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AfterSHOT: Dwyer Custom Bowie – Built Like a Battleship

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As many knife collectors (particularly knife collectors) know, Duane Dwyer is the second half of the custom team behind Strider Knives. Keeping his own custom designs separate, Dwyer has recently unveiled a new model that is based on what he calls the “…only truly American knife design”: a 10 in. Bowie knife.
This is not the 19th Century rendering of a Bowie with a 14” blade and a stag handle, but rather a scaled down more combat effective blade based on the Vietnam era MAC-V SOG knife — and this custom piece has a few badass original touches.
First of all, the handles are fashioned from teak wood that  sourced from the deck planks of the USS California (BB-44). The USS California was one of two Tennessee class Battleships commissioned in 1921. Her keel was laid down at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California in 1916 and she was the last American battleship built on the West Coast, serving as the flagship of the Pacific Fleet for twenty years. She was sunk at Pearl Harbor, during which battle two members of her performed actions for which they were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. In 1942 the USS California was salvaged, refitted to a displacement of over 40,000 tons and served the remainder of WWII, fighting in the Marianas campaign, the retaking of the Philippines, the Battle of Suriago Strait, the Luzon Landings, Okinawa and other engagements before her decommission in 1947. She was stricken from the rolls in 1959 and subsequently sold for scrap.
The unfinished knife is what Dwyer calls a work in progress and this model is 10” in overall length with a blade sickness of 0.165” and ground with a high hollow grind with a small choil to protect the user’s finger from sliding forward of the sharp edge.
Unlike most Bowie designs this model features no false edge on the top of the blade, but Dwyer believes this gives the tip more overall strength.
Departing from the tactical tradition of bead blasting, the Dwyer Custom Bowie is finished in a gunmetal coating because of the hygroscopic properties of a bead blast finish that attracts corrosive activity.
The blade steel is “PD Number 1” by Carpenter Technologies and is hardened to a Rockwell Hardness of 61. Dwyer tells us this allows the knife to resist chipping and fracture and is rated to the 90 foot pound range as opposed to most blade steels which rate closer to 12 foot pounds at this level of hardness — you'll be hearing more about the metals used by Dwyer Custom Goods in coming weeks, including one never before used in a knife.
The Kydex sheath is made by Triple Z and in the typical fashion of Strider Knives, the model number is an acronym: “AI”. All the acronyms for Strider and Dwyer knives have a special meaning and what the initials stand for are very rarely if ever revealed to the public. If you wan to know what AI stands for in this case you'll need to persuade Dwyer to tell you — I'd recommend showing up with a bottle of really good whiskey when you do…and don't get your hopes up in any event.
For more information from Dwyer, himself, check out the attached video (and please forgive both orientation and quality…it was crowded and it was a looooong week.)


Follow us on Instagram, @RECOILmagazine and keep an eye out for these hashtags: ‪#‎recoilmagazine‬, ‪#‎recoil‬, ‪#‎shotshow2016‬, ‪#‎mediadayattherange‬ and especially ‪#‎recoilSHOT2016‬. Monitor this frequency for more SHOT Show related post in the coming days; there was way too much material to cover in just one week. Our “Constant Coverage” article can be found here — go look at a gallery of imagery from every kind of manufacturer. Likewise you should take a gander at our Media Day at the Range roundup here.

What is the NSSF SHOT Show?

The NSSF SHOT Show (Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show) and Conference is an annual event held by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Typically attended by thousands of people from all 50 states and over a hundred countries, it is (quite rightfully) described as the “…world's premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services.
Imagine the Worlds' Fair, but packed with everything from mini-guns and every breed of body armor, bows and boots; from eye pro and ear pro to optics and ordnance, socks to swords…you get the idea. If you'd like to see a sampling of the companies who will be showing at this year's SHOT, there's a live map right here, though it doesn't reflect the organizations set up elsewhere, in hotel suites, etc.
View imagery from our coverage of last year's SHOT Show right here.
SHOT Show is online here; check out the videos from SHOT Show TV right here.
2016 SHOT Show
January 18 — Media on the Range (numerous shooting facilities in and around Las Vegas)
January 19–22, 2016
Sands Expo and Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tuesday, January 19 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 20 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 21 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday, January 22 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

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