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Bark River Bravo 1 REVIEW

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Bark River Bravo 1:  Review, Specs, and Information

The Bark River Bravo 1 is a knife that tested under some of the most rugged conditions and by some of the most rugged people imaginable. The Bark River Bravo 1 is the most popular knife made by Bark River and was tested — unbeknownst to the company (under its original design, the Bark River Gameskeeper), by the USMC to see if it would hold up to their standards. It did and, with a few tweaks here and there, it has become one of the most popular knives among the USMC Force Recon units.

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The Bark River Bravo 1 has an excellent design to it — from its full tang blade to the steel chosen for the knife. The knife has all the elements that go into a great bushcraft knife and beyond.

The Bravo 1 is made out of A2 steel. This is a tool steel that is superior in several regards to alternatives such as D2 and M2. It is tougher than either of those steels, not quite as resistant to wear but is great for very rugged applications. This knife, in fact, is made out of one of the most common steels found in combat knives and the properties of that steel translate well to survival activities.

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The Bark River Bravo 1 has a total length of slightly over 9 inches, with a 4 ¼ inch blade. The steel is hardened to 59 on the Rockwell scale, certainly giving the blade enough hardness to hold up to heavy wear. The blade is .21 inches thick and the knife weighs just under 7.5 ounces.

There are several different handle options available for the Bravo 1.  Micarta is commonly used, but bamboo and other handle materials are utilized, as well. This is not an inexpensive knife, approaching the $300 mark in some versions. It is, however, one of the few knives that can say that it has been subjected to the worst abuse the US Marine Corps could think of and come out the winner, among many other high-end survival knives that were tested at the same time.

Buy it now – $179.83

The blade has a textured thumb ramp on it to get better control. It is also supplied with a hole for a lanyard, giving bushcraft enthusiasts the option to utilize that particular tool, if they wish, though the handle is excellent in terms of grip and control, even without a lanyard.

There isn’t anything about the knife that is lacking in any regard. Whether the steel is right, the handle is right or any other part of this knife is right for you will depend upon your personal preferences, not whether or not the manufacturer put high-quality materials into the design, as they most certainly did at every step of the way with the Bark River Bravo 1.

What Is the Bark River Bravo 1 Good For?

The Bark River Bravo 1 is absolutely rugged enough to hold up to the most demanding usages. This is the type of knife that people who spend a lot of time in the wilderness and who like to rely upon their knife and their skills to get them by can count on. There’s really nothing about the Bark River Bravo 1 that needs to be doubted in terms of its capability to perform; it’s simply a matter of whether, at a personal level, this is the right knife for you.

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The price point means that this is definitely not a beginner’s knife. If you have a lot of experience with bushcraft, however, and want to take things to the next level without worrying that your tools are holding you back in any regard, the Bark River Bravo 1 would definitely be a knife that you should consider among your serious options.

Buy it now – $179.83

Bark River Knives

Bark River Knives is located in Escanaba, Michigan, which is quite a bit off the beaten path itself. The company is a family-owned business and makes its goal the production of exceptionally high quality knives and tools. This is a small, family manufacturer that incorporates a lot of innovative and modern designs into their products and that also adheres to quality knife making traditions.

Here’s what people are saying about the Bark River Bravo 1

This is an exceptionally well made, beautifully crafted knife.

…it stacks up great next to the best bushcraft knives out there. I love the ergonomics of the handle — very solid in the hand.

Here’s a list of similar knives for your comparison

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3 Responses to “Bark River Bravo 1 REVIEW”

  1. john November 25, 2014 at 7:52 am #

    It is a great knife, the Bravo 1. Just keep in mind that they are hand made and not the same by a long shot. I purchased a Bravo 1 and was so impressed with the performance that I ordered another. When it arrived I was not pleased with it at all. The blade geometry was terrible. One side of the knife looked like a full flat grind and the other a convex. My first thoughts were that the maker was either tired, drunk and maybe even wanting to get away from the workshop for his lunch break.
    I live in Europe and Bark River was happy for me to send it back to them for inspection. So instead of replacing it they tried to fix it by gringing more steel from it. So the end result is a Bravo 1 that weighs 6 ounces and I had to pay the import duties twice plus the postage to get it replaced and now i have a very expensive Bravo 1 that looks and feels like crap. They really are great knives if you get a decent one. My first and decent Bravo 1 is holding up really well. The second one i purchased is now just a very expensive letter opener as i dont think it is much use for anything else.

    • Patrick Gallagher December 23, 2014 at 7:49 am #

      Holy Cow. I’ve never actually heard that about a Bark River. I’ve owned and sold many(ish), but have never personally experienced what you’re talking about. The latest Bravo 1 that I had (the same one pictured) was nothing short of supreme.

      Too bad about your experience. I don’t think it’s typical, and I’m sort of surprised they didn’t hook you up with the fees/duty.

  2. ump December 2, 2015 at 8:25 pm #

    Bark River are NOT an officially used USMC knife; they’ve hyped a very minor experiment done by a small group in a very misleading way. There’s no evidence to suggest they’re a widely chosen knife by “Force Recon” Marines except the say-so of Mike Stewart – who has a string of complaints against him by other people in the industry. The other thing BRKT are known for, of course, are there excuses for the failure of their knives to do things like cut through chopsticks with blowing chunks from the blade and their tactics in covering it up. Eg a video from their own factory which they released showing how their knives are produced – which was pulled when it turned out to show that they were routinely over-stressing blades in grinding and by water-quenching steels that the manufacturers prohibit this for:

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