The Perfect Field Knife?
Checking Out the Bravo 1.5
The original Bravo 1 was designed for Force Recon and quickly became Bark River’s all-time bestselling knife, a distinction it still has today. Over the years, they’ve expanded the line considerably, adding several models in various sizes, from the Bravo Micro all the way to the Bravo Machete.
Regardless of length, they all share the same DNA:
• High-quality materials
• Robust construction
• Attention to detail
There seem to be two opposing sides in the knife community. One group consists of mostly collectors and the others are mostly users. What’s great about Bark River is their lineup appeals to both groups. Their designs are aesthetic enough to be safe queens, but durable enough to be taken out into the field with zero qualms. And that is especially true of the Bravo 1.5.
The Bravo 1.5 runs 10.625 inches from end to end, with the blade taking up 5.75 inches. The A2 steel is 0.20-inch thick. At the widest point, the blade is 1.125-inch high. This is a robust knife, weighing in at 8.8 ounces. While it won’t be a boat anchor on your hip, you’ll be confident this knife will handle anything you need it to do.
As with every Bark River knife, it comes with a durable, well-made leather sheath. It is a pouch-style sheath, keeping the knife secure until you need it. Now, we need to talk for a moment about Bark River sheaths, as some customers are troubled by them at first. The sheaths are designed to be snug the first time you insert the knife. Go slow, but apply steady pressure, and the knife will slide in. Leave it there for a day or two and the leather will stretch just enough to accommodate the knife. Wet forming the sheath is another option, if you want to go that route.
The model shown has Green Micarta handle scales. However, there are numerous other options to choose from, including various types of Micarta as well as G-10.
The Bravo 1.5 is absolutely razor-sharp right out of the box, requiring no tuning or touch up at all prior to using. Having visited the Bark River shop myself more than once, I know from experience that every knife is checked for sharpness multiple times before it ships out. The knife has the standard Bark River convex grind.
The blade’s spine takes an ever-so-slight dip as it reaches the tip. I suppose in a technical sense that makes it a drop point blade profile, but it is very subtle.
Mine has a ramp, but there are rampless models available. Failing that, you can always send a ramped knife to Bark River and they will grind it off for you. They cannot, however, add a ramp. They’re good, very good, but even they can’t create steel where there was none before.
There is a lanyard hole at the base of the handle. Because the knife rides fairly deep into the pouch sheath, adding a lanyard will give you a little extra purchase for drawing the knife out.
The hallmark of the Bravo line is the handle profile. No matter which model it is, that handle is there, albeit occasionally resized to fit the blade length. Many users report that the Bravo handle is the most comfortable handle they’ve ever held, and for good reason. It is incredibly ergonomic, creating no hot spots even after extended use. What’s more, the contours and palm swells keep this handle locked in your hand during use, even if your hand gets wet or cold.
I don’t like torture testing knives. Aside from shock and awe value, it is fairly meaningless. If I’m ever in a truly dire situation and need my knife to, let’s say, pry apart a few bricks, and my very survival depends upon it, I’m not going to worry too much about whether the same sort of knife held up to that kind of testing in someone’s YouTube video.
My approach is to simply use the knife as a knife and see how it performs. As a practical matter, we’re not so much testing whether the knife will cut the material, but rather how the knife handles while doing so. Let’s face it, if a knife can’t cut through rope, there’s person who made the knife might want to find a different vocation or hobby.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve used the Bravo 1.5 in a variety of capacities, from breaking down cardboard boxes to light chopping of brush in the backyard. It handled marvelously, very comfortable and easy to wield in different grips. I will say that the thickness of the blade precludes it from being especially handy with some food prep chores. It’ll cut through just about anything, but fine work like slicing mini peppers and the like gets frustrating, simply because the knife isn’t designed to handle delicate jobs.
Every knife reviewer ends up accumulating a stash of odds and ends they can use for testing knives. From my goodie box, I grabbed a piece of scrap leather and used long, dragging cuts to slice it up into smaller pieces. The Bravo 1.5 dug deep and made short work of it. I then used it to slice the end off of an old rubber hose. This wasn’t quite as easy, just because thick rubber hose can be a pain to cut with any knife, but it got the job done in short order.
Even after all that, it still carves paper quite easily, too. The edge holding is absolutely stellar with this knife.
The Bravo 1.5 is a beast of a knife, without being just a sharpened crowbar. While the size might not make for a great EDC fixed blade for those who live or work in urban or suburban areas, it would be a valuable addition to the load out any time you’re headed out into the field. The A2 steel is a great choice as it will hold a good edge while also not being impossible to sharpen. The Bravo 1.5 is definitely not meant to be a safe queen. It will be happiest getting work done around the house or homestead as well as out in the wild.