• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Review: Bark River Gunny Hunter LT in CPM-3V steel

600 359 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

This latest incarnation in Bark River’s classic Gunny series may be the best yet.

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: I don’t work for Bark River, Kniveshshipfree.com or DLT Trading, and I did  not get a free knife to review. These are my opinions, and all I ever promise on a review is a fair shake.

I have a long association with the BR Gunny. It was one of the first knives I got from Bark River, and really, I could have quit acquiring knives then. (Actually, I haven’t needed another knife for some 20+ years!) But that wouldn’t  have fed my deep-seated, embedded cutlery addiction. And it wouldn’t have been any fun.

For newcomers, the Gunny is one of Bark River’s most popular knives, second only to the wildly-successful Bravo.  There are good reasons for this – the Gunny is just about perfect, IMO. I’ve carried and used Gunnys extensively, and I have a hard time finding anything wrong with the design.

The Gunny CPM 3V comes in a variety of handle materials. This is desert ironwood with red spacers.

I liked the Gunny LT in Elmax, but a friend in Twin Falls, Idaho needed it more than me.  And the UP Gunny may end up being one of the best hunting knives ever. (Check out the Gunny reviews.)

But the latest Gunny LT CPM-3V is in the running for the “best ever” model, and here’s why.

In short, the Gunny 3V is a well-designed, lightweight that can do a variety of outdoor tasks very well. It is small enough to be nimble, but large enough to tackle big knife tasks.

Here are the specs (courtesy of Knivesshipfree).

Overall Length:  8.25″
 Blade Length:  3.775″
 Cutting Edge:  3.55″
 Blade Steel:  CPM-3V
 Blade Thickness:  .125″


The Gunny handle fits my large hands well.

The good stuff:

Steel: CPM-3V is one of my favorite steels. It holds an edge very well, and is not difficult to sharpen. I didn’t like Elmax – too chippy for me, and sharpening it can be a challenge. That said, one of my elk hunting buddies swears by his Snowy River in Elmax.

The Gunny has been available in a wide array of different steels, and IMO your best choices are A2 and CPM 3V. I like both steels but prefer A2 for my user knives.

Blade thickness: My first Gunny has the standard .156-inch thickness, and while I loved the design, the blade felt too thick to slice well. I prefer thin blades, since I use mine mainly for hunting and bushcraft activities.

The Gunny 3V has a .125-inch thick blade. While this is good, I would like to see a Gunny with a .10-inch thick blade sometime. That knife would be a slicing machine and it would also be a lightweight for backpacking.

The Gunny CPM 3V, top, and the UP Gunny have the same handles but different blade designs. These handles are both desert ironwood.

Grind: All Bark River knives come with a convex grind. I have proven to my satisfaction that this grind works the best for me. The scandi grind seems to work better, for some people, for bushcrafting.

Point: A Gunny’s drop point is a good choice for a hunting knife. It works well for piercing, but the dropped point also works well for the initial spine-down, edge-up cut that opens up the abdomen of a big game animal.

Handle: I wear size large gloves, and some knives don’t work for me because the handle is too short. If the handles isn’t at least four inches long, I can’t use it effectively. The Gunny handle design is one of my favorites. I would prefer that the handle be thicker, but I understand that Bark River has to choose dimensions that work for most people.

Warranty: The Bark River is second to none. It boils down to this: if it breaks, BR will fix it. Not satisfied? BR will take care of that. Questions? Call the office. You can talk to the person who made the knife. I checked out the warranty several years ago and here is what I found.

Made in the USA: All Bark River knives are made in Escanoba, Michigan, by skilled American craftspeople. The company and these folks pay local, state and federal taxes and they contribute to their communities. Help our economy recover – buy American!

My appreciation for the Gunny is well documented. I have owned six in different configurations, and I still think the UP Gunny may be the ultimate user knife in the Gunny line. But people who don’t care for the UP’s Canadian-style blade should take a look at this Gunny Hunter.

You won’t be disappointed.

Order your Gunny LT here.

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