Buck 119 Brahma vs. Ka-Bar USMC vs Buck 119 Special

I was torn between just posting the picture or adding a description of what the picture was about, so I figured why miss an opportunity to wax poetic over pretty sharp things?

The new Buck 119 Brahma that was just announced at SHOT Show 2015 has been much anticipated among Buck fixed blade collectors and stacked leather blade aficionado’s.  Comparisons to the classic Ka-Bar USMC are inevitable.  This photo shows the Ka-Bar USMC on top, the Buck 119 Brahma in the middle, and a Buck 119 Special (pre-1986 variety) on the bottom.

As you can see, the 7” blade of the USMC almost makes the 6” blade on the Buck 119 look puny.  The manufacturers listed weights are 11.2 ounces for the USMC, 9.3 ounces for the Brahma, and 7.5 ounces for the 119 Special.  Both the USMC and the Brahma feel quite hefty in-hand.  The handle of the Brahma fills up your hand more though, with a larger diameter and a palm swell.

These are perhaps two of the most famous fixed blades ever sold in the USA so it’s really tough to try to make a comparison, especially since we all know I may have a slight personal bias.  I will say I have always liked the USMC, I think its only downside for me is that it’s not full-tang.  That may not mean anything in the real world because we all know the USMC knife has proven itself worthy as a tough-as-heck knife.  That means that my negative thoughts about the USMC are just my own psychological quirks.

The Brahma is so new it’s like the Prom Queen.  It’s new and it’s pretty but it hasn’t been around long enough to really prove itself.  Ok, maybe “Prom Queen” was a bad analogy in the previous sentence.  Sorry if I offended any Prom Queen’s.

The Buck 119 Special has been around for quite a while too.  It has proven itself as a tough knife and even if it does break, Buck has the “Forever Lifetime Warranty”.  I have spent a lot of time using a Buck 119 and it is a work horse of a knife.

I think the Brahma just feels heftier because of the beefy handle and the substantial finger guard and pommel.  Plus the Brahma has a large lanyard hole in the pommel and two in the finger guard in case you find yourself needing to lash it to a wooden stick and use it as a spear – presumably as you chase down a running doe while wearing a loin-cloth.

Seriously guys and gals, I’m not going to try to tell you which is a better knife.  It’s a matter of personal preference at this point.  Why compare the USMC to the Brahma when you can just get one of each?

Actually, I do hope to get a second Brahma so that I can test it as a “bushcraft” knife, doing such things as chopping and batoning and making feather sticks and lighting fire-steels, but they are a little scarce to find right now.  For now, just enjoy the visual eye-candy comparison and let me know what you think.



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Tags: 119, Brahma, Buck, Ka-Bar, Special, USMC

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Comment by Jeremy B. Buchanan on April 5, 2015 at 19:12

Thanks for the info. on all three Data. I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. I have the Buck 119 and the Kabar, I guess I just need to get me a Brahma now. 

Comment by Jan Carter on April 5, 2015 at 19:11


Thank you!  The comparison is fantastic for those of us that have held but dont own the other two! 

Comment by tim payne on April 5, 2015 at 17:57

good job data

Comment by Ms Data on April 5, 2015 at 15:25

Thanks Steve.  The Ka-Bar USMC and the Buck Brahma are in roughly the same price range.  Depending where you look, around $70 online, but all web sites currently have the Buck Brahma on back-order and some idiot is asking $150 for one on eBay.  The Buck 119 Special is less than that but watch the sales at Wal-Mart, you can generally pick one up at Wal-Mart for $40 and even less if it is a big sale like Christmas time.

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