I've had some time to use the BK-17 some and to gather my thoughts on it. First and foremost, the finish was a terrible idea. It is simply too rough. The powdercoat on my Ontario SP46 is not super slick or anything but it is miles smoother than the skateboard tape finish on the BK. I am very glad I removed the finish. That concludes the serious cons of this knife. The following is a gushing report of this knife's superiority.
I shall be extra blunt about the BK-17's grip. This is the most ergonomically comfortable knife I've ever handled. Gentlemen, if your penis was as ergonomic as this, your wives and girlfriends would not give you any rest. My hand feels damn near good enough to effect an orgasm.
The scales are zytel, which is a very common plastic used for knife handles. In fact, the BK-17 came with both a black pair and a tan pair. These handles both have an perfect palm swell. The outline of the grip includes a solid choil along with a modest saber curve at the butt. Despite the zytel being smooth these features give the knife excellent retention even when wet. The jimping is properly placed, though could stand to be just a tad deeper. This knife is great for use in a saber grip(blade up, thumb on spine). However, it is also very comfortable in a hammer grip(blade up, fist around the grip) or even a reverse grip(blade down and edge forward). What is more surprising is that it is reasonably comfy for the newfangled pikal grip(blade down, edge rearward) that the cool kids are all talking about!
The sheath is a jump rated nylon military style job that is simple and works. It has two snaps to hold the grip, a plastic insert to protect the edge and the sheath from the edge, MOLLE mountings, belt loop, and even an extra pocket that fits a Leatherman Fuse rather nicely. It is fine for field carry and some belt carry. However, it is not suitable for concealed carry or for a quick draw.
The steel is a good quality tool steel. 1095 Cro-Van is a high carbon steel, with a tiny bit of chromium and vanadium. It is very strong and is well known for holding a good edge, but of course it is not terribly corrosion resistant. All carbon steel blades should be kept oiled and cleaned often. I could get a serviceable edge on it, but not a great one. I am starting to think that my crock sticks simply do not like carbon steel blades. I shall see about getting a new system to try soon.
This knife is not intended for offensive use. It just isn't long enough. However, the excellent retention, mid-size, reasonable weight, and clip point design make it very functional as a defensive blade with a proper carry sheath.
For outdoor use, the clip point will make short work of game and take care of most cooking and other small camp tasks. However, batoning is not going to be as easy as with the drop point version. Just over 4 inches is a bit short for batoning and the false edge will cause damage to your baton.
The BK-17 and its brothers the drop point 16 and the trailing point 15 are certainly winner for Becker and Kabar. They are the right size for a lot of work and carry. They need to dump the finish or offer versions without. Kabar/Becker should also offer a kydex belt sheath as well. As just an extra to buy or as a replacement for the cordura MOLLE one. Either way, I think they'll pick up some sales on it.