One to Watch: Ka-Bar Becker/Reinhardt Kukri
Tony Sculimbrene 11.04.15
Imagine if you were a billionaire and you wanted the perfect chopper. You’d have your snooty assistant call around and ask a bunch of experts what the knife should look like and who should be involved. In this scenario you’d probably get references to Ethan Becker and Hank Reinhardt.
Becker is very well known in knife circles. His line of choppers are some of the best values in the fixed blade world, and his small EDC fixed blades are all gems. Reinhardt is less of a household name (Becker isn’t either, unless you REALLY like knives), but his expertise is no less impressive. Having made and studied medieval weapons of all types, Reinhardt knows a thing or two about blades. In fact, his expertise, is (or was) very close to something like a professor of weaponry, if such an awesome position existed. Alas Reinhardt passed away in 2007.
That expertise leads to one blade shape for a truly awe inspiring chopper–the kukri. With its recurved blade and weight forward design, the kukri (also spelled kuhkuri and kukhri), the traditional weapon of Nepalese Gurkhas, is a supremely capable chopper. It can power through branches and tree trunks usually tackled only with an axe or a hatchet.
Fortunately for knife knuts, Ethan Becker takes the long view of things, and he and Hank had been planning a kukri for a while. Becker’s handle and knowledge of production processes for knives coupled with Reinhardt’s vast knowledge of all things edged results in a chopper that, even among the elite company of Ka Bar’s other beast blades, really stands out. Meet the behemoth–the Becker/Reinhardt Kukri:
With a massive 13.25 inch blade made of .2 inch think 1095, the Becker/Reinhardt Kukri makes trees shake and chopper fans swoon. The knife comes with the standard Becker Ka-Bar heat treat and, unfortunately, the cake-frosting-thick powder coat. It also comes with a standard nylon lift out sheath. The Ka-Bar Becker line continues to be one of the best values in fixed blade knives, as the Becker/Reinhardt Kukri comes in at a very reasonable $139.95.
The Kukri also benefits from Ka-Bar’s new upgrade accessories. For many years, the aftermarket around Becker’s knives provided a wealth of upgrades: better sheathes, nicer handle materials, etc. In the past two years Ka-Bar as worked with some of those custom makers to provide some really outstanding upgrades to basically any Becker model. In the case of the Becker/Reinhardt Kukri, you can get the upgraded handles and a much nicer lift out sheath. With all of the upgrades, the knife comes in at around $240, a very decent price for what looks to be an amazingly proficient chopper.
Ka-Bar markets the knife as the best American made kukri, and it looks like the specs and design heritage back that up. The Cold Steel kukris have long been sought after by knife knuts as massive and capable choppers, but their prices and availability make them prohibitive options. The Becker/Reinhardt Kukri offers some very stiff competition for the Cold Steel blades at something like half the price, even when you factor in all of the accessories.