to split the log. On a couple of occasions, I couldn’t split it. I had to re-position the edge and start over. No problem again. I probably batoned it through a week’s worth of firewood, burning it all day every day, and then my wife proceeded to use it to gut our Christmas goose WITHOUT so much as running the edge over a strope. It could have been a little sharper but once again, no problem. We chopped our Christmas tree down with it. Yeah, I brought a tomahawk but when we found the tree we wanted and realized we had the BK2, we decided to use that instead. My wife batoned through the tree stump no problem. Back to splitting firewood for another solid week. No problem. We used it repeatedly and were fairly hard on it for two weeks solid before lightly touching up the edge. It tackled everything and the only issues were a loose nut on the scales and the coating that was removed from the blade. I can’t knock the coating. I was pretty hard on it and to put any coating harder on these knives would probably add additional costs. No thanks! Keep it at $60 if you don’t mind.
All things considered, I am amazed at the performance of this knife. It’s a beast and gets some serious work done for such an affordable and portable knife. My wife and I agree were we to change anything about it, we would probably go to a 6″ blade yet stay at the 1 pound even weight. Would that improve the design? I can’t say that it would and it might even compromise the toughness of this blade to a degree but we would love to see it just a little bit longer. Personal preference I guess.
To sum up this knife in two words: Buy it.