The Browning Arms Company was originally established in Ogden, Utah in 1880 by gunsmithing genius John Moses Browning with the aid of his brothers.
Since then, the company has gone through several different permutations such as the liquidation of its parent company in 1951 which reduced the company to the status of a firearms importer with wholesale functions and then the establishment of the new parent company, the Browning Arms Company, in 1955.
This was followed by the 1977 purchase the majority of its outstanding stock by Miroku in Japan and FN in Belgium. However, through all of these changes, the company has maintained its focus on producing innovative products with very high quality standards. And thus today, the name Browning is synonymous in outdoorsmen’s minds as being the pinnacle of quality against which all others are measured.
Such is the case with the Browning Crowell-Barker Competition Cutting Knife. This knife features an overall length of 15” with a 10” flat ground, drop point blade made from ¼” non-stainless 1085 C high carbon steel (equivalent to Japanese SK-5) with a Rockwell Hardness of 58-60. In addition, it features full-tang construction with a 5” handle and grey Micarta handle slabs. Plus, this knife is supplied with a heavy-duty leather sheath.
Furthermore, this knife was designed by two gentlemen named James Crowell and Reggie Barker who are the only two men to win an American Bladesmith (ABS) World Cutting Championship. In fact, rope cutting competitions (while not particularly practical to my mind) have become a popular spectator sport at knife shows around the country. These two men are uniquely qualified to design a cutting competition knife for Browning.
Although this knife may have been designed specifically for rope cutting competitions, it is also an excellent survival knife. For instance, not only is the long, slim blade very elegantly designed, it has a very practical shape.
Yet the exact design of this blade is very difficult to classify because it is technically a drop point due to the fact that the tip of the blade is located below the spine due to the slight positive forward angle of the blade in relation to the handle. However, the spine of the blade also exhibits a very slight, concave, dip extending from the plunge line to the tip of the blade which makes it appear to be a trailing point blade design instead.
However, regardless of how you classify the blade shape, it is a very practical design that is capable of far more that just cutting rope. Also, the flat grind on the blade combined with a ¼” spine creates a blade that can be honed to a very sharp edge whilst being able to absorb the shock generated by using the knife to chop saplings and split small logs using a baton.
In addition, the sweep of the belly from the edge to the tip is very well designed for general use and thus, it would also serve well as a hunting knife for processing large game. Also, the choil forms an integral quillion that start immediately behind the plunge line, so the edge can be sharpened all of the way to the back to provide the user with the greatest amount of leverage when carving with the knife.
Furthermore, the handle slabs found in the Browning Crowell-Barker Competition Cutting Knife are made from grey canvas Micarta which is quite possibly the perfect handle for a dedicated wilderness survival knife because it is impervious to moisture, chipping, splitting or cracking and the slightly rough surface provides an excellent grip. In addition, the shape of the handle is clearly designed for chopping and the tapered grip is clearly designed for maximum retention when doing so. Plus, to further enhance retention, each of the three rivets that secures the handle slabs to the full tang is hollow so that the user has the option of using them as lanyard holes.
However, there is one thing that I don’t like about this knife and that is the fact that the handle slabs do not extend the full length of the ricasso but instead they end about 3/8” shy of the downward curve of the choil. Thus, I would like to see the handle slabs extended a little further so that the user could “choke up” on the handle and place their index finger directly against the choil when sharpening stakes and cutting notches for traps and snares.
But, all things considered, the Browning Crowell-Barker Competition Cutting Knife is a very well constructed and well designed knife that is worthy of the Browning name. In addition, having the knife designed by the two men who have won more rope cutting competitions than any other competitor is definitely a plus since these two men apparently truly understand what a large knife should be capable of.
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