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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Two Questions for the knowledgeable vets:

1) What does a "true" GI issue KBAR type knife look like, and where could I buy one? I figure the current offerings that come in the nice KBAR box that are for sale everywhere are not the real gem. I understand that a true WWII-Vietnam issued knife is a collectable and could be found from dealers. I am interested in the current version of the knife that would be issued or obtained. Are these the version with the black rubber handle from SOG?

2) The M6 and M5A1 Bayonets seem like decent fighting knives, maybe not as strong and a little shorter than a KBAR, but would'nt these have been decent field/fighting knives?

Thx
 

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Well, I'm not a knowledgeable vet so I hope you don't mind me stepping in. Regarding K-Bars, I am curious as well. I have one that I bought back in the mid 80s. Last month, I noticed that my local gun store had some and I was going to buy one for my son. When I looked at the new ones, the first thing that jumped out at me was that the new ones are noticeably smaller than the one I have. Also, they now put serated cutting edges on the backs of the new ones where mine doesn't have that.
 

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Last versions I saw being issued in the Marine Corps up until my retirement in 2003 were made by Camillus with the same design as the commercial Kabar, but the leather disc grip was dyed black and the leather sheath was also black. The leather portions of the commercial Kabars are dyed brown, which I guess was more typical of WWII vintage knives, so the Kabar is more of a WWII commemorative.

BTW I've owned a couple of those commercial Kabars and they are very tough knives. MCORPS1
 

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I was going to ask this very question because I looked at one, and for $60.00- it's not bad! I do not like the single staple at the end of the leather handle on the pummel.

Saw that one at Bi Mart. I would like two without the staple (original).
 

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These are the MK2's correct for Vietnam time frame.



You may notice that non of them are made by Ka-Bar. The government hasn't contracted with them since WWII. The current supplier for this knife is Ontario. The current Ka-Bar is a fine knife and will serve well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
These are the MK2's correct for Vietnam time frame.
You may notice that non of them are made by Ka-Bar. The government hasn't contracted with them since WWII. The current supplier for this knife is Ontario. The current Ka-Bar is a fine knife and will serve well.
Very nice collection. How did you come by all them?

Yes, I did find Ontario's link last night and noted they make several GSA issue knives. I doubt I will find a MkII like yours for a reasonable price, and even then, I'm not sure if I would want to use it or hange it on the wall to stare at it. The new Ontario GSA issue may be more for me.

Any ideas why the KBAR type knives are better fighters than say a similar sized Bayonet?
 

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Any ideas why the KBAR type knives are better fighters than say a similar sized Bayonet?
Boy you could start a whole debate with that one. GI7

You could fill a room with knife fighting "experts" and probably no two of them would agree on what is the "best" fighting knife.

If you look at them the M5/M6/M7 bayonet blades are very similar to the old Sykes-Fairbairn type knives which are considered classic fighting knives. I'm sure that a guy that knows what he's doing could fight very well with one.

Some obvious differences between the Kabar and the bayonet are the Kabar has a heavier blade and a much more forward weight balance which should give more powerful strokes and more cutting power than an M5/6/7 bayonet, which tends to feel butt heavy with the balance almost in the palm of the hand. This may or may not be a factor in one's fighting style.

Also the Kabar has the point of the blade off-center while the bayonets are centered. Again depending on fighting style some think this is a big deal for thrusts.
 

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Very nice collection. How did you come by all them?

Yes, I did find Ontario's link last night and noted they make several GSA issue knives. I doubt I will find a MkII like yours for a reasonable price, and even then, I'm not sure if I would want to use it or hange it on the wall to stare at it. The new Ontario GSA issue may be more for me.

Any ideas why the KBAR type knives are better fighters than say a similar sized Bayonet?
The knife on the far left belonged to a friend of mine. After he past away a few years back. His daughter called me. She was helping her mom clean up her house before she moved south for the sun. She told me that someone had offered to buy her fathers knife from when he was in the Marine Corps. and said if I wanted it she would rather sell it to me first. I took her up on it. It had been issued to him early in 1961 when he became a Marine. He took it with him years later when he went to Vietnam. We never talked much about his time in country but his duties would have placed him more in a support role than humping in the jungle. Getting that knife caused me to study up on the subject of the MK2's in Vietnam. I was already interested in Jet Pilots Survival Knives (JPSK). The other three knives I picked up over time after learning about them and getting a good sense of their value. For me if I found a knife that looked good to me and the price seemed reasonable to me I bought it.
The two Utica Cut knives would be the hardest to come across and generally go for about twice the price of the most common version the U.S. Camillus N.Y. . The Conetta used to be quite common but is starting to get harder to come by so in general you can expect to pay more for it than the Camillus but you can get lucky when your shopping for any of these knives. I know that this advice is very general in nature but that's the nature of collecting.
IMHO I wouldn't want to carry the knives I collect for their history. I've got a commercial Ka-Bar that looks at first glance like a WWII U.S.M.C. .
It's best to do your homework before going out to collect anything. The seller is just that a seller. Some will tell you anything to get the best price for what they're selling. Others care about their reputation and take the time to know all they can about what they're selling. Don't take chances rely on yourself not others.
WARNING!!! There are a lot of sellers on the internet that list knives that are marked U.S. (first line), Camillus (second line)
as Vietnam knives. Camillus dropped the N.Y. from the knife marking in 1974. While Vietnam ended on April 30 1975 these knives aren't considered proper for the Vietnam war because we weren't sending much of anything into the country in equipment or personal in the last couple of years of the war. So such a knife better have very strong provenance with it to show it actually was in country or most serious collectors will disregard it.
As for the pro's and con's of a fighting knife. I'm no expert. I will share these two observations from an "old guy".
1. The design of a tool is less important than the skill of the craftsman.
2. Never bring a knife to a gun fight.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all for the response. Sac troop, thank you for the pictures and history. I enjoyed the story and the lessons. Since I may want to use the knife I buy, a historical collector piece would not be the best route it seems. The current K-bars are nice, but it seems these are no longer GSA issue. I am looking for a current GSA issue knife, so those from Ontario would seem to fit my need.

As a side note, I caught a recent episode of Lock-n-Load with Lee Emry. It was interesting that he mentioned that for a SHTF knife, he would use his 1940's USMC issue machete. :)
 

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I think you'll like the Ontario just fine. They make good knives. One thing the old military knives have in common with our M1A's is that they become addicting.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think you'll like the Ontario just fine. They make good knives. One thing the old military knives have in common with our M1A's is that they become addicting.
Yea, like collecting bayonets. My wife is tired of my "clutter" on the shelves.
 

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In the Corps I had one of the Camillus knives that was purchased at the PX. Unfortunately that was stolen when my wall locker was broken into.GI4

My daughter bought me a New KA-BAR about 8-10 yrs ago for Christmas.

It's marked KA-BAR on the blade on oneside and Olean, N.Y. on the other. It resembles the "Utica Cut" one in the photo. Sheath has the USMC Emblem with USMC below and KA-BAR up by the hilt.

I found the KA-BAR to be a pretty good throwing knife. Although this one won't be thrown and sits in it's box for safe keeping, I did manage to take the head off of a copperhead while in the Corp at about 15 feet away.GI2
 

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I bought a commercial grade KA-BAR in the PX in '89, brown leather disks on the handle and brown leather sheath(not sure about the staple at the end, guess I could go look). That knife was bought by a "boot" who knew nothing except the "old salts" all had them hanging on their war belt. Well, long story short, 2 four year enlistments and many long deployments, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and other "Peace Keeping" missions in various corners of the globe, it made a fine and faithful companion. I still have her, still take her out and "remember when", guess I'll have her the rest of my life. Kind of like a wife, when you get yours keep her, don't get rid of her, show her a little attention and she'll always be there!

Enjoy your KA-BAR, commercial or otherwise!
 

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One nice thing about them, you can stick them into something hard and bend the handle almost 90 degrees right or left without it breaking. I had a Camillus that my brother found sticking in a log at the Ranger School mountain training in 1970, in Daleonega, Georgia. It made a good gardening tool.
 

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About the commercial KaBar knives...
Back when I was a youngster in the Marine Corps, early 80's time frame, I used to read SOF magazine. They had a guy as their "knife editor," he was a custom knife maker and some kind of knife fighting expert, allegedly. GI7

Anyway, he had a set of tests for a fighting knife which I will try to repeat from 25+ year old memory: A good fighting knife should be able to cut clean through a 1" hemp rope free hanging with one stroke, chop completely through a 2x4 and still shave hair, and be able to have the last 1" tip of the blade clamped in a vise, the blade bent 20 degrees (something like that... 25 years GI8) and spring back straight.

I had one of the new made KaBar knives, in those days they were sold in the PX for $20. I decided for a risk of a $20 broken knife I would put it through the SOF tests.

Touched up the edge on the knife. Found some 1" hemp rope, hung a length from a rafter in the shop, and sure enough after a few tries to get the right stroke I could cut clean through with one stroke.

OK, grabbed a 2x4, chopped through it and shaved hairs off my arm. Really.

For the last test where I really thought I might break the knife... we had a big heavy workbench with a huge bench vise. Together the bench and vise probably weighed several hundred pounds. I clamped the tip of the KaBar blade in that vise and started bending it, a little at a time, furhter and further, expecting it to snap... until I was literally dragging the entire bench around the shop floor by the last inch tip of the knife blade, the knife was bending probably 30 degrees at least and springing back straight true.

That's a true story, and I think the commercial KaBars are good knives especially for the price, when you can spend many hundreds on a custom. GI7
 

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From what I've read the model 498 Ontario is the knife currently issued. There on Amazon for about $50. They are parkerized, not powder coated. Leather handle is painted black. Hope this helps you!
 
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