This model Ka-Bar is the KA1481. It is the short bladed combat black serrated variant. This knife was designed to be an off hand self defense knife, although it works well with your strong hand. Designed by John Benner, a former Law enforcement officer, this knife has other law enforcement officers in mind as well as anyone else who is trained in close combat self defense.
Blade length: 2 5/16"
Overall Length: 5 5/8"
Blade Material: AUS-8 SS with black powder finish
Handle Material: Zytel
Blade Type: fixed, drop point full serrated
To start with, the name of this knife pretty much explains this purpose. It was designed mainly for law enforcement officers as a back up self defense knife to be used in their off hand as a last option if they could not access their firearm. While it is made for that group, it is a great self defense tool for anyone else. I would first like to say that this knife should be carried with proper training. The blade style and angle as well as it's intended off hand use requires more know how than your average fixed or even folding combat knife. With that being said, it makes for a very trustworthy and lethal self defense knife.
Next, we have knife materials. The design of this knife is very simple. It consists of a strategically cut and angled piece of AUS-8 Stainless Steel that is black powder coated with two Zytel (plastic) handles on either side. While being made in Taiwan, this fixed blade is very simple so it goes without saying that this knife is solidly built. I can't see anything going wrong with this knife during proper use. The Zytel handles on it are comfortably formed and grip well but the material itself isn't too textured. The Steel is your average to low end Japanese steel which reflects on the knife's $35 to $60 price tag but is super sharp. My specific model being reviewed is the serrated variation and will cut the crap out of anyone. While the blades edge is super sharp, it is very very thin (hollow grind) and will dent real easily with improper use. You have to keep in mind that while this is a cheaper steel, it's intended purpose is for self defense against a person (flesh). I believe this steel and handle material is well chosen for the job while keeping it at a very affordable price range.
Looking further into the use of this knife, I feel that it makes an excellent self defense knife and was designed with much thought. The dimensions of this knife make it very versatile and comfortable to handle. Depending on your fighting style, you can have a forward knife grip or a reversed knife grip (edge out) and either way still being extremely comfortable and natural. This also extends to the way you draw the knife from the sheath on either side of your persons.
With that being said, the included sheath is also very well designed and thought out. The sheath is a black plastic friction sheath with great retention.
The sheath also very customizable for any style of carry. I mean ANY style of carry. You can carry this thing with the handle up, handle down, handle directed for a forward grip draw, handle directed for a reverse grip draw, on your strong side, your weak side, cross draw(forward or reverse grip), small of back, anywhere. This is possible with the two included belt adapters that can easily be fastened onto the sheath with hex screws. While this might sound cheap, it is designed with very well and with good materials. One of the belt adapters is so you can feed your belt through and have it fixed. This is the more stable method of carry but it's fixed.
The other belt adapter is a metal clip. I personally like this better and carry with this the most. I'm not certain of it's accommodated belt sizes but mine is between a 1.5" to 1.75" belt and it fits on there perfect. I do know that the metal clip will accommodate bigger belt sizes than the other belt harness will.
Overall, depending on your fighting style and training, this knife makes a great self defense knife. It's designed well with proper materials for the job, it's small size for a conceal ability, the affordable price, and the adaptability of the sheath for your fighting style. I've carried this knife on and off for about six years now and while I've never had to truly use it for it's intended purpose, It's always given me some piece of mind knowing that I can rely on it when the time comes.