Bowie knives come in many sizes. Most often, these knives start at about six inches in length and, in some cases, can extend to over fourteen inches! Usually, a proper Bowie knife is between 6 and 14 inches. Knives that extend beyond that tend to be novelty items with little practical value. In their normal range, however, they can have enormous practical value at many different sizes.
Bowie knives were designed to be combination tools. Remember, however, that Jim Bowie used his knife for both fighting and general frontier work. Most individuals will not have any real use for a fighting knife, thus, they will need to purchase a Bowie that offers them a very reliable, functional blade that doesn't require that it be intimidating or deadly, as was the case for Bowie. Today, Bowie knife blades are chosen for the actual work they can perform.
For skinning or cleaning an animal, the clipped point on a Bowie knife is a huge advantage. It basically allows the user to use what amounts to a smaller knife and to avail themselves of the agility and control advantages inherent in such knife blades. The fact that the blade has a hefty portion makes it suitable for dealing with bone, as well. The Spanish notch is sometimes used to cut sinew. When bearing a high-quality, sharp blade, a small Bowie is an excellent hunting implement.
One has to take their own body into account when they purchase Bowie knives. A young person or one with small hands will likely find a 12-inch Bowie a bit much to handle with any precision. A smaller knife is ideal. For those with very large hands or who have a great deal of experience with blades, longer Bowies are excellent options. The clipped point offsets the size of the blade, in some regards, and can provide an agile cutting point for precise work.
In most jurisdictions, there will be a limit on the size of knife that one can keep in their pocket. Beyond that length, it becomes a concealed weapon. This applies to most Bowie knife designs. These knives are intended to be carried in a sheath and, in most jurisdictions, it is fine to carry them in that fashion. Remember to see about length restrictions first, however, if one has a Bowie that they intend to carry with them around town.