Cold Steel, Kukri House and Mark Morrow bowie knife review

Since I can’t have guns here in Thailand, I’ve chosen edged weapons as the next best thing, .  This bowie knife review is about an American icon, the bowie knife, and what made the bowie knife so deadly that some states in the first half of the 19th century passed legislation that made killing a man with a bowie knife a felony, even if the killing was self defense.

Bill Bagwell’s custom bowie knives are oftentimes regarded as the finest fighting bowie knives of all time.  It costs a minimum of $2000 and a 2 year wait to get one of Bagwell’s masterpieces.  But Bill Bagwell is also hugely successful at self promotion.  In fact, he’s so good at it, that I’m almost certain that almost anyone who reads Bowies, Big Knives and the Best of Battle Blades  will wind up believing nearly every word Bill writes.

The book makes fascinating reading, however.   But the real question is, is the bowie knife as effective as Bill claims it to be?   Bill claims for example that it’s the back cut that makes the bowie knife such an awesome killer of men.  Bill’s theories on the incomparable lethality of the back cut are not, however, substantiated by what I’ve found on the internet that might vindicate him.  But they do make sense.

Cold Steel Trailmaster and Mark Morrow Arkansas Fighting Bowie knife
The Cold Steel Trailmasters are renowned for their very thick blades. The Cold Steel web site shows such knives being subjected to all sorts of abuse from being bent 90 degrees in a vice to being thrust through car doors, etc. Although the Mark Morrow Arkansas fighting bowie has a wider blade it much thinner than the Trailmasters. I doubt if it will withstand nearly the abuse.
Mark Morrow Arkansas Fighting bowie and Kukri House Alamo bowie
Note how massive the Alamo Kukri House bowie is. It’s another 12 ounces heavier than a Cold Steel Natchez bowie that is oftentimes refereed to as a short sword
Cold Steel Trailmaster in San Mai and Mark Morrow custom bowie
Above is the Cold Steel Trailmaster in Japanese San Mai steel. Below, the Mark Morrow hand made Arkansas Fighting bowie. The Cold Steel is a survival knife, one of the best there is with its 3/8th inch thick blade. It’s great for splitting logs, making shelters, etc and with its razor sharp edge, not bad in a self defense role also. The Mark Morrow Arkansas Fighting bowie feels lighter than the Trailmasters yet it weighs nearly 2 ounces more. It has a razor sharp false edge for delivering lethal back cuts. The blade is also wider than the Trailmasters so its going to make a larger entry hole in an adversary. It’s not going to take nearly the abuse the Trailmasters will which are designed to excel in the woods. The Arkansas fighting bowie’s main reason for its existence is to kill people.
Hammer marks on the hilt of the Mark Morrow Arkansas Fighting bowie
Notice the hammer marks along this topside of the Mark Morrow Arkansas Fighting bowie’s guard. Such hammer marks also appear all along the back side of the blade as well as on part of the blade itself. Mark did this on purpose to give the knife a great antique finish. There is nothing quite like the feel of a custom knife from a true craftsman.

comparison4 I had to find out, and it was my quest for finding the truth that drove me to making this bowie knife review video.  The video you are about to see is much more than just a review of  two Cold Steel Trailmasters, a Nepalese Kukri House Alamo bowie and a custom Mark Morrow bowie knife it is a test of Bill Bagwell’s backcut theories as well.   So  I inflated several balloons and bought several small plastic water bottles to put Bagwell’s theory to the test.

What separates a true bowie knife from practically all other edged weapons is its ingenious point design and sharpened false edge on the back side of the blade that begins at the point and then extends three to four inches down.  Bill contends that the full force of a blow delivered from the point and this back edge is concentrated  into such a small area that devastating things happen instantly to an adversaries body parts receiving the blow.  After reading Bagwell’s book and seeing one of his you tube videos, I’ve had images going through my mind of a man’s stomach or intestines being suddenly opened with terrific force that will spill his guts out onto the floor as easily as a gunnysack of oats would spill its contents at the slightest cut.  Such thoughts never left my mind, and I wound up doing my own bowie knife review to determine if this were at all plausible.

But I had to wait a year and a half to do my own tests, because I had just ordered a Mark Morrow hand made Arkansas fighting bowie, and I wound up having to wait s–o—l—o–n—g to get it.   During this long wait I bought a Japanese made Cold Steel Trailmaster in San Mai laminated steel even though I already had an American made Trailmaster in Carbon V steel that’s been with me for twenty years.  But the wait went on and on so when I found out that Kukri House was offering a limited production run of just 25 numbered Alamo style bowie knives I shot my order into Nepal right off.

Five weeks later, the Alamo bowie arrived at my Thailand condo.   It’s a massive knife that weighs come 34 ounces which is just as heavy as two of my Nepalese Kukris that have 13 inch long blades to the Alamo Bowie’s 11 inches.  Everything about the Alamo bowie is first rate.  The handle feels terrific in the hand.  The knives lines are simple and beautiful.  Its steel has that wondrous ring to it that many excellent steels seem to have.

In the You Tube bowie knife review I talk about how Confederate Civil War soldiers started off carrying huge bowie knives as their secondary weapons.  I allude to how such Confederate soldiers no doubt bragged to one another about how “My thing is bigger than your thing”.   But what actually happened is that the typical Confederate bowie knife had gotten to be so large and heavy that those soldiers carrying them usually wound up discarding them because they were simply too heavy to be carrying around on the march when every superfluous pound was jettisoned.  It turned out that Civil War soldiers on both sides normally resorted to using either their bayonets or the butts of their muskets for close in hand to hand combat. And so it would be with the Kukri House Nepalese Alamo bowie.  Although it might offer unparalleled power in separating limbs and heads from human bodies, in the bowie knife review pitting the Alamo bowie against the two Cold Steel Trailmasters and Mark Morrow fighting bowie,  it’s simply too heavy to be carrying about for very long.

It is also a little known fact that Civil War cavalrymen also found their sabres to be nearly as useless as the Southern infantryman found his bowie knife to have been.   The six shot percussion revolver became the preferred weapon of most cavalrymen, particularly by such irregulars as Quantrill’s raiders.  But what is oftentimes  not recognized is that such horsemen usually carried at least two revolvers due to their unreliability and that many of  them carried as many as six revolvers at one time.

One of the reasons why a horseman carried so many revolvers is that they were unreliable.   Each revolver had six chambers and each chamber had a nipple next to it on which was placed a percussion cap.  Among other things (such as the cap failing to ignite) a spent cap oftentimes fell into the revolvers mechanism causing a jam, and that such jams often occurred every 11 rounds or so.  It would not be until the introduction of the Colt Single Action Army in 1873 that the unreliability caused by external primers was solved.

Prior to 1836 with the introduction of the Colt Patterson cap and ball revolver the handguns of the day were typically  flintlock single shot  black powder weapons.  A man had one shot, and that was it.  Needless to say Bowie knives became very popular in those days.  And if Bill Bagwell is to be believed, extremely deadly.  Finally, after a one and a half year wait for Mark Morrow’s exquisitely made Arkansas Fighting Bowie knife, I was ready to do my bowie knife review.  I’d also for the first time do my own private investigation of the bowie knife back cut’s lethality.







3 thoughts on “Cold Steel, Kukri House and Mark Morrow bowie knife review”

  1. I designed that bowie that kukri house made. I have the very first one they made for me. I also live in Thailand. If you are into knives check out Thai gun magazines. There is a guy who makes knives in the busse style. They are 1200 baht. Aranyanik knifes from Ayuttaya province are also very good and cheap.

  2. That’s interesting. How did you get in with the Nepalese so they’d adopt your design for the Kukri House bowie, and how did you come up with this particular design, which is a very attractive one by the way as well as potent? The only downside I see to this bowie is its size and weight.

  3. Well I probably don’t have to tell you how expensive custom made knives can get in the West. I wanted a big bowie in the crocodile dundee style. I already had the ‘redemption’ knife from kukri house and was waiting for a bowie designed by the same guy. (Frank Gonzalez). He was having some beef with them over some issue so I designed mine in the style I liked. His is the alamo bowie but isn’t released yet. I told them to call it the “Chalawan” which is a ancient crocodile from Thailand. They just did their own thing with it which was ok as I had used a style that was pretty common anyway. I have another one I was thinking of getting them to do for me. Like a sabre style bowie. They’ll do anything you send, my bowie was something like 123 bucks. It is very hefty but that’s what I like lol.

Leave a Reply