Randall Made Knives: Traditionally American


Randall Made Knives Two Randall Made Knives (Model #203 50th Anniversary and Model #12 Bear Bowie). Courtesy CTFA. There are a…

Randall Made Knives

Two Randall Made Knives (Model #203 50th Anniversary and Model #12 Bear Bowie). Courtesy CTFA.

There are a few brands that are distinctly American. You can probably name a few right off the top of your head. Coca-Cola, Winchester, Ford. These are companies with products that could only be made in the United States, and, what’s more, have meaning here. One of those names should be Randall Made Knives. These are knives with a uniquely American history, tied to the U.S. Armed Forces, and forged in a tradition stretching back hundreds of years, making them not just tools but symbols of survival and heritage.

Randall Made Knives have their origin with W.D. “Bo” Randall. Randall was walking one day in 1937 when he saw a man scraping paint off a boat with a beautiful knife. He bought the knife off of him, and discovered that it was a hand-forged knife by a local smith. Intrigued, Randall set to work making knives of his own. He had a small home forge, and sold his wares, deemed “Randall Made Knives”, in his father-in-law’s clothing store. Randall made his own knives and fashioned his own stylish handles, often made of antler (something Randall Made Knives are still known for today). Randall even began putting his handles onto blades made by other knife manufacturers. More than anything, however, all this was fun for Bo Randall. Though making these knives and re-handling other makers’ blades made him some money, it was really just a hobby or “side hustle”.

This changed when World War II broke out. A friend in the Navy asked Randall for a fighting knife, and Randall was happy to oblige. The beautiful and tough fighting knife soon attracted attention, and, before long, Randall was receiving countless orders for knives. Randall left his job in the citrus business, and started making knives full time. When the antlers he was sourcing from India for handles was getting scarce, Randall switched to leather / fiber gasket and wooden handles, both of which Randall Made Knives still does well today.

Sportsmans Bowie
History: Model #12 Sportsmans Bowie, marked H.R. Rymer. Courtesy CTFA.

Though Bo Randall leased his designs to the War Department during World War II to produce knives for the war effort, he was averse to mass production. Mass produced knives are simply not as good as a handmade one. When you’re fighting hand-to-hand in war or struggling to survive in the wild, you want a knife you can literally trust your life with. So, Randall kept much of his production by hand, and put labor and attention into each and every knife his firm produced. The business continued to grow, but the attention to detail and quality has never suffered. Bo Randall died in 1989, but his son Gary took up the reins and Randall Made Knives is as strong as ever.

A Military Tradition:

Model #3 7” “Hunter”. Courtesy CTFA.

Since World War II, Randall Made Knives have been carried by United States servicemen and women of every branch and in every conflict. This began with the Models 1, 2, and 3, all of which are still made, during World War II.

The Model #1 “All-Purpose Fighting Knife” is the original Randall Made knife produced for action in World War II. Based on Randall’s earlier hunting knife designs, the Model #1 was designed to be a workhorse of the U.S. war effort. When materials grew in short supply, Randall used whatever they could come up with to make the knives work. Thus, Randall Made moved from a stag handle to the well-known leather spacers with decorative felt spacers, improving the grip and experience of using their handmade knives. In an example of wartime making-do, the leather spacers were originally made from rejected soles from a leather shoe factory.

The Model #2 “Fighting Stiletto” was the next design to come out of the Second World War. This knife was a double edged knife, designed for stabbing and close-quarters combat. The Model #3 “Hunter” was an adapted form of the Model #1, with a straighter tip and a slight bump on the bottom of the knife, just before the guard.

Randall Made has produced specific models of knives for the military branches, as well as a knife for NASA. In addition, Randall Made Knives are just as relied upon today as they were in 1941. For any front, and any theater of war, a Randall Made Knife is the right tool for the job. From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, Randall Made Knives have proven their worth a thousand times over (and a thousand times over again).

A Knife for Every Occasion:

Model #25 Trapper Knife with Scrimshaw Handle by Tom Leshorn. Courtesy CTFA

Randall Made Knives, of course, are not only for the military.From the original three models, Randall Made has created a number of other designs, expanding their catalog of handmade knives significantly. Inspired by knives made in earlier generations, such as the Bowie knife, Randall Made Knives has made a knife to suit almost every purpose. Wherever there is use for a good knife, there’s use for a Randall.

There are Randall Made Knives for hunting, designed for use in the field or for skinning your game after it’s caught. There are Randall Knives for fishing, adapted for cutting line and cleaning your catch, all while fitting into your tackle box. There are Randall Knives for yachtsmen, pilots, sailors, and divers. There is even a carving set for weekend warriors, and a letter opener version of the Model 2 – the Fighting Stiletto! So, quite literally, there is a Randall Made Knife for every occasion and every person.

Collecting and Selling Randall Made Knives at Auction:Occasion:

As Randall Made Knives are handmade and production is limited, this translates into significant collector value. Their original sheathes are likewise an important aspect of their value, with period knives with a period sheath bringing a substantial premium. This value is only increased when the knife is a special edition piece, with even greater attention to detail and an even more limited production. Connecticut Firearms Auction has sold a number of very collectible Randall Made Knives, two of which are highlighted here.

#096 Sasquatch Knife with handle by Tom Leshorn. Courtesy CTFA.

By far the most imposing knife we have ever sold, the Custom Sasquatch Knife with Carved Handle by Tom Leshorn was a true masterpiece of the bladesmith’s and carver’s arts. The 11 inch blade of the knife was slightly curved inward on the edge, perhaps inspired by the famed Gurkha kukri knife, and sported a mirror-like shine. The craftsmen at Randall Made certainly put toil and time into the magnificent blade. This is paired with a hand-carved handle with carved bone inlays displaying two iconic North American animals: the bald eagle and the moose. The pommel includes a carved image of a bear, rendered in gray steel. Together with a correct leather scabbard, this knife was estimated at $2,000 to $3,000. Bidding quickly surpassed the high mark, and the Sasquatch Knife sold for over $9,000.

Model #12 - Little Bear Bowie with scrimshaw handle depicting Wolf Robe by Rick Bowles. Courtesy CTFA.

Another fascinating knife CTFA sold was a Randall Made Custom knife. Randall Made will make knives to order, and this was one example of particular merit. The beautiful blade appeared similar to Randall’s Model 12 – the Little Bear Bowie knife. Unlike a traditional Little Bear Bowie, however, this knife sported a double brass hilt and a carved handle by noted engraver Rick Bowles. The handle depicts famed Cheyenne chief Wolf Robe (Southern Cheyenne, ca. 1838/1841 – 1910). Wolf Robe was commonly shown in art, and may have even been the inspiration for the Buffalo Nickel. A recipient of an Indian Peace Medal, Wolf Robe was well-regarded, and continues to be a popular Native American figure. 

Bowles’s image of Wolf Robe is simply masterful, with the famed chief wearing his Peace Medal and looking directly at the viewer. Bowles has chosen to show Wolf Robe in older age, but the intensity of the man’s eyes and stern facial expression demonstrate the unbowed power of Wolf Robe even into his older years. The portrait, likewise, is set within an arrowhead-shaped cartouche, and has the chief’s name and tribe described below him. This masterpiece was estimated for $1,000 to $2,000, and sold well above its estimate, for over $6,000.

Both of these knives demonstrate just how well Randall Made knives sell at auction. They are, by no means, just tools, but functional works of art that connect with the U.S. Military, American culture, and even the heritage of the Western United States. As a result, Randall Made Knives can sell for incredible prices at auction, and have a wide and dedicated collector base.


If you are interested in selling Randall Made Knives at auction, Connecticut Firearms Auction is the premier place to do so, offering an unparalleled experience and efficient shipping solutions. We are a dedicated team of professionals in the sale of firearms, swords, knives, other weapons, and militaria with a proven track record of success. If you sell with CTFA, you will be glad you did.