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What is the difference between a Bowie blade and a clip point?

The words “Bowie” and “clip point” often seem to be used interchangeably. Has this confused any of you? Have you wondered if they actually mean the same thing? I felt like I understood these words for the most part, but I couldn’t really articulate the difference between them. So, I did some digging, and here’s what I found out from my research:

When used correctly, “clip point” refers only to blade shape. A clip point can be found on different types of knives, fixed and folding alike.  A Bowie knife, however, does not refer solely to the blade shape—although most Bowies have a clip point—but to a specific overall knife style. Also, Bowie knives are typically fixed.

Does that make sense? So, a Bowie blade usually has a clip point, but not all clip points are Bowies.

Here are some pictures to help you out.

Buck 110 (Clip point)

buck-110-rosewood-0110brs-b-folding-hunterThis knife has a clip point blade, but you can tell by looking at it that it does not have the traditional Bowie style to it, nor is it a fixed blade.

SOG Bowie


I think you can tell right away that this is a Bowie; it has a clip point, but it has the obvious, traditional Bowie style in the overall knife.

Clear as mud? Unfortunately, a lot of people do use “Bowie” and “clip point” interchangeably when they shouldn’t be, hence all the confusion about the two words. However, hopefully this gives you an idea of the meanings of these words in their purist forms.

What helps you to understand the difference between these two words?

Don’t forget to find clip point, Bowie, and all other sorts of knives at Blade HQ!