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Different USMC Fighting Knives

Aug 12, 1999
One hears often of the Kabar USMC, sometimes of the similar Ontario model, but not often about the Camillus (?) offering. The Kabar seems to almost always get good comments, some of the Ontario knifes, especially other than the USMC seem to get mixed reviews, but I've not heard anything about the Camillus. The Camillus is advertised as having treated leather in the handle and sheath to better resist rot, which seems to be a good thing, and one ad said something about a hard core in the knife although I'll guess they meant a softer core, maybe suggesting some sort of case hardening. Anyone have any experience with the Camillus ?

It seems to be an issue knive, any hands on who was issued a fighting knife ?
Just received a 7" Marine with Kydex sheath as an evaluation piece from Will Fennell at Camillus. I've used the same blade previously in the Amazon and it held up exceptionally well, so I don't figure on any problems with this new one.

Edge is good, sheath is top-notch, and the overall impressions are a solid work knife.

We shall beat the hell out of it in the jungle during our October trip and post our reviews here after the trip, but first impressions tell me you can't go wrong for the money. - Jeff

Randall's Adventure & Training

I've used both of the issue knives (the Camillus & Ontario). I presently own the issue Camillus now and really like it. The term "kabar" gets misused for all the fighting/utilities. I think Camillus and Ontario have each held the contract for the USMC at various times, and I don't know who holds it now. I'm Army so had to buy my issue knife!

I have modified a couple of Camillus knives to suit me better. I don't like the roundish handle shape of this type knife so I file and sand down the sides to make it more oval, regroove the handle, dye it black again, and drill a hole in the butt cap for a wrist thong made of parachute cord. Also I sharpen the swedge (top cutting edge) straight--no curve--and put a good edge on the whole knife. This feels better, easier to sharpen, and works better for me.

The Camillus is a little less expensive and I prefer them over the Kabar model.

Bruce Woodbury
My 2 cents: At one time or other I have owned and used just about every variation of the FU/Kbar. Of them all I prefer the Camillus. Rarely are any 2 the same from a batch but the Camillus always seems the most consistant in terms of grinds, bevels etc. Edge holding was about the same in all but the Cam always seemed to hold up better overall. I've had guards and handles become loose on all except the Cam. One of the few I haven't tried is the Spec-plus version from Ontario. It's blade is slightly thicker(3/16) compared to the others. The main reason I haven't tried it is because I don't care for rubber guards. I have not done any "scientific" testing of these knives, just general use and abuse as outdoor blades. So far the Cam has held up better than the others. I'd love to see Cam do this knife with a flatter profile Zytel handle. Of course I'd love to see many of the current kraton handles done in Zytel instead.
Camillus used to own the rights to the Ka-Bar I believe. But their USMC is a good knife, I really like that style of knife whether they make it or Ka-Bar does. The knives seem really similar, but I've only had experience with the Ka-Bar Next Generation thou
Tuff, I don't think Camillus or anyone else owns any rights to the fighting/utility design because it was designed by a couple of USMC serving officers in about 1942 (if memory serves me, one of them had the last name of "America"!). They developed the drawings and sent them out to many knife companies for bids. I think Camillus was the first to ship and produced the largest quantity, but Kabar seems to get most of the notariety for the style, for some reason. Kabar quit making them after WWII and didn't start up again until sometime in the '80's while Camillus pretty much continued production and Ontario joined to produce the knife for Vietnam--as issue and PX knives. The issue knife is the one with the black handle and sheath. They are issued to USMC troopers while we Army types have to put out our hard earned money (about $30 in the PX) to get one, but well worth it. They are sturdy and easily replaceable.

Bruce Woodbury
I posted this in the Camillus forum and got 1 answer from ghostsix.
I saw this thread and I am hoping maybe you guys might know what I am asking about.
There was an article in Blade some time back about the USMC knives and such.

I have seen those with the wide fullers,but I don't recall seeing any with the _small short narrow fullers_ like the Quartermaster blade they had pictured.
This one was a specific Camillus made knife.

There is going to be a Huge Gun & Knife show hee next month and I want to see if I can pick one up.
I really don't care about the sheath,but I would like the knife to be in at least "good" shape.
What should I look for and about what should I spend on something like this?

I was real impressed with the rport Blade gave on an old one like this.
Thanks for your time.

Cornbread ain't s'possed to be sweet!!...Dagnabit!
I have Dad`s USN,and a USMC.The fullers are wide.The USN is blued and has a bayonet type scabbard instead of the leather sheath.