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Review: Bark River Gunny Sidekick 3V is great user knife for hunters and outdoorspeople

bark river knives, gunny sidekick
600 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

The Gunny is one of Bark River’s bestsellers, and one of my favorite EDC knives.

The Sidekick combines the Gunny handle with a real user blade. It is going to do very well.

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: I did not get a free knife to do this review, nor was I paid to write it. Knivesshipfree.com and DLT Trading are Survival Common Sense sponsors, but nobody had any input in this post. All I ever promise on any product review is a fair shake.

I watched the doe through my binoculars for about 30 minutes. She was about 200 yards away  from my stand, and I hoped she would move closer. The doe kept eyeing the edge of the thicket, and there was always a possibility that a buck might step out.

bark river knives, gunny sidekick

The Gunny Sidekick features the proven Gunny handle and a user blade with a clip point and swedge.

But it was getting close to dusk, so I aimed for the heart and squeezed the trigger. The 145-grain Speer Grand Slam from the 7mm-08 hit just where it should, and the deer dropped in her tracks. Thankful for the quick, clean harvest, I got to work with the Bark River Sidekick.

The Bark River Gunny is one of my favorite knives, and I have had four. I like the configuration so much I had my Bravo 1 LT re-ground to become a big Gunny. I had only had the Sidekick for three days before taking it on a hunt, but I was not concerned that it would do well in the the field. There was only time to do a little whittling before I went hunting, but I was not concerned about the Sidekick’s ability.

The Sidekick was used to gut, split the ribcage, disjoint the lower legs and skin the deer, and it worked like a charm.

Specifications (Courtesy of Knivesshipfree.com)

 Overall Length:  8.65″
 Blade Length:  4.0″
 Blade Steel:  CPM-3V
 Blade Thickness:  .140″
 Weight:  5.5oz.

Features

 KnivesShipFree Exclusive, designed by Rob Bixby
 Made in Escanaba, MI
 Leather belt sheath included

The good stuff:

Point: I am pre-disposed to like any clip point knife. I think the configuration is one of the most useful available, even though a drop point is also an excellent choice.  (Read this post about the best point for your knife.)

gunny sidekick, bark river knives

The Sidekick proved to be an excellent knife for a deer hunter.

Belly: That area between the tip that curves back to the straight part of the blade is the belly, and the belly does the work when skinning a large animal. The Sidekick belly is just right to be a good skinner.

Blade length: Most of my deer hunting knives have a blade between four and five inches long.  My deer hunting encompasses widely different ares – the Oregon high desert and the southeastern swamps. In either case, weight and space are considerations. The Sidekick will also work well on larger animals, such as elk and hogs.  This is a good size for the knife that might have to do it all.

Steel: I love CPM 3v. It holds an edge well, and is a fine all-around steel for a user knife. One benefit of using CPM 3V or A2 knives is that you don’t need to carry sharpening equipment in the field. (Do you need a super steel in your knife blade? Here is how you tell.)

Handle: The Gunny handle is a well-proven design that I like very much. There were no hot spots after extended use. Micarta gets almost tacky when it gets wet, and that was the case with the Sidekick handle. The knife got really messy while I was gutting the deer, but there was never any danger of my hand slipping, even when I was wearing cut resistant gloves.

daypack, sidekick

The Sidekick’s compact size and light weight make it a good choice for the hunter who will be on the move.

Blade thickness: I like thin blades on user knives, and think thick blades (more than 1/8-inch thick) are overkill and unnecessary. This thickness is a good choice for a hunting knife that may also need to be a survival knife. The Sidekick was used back at home for cutting meat and the blade slices nicely.

Blade spine: The Sidekick’s spine is ground at a 90-degree angle, like an ice skate. This allows it to be used as a scrapper on a ferrocerium rod, or to scrape and shred tinder.

Made in Escanoba, Michigan:  When you buy American-made products, that means an American worker is making a living wage. It also means that they are paying local, state and federal taxes.  These workers contribute to their local economies, and to their communities.

Do you need a Sidekick?

This is a lightweight, compact knife that works really well. If you like the BR Gunny, but wish it had a taller blade and a clip point, the Sidekick is the knife for you. The Sidekick also is a great choice for non-hunters who need a solid knife for bushcrafting, hiking or other outdoors activities. Bark River has come up with a winner in this knife, and I predict it will be very, very popular.

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2 comments
  • Leon

    I think the Sidekick is a comment on the quality of the Bark River company and the distributors. They listen to suggestions about products and are open to feedback. I love the Gunny, but this Sidekick may be an improvement on an already fantastic knife. I personally prefer the Bravo handle over the Gunny, but that is strictly my preference, not a comment on the quality or design.

  • Bruce Cottrill

    A good practical review by a down to earth outdoorsman rather an internet powder-puff. That speaks well for this knife which Im sure is everything that you say it is. I didn’t really think a Gunny could be improved upon, but you have convinced me.

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