KaBar Heavy Duty Warthog Review: Hands-on Experiences

Some situations call for a small knife and then there are situations that call for a big knife. And today I am going to be getting my hands on a big knife. 

For this review, I will be testing out the Kabar Heavy-Duty Warthog. I have been eyeballing this model for quite some time and finally decided to get it.

I hate to be the one to give the ending away, but boy am I glad I got it. So, grab a snack and a drink because I have a lot to say about the Kabar Warthog in this review. To start, let’s take a look at what the knife has to offer. 

KaBar Heavy Duty Warthog Review


Ka-Bar Heavy-Duty Warthog

This is a good place to start because of its size. The blade is 6.75 inches long, 2.438 inches wide, and 0.25 inches thick. The overall length from the tip to the pommel is 12.25 inches. All of this weighs in at 1.05lb.

Knife Material

The blade of the knife is made from SK5 with a Rockwell hardness of 52-54.

Blade Type

This model is a fixed blade knife with a flat grind on the cutting edge and is a full tang. The blade also features a black coating that protects the underlying metal while reducing glare. 


Comes with a leather/Cordura sheath. 


It has a TPR handle with a small lanyard hole


The knife, handle and the sheath all come in black. 

Country of Origin 

The Warthog and the sheath are made in Taiwan

Kabar Warthog Field Test Review

As soon as I opened the box I was surprised by the size of this knife. I mean I knew it was going to be big, but wow, it was larger than I expected. I held the knife out and found it to be well balanced to my liking. I was able to balance the knife on one finger with it being just a tad heavy on the handle side. 

I grabbed the handle and turned it over a few times and it felt really good in my hand. So good that I had to get outside and try it out. 

Razor Sharp 

Of course one of the first things I want to know about any cutting tool is how sharp it is right out of the box. Nobody likes having to sharpen a brand new knife. 

To see how sharp it was, I decided to do the dry shave test on my forearm. While I am old school in most of my ways I do not recommend this method to anyone. Having said that, the belly of the knife was able to easily shave off a small pile of hair. Given the size of this knife, I was surprised that it was this sharp. Time to see what else it could do. 

Thin Curls 

The next test I wanted to try was to cut thin slices of wood for a fire. Again, because of the size of the knife, I wasn’t sure how well it was going to do this. But that was before the shaving test. 

I grabbed a thick piece of wood and pushed the blade over the surface of the bark. The cutting edge slid smoothly through it and I was able to make some very thin curls of bark. I was impressed with how easily and smoothly it did this. From here I decided to make a feather stick because everyone loves making feather sticks. 


Alright, on to something a little more heavy-duty. Generally speaking, I do not use my knives for chopping tasks but something about the Warthog was begging for me to use it in this manner.

I took the same chunk of wood as before and stood it upright. I took one good swing and the knife bit into the wood very well and deeply. I did this over and over and each time the knife found its mark, tossing chunks of wood to the side.

The large handle and weight behind the knife, made this task very comfortable to carry out. Keep on reading for the chopping test part 2. 

Chopping Part 2

When I was doing the first chopping test the knife felt good in my hand while I was swinging it. Because of this, I wanted to try using it more like a machete. 

I found a branch laying on the ground and wanted to see how it would work processing it into smaller pieces. I stood the branch up and with one hand began swinging the knife

With its razor-sharp edge and the weight behind it, this knife passed through almost everything I aimed at in one go. I could understand this on the smaller branches but some were as thick or thicker than my thumb. And even with those, it had no problem. Needless to say, I cut this branch up rather quickly. 

Although it doesn’t give the reach of a machete, I think that this knife would work quite well for clearing a path.

Detail Work

Since the Warthog is pretty much a straight-edge knife with a very large belly, the tip of the knife isn’t going to be able to do extreme detail work. But because the knife is so large I was able to choke my grip up towards the tip of the knife to have better control while working in small areas. 

Speaking of detail work I was curious how thin of a point I could make on a piece of wood. Usually, with large knives, it can be difficult to create a thin, fine point on the end of a stick. There are many tasks that a fine pointed piece of wood can come in handy for so I was pleased that the knife had no problem doing this. 

Drawknife and Scrapper 

Have I already hinted at the largeness of this knife? Because it’s big. I only bring it up yet again, because there are two other ways in which I like to use a knife that the size of the Warthog lends itself to. And that is as a drawknife and as a scrapper. 

Because of the large handle and the width of the blade, it is very comfortable using two hands to use this as a drawknife or as a scrapper. The front portion of the belly lends itself particularly well as a scrapper. 


The handle is hard yet has a slightly rubberized feel to it with five circular cutouts that aid with grip. 

The top portion of the handle, the side that lines up with the spine of the blade, is relatively straight and flat, while the rest of the handle is round. For me, this makes the knife extremely comfortable to hold whether using a forward or reverse grip. 

At the butt of the handle, there is a deep downward curve that depending on my grip, catches my pinky or index finger. This helps to prevent the knife from slipping out of my hand during operation.

Moving towards the blade, the handle flares out slightly on both sides. This provides a very small handguard to also help reduce slipping. Where the knife spine meets the handle, there is a curved upswing to the spine. I found this to be an extremely comfortable spot for resting my thumb.

The last thing to note about the handle is the lanyard hole. It is about the same diameter as a piece of paracord which is nice because I will most likely be adding a looped piece of paracord to this knife soon. 


A quick rundown of the sheath. It opens on the top and from the side to allow for the shape of the knife. There is one large belt loop for carrying and two snap straps for securing the knife. One towards the top of the handle and one that goes across the spine of the blade. There is also a small ring on the bottom of the sheath that can be used as an extra point for securing the sheath down. 

The sheath is the only thing about the Warthog I am on the fence about. While that could change with time, I doubt it. Here are the reasons I am not a fan of the sheath. 

First off I wish the whole thing would have been made out of one kind of material, specifically leather. The back is made of leather and the front is made of Cordura with a soft spacer in between the two materials. 

Secondly, two stitches are already coming out around one of the rivets. While this isn’t indicative of every sheath out there, I am not too thrilled about it. 

Thirdly, the loop on the bottom of the sheath is plastic and feels extremely flimsy.

The last thing that I am going to point out is the placement of the rivets and the back of the snaps as it relates to where the knife is inserted into the sheath. Unless extreme care is taken every single time the knife is pulled from the sheath and placed back in, the knife is going to come into contact with the hardware. Over time I see this possibly dulling the cutting edge and scrapping away the coating on the blade. To prevent this I will simply be covering the hardware on the inside of the sheath with a piece of duct tape.

Ka-Bar 1278 KA bar, Heavy-Duty Warthog W/Sheath
  • Blade length: 6 3/4 inch
  • Overall length: 12 1/4 inch

Last update on 2021-01-25 at 13:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

KaBar Heavy Duty Warthog Pros and Cons


  • A lot of knife for the money!
  • Great balance 
  • Completes some detail work decently 
  • Is comfortable as a draw blade or as a scraper
  • Chops extremely well
  • Switching between different grips is quick and easy 
  • The black coating on the blade will reduce glare and help to protect the underlying metal


  • The biggest downfall of this knife isn’t the knife but the sheath
  • Given the shape and length of the handle, I can see it not being comfortable for everyone
  • The black coating on the blade is not friendly for food preparation


I had a good feeling that I was going to like this knife but that may be bordering on love at this point. The Warthog just feels right when it is in my hand and it certainly gives the impression of a no-nonsense knife ready for work. 

One reason I ended up liking this knife more than I thought was because of the price. It is very affordable when considering how much knife comes in this package. 

I think the Ka-Bar Heavy-Duty Warthog would make a great addition to anyone’s pack as an all-purpose knife. If you are looking for a heavy-duty knife that doesn’t break the bank then I highly recommend this model. However, one suggestion would be to plan on getting a custom sheath made for it.

Given the low cost of this knife that isn’t such a big deal.  If you have any experience with the Warthog please sound off in the comment section below and let us know your thoughts. Thank you for reading and stay sharp!

Ka-Bar 1278 KA bar, Heavy-Duty Warthog W/Sheath
  • Blade length: 6 3/4 inch
  • Overall length: 12 1/4 inch

Last update on 2021-01-25 at 13:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Written by Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021. Read more of Bryan's articles.

1 thought on “KaBar Heavy Duty Warthog Review: Hands-on Experiences”

  1. This is a great knife, but the sheath really sucks! Mine was broken in two days. I must have one made to replace the original.


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