HELP- What's REALLY practical for military use?

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My nephew just got called back into the Marines and will be assigned in the northern sector of Iraq by early March. I'd like to buy him a knife to take over with him, and am in a quandry about what is really practical and necessary. My first inclination was one of the semi-custom combat knives from Randall or Chris Reeve etc, but began to question myself. :confused:

I haven't been there, so have no background to draw from. Any of you current or ex-grunts able to offer some practical advise? How much of a knife do you really need? He's a grunt, SSgt, in a line combat unit, and that's about all I know about his actual "mission". Any help or suggestions will be appreciated.

Thanks
Greg
 
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Dec 7, 2002
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I would recommend a large fixed-blade knife. Something that comes with a high-quality sheath as well.

And.....this isn't the time to count pennies. The knife you give him just may end up saving his or a fellow grunt's life. Spend the bucks knowing that you bought him the very best knife that you could afford.

And....a "tip of the ole hat" to your nephew. My very best to him. :)
 

Bastid

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Don't forget a quality multi-tool.
 

Esav Benyamin

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Your nephew probably knows better than we do what he needs.

Utility beats combat use any day. Make sure he's got a good multitool, like a Leatherman Wave or Supertool or SOG Powerlock.

A decent sharpener wouldn't hurt, either. A small folding DMT diamond hone will work wonders, keeping and edge worth carrying.

A good fixed blade doesn't have to be a short sword. If he needs something for breaking and entering, a Becker is strong and sharp and easy to keep that way. Cold Steel and Swamp Rat also make reasonably priced and effective choppers. So do Ontario and Ranger Knives.

Don't get suckered into buying the most expensive as if anything less is cheating him. Cheaper blades get used. If they get lost, they can be replaced.

Here's a few recent discussions on the same question:

Knife I'm going to bring to Iraq

Most used Military knife?

Who do think makes the best combat knives?

A Camillus knife report from Iraq
 
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Originaly posted by Bastid

Don't forget a quality multi-tool.

When I was a Marine, in the mid 70s, I always carried a Buck folder and a SAK. I think the only difference if I did it today would be to use a Leatheman or Gerber multi tool instead of the SAK. That would do 95% of what I needed to do. Esav Benyamin pretty much covered it as far as fixed blades go. My best to your nephew.
 
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For what it is worth, my buddy was in Desert Storm and feels strongly that the only knife really needed is a Leatherman.

If buying a Leatherman Wave, make sure you get the newer 2004 version with the larger knife and other improvements. I see lots of stores still selling the older version of the Wave.

I bought the Charge Ti, which has the larger knife, and really like how it handles. It is much easier to open one-handed. The 2004 Wave is very similar to the Charge Ti, except that the Wave has a stainless steel handle and a 420HC stainless blade (the Charge Ti's handle is titanium and the blade is 154 CM stainless).

The easiest way to tell the difference is to look for the removable screwdriver bit in the 2004 Wave.
 
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You certainly can't beat a Leatherman for usefulness in the field (I like the Supertool 200 myself). One thing you may want to consider in addition to a multi-tool is a good sheath for it. Standard Leatherman sheaths won't mount to web gear and it's a real pain in the neck to have to burrow through two layers of clothing to find your knife. I got one of these at the PX for my multi-tool and like it a lot. It's a little bulky but very secure. Something else your nephew may find useful is a good flashlight. My Dad may be deploying to Iraq next year and I intend to get him a Surefire M3 Combatlight, a G2 Nitrolon as a backup, and plenty of spare bulbs and batteries. The M3 is sort of overkill, but it's one of those things he'll never buy for himself and I'm sure he'll like it. A good light is indispensible in the field and Surefire makes some excellent ones.

If you do choose a fixed blade, don't get too carried away with the size. Personally I think anything with a blade over 7" is more likely to get in the way than anything else. Strider, Chris Reeve, Camillus, Busse, and Swamp Rat all have excellent designs and make a solid product. Which one to choose is more a matter of personal preference than anything else. Best of luck to your nephew, and thank you for supporting him. Knowing people care about you means a lot when you're thousands of miles from home.
 

Mr.Moose

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Seems that either a good multi-tool such as a Leatherman 2005 Wave or Charge XTi, or maybe a good bowie type knife (with a large blade) would work well. I'd think more in terms of tool than weapon. A big knife has the advantage of being used as a tool for chopping, hammering, digging, prying etc. A leatherman Charge XTi (with its additional driver bits) would seem useful for tweaking and adjusting equipment. For a bid knife the Becker BK9 seems to get good reviews here and has a reasonable price. We will pray for your nephew's safe return, he has our full support.
 

Esav Benyamin

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Roadrunner said:
My Dad may be deploying to Iraq next year and I intend to get him a Surefire M3 Combatlight, a G2 Nitrolon as a backup, and plenty of spare bulbs and batteries.
Consider getting him an Inova X5T as a backup. When those expensive lithium batteries are depeleted by an hour's use in the Surefire, they will still work fine for a good ten hours or so in the Inova. And the Inova is bright enough without all that glare for ordinary lighting purposes.
 
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Esav has kindly provided links to previous discussions on this topic.

My thoughts are still as follows:

1. Your nephew needs a Swiss Army Knife of an appropriate model. The Rucksack has a good mix of features:

0-8863.jpg


If he specialises in other fields, e.g. electronics, there are specific models to suit, but the Rucksack is widely recommended.

2. He needs a multitool. Excellent brands include Gerber, Leatherman and - again - Victorinox (in alphabetical order). He may have preferences or recommendations.

3. He does not need a large, fixed-blade knife. They look really Sgt. Rock attached to webbing, but are nothing more than unnecessary weight. I would bet 100:1 that it would be removed from his LBE and consigned to his locker within hours.

We are all proud of him.

maximus otter
 

Triton

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Ditto that, I've no military expereince but plenty of hiking experience. Extra weight from large knives is one thing he doesn't need.
 
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Although retired now, I still provide knives to the soldiers and marines I know. This is what an SF Captain on his was to Afghanistan asked for: (1) a 7" blade combat knife -- I gave him my Mad Dog ATAK Hunter, (2) a folding or automatic knife -- I gave him my Benchmade AFO, and (3) a SAK -- He got one from his brother. The Marine I helped equip asked for similar blades. Make sure he has a multi-tool, either a good SAK or a one hand opener, and a 7" blade combat knife. Most Marine rifle companies are letting their troopers carry these knives because they are similar to the "kabar" type knives many of them are issued. If the unit won't let them be carried, he can leave it in his "A bag" where it will be until someone in his leadership realizes that there is no wisdom in leaving these guys lightly armed.

Bruce
 
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I just seperated from the military myself. The most bang for the buck your going to get in a using knife IMO is a Cold Steel SRK. That along w/ a Gerber Multi-plier and quality folder.
 
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I would say a SAK or a multi-tool. He's a Marine, he's already got a Kabar to gut terrorists. I was a tanker in the Army and I got a lot of use out of a Leatherman. You might want to consider a hobo or a titanium knife/fork/spoon kit. He will likely get good use out of that if his other alternative is plasticware for eating. Good luck to him.
 
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Esav, thanks for the suggestion, I hadn't considered that. The Inova may actually get more use; but I hope that his unit gets to stay here and we don't have to find out.
 
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Ditto to Esav and Bruce, but I'd just ask your nephew. The SAK or folding plier multitool of his choice is the first thing I'd get, but he may already have one, etc
 
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Bastid said:
Don't forget a quality multi-tool.

Yeah, that and a Strider, or Busse, or Fehrman. If $$$ is an issue I highly recommend the Kabar D2 Extreme, not too sharp but cuts better than my other sharper knives. Also, size is a consideration, I've heard of dudes over there being told to keep their larger knives in the weapons storage facility, rendering them useless and a waste of money. It would suck if he got a nice Busse and never got to carry or use it. Maybe make sure about what is going to be allowed in his unit, and go from there; a folder may be more appropriate... Oh yeah, CRK are also an excellent choice, Swamp Rat, etc. I'm sure you'll get a lot of good, different suggestions from the folks here at bladeforums. Also maybe look at the hideaway knife, it's small and a little wimpy looking, but the idea is a great one. and they're very high quality S30V steel.
 
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I served as a tanker in the Army from 86-88 at Ft. Knox. The knives I carried back then were a Buck Prince lockback and a couple of Taylor Cutlery knives(yea, I know, but I was young, foolish and most of my income went to the Coors corporation) that were actually ok for beating on. One was a Al Mar SERE knockoff and the other was a tanto fixed blade that wasn't a bad knife for field use. Held up to a fair amount of abuse. Since those days, I've asked myself what I would have used if I could pick from stuff available now. What I would use now is a Becker Crewman for a fixed blade, a SAK Farmer for a pocket knife, Schrade Toughtool for multitool(its kinda big, but the pliers are excellent), and a large CS Voyager for a one hander. Of course, I had a large armored vechicle to haul me and my hardware around and a infantryman's needs might be different. I still think a mix from these affordable, replacable, quality tools would meet most servicman's needs.
 
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