Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sharps: Bark River Gunny

I've admitted to being a fan of Bark River Knife & Tool's exceptional Bravo-1 and the larger Bravo-2. So when Mike Stewart and company unveiled the Gunny -- which essentially is a downsized Bravo-1 -- I fully expected to like it a lot.

I just didn't expect to like it better than its "Search & Rescue Series" brethren.

See, I'd been thinking that the Bravo-1 might just be my ideal all-around knife: a drop-point blade 4.25" long and 0.215" thick, A-2 with full convex grind, a comfy handle and near-perfect balance. Truth is, I can still make a strong case, but the Gunny is giving its bigger sibling a serious run.

By the numbers, the Bark River Gunny is 8.4" long overall, with a blade 3.775" in length and 0.154" thick. Naturally, it's convex-ground A-2 carbon steel. At 5.625 ounces, the Gunny is 31% lighter than the Bravo-1.

After working my Gunny, I found it to be just as stout and just as able as my Bravo-1 and (predictably) a bit more nimble. And because a lighter, more compact knife often is easier to carry, it's more likely to be carried -- whether on a day hike or as part of my EDC kit.

Adding the two qualities together -- capability plus ease-of-carry convenience -- makes the Gunny more versatile for my purposes, perhaps even more useful to me than a larger knife.

Workmanship on the Gunny is typical Bark River (excellent, that is), and the California Buckeye burl handle I chose is as comfortable in the hand as it is stunning to the eye. The Loveless-inspired sheath, Sharpshooter's new "Sur-Lok" design, is likewise top-shelf.

For now I plan to carry my Gunny in the Sur-Lok, as-is. Later I may pick up a
KSF Leather Field Sheath from, add an LMF Army firesteel and create a low-drag version of my Bravo-1 and Bravo-2 rigs (left). Honestly, I haven't decided yet.

I do know one thing -- the Bark River Gunny gives me no nits to pick. It's well on its way to becoming my favorite fixed-blade knife.

Considering the family rivalry, that's saying something.