Bowie knife

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The Bowie knife specifically refers to a style of knife designed by Colonel James "Jim" Bowie and originally created by James Black, though is commonly used to refer to any large sheath knife. There is no single style known as the "Bowie knife."

Varieties of Knives associated withe name "Bowie"

Many knives have been called Bowie knives and the term has become a generic term for any large sheath knife. During the early days of the American Civil War Confederate soldiers carried immense knives called D-Guard Bowie knives. Many of these knives could have qualified as short swords and were often made at home from old saw or scythe blades.

Variations have become popular with collectors, possibly due to the appearance of such a knife in the first Rambo film with Sylvester Stallone. Knives with the sawtooth feature are still being made and sold, often called "survival knives," and incorporating a hollow handle that can theoretically be used to carry assorted survival gear. Despite many variations, an old definition for the Bowie knife was: "it must be long enough to use as a sword, sharp enough to use as a razor, wide enough to use as a paddle, and heavy enough to use as a hatchet."

The Bowie knife is sometimes confused with the "Arkansas toothpick," possibly due to the interchangeable use of the names "Arkansas toothpick," "Bowie knife," and "Arkansas knife" in the antebellum period. The Arkansas toothpick is essentially a heavy dagger with a straight 15-25 inch blade. While balanced and weighted for throwing, the toothpick can also be used for thrusting and slashing. James Black is also credited with inventing the "Arkansas Toothpick" but no firm evidence exists for this claim.

The KA-BAR Knife of WWII fame is essentially based on the Bowie design.

A Bowie knife also appears on the shoulder sleeve insignia of the U.S. 39th Infantry Brigade, headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas.