Today I will be reviewing the Legendary Ka-Bar USMC Fighting Knife. I am sure everyone has either heard of or owns one of these bad boys. There are a lot of different opinions on this knife out there and I am gonna give you some information so you can decide if its the right knife for you.
Lets start with the History of this knife. Ka-Bar’s name came about from a testimonial it received from a fur trapper in the early 1900’s. In the testimonial the trapper said that he was being attacked by a wounded bear and his gun jammed. The only thing he had on him was his Ka-Bar(not the name of the company at the time) knife and he was able to kill the wounded bear with his knife and bare hands. He then wrote the company thanking them for making such a quality product. In the testimonial all the company could read was “K A Bar”. The company was so honored by this testimonial that they decided to change their name to what it is today Ka-Bar. Now the original USMC Fighting knife was submitted to the USMC Quartermaster Department on December 12th 1942 in hopes that it would become a general issue knife to all Marines in WWII. After a little re-tooling it was accepted and issued to all Marines that is how the legend was born. The USMC Ka-Bar was so good that is was not only used by the Marines but also accepted by the Army, Navy, United States Coast Guard and the Underwater Demolition Team(which has now become the famous unit that we all know today as the US Navy Seals, the team that killed Osama Bin Laden). Years after WWII many Ka-Bar’s were reactivated and used in the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Can you imagine how beat up these knives had to have been, knives that were reactivated from the WWII, it just goes to show the quality of the blades. These knifes were not supposed to be taken home by the servicemen who used them, they were a tool issued just like the famous M-16 rifle but many were smuggled out because of the affection that the men had come to have for these amazing tools.
The Ka-Bar USMC Fighting knife weighs 0.70lbs which is great for strapping to your pack or body without adding much extra weight. The blade is made out of a black Powder Coated 1095 Cro-Van Stainless Steal. The 1095 Cro-Van steel is perfect for this fighting knife because it is easy to sharpen and holds the edge for a long time. The knife is a total length of 11-7/8th inches and the blade is 7″. The blade has a flat grind to a 20 degree edge which is razor sharp right out of the box, it will take the hair right off your chinny chin chin(trust me, it didn’t take my chin hair off but it sure took a patch of my arm hair off). The blade goes thru a 3 step process that all Ka-Bar blades are put thru. 1st the blade is stamped out of a sheet of metal by a 1,000 ton lb blanking press, then put thru a 70ft conveyor oven that takes about an hour to cycle. 2nd the blade is cryogenically frozen to a temperature of -120F to optimize the blade performance and strength. 3rd step involves the stainless steel blade being tempered in a walk in oven to once again enhance its toughness. The USMC Fighting knife’s handle is made out of leather washers that are compressed into an oval shape to fit your hand. It also has a full tang which means that the knife’s steel blade runs thru the handle which makes the blade resistant to breaking. The USMC knife pictured above has the leather handle which is coated in a resin to help prevent rotting if taken care of properly but if you are avid outdoorsman or survivalist I would recommend getting the Kraton G Handle which resembles rubber and is better for wet/moist environments. I prefer the leather handle just cause its classic. The handle has gaps/reservoirs to help prevent your hand from slipping when wet(Originally put there so the Marines that were using them didn’t loose their grip when blood was running down the handle from the enemy that they had just vanquished).
The USMC Knife comes with a beautiful leather sheath. Many reviews I have read complain that the sheath is made in Mexico but I don’t mind because they have done a great job. My sheath is the USMC so it is stamped with the USMC logo, you can also buy them stamped with Army, Navy, and if your lucky and look really hard you can find them stamped with US Coast Guard, it also comes just stamped USA. Like I mentioned the sheath is very sturdy, the leather is really thick and with a couple applications of some saddle soap it is butter soft, and brings out a beautiful deep brown hue in the leather. The Ka-Bar Fighting knife blades are also stamped at the hilt with either USMC, UN, Army, or USA on one side and on the other side it is stamped with the Company name Ka-Bar and the city that the company is located in and the blades are manufactured in Olean Ny. You can also by a hard black Kydex sheath, I do not have one of these but from the reviews I read online they are great for outdoorsmen or survivalist and warriors of any type because it can be strapped to any part of the body and can be strapped to M.O.L.L.E. The leather sheath would probably not be the best option if you plan on stomping thru the forest or camping for long periods of time.
I purchased my Ka-Bar knife on Amazon at a great price of $49.99 and received free shipping. I have seen these knifes range from $49.99 – $100.00. The biggest reason in pricing is just purchase power by the company that is selling them. I personally love Amazon(it is also a local company here in Washington) and didn’t mind waiting for it to be shipped. The knife comes in many different options. I purchased the full length 7″ blade with the clipped tip. It also comes in full length tanto tip and it also has a bigger brother and a little brother. The big Brother comes in a 9 3/8th inch clipped blade and the little brother has a 5″ clipped or tanto blade. You can also buy the knife in a commemorative version with gold colored printing for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Vietnam War, Korean War, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Desert Storm, Purple Heart, 9/11, Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan, and many more. So there is a commemorative for every generation. You can also have the blade engraved with anything you like for your loved one. I personally am going to have my blade engraved with my family name so I can pass it down to my son(if I have one, I have all sisters and the X chromosome runs strong in my family gene pool) when he comes of age and hopefully he will do the same(I have no problem passing down the knife to my daughter if I only have daughters and I know they will cherish it just the same because it comes from their father). It will make for a great family heirloom.
The Ka-Bar USMC Fighting knife is a great knife for survivalist or outdoorsman. It can be used for many functions from cutting down small saplings for fire wood/digging foxholes to using it as a pry bar to pop open locked doors and of course the main purpose of the knife self defense. Now Ka-Bar does not recommend that you use the knife in any other fashion then fighting but it is strong enough to withstand the abuse. Just remember if you do use it for anything other then fighting and it is damaged Ka-Bar’s warranty will be void. They recommend only using the knife for fighting purposes, but I have found it to be a great all around tool. I feel the biggest reason they say this is because they make specialized knife and tools for everything under the sun.
I own the straight edge knife but it also comes in a mixed straight/serrated blade. I bought the straight edge knife just because it is easier to sharpen then the combination blade. My Ka-Bar knife came in plain black box but I have seen them come in white boxes with the anatomy of the knife printed on the box it looks really cool. In the box was the most beautiful knife I have ever seen in my life, along with the very nice leather sheath stamped with USMC logo. The sheath has a loop so you can wear it on your hip by slipping it thru your belt, the sheath also has a strap at the top that clips shut to secure the knife so it will not fall out of the sheath or be taken out without a little effort. It is not the most secure but it will not be easy to be taken off your hip without you noticing and giving you ample time to react. The blade comes wrapped in a cardboard slip that Ka-Bar recommends you keep it in for storage purposes, they recommend not keeping it in the leather sheath for extended amounts of time to protect against corrosion. So do not through away or damage the cardboard sheath it comes in. It also comes with a small instructions sheet that gives you little hints on how to store and take care of your knife to make it last a life time. This knife will be my 1st choice for any camping or hiking excursions, I also like to keep it close at night incase I need to use it to protect my family from any intruders. I can only imagine what a perp would be thinking once he sees this giant knife staring at him unless its dark then he will not see anything only feel the cold steel blade reach out and touch him due to the black blade which help you remain stealth when needed.
So in conclusion the Ka-Bar USMC Fighting knife is a great weapon that is perfect for its intended use which is to kill, but it can be used for many other functions just make sure to take proper care of the knife when finished. The knife is strong and comes in many different options that will fit everyone. The knife is also great as a gift that can be put up on the mantle and presented as art.
Coming up next I will be reviewing another Ka-Bar product the TDI Law Enforcement Last Resort knife, then I will be reviewing Smith’s SK2 2-Stone Sharpening Kit, Sypderco Persistence folding knife, Springfield XDM 3.8 Compact 40 Caliber S&W, Springfield XD Service 4″ 40 Caliber S&W, Gerber Paraframe II Combo Blade, Gerber Fast Draw Combo Blade, Gerber RipStop Straight Edge. SwissGear Backpack, Benelli Shotgun, Glock Pistols. Please let me know if there are any products you would like to see me review on this blog.
Also keep an eye out for the short videos that will follow must posts to give a quick overview and visual presentation of the products that are featured on this website.