• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Check out my new ultimate EDC knife: Bark River Gunny/Bravo

The Bravo/Gunny, bottom, takes some of its design from the Gunny
600 274 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

Sometimes,  a couple small tweaks can change something from almost perfect to WOW!

by Leon Pantenburg

I didn’t get a free knife, and don’t get a special deal on any company’s products. Nobody had input on this review.

My favorite everyday carry knife kinda depends on what I’m doing and where I’m going. My L.T. Wright Genesis gets worked hard when I’m doing bushcraft stuff. The Ambush Tundra is one of my favorite hunting knives. But for day-in, day-out EDC carry, I tend to reach for my Bark River Gunny. It just works well.

I don’t get a special deal on any company’s knives, and I won’t use a knife that can’t be depended on. And I have a lot of really good, high-quality knives from different manufacturers. All of them get regular use.

The Bravo/Gunny, bottom, takes some of its design from the Gunny

The Bravo/Gunny, bottom, takes some of its design from the Gunny Hunter.

But those of us who wear size large gloves and bigger can’t use just any knife. Many otherwise excellent knives just don’t work because the handle ends up being too short. That was the case for my favorite curly maple handled Gunny. It is a great knife for me most of the year. But when it gets cold, and I have to wear gloves while using it, the handle proves to be just a tinge on the small size.

Naturally, that lead to another quest for cutlery perfection.

When I’m testing a knife, and  something isn’t just right, I’ll sometimes loan it out to an experienced outdoorsperson and get their feedback. Frequently, what works for me, doesn’t work for others. (For example, the BR Trakker handle just wasn’t comfortable, so I sent it out for a second opinion.)

The Bravo handle fits me well, and is big enough to use safely with gloves on.

The Bravo handle fits me very well, and is big enough to use safely with gloves on.

I got a Bravo LT about three years ago, used it, and loaned it to my brother Mike, with no other instructions than “Use it and tell me what you think of it.” (Mike has been my hunting partner for some 40+ years. He got a Lon Humphrey Sterling for his 50th birthday.)

Mike gutted and skinned a buck with the Bravo, and was very complimentary about the edge-holding ability and overall design. But he mentioned that the tip needed to be thinner to skin around the front shoulders and head of a deer. And both of us prefer a clip point with a swedge for a gutting knife.

Based on Mike’s feedback, and my own use of the Gunny and the Bravo, I decided I needed a Gunny with a Bravo handle.

Well, that isn’t a factory option, but BR has a satisfaction guarantee that is next to none. I contacted the company and asked how much it would cost to have my Bravo re-ground to resemble a Gunny Hunter.

That’s part of the satisfaction guaranteed warranty, I was told, so give a detailed description of what you want done, and send it in. Total cost = $15.

So my instructions were explicit. Don’t touch the handle. Shape it like Gunny Hunter: Swedge, clip point and full height convex grind.

The end result is just a bigger Gunny, with a large enough handle for people with “ham hocks” hands.

To say I like is a huge understatement!

Most people won’t understand the difference between the Gunny/Bravo and the Gunny or the Bravo. They might wonder why I’d bother with a re-grind when both knives are superior performers.

Well, it probably wouldn’t matter. But there are some things I don’t compromise on, and at the top of the list is outdoor equipment I depend on. When a knife of piece of outdoor gear is just right, it makes the intended task easier and safer.

I’ll let you know. But right now, it feels like the Gunny/Bravo is going to be “just right.”

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