I love my KA-BAR / Becker knives. They look good, they feel good, but most importantly they work good (OK, I know it’s technically “work well,” but that would have thrown off the pattern).
But if I have any complaint at all about these excellent knives, it’s the black plastic handle (or “scales” in knifer parlance). Even when given the fancy polymer name “Grivory, ” it’s still just black plastic… and they’ve always looked kinda cheap to me, and if they get wet or sweaty, they just don’t grip as well. Which is why, if you have any of the following Ka-Bar Becker “large” knives:
- BK2 Campanion (or BK22 Campanion)
- BK3 Tac Tool
- BK4 Machax
- BK5 Magnum
- BK7 Combat Utility
- BK9 Bowie
- BK10 Crewman
I highly recommend spending the additional 40-ish bucks on a set of Ka-Bar Becker BK77HNDL Micarta Knife Handles:
What’s Micarta? That’s the brand name for a composite material that can be made from pretty much any fabric (such as linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, or even carbon fiber) that’s been cured, compressed, and shaped into into a durable solid. Because of its light weight, relatively low cost, and durability, it’s very popular for knife handles. It can be colored and/or patterned (like the example above), and there are even YouTube videos out there showing how you can make some yourself. In the case of these Ka-Bar Micarta handles, I think the primary material is paper fiber.
KA-BAR advertises them on their website as “green,” but I don’t see it. It looks more like two different tones of tan. I suppose maybe there’s a slightly green tint if I catch them in the right light, but they look mostly tan to me. I recently installed a set of these scales on my beloved BK2. Here she is with the OEM scales from Ka-Bar:
Installing the Micarta handles was as simple as removing the existing handle screws with my Leatherman:
Then installing the new scales with the original hardware (I used a touch of Loctite Blue on the threads):
Then popping it back in my Spec-Ops Combat Master Sheath (which I also highly recommend):
Not only does it “dress up” the knife a bit, but more importantly, the grip is vastly improved — giving the handler a lot more confidence while using it. I know of some owners who’ve use various oils to darken the color of their Micarta handles, but mine will darken over time the old fashioned way: with dirt and sweat.
My only knock on these handles is that I wish they would have come with the knife in the first place… though that would have increased the price of the knife by around 50%. Still, I think it makes the knife far more useful, and turns your large Becker knife into the knife it wished it would grow up to be.
You can pick up your own set of Micarta handles for large KA-BAR Becker knives on Amazon for around $40, and while you’re shopping, you won’t go wrong to pick up a Spec-Ops Combat Master Sheath to finish the “upgrade” job right.