Kabar- the ultimate survival knife? ooorrrrrr

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Jacob Peterson, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Jacob Peterson

    Jacob Peterson Tracker Banned

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    S Central Ky
    Fire and Forget.
    Hey guys, so we are all probably familiar with the Kabar Mk2, often called the USMC fighting knife, or just simply a "Kabar".
    Many of us are pretty familiar with its history, and understand that it was intended as a fighting utility knife, but somehow through lore and folk tales, it has become something more.
    Much more.
    Nearly any "survival knife" discussion that pops up with see droves of people touting the Kabar as the ultimate survival knife; "if its good enough to be issued to our fighting soldiers since WWII, its good enough for anything!"
    But is it issued to our soldiers? Is it a viable choice as a survival knife? Is it a viable choice as even a Bushcraft knife?
    I had my doubts, and also wanted to talk about the history of the blade, so I dove head first into a full on session of reviewing, and the results might be shocking to some, and fully expected by others.
    This was all possible thanks to my patrons on Patreon, I believe people get a fully different reviewing experience when the products that they are using aren't paid for by the company that made it! I hope that you will agree.





     
  2. Hillbilly stalker

    Hillbilly stalker Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    2,044
    Location:
    South Carolina
    The Kabar has already been proven in such places as Guadacanal....Saipan...Tarawa....Iwo Jima....Okinawa. It has helped many a U.S Marine see the sun rise the next morning. It is great for what it was designed to do. They hold a sacred place in many of vets hearts. That is all.
     
  3. Jacob Peterson

    Jacob Peterson Tracker Banned

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    S Central Ky
    Has been proven *to break

    It was a cheap tool that was often abused and used like any other tool in the military.

    It holds a sacred place in the hearts of many vets, that should probably be all, functionally speaking in todays market, but sadly it isnt.
     
    DirtmanDave and Beach Hiker like this.
  4. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2014
    Messages:
    6,572
    Likes Received:
    15,566
    Location:
    Maine
    All personal opinions are debatable, here's mine. A KaBar MK11 or in my case a Navy MK1 are just fine for bushcrafting purposes. The MK11 was designed as a fighting knife firstly and has proven itself, the majority of bushcrafters are not combat trained knife fighters, rock wall scalers or lumber jacks without the proper tools/gear. Choosing a knife as your life depended on it (survival) is moot, fact is the majority of epic survival situations in the last 75 years of so including young girls/boys survived without any type of knife at all. They all survived with the #1 essential of wits #2 water, #3 shelter, #4 fire if temperature or other situation warrants and after a week or so #5 food source. No doubt even a jack knife might have come in handy but by no means essential.
     
  5. Jacob Peterson

    Jacob Peterson Tracker Banned

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2018
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    S Central Ky
    I actually agree. The KaBar is in fact an adequate Bushcraft knife, although like you I feel that the navy Mk1 is better ergonomically.
    The issue with a survival knife is that unless you are purposefully pushing your own limits, your survival knife will be the one you have one you.
    Do lots of people survive their situation with nothing? Sure.
    Lots of people survival car accidents with no seatbelt. Im one of them.
    Lots of people survive high speed motorcycle accidents without a helmet. Im one of them.
    Lots of people stop fires without fire extinguishers, stop muggers with bare fists, carry a gun without a tourniquet, etc, but does that make it wise?
    Since RedBull man can jump 200ft into water without injury does that mean we should all start cliff diving?

    probably not.

    Put simply, the Kabar will work, ESPECIALLY if you understand and respect its limits. The people who worship their knife often don't realize that it does have limits. Its not magically endowed based solely on the number of Nazi's its killed.

    In todays market, there are much, much better knives for any application. That's pretty much what the whole review boils down to. If kabar would get rid of the square jointing of rat tang to blade in itself with no other change, the design would be that much more viable. How they don't do a Mk2 lookalike that is full tang... I don't know.

    As far as what is fine for bushcrafting purposes, nearly any knife that you can keep an edge on with a decent handle is fine for Bushcraft purposes, so that's a low bar to hold. Heck, I have videos of me doing some pretty nice feather sticks left handed with an 8lbs hewing axe that is 200 years old. But yeah, for Bushcraft/ utility, the Kabar works. No dispute.
     
    DirtmanDave and Not Sure like this.
  6. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    13,917
    Likes Received:
    19,619
    First I doubt any Nazi’s were ever killed with a Ka Bar, Marines fought on a different front. Ka Bars did not start entering service until 1943 and then only issue to crew served weapon crews, BAR gunners, M-1 Carbine and submachine gun issued men. It was not until 1944 that the knife was finally issued to all combat Marines that wanted one. In that brief period of issue they became one of the most enduring symbols of a Marine.

    How beloved is a Ka Bar? During Vietnam, when an M-60’s gunners belt had become so full of pouches, canteens and other gear that there was no available space left for their Ka Bars, and their load out had reached ungodly weights, the men would make a new hanger wire for their 1911 holster and hang the Ka Bar in the new space the hanger formed behind the holster rather than not carry them. The odds that an M-60 gunner would survive long enough to have to use the 1911 let alone the Ka-Bar in a fight were very long, sadly machine gunners are the most common target in a battle, but it’s added weight was insignificant compared to its value around camp and as a tool to dig holes, open ammo cartons, open meal cans and the hundred other tasks a combat knife could do.

    They also made fair bullet deflectors too as the Force Recon Corpsman Doc Norton would learn when his stopped an SKS round fired from just feet away in an ambush. The Ka Bar was shattered into three hunks but as he had it on his shoulder strap, over his heart, it no doubt saved the future Marine officer from a certain death.
     
  7. FIELDCRAFTLTC

    FIELDCRAFTLTC Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    5
    Joined:
    May 7, 2014
    Messages:
    3,867
    Likes Received:
    17,440
    Location:
    Connecticut
    To each their own.

    I carried my K-Bar for 25 years as a grunt. It has been a lot of places, seen a lot of different things, been in a lot of different environments. I passed it on to my son when he deployed to Iraq and he put it through its paces too. It is now home, retired as it should be like any good Marine.

    Part of owning any knife is to know its limitations. In almost every situation I have encountered on the part of someone with their knife is their own limitations and not knowing how to use what they have or take care of it either.

    A Mora is a great survival knife in the hands of someone who knows how to use it.
     
  8. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,931
    Likes Received:
    5,210
    Location:
    Ohio
    Unc traded smokes for a 225Q. Said it was great for opening C-rat cans.
     
  9. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    20,099
    Likes Received:
    80,575
    Location:
    Bogart, GA
    As an old jarhead I carried my issue KA-BAR to many different climes. It served me well enough. It now resides in a place of honor in my home.
    Take care brother, there are many vets here...
     
  10. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,397
    Likes Received:
    4,012
    Location:
    Southern MA.
    First off, you do a good job of video and editing your work. :dblthumb:

    However, your recounting of K-Bars history as far as it's place in WW-II is way off from the real beginnings of the Mark II Marine and Navy fighting knife, the actual credit for the design belongs to Remington Arms Cutlery Division.
    The Marine Corps Fighting Knife came about around 1939 when the US Military anticipating our involvement in the war engulfing Europe began working on procuring upgraded military hardware, the military needed a new utility/fighting knife, the military sent out a request to cutlery makers to submit designs using a vague statement of requirements.
    One of the first Companies to respond was PAL Cutlery who a few years earlier had purchased the rights and tooling of the Remington Arms Cutlery Div., PAL sent in the specs. and a Remington Pattern of their Hunter model fixed blade knife, it had an oval metal pommel, leather stacked handle, small guard, and a five inch clip point blade that included a fuller grove.
    The military accepted the design as it was presented by PAL Cutlery with the stipulation that it be made in two models, one with a 7" blade for the Marine Corps, and one made with a 6" blade for the Navy, PAL did as requested, the 7" knife was marked PAL RH-37 on one side of the blade and USMC on the other near the guard, the 6" knife was marked PAL RH-36, the RH for Remington Hunter, 36 designated the 6" blade, 37 designated the 7" blade.
    PAL being a small company that had been in the business of making scissors and pocket knives could not furnish knives in the numbers requested so other companies were licensed by PAL to use the design to make the knives for the US military, K-Bar wasn't the first and wasn't the main supplier.
    After the war PAL turned it's production to making pocket knives for the BSA, the other Mark II makers went their own way, K-Bar continued making the Mark II for the military and for civilian distribution, the USMC fighting knife is assumed to be the construct of K-Bar Cutlery, but that's not quite the truth.

    Lastly, there are a lot of heavy duty knives on the market that are qualified to be called survival knives, most of the Becker models and the USAF Pilot Survival knives are good examples, and most good quality Bushcraft knives would also give good service to that end.
    I've spent a good deal of my long life hunting, fishing, hiking, and camping, much of it in the company of very experienced woodsman and have never witnessed any of them use or misuse their knives in the manner that you've presented in your K-Bar videos, no offense intended but the title dumb & dumber came to mind about a third of the way through the test video.

    Also, IMHO you really are over playing the business aspect of your videos, you do show a lot of potential, but perhaps with a little more research on your part, more real world outdoor experience, and skip the destruction tests, no experienced woodsman or survivalist treats his/her life saving tools to that kind of abuse.
     
  11. whtshdwwz

    whtshdwwz Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2016
    Messages:
    372
    Likes Received:
    1,129
    I carried a Randall 14 for over 30 years....its been around the world multiple times and in to many countries to list...it had opened many MRE's, punched holes in 55 gallon barrels and has been called upon to do more than ever expected from a knife...if I recall correctly when I bought it in 1985 it was billed as an "improved Ka-Bar"...so it has a storied lineage...its 10% the tool and 90% the user...take care of your knife and it will take care of you.
     
  12. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,931
    Likes Received:
    5,210
    Location:
    Ohio
    Problem is, PAL bought Remington's cutlery business in January, 1941, after Remington, owned by DuPont, let it be known they were selling it to concentrate on Government defense contracts, which did not include knives: The contract of sale is a public record and available on line and begins:
    "This agreement entered into this 17th day of January, 1941 by and between Remington Arms Company, Inc., a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, having a principal office at Bridgeport, Connecticut, hereinafter referred to as "the seller" and Joseph L. Mailman, Besse M. Kraus, Otto E. Kraus, Mary Langner, citizens and residents of the State of New York and Abraham L. Mailman, a citizen and resident of Montreal, Canada, all doing business as partners under the firm name of PAL BLADE COMPANY, having a principal office at New York, N.Y., and hereinafter referred to as " the buyer, ..."

    What is the source for the rest of this story?

    The first RFP put out for a field knife for the Navy Department is dated 1941, according to The Man, Frank Trzaska: http://www.oregonknifeclub.org/frank3.html circa 12/2000

    "All the while Kabar [sic; actually, Union Cutlery until after the War.] was working on a machine to shape the leather handles without human help. They needed to accomplish that before they could commit to heavy production. The red spacers were in the handles to help the human hafter on the grinding to prevent marring the guard and removing the finish. The first design was made in sample amounts in 1941. 1942 started with larger amounts being purchased but still no official approval. It was still in the test and development stage. The final approval came in late 1942. The familiar blueprints seen on the current Ka-Bar box show the third redesign. This can be seen on the blueprints as 1219C2c dated 9 Dec 1942, with the "c" designation being the numerator but keeping the Official adoption date as 23 Nov. 1942. The Red Spacer Ka-bars should be in leather scabbards with small round head rivets. These were superceded [sic] with the staple design. The Marines never did adopt the hard scabbard although they did test it. Anyway that's what I have put together from research over the years."
     
  13. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,931
    Likes Received:
    5,210
    Location:
    Ohio
    No. Iconic but made cheaply in large numbers.
     
  14. VtBlackDog

    VtBlackDog Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    2,314
    Likes Received:
    2,543
    Location:
    Under the 14th Star
    So just wondering...if it entered service with Marines against the Japanese, what was the Japanese equivalent?
     
    Winterhorse and DirtmanDave like this.
  15. jasam

    jasam Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2017
    Messages:
    549
    Likes Received:
    2,529
    Location:
    Brantley County Georgia
    I was very good friends with an ol timer. He had a Ka-Bar. He was a world traveler. He had been to places like Korea,Honduras, Haiti, and quite a few other places he didn’t talk about. He had a definite affection for that knife, never remember a time when it wasn’t in arms reach. I don’t know about it being a hard use knife because I see no sense in hammering a knife in a tree and doing pull ups on it. What I do know is that a Ka-Bar has been the death knell for many a southeast Georgia boar hog.
     
  16. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    3,397
    Likes Received:
    4,012
    Location:
    Southern MA.
    You are right about the purchase date between Remington Cutlery and PAL, I researched the history of my PAL RH-36 many years ago and was posting from memory and confused the design date of the Remington Hunter model which was in the mid '30's with the sale date between the two companies which was about 1940.
    But I stick to my story that the knife we know as the Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife is actually the Remington Hunter model knife that was accepted by the military from PAL Cutlery and not the brain child of Ka-Bar.
    I also contend that while a decent knife IMHO the Ka-Bar produced knives were never as good as most of the other fighting knives being made by some of the other contract makers of that time, also in my opinion, when talking about the USMC fighting knife as a survival option, I'd be more prone to go with Ontario's (bolt knife) Pilot Survival knife (with a few slight modifications).

    As for the OP, I think the kid means well, I also think he's using this forum more to push his business than to be informative and helpful, I also believe from watching some of his other videos that at the present he lacks the experience and knowledge of what he's talking about for me to consider him credible.
    Another reason I don't have any trust in his posts is because he has blocked any and all information about himself on his profile page, what's up with that ?

    LOL, I just noticed that he's been hit with the Ban Hammer.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2018 at 8:40 AM
  17. Hillbilly stalker

    Hillbilly stalker Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    2,044
    Location:
    South Carolina
    I watched some of the videos and read the comments, not surprised.
     

Share This Page