Which Survival Knife Is Better: The Ka-Bar Becker Or The Cold Steel GI Tanto?

If you’re looking for a good all-around survival knife that you can throw in your bug out bag, take on a camping trip or leave in the back of your Jeep, you could do far worse than the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife.

It’s a high quality, well balanced knife.  I actually like it better than my $26 Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife (which feels more like a pry bar than a knife, although $35 less expensive) whereas the Becker, due to it’s shape, allows for more finesse and control.

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife.

The Becker is a nice knife.  It feels good in the hand and is well balanced.  This knife has been called a poor man’s alternative to the Tom Brown Tracker knife (which costs $260+).  I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, as the Tracker has a fairly unique design and the Becker BK2 is more of a traditional all-purpose survival knife design that many knife makers copy.  I have a Condor sitting in my desk that looks almost identical to it.  Unfortunately, the sheath that came with the Condor doesn’t even appear to be for the right knife, but I digress.  Get me talking about knives and I can go on, forever.

Cold Steel GI Tanto

Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife

As for my comparison to the Cold Steel GI Tanto Knife: To be perfectly honest, I keep the Cold Steel knife in my truck bag, as I figure it’s unlikely I’ll ever actually need it, and for the price I won’t cry if it ever gets stolen.  Don’t get me wrong: It’s a decent knife, but for the extra $35 dollars the Becker is a more refined tool whereas the Cold Steel is more crude.  I keep the Becker with me if I’m out in the yard or on a camping trip where I might need a knife.

They’re both popular knives: The Becker has 462 four and five-star reviews at Amazon, whereas the Cold Steel GI Tanto has 233 out of 248.  (Take any of the Amazon knife reviews with a grain of salt, as half are from kids and the other half from mall ninjas who’ve never actually used the knife outside of chopping carrots).

I looked at prices on a few different sites for the Becker and they seem to sell in the $75 dollar range.  Amazon’s actually got it on sale right now for $59.99, which– if you were already considering buying one of these knives, is a price I would jump all over because as inflation begins to take hold I wouldn’t be surprised if these same knives will be selling in the $90-$130 range soon.

In sum: Either of these knives are worth the money, although I’d be more inclined to buy another Becker before I would buy another GI Tanto unless I was on a tight budget and had six teenage kids and I wanted each kid to have a decent knife rather than a cheapie piece of junk– which the Cold Steel is definitely not.  So, if tight on coin, go for the Cold Steel.  If you’ve got a little more to spend then the Becker is an all around better knife.

Click here to read the stats on the Cold Steel GI Tanto.

Click here to read the stats on the Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

One Comment
  1. I’ve got 2 BK-2s. Nothing wrong with the first one, I just wanted a spare one in the truck.

    It took a lot to get me to take the old Kabar off my belt, but there’s precious little I’d want to do with a knife the Becker won’t do, and do well.

    The only thing that kept it from being 100% perfect out of the box was the lack of a paracord wrist thong, which I remedied in short order. I’ve taken then thing out beyond the black stump, chopped and cut all manner of stuff, and never had a quibble or complaint about how well it works and holds up. After a year with it, I bought the second one. And it’s bigger brother.

    Nothing against Cold Steel, I toted an SRK around on ALICE and MOLLE gear for years too, been there, and got the T-shirt.

    But when you grow up, and realize you’re more likely to need traps, snares, and firewood than slitting throats, a solid beefy knife like the BK-2 gains a lot of appeal.

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