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Ethan Becker’s a well-known name among those who know what’s needed in a heavy-duty blade built for hard use. Based on extensive experience in the wild, he created his Becker Knife And Tool brand to incorporate his own designs in fixed blade knives intended for the buyer whose equipment simply has to work. No-nonsense Becker blades run heavy and don’t showcase exotic steels, elaborate handle materials or highly polished surfaces. Each of his models is crafted for the user, not the collector.

Becker contracted with Camillus in recent years to manufacture affordable knives to his specifications, and the Camillus-made Beckers achieved an excellent reputation for superior performance at reasonable prices. Camillus filed for bankruptcy in 2006, and when production stopped, fans hurried to snap up existing Becker knives on the secondary market, while hoping the designer would soon be able to find another maker to produce his blades at the same level of quality.

In 2008, KA-BAR announced an arrangement with Becker to begin introducing his line, and while minor changes have been made in dimensions and materials, these brand-new Beckers are now rolling out of the Olean, New York factory into the hands of those who appreciate them for what they are. And, the word is good on quality.

Three of the first patterns to bear the KA-BAR stamp are the BK-2 Campanion, the BK-3 TacTool and the BK-11 Necker, each of which covers a different application in general, and more specifically for law enforcement use. Excellent designs and execution for hard working knives, Beckers are back and KA-BAR’s got them.

campanionBecker BK-2
The BK-2 is a sturdy one-pound full-tang drop point 5.125-inch fixed blade with a 10.5-inch overall length. The beefy blade is fractionally thicker at a full quarter inch than earlier BK-2 models, and may not fit sheaths made for those. Finished in a non-reflective matte black with a 20-degree edge grind, the Campanion’s blade is stamped from 1095 Cro-Van (a tough and proven steel that’s easily re-sharpened) hardened to 56-58 Rockwell, and fitted with panels of black Grivory (a trade name for a thermoplastic synthetic resin) attached by three substantial hex head bolts that can be easily removed for cleaning or replacement if necessary.

The well-designed canoe-shaped palmswell panels are thick enough for a solid grip, and feature an integral forward guard to resist slipping onto the cutting edge during forward impacts. The pyramidal angle at the base also provides a striking or control point surface for non-lethal use if necessary.

The BK-2 comes with an ambidextrous click-in synthetic sheath with drain hole that can be lashed, hung, or strapped on belt or gear and a snapstrap for maximum retention while running, climbing or wrestling. Suggested retail is $97, and if you break the tip on this one you’re severely knife-challenged.

tactoolBecker BK-3 TacTool
For more specialized uses, the TacTool is exactly what it says it is. Suited to SWAT and paramedic applications where glass may need to be broken, seatbelts and other strapping or cordage cut, doors pried, and wood pried or chopped, the heavy 1.3-pound quarter-inch thick BK-3 is a versatile entry tool using a 7-inch chisel-ground partially serrated blade with a web notch.

The same Cro-Van steel stands up to what this knife is built to do, and the same Grivory grip panels and dimensions help maintain control under impacts in any direction. There are no 90-degree angle stress risers on these Beckers at the forward edge of the full tang where the blade narrows down to meet the Grivory panels (a potential crack-inducing weakness in many patterns), their designer has done his homework, and KA-BAR’s doing an excellent job in meeting his vision for them.

The TacTool ships with its own version of the same type of ambidextrous black synthetic sheath as the Campanion, and can be attached or worn in the same way. The click-in moulding on these sheaths is a handy feature. If you need quick access or may be drawing and re-sheathing repeatedly while you’re working on a problem, it’s just a matter of snapping the snapstrap inside the webbing at the top and out of the way where it won’t accidentally get itself cut, and clicking the knife into its moulded recess in the sheath body. Retention is secure enough for most activities, and the strap can be snapped as the situation dictates. If you’ve ever heard the term “sharpened pry-bar,” the $138 TacTool defines the concept.

neckerBecker BK-11 Necker
One of the most popular of the original Becker blades, and the first that KA-BAR selected to bring back on the market, the little Becker Necker is drawing a lot of interest as a back-up knife. Also a drop point style, the 2.5-ounce skeletonized tang behind a 3.25-inch long 0.160-inch thick black matte blade adds up to a well-proportioned knife that neatly compromises between a blade that’s too small to be good for much and one that’s too big to hang around your neck.

The flat ground blade uses the same steel as its cousins, and Becker has incorporated a front finger groove into the BK-11’s tang contours that does double duty in acting as a guard and in actually making a blade with no handle scales at least moderately comfortable in use. You can hold a rear position on the tang for emergency use as a defensive knife, or choke up forward on the blade for small utility cutting chores if needed.

The Necker’s black sheath can be hung from a neck or lashed to various appendages and gear using the 86 inches of black 550 cord that comes with it, or any length of paracord you may prefer. I’ve seen otherwise usable neck knives that fit loosely enough in their sheaths to be more of a danger to the carrier than anybody else. This is not one of those, and it takes a stiff tug to get the Necker out. Good back-up insurance at $55.

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