Ethan Becker has been designing outdoor equipment, from climbing gear to fixed blades, longer than I have been alive. His particular genius comes in the form of perfect details.
The Becker Handle, a design that has graced many of his fixed blades from a variety of companies over the years is straightforward and superb.
My current favorite Becker design, which, admittedly, is like picking a favorite among my children, is the BK9. It is currently produced by KaBar.
Great, Affordable Chopper
The knife itself is one of the best and most affordable choppers on the market, found as low as $89 online.
It is a massive slab of powder-coated steel. Stacked up against other choppers on the market, the BK9 ranks among the best despite a price tag that is half as much as some of its fancier competition. Don’t look for bleeding-edge steel or stag handles.
This chopper is a beefy survival knife that can handle all kinds of wood-processing tasks. It’s called a Bowie knife by the company, is a little shorter than most machetes and can do lots of bushcraft tasks with ease.
The entire blade is highly functional, and the money savings come in the form of skipping frills as opposed to compromising on performance. The full tang Cro-Van 1095 is not just serviceable, it works very well, absorbing beatings like a pair of shocks.
It can get a bit chippy, but careful use and a good sharpening can overcome this issue to some degree. Similarly, the plastic molded handle is both comfortable to use and fills the hand for confident chopping, but it is not as bulletproof or beautiful as a micarta or G10 handle. And it pales in comparison to a stag handle, but again, it really, really works.
However, there is one thing that is both cheap and a poor performer on the BK9. That would be the dreadful nylon sheath. A basic off-the-shelf design with a rigid plastic insert, the sheath is just junk. Fortunately, Ka Bar offers a kydex sheath as an upgrade option.
Ka Bar is not the only one making accessories and upgrades for the BK9. Like with all Becker knives there are a huge number of folks making new scales (even some nice micarta ones) and a lot of folks making upgraded leather and kydex sheaths.
The core of the BK9 is an incredible value and a great chopper. If you want to try your hand at a wood splitting, material destroying chopper, but don’t want to go broke, the BK9 is your knife.
- Retail Price: $160
- Steel: Cro-Van 1095
- Blade Length: 9 inches
- OAL: 14 3/4 inches
- Weight: 1.15 pounds
- Made in the USA