Kabar • Becker BK16 Drop Point • Survival Knife Field Review

Krik of Black Owl Outdoors reviews the Becker BK16 Drop point survival knife by Kabar. Designed by Ethan Becker for Kabar, the BK16 features 1095 coated steel with ergonomic zytel handles. While both the steel and the handles have benefits, the coating is too coarse and grippy while the handles, although ergonomic and comfortable, are slippery and leave something to be desired. One place the BK16 does shine is the sheath that comes with it. Constructed of Cordura Nylon, it is double stitched and feels rugged and reliable. The sheath also features a belt attachment, as well as Molle attachment capabilities. Another downside of the knife is the subpar edge it comes with from the factory. While the knife is by no means blunt, it is dull compared to many other knives at a similar price point. We want to like the knife, so we’ll probably strip the coating, force a patina and redo the edge.. and maybe even some custom micarta handles to round it out. All in all the BK16 is durable, but for the price, you can find a knife that will perform much better straight out of the box.

Kabar – Becker BK16 – http://amzn.to/1QyXVaf


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They didn’t specifically want a coarse coating, just a more durable one.

I think that the more resistance there is the less control you have. If anything the rough coating could cause it to bind and then “slip” more often. But people say that the new coating wears smooth fairly quickly.

Austink1973 says:

Surprised at the lack of edge on it. Esee puts a very good edge on their knives. Good review

Wendell Cardoso says:

Beautiful knife. Review knife Ontario RD 4.

sckarekrow says:

Take a soldering iron, and stipple the grips. You will not be disappointed.

teyacapan says:

great vid love that knife. can’t decide yet

Ben Sheen says:

i love esee and becker knives.

ScanMan1967 says:

Finally they upped the quality of their sheaths because the sheathes that come with the other BKs are pretty crappy.

Mr. Shlock says:

I particularly have many BK&T Ka-Bars, excellent OKC Rangers, and Moras of course. For a heavier bladed saber-grind BK-series survival knife, I get ’em. But at 0.16″ thick-spined full flat grind vs. a 0.13″ Mora Bushcraft scandi-grind (that is really a type of saber), the hefty but slippery full-tang handle notwithstanding, I’d find it hard to argue that the BK16, out of the box, is preferable to a Mora Bushcraft. I’m NOT a Mora fanboy but I have used these repurposed steak knives in plain and serrated carbon, and the Sandvik stainless steel brown reinforced dangler sheath w/belt loop choice as well as firesteel and hone built in may be my favorite option (and I won’t mention the price).

Valley JKU says:

The link you guys have for it shows a saber grind ? Did it end up being ffg or is that a different seller?

Bigfoot Bushcraft says:

Hey brother hows it going? I hope all is well for you my friend.

Alex T says:

You guys should do an updated review on this knife after you’ve done some modifications

Eyal Barazani says:

07:23 seems painful lol
great review though

Black Owl Outdoors says:

Randall’s Adventure and Training (RAT) originally collaborated with Ontario to make the RAT series. Eventually they started to make their own knives (ESEE). Either way, The Ontario RAT series are great knives for the price. I believe Ontario still makes the RAT series, but it no longer stands for Randall’s Adventure and Training. -Krik

Paul'ie 4X The Consiglior says:

Hi Krik, I did get the BK-16, since now I only carry a 2knife carry a saw and a hatchet, and a multi tool, I paired off my BK-9 with my BK-10, my BK-5, with the BK-15, my BK-7 with my BK-17, and the BK-2 with my BK-16, and I also have the BK-4 which sometimes I use it with my BK-15 because I like a choil and a trailing tip knife, Thanx for reminding me of my Becker’s. Oh Yeah I also have two BK-14’s in two different color slab’s which actually add another demension to the BK-14, again Thanx.

steppenwolf says:

personally not impressed with the sheath and would make a leather sheath to replace it. i hate velcro. the handle is too long for my taste really and i feel that zytel scales are crap. unless they’re textured pretty heavily, they’re slippery when wet i’m from the classical thought of 4 1/2 inch handle with wood scales. the finish also would have to go; no questions asked. you’re right that this is no knife to batton with, since it’s so short. it’s more of a skinning and carving blade and would be perfect for a survival emergency; in the realm of shelter and trap construction.

this issue of honing the edge not being done for you is a load of crap. honestly, if you have a set of polishing stones and know how to use them, the edge can be made sharp in an hour or less. that can even be broken up in two or more sessions, for those who claim they have no time. usually those people would rather spend that time watching telly or being on line, have patience for monotonous activities and need instant gratification to be happy. if the person in question doesn’t have a complete set of stones, why do they even have a bush knife then. because every knife gets blunt to the point that it needs coarser stones to reprofile the edge or to polish out edge damage; which will eventually happen to any out of doors knife.

the fact that it’s not being shipped with the edge you want has nowt to do with quality, but keeping the price down. no one seems to realize that it takes a finer grit to polish the edge than it does to apply the basic “factory” edge. for them to apply that finer edge, they’d either have to have another machine and another person to operate it, not to mention a buffer to polish out the imperfections from the second stage grinder, and another person to run IT. so that’s two extra machines to maintain and pay electricity for, plus two more people to pay wages, and health care for. in the end, that would do nothing but make the knife more expensive. it’s simply cheaper for the knife owner to take care of their own knife and no different than how an auto dealer doesn’t fill the tank when you drive off of the lot. people simply need to pack it in about the factory edge and stop acting like spoiled children.

Cerph says:

Here’s how to remove the black coating from the knife: Customizing the Becker BK7 Part 2: Stripping the Black Coating

And here’s a solution to the slippery handle problem: http://www.amazon.com/Jaybird-Mais-6000-Jayco-Co-Adhesive/dp/B000O8ARTC/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1395988003&sr=1-2&keywords=grip+tape

Lazorn Rapscallion says:

I lost my BK16 on the side of the road because of the snape. Sheath is crappy but the knife is fantastic. the snap will wear out quickly.

baseballman74 says:

hey man which do you like better esee 4 or bk 16? which one is cheaper?? great videos~ i really enjoy your videos~ thanks~

Black Owl Outdoors says:

You’re logic is sound. But I don’t think it would be worth it to make the coating rough just for control on smaller pieces of wood. But honestly, I have no idea why the coating is coarse. Maybe that’s what happens when you put a cheaper coating on a knife? If you talk to Ethan, let me know what he says. Heh. -Krik


Would this be a good defensive blade? Is the drop point good for penetrating? The blade shape on the Becker Eskabar isn’t good for penetrating, so I was wondering if it was the same on this one.

baseballman74 says:

what knife? thanks~ and i watched the bear bag hanging vid… it was pretty cool one~ are you from PA? seems to me that you travel often in the PA… i’m in Western NJ… you should organize a backpacking trip with your subscribers… get together and hang around PA and western NJ.. thanks

Black Owl Outdoors says:

Overall, I like the Esee 4 better. Better scales, better coating, came factory sharp. The BK16 is cheaper. And it’s definitely not a bad knife with a little bit of work (reprofile the edge, strip the coating). I know some people don’t the like ergonomics of the Esee 4 handle. But I have no issue with it. As for the BK16’s handle, I really like the ergonomics, but not the material, at all. Hope this helps. -Krik

Raindance Bushcraft says:

Looks like a cool knife, though I kind of feel that a survival knife should have a mirror finish on the blade so you could use it as a signalling mirror in a pinch.

Affinity says:

The vivid color effect of your videos makes everything look better. 

Dreoilín the Didactic Dinkum The Wren says:

I hate the sheath but its a great knife.

Black Owl Outdoors says:

I’m all for carrying more than one blade. I always have a multitool regardless of what/how many knives I carry. If you want a blade for larger work (wood processing), than a 4 inch blade definitely wouldn’t be a first choice. A hatchet, ax, or a 7+ inch blade (something I would consider a chopper) would work much better. -Krik

juan rivas says:

Is there a difference between Essee knives and Ontario’s RAT knives? I only ask because I recently bought a RAT 7 for around $80 and seems to be pretty good.

goodnamestaken says:

Really well done review, thanks!

Jesse Schmidt says:

Use sandpaper on the coating just enough to smooth it out. Makes a world of difference

Stef says:

the black coating does not hold so good, right? so no good rust safe

Cory Boyd says:

it’s not a button, it’s a snap

Piotr Płonka says:

Hello, what did you shoot the movie that is what camera?

Rusty Gunn 7 says:

Quit that dang zooming in and out, dude!

Johannes Dolch says:

IMO you are putting WAY too much emphasis on the sharpness. Yes i agree it could be sharper but in the end this is something that you not only can do yourself, you will HAVE to do it anyway, sooner or later, especially if you use it for woodworking. So taking that as a key factor in rating the blade is really missing the point.

Eightup Okie says:

Knife is great, the sheath is crap

Niklas Pfeiffer says:

What is your favourite full tang outdoor/survival knive?

Black Owl Outdoors says:

What do I carry for a 3 day backpacking trip? Do you mean what knife? Or all of my gear? -Krik

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