KA-BAR Becker BK21 Reinhardt Kukri: First Impressions

Becker-BK21-Reinhardt-Kukri

This past Labor Day weekend I had the pleasure of traipsing through the woods with Ethan Becker. We brought along a few Becker prototypes to play with, one of which was the hotly anticipated BK21 Reinhardt Kukri. Now that KA-BAR has officially announced the blade, I can give you my first impressions on how it handles.

The Reinhardt Kukri has not been available since the Becker Knives were made by Blackjack in the early 1990’s and it has now been updated with a thicker blade and Ka-Bar’s 1095CV steel. Although I wasn’t able to exhaustively test the Reinhardt, I was able to get a good feel for it. After taking down a small tree and cutting up some green wood, here is what I can report…

– The Kukri is a chopping monster. In addition to the Beckers, I also brought along an ESEE Junglas. Within the first few strikes it was quickly apparent that the ESEE was outclassed by the Reinhardt. It should be noted that the Kukri is significantly longer than the Junglas.

– It took me 5 strikes to go through the tree with the Junglas, and only 3 with the Kukri. Ethan told me that if my technique was better, it ought to have handled the tree in one strike. It was about four inches in diameter.

The final production BK21, along with Ethan's prototype and my BK9.

The final production BK21, along with Ethan’s prototype and my BK9.

– The blade has the same thickness and edge/grind geometry as the BK9. The 9 is my favorite knife for batoning. I never go on a camping trip without it and I have achieved some pretty heroic splits with that blade. The Kukri should be no different.

– There is a smooth ricasso that acts like a finger choil allowing you to choke up on the blade for detail work. The angle of the first few inches of blade is not too bad for carving despite the weight of the blade. Rather than being a crisp cutout, the edges of the ricasso are rounded, increasing comfort for your finger.

– The blade coating is smooth, rather than rough/textured like the most of the Becker lineup!

– The highest praise I can say is this. I’m selling my Junglas and buying the Kukri just as soon as I can!

comments

  1. EdgeofJudgment says:

    4-5″ diameter tree in ONE strike if your technique was better? Yeah to the tune of swinging it a couple of hundred mph… or either you have yourself some mighty soft wood there. By the way, did I miss the additional Gerber reviews that were so highly built up? Gerber’s try at a kukri was an absolute failure… almost impossible to get a solid strike on anything and when you did the whole thing would vibrate. http://www.gerbergear.com/Outdoor/Gear/Gator-Kukri_31-002074

    1. EOJ,

      It was green wood and probably closer to four inches than five. It was my first swing ever with the blade, and strike #1 went about 75% of the way through. Strike #2 completed the “v” and strike #3 finished the job. Snap-cuts are the way to do it. I have no doubt that my technique could be improved.

      And we are coordinating the Gerber reviews to come out together. Clay will be making an announcement soon.

      1. EdgeofJudgment says:

        Good deal, thanks. I check this blog regularly but not everyday. Just hoping I hadn’t missed them because I am very interested to see if Gerber can get back on their feet. I am cheering for the industry giant, but they still have a lot of work to do to earn my trust back.

        1. EdgeofJudgment says:

          By the way, the BK9 is a beast of a knife.

      2. EdgeofJudgment says:

        I’d love to see you add this one to the review lineup. http://www.gerbergear.com/Tactical/Knives/Silver-Trident-Knife_06995 That is one I could possibly take a chance on at the Amazon price of half MSRP. Reviews I have seen have been great. Opinions?

      3. Mike says:

        Good Save Brother! Good Review as well.

  2. American Idiot says:

    My only question is when can we expect to see them at places like BladeHQ?

  3. stuartb says:

    I have a real Nepali service Kukri I picked up while trekking a few years back, I wonder how it compares to this modern replicant?

  4. cmeat says:

    the learning curve is abrupt with this weight forward design. for chopping, you immediately learn to trust the at first odd, early strike. once there, you can have your way with any timber.
    i laughed at the forward positioning for “detail work”, yet a kukhri will entice you to perform tasks that seem ridiculous for such a large blade. it is, of course, the gurka’s toothpick.
    my east indian friend’s father held my nepalese blade (purchased there, many are indian manufacture though) and declared that it had “tasted blood.” he clarified by claiming that a gurka will not draw his weapon without drawing blood, even if it be his own, before resheathing. my dad used to say ridiculous crap too, but i love the passion with which he insisted this to be true.
    honestly, this new reinhardt design is much closer to my knife than most made here. when it is available i will buy this and place my old one in semi- retirement.

    1. Grindstone says:

      Your friend’s father is trolling you.

      1. cmeat says:

        we only just coaxed him out from under the bridge…

  5. Sam L. says:

    At $222.53, it’s way too pricey for me.

  6. stuartb says:

    cmeat – that story is true, it was often a game for British solders working with Gurhkas to ask to see their kukri. Once they had withdrawn their blade from the sheath they needed to cut themselves and draw blood. Thankfully the Gurhkas were good natured enough not to go all hacky choppy on them before re-sheathing.

    1. cmeat says:

      i can certainly verify that it has tasted my blood. the old water buffalo skin wrapped sal wood sheath developed a split at the apex of the belly- only to be discovered by the scabbard gripping fingers during extraction years ago. there is now a strip of yellow duct tape to remind me to modify my caress.

      1. Sam L. says:

        Mayhap some fiberglas cloth and epoxy all along the edge side of the sheath, or yellow CAUTION or DANGER tape there might do. I recall reading about extracting the blade by holding to top side was the safest way to go, as the sheaths weren’t the best made.

  7. cmeat says:

    just ordered. 144.64 straight from ka- bar.

  8. stuartb says:

    cmeat – looking forward to the side by side review?

    1. cmeat says:

      big time. i’ll leave it to the journalistas, though. i tend to stream of (un) conciousness when i get at a keyboard…

  9. cmeat says:

    just arrived today. the edge is a little rough near the choil and the scales don’t line up even with the tang like a custom knife handle might.
    it is made in new york, and all indications point to this thing being able to take a hell of a beating.
    props to nomar’s kabars or whatever.
    i will now prepare tonights dinner salad with it. i may have to choke up some for the radishes…

  10. kukri fan says:

    The kukri’s are such an intimidating blade. There’s good reason the Gurhkas were so feared.

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KA-BAR Becker BK21 Reinhardt Kukri: First Impressions

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