by Jace Bauserman

From Bowies to EDC, Bear & Son Cutlery offers a smattering of top-tier knives you need to add to your blade arsenal

My grandfather was a knife nut. We couldn’t make a produce-hauling trip without him pulling into a mom-and-pop shop in some podunk town to look for a new blade.

At the time, locking-blade folders with fancy-to-do pocket clips didn’t exist, but he had old cardboard shoe boxes full of bowies, single-blade folders, multi-blade folders, stag-handle fixed blades, et cetera. He wore a deer handle with a sharp, 7-inch blade bowie in a leather sheath on his hip and always had folders in both pockets.

Grandpa started my love affair with knives. Today, like him, I have them all: fixed blades, folders, bowies, replaceable blades, tactical, butterfly…you name it. Recently, I got my hands on a pair of knives from Bear & Son Cutlery — the Bear Ops 4 1/2″ G10 Handle with Black Blade and the 12 in. Cocobola Gold Rush Bowie

Let’s kick things off with the Bowie. Grandpa had a pile, buh I never really got excited about them until I watched the fictional movie character Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) in the blockbuster hit Crocodile Dundee. Did he make his bowie look sweet, or what? Dundee’s, “That’s not a knife. THAT’s a knife.” quote is priceless. 

The history of the bowie, though, didn’t come to us from the Land Down Under. Instead, Rezin P. Bowie, the brother of the well-known Alamo hero, James Bowie, claims to have crafted the first bowie knife while living in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. History tells us Rezin built the knife for hunting but passed it on to brother James for protection. 

The knife grew in lore on September 19, 1827, when Samuel Levi Wells and Dr. Thomas Maddox got into a tussle on a large sandbar in Natchez, Mississippi. 

Naturally, countless bowie designs followed. There were those with long, slender butcher-style blades made with beefy handles and no cross-guard to more sophisticated models sporting silver pins, sturdier blades, and cross-guards to protect the hands from the knife blade and the blade of other knives.

Today, bowies aren’t necessarily a preferred self-defense weapon, though some still use them. Modern-day bowie knives are used primarily by hunters who want a heavy-duty knife with a sharp blade that will work for butchering, cleaning hides, and performing many camp functions.

Enter Bear & Son with its 12-inch Cocobola Gold Rush Bowie. A heavy-duty stunner, the Cocobola wood handle with gold pins gives this full-tang fixed-blade a classic look. The grip is solid — not too thick or too thin — and the curved brass guard is stylish and provides superior protection. 

With a fighting weight of 16.4 ounces, I discovered getting behind and putting some pressure on the 7-3/8-inch blade allowed me to slice through meat, even rock-hard frozen elk steaks. The blade is Sandvick 12C27M stainless steel, which combines carbon, chromium, manganese, silicon, phosphorus, and sulfur to create a steel ideal for hunting, fishing, and kitchen duties. 

Other than the fact that I had to touch the blade up on my Work Sharp a few times, I have no complaints, and since bowie knives were also created to be survival-type knives, I split a few pieces of firewood, opened a can of beans, and hammered in a few tent stakes with it. This is a great multi-purpose knife for the truck, camper, or pack. 

Bowie knives are meant to be used, and this 12-inch Bear & Son creation gives you beef and sharpness, and it comes with an included leather sheath. 

Now, let’s jump to the opposite end of the knife ocean. The most popular type of knife, slugged by many as an EDC (everyday carry), has a million different uses. 

EDC knives come in all styles, shapes, and blade-point styles. I like Bear’s 4-1/2″ G10 handle black blade Ops

At 4.5 ounces, the MC-400-B4-B-S35 feels excellent in hand, and much of this is due to the resin-based material known as G10, which makes up the knife’s handle. I like the Op’s long, slender grip, and the G10 material doesn’t slip, even when wet. I appreciate that each of my four fingers can rest easily on the underside of the handle, and my thumb fell perfectly into the jimping directly behind the modified drop point blade. 

Clip engagement into various pocket and waist-band styles is flawless. The clip ensures safe tip-down carry, and the incorporated flipper tab and precision ball bearing mean secure, quick blade deployment. Minimal pressure from the index finger brings the rear-facing blade to the front, locking it in place, and a simple leftward push of the liner lock lock unlocks the blade. 

The 58-60 Rockwell blade is pure quality and provides the type of hardness that keeps the blade sharp for a considerably longer time than blades with a lower hardness rating. I measured the Rancor II Pattern 400: Modified Drop Point blade length at just a tick under 3 1/4 inches. 

The drop point design, practically a standard in EDC knives, features a spine that slopes from the knife’s handle to the blade’s tip. I found the blade to be extremely sharp. My only complaint, common among blades with this Rockwell rating, is the resharpening process. After purposefully dulling the edge, which I promise was no easy task, it was a chore to get it shaving hair off the arm again.

I like the closed 4-3/8-inch length, and the knife has length-to-weight perfection. I’m not too fond of EDC knives that feel like a pillow or those that feel like they should be used for bicep curls.

Throughout the testing period, the knife proved functional and durable, which is all I ask out of an EDC knife. It sports a tactical look, which is pleasing to the eye, and though the price tag is just over $100, this is one blade I’m happy to add to my EDC arsenal, and it’s one I will use often.

Bear & Son’s Cutlery 12 in. Cocobola Gold Rush – CB00 3/4 Specifications: 

  • Blade Material: Sandvik 12C27M stainless steel
  • Handle Material: Cocobola
  • Overall Length: 12 in.
  • Blade Length: 7-3/8 in.
  • Weight: 16.4 oz.
  • Extras: taper ground blade and curved brass guard
  • Sheath: leather
  • MSRP: $154.99

Bear & Son Cutlery Bear Edge 4-1/2″ G10 Handle with Black Blade – MC-400-B4-B-S35 Specifications:

  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V
  • Handle Material: black G10
  • Rockwell: 58-60
  • Closed: 4-3/8 in.
  • Edge: 2-7/8 in.
  • Weight: 4.5 oz.
  • Extras: pocket clip 
  • MSRP: $104.99

Born and raised in southeast Colorado, Shoot-On contributor Jace Bauserman cut his hunting teeth chasing ducks, geese, quail, and pheasants near his southeast Colorado home. The seed that was planted stuck, and Bauserman’s outdoor pursuits grew. He started chasing elk and mule deer in the Colorado mountains with his 7mm Rem. Mag., and coyotes, fox, and bobcats across the plains. In 2003, Bauserman started writing about his adventures. Today, Bauserman is an accomplished outdoor writer. He has served as editor-in-chief of Bowhunt America and Bowhunting World magazines and has penned thousands of articles for top-tier outdoor publications.

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