Who has a Ka-Bar USMC

Apr 7, 1999
I am guessing that these are fairly popular because of their price and history. So I ordered one. But I have no information on it regarding blade thickness, grind (hollow I hope), and durability. I have visited CFKT and I know that it can't take 240lbs of lateral force or spend time in water and gas, but I don't plan on doing those things. Specifically has anyone ever experienced problems with the blade or gaurd coming loose after years of use? Pommel falling off? Also what is under the stacked leather rings to give the oval shape? Wood?
Imagine a stack of pennies. drill a hole thru the center of the stack big enough for the tang to fit thru it. then attach a pommel, and peen the tang end over the pommel to secure the handle and pommel. then shape to desired look.
The same applies except use leather washers big enough to be shaped down to fit the knife. I hope this is understandable....


I still have my orginal issue from 1965.It survived two tours in the Southeast Asia and did everything I asked of it.The carbon steel blade only asks for a light coat of oil to keep the rust at bay. Years of use have not damaged the guard nor the leather washer handle. The only one of its kind I saw damaged was a loose guard caused by a dolt who spent several hours throwing it at a tree. An excellent every day fixed blade at a heck of a bargain price,plus you get a piece of history. In the photo of the flag raising at Iwo Jima you will see one on the hip of one of the Marines. That the design and specs have survived for over 50 years says volumes about the design.

Those who beat their arms into plowshares will plow for those who do not
The only thing I use all the time with a leather washer handle is my slate hammer. It has a brass screw on cap (pommel) and a tapered shank. After about 100 years of use, which is about the age of my hammer some of leather washers crack or break. No problem, Just get a piece of sole leather, drill a hole, and sand to original contour with a belt sander.

Hammers get a lot of hard use and abuse, and not a lot of loving care. The leather washer handle holds up well. The nice feature of this style handle is that they tend to produce callouses rather than blisters.

For what it is worth.

I have a new one, I bought it at Christmas and love it. It is hollow ground and SHARP. I've chopped up small fallen trees with it. Now the finish is a little stained. I'm going to try tuff cloth to get it off. Its an extremely good, tough knife for the price. The handle is very nice, good grip and seems pretty tough.

Just because I talk to myself doesn't mean I'm crazy. What's wrong with getting a second opinion?
The Ka Bar was the first decent knife I owned and I still have it. The blade is about 7" long, blade thickness is 3/16" (I'll check), the blade is sabre ground with a fuller. Steel is 1095. The blade main blade and false edge is extremely easy to sharpen.

I have done quite a bit of chopping with the Ka Bar. The Ka bar is a poor chopper but was not damaged by chopping. So far, the handle has remained attached and the sheath is still servicable. The handle seems to be unharmed by DEET which is more than I can say for some kraton handles. The only handle damage I have seen with a Ka Bar on one that was thrown repeatedly. The knife review comments at CFKT on the Ka Bar are true. The tang can be easily bent at the handle to blade juncture.

The butt cap is a bonus and makes an excellent emergency hammer.

Hey man I have a USMC Ka-Bar, I love it just ordered the next generation version. The only problem I had was the handle. I used linseed oil to change that. I coated it several times and have had no porblems since.The blade holds an awesome edge. Good choice.
I have USMC, a Next Generation, and a Fighting Next Generation. Ka-Bar's are great, they always do what I need of them. My favorite fixed blade knife.
For the price, the KaBar, in my opinion, is one of the best wilderness blades you can buy.

I used some of their 'Next generation' stuff during a training venture with SpecOps for an MTV Road Rules segment. SFers Mike Benish and Mike Hawke ended up talking me out of the pieces, but they were put to the test during the setup for the jungle survival course. No failures and retained their edges well, even chopping into the hard outer bark of 'cabbage' palms and digging holes for solar stills.

Benish is still carrying the knife as his main blade in Angola where he works for AirScan training the Angolan Guard.

KaBar? Highly recommended - Jeff

Randall's Adventure & Training

When a stacked leather handle is oval in cross-section it usually means that the knife tang is square or rectangular and the leather washers have holes that fit the tang to prevent handle rotation. The washers are simply oval rather than round and have squared holes in the center.
I hope y'all don't think this is a stupid question and I'm wasting your time, but I bought one of the old style Kabars with the leather sheath that says USMC on it. $35 off a gentleman at a gun show who is not a knife dealer. That was the only knife he had. Well, it came with a box, and I guess it's new.

However, I noticed that the false edge was flaking off black stuff, so I rubbed it -- and lo and behold, the false edge is a real sharpened edge. I suspect that maybe it does not come like this, and the gentleman sharpened it himself.

Can any of you tell me if the Kabars come with the false edge sharpened or not? Thanks. =)
I have 2 of them (only one of them is USMC, the other is a USN Mk2 Varient). I love both of them. I remember USMC one came sharp out of the box and the false edge was sharpened. It was pretty sharp to begin with, but I put it on my lansky and put an even nicer edge on it. I don't have the two side by side, but although my two are almost identical, the new USMC one seems to have better handle ergonomics and the black coating on the blade is extremely thick. Even though there are "better" knives out there, I still love Ka-Bars and would not hesitate to use one. Truth be told, that's what I bought my new one for, but for the last month, all I have done is admire it. Maybe someday I will upgrade to the Next Gen. Bowie, but for now, the old standbye is more than I need.

"I am not, really."
I have 2 "KaBars". One I bought in 1978, is the Camillus version. It has survived many camping trips, and 4 years in Germany in the Army (prying ammo boxes, digging holes, days on end soaked in the Fulda rains, etc. etc.). I teated it VERY badly - almost never oiled. Almost all of the black coating is gone. The most amazing thing to me is it spent the last 8 years in a Texas attic (hot/humid), until I dug it out of my Army stuff this spring. No real rust, the handle still looks brand new, and it only took a few minutes on the DMT stone to bring it back to razor sharp. It's now back "on duty" as my truck knife. The KaBar is like the 1911 auto - it's been around for a long time for a reason!!
I've got a 1970 Ka-Bar that I have bought over from an old American buddy. He used it in Vietnam. I have used it then since for all my outdoor trips into the Highlands. I decided to retire it an purchased a Ka-Bar New Generation (7" Blade). At first I got the one with the Kydex sheath ut when I put it on, I felt very uncomfortable with it, probably it's because I am used to the good old leather sheath. The knife shop owner is an old friend of mine, he changed the sheath to a leather one for me. Feels good.
I owned quite a number of knives, I've put aside a few for outdoor use and the rest for my collection. As for those outdoor knives, CS Recon tanto happens to be one of them, I still prefer the Ka-Bar.
I cannot figure out the sheath on the Next Gens. I got the tanto one.

Well, since the sheath is designed not for the specific knife -- or even Kabars specifically -- but rather for 7" fighting/utility knives in general, it doesn't fit very well. Especially the tanto, since it is small.

I notice of course, that whenever I pull it out, plastic comes with it. More and more plastic each time. The sheath is difficult to use, and so I skip the "push-the-tab-out" method because it is too slow, and use the "yank the damn thing out" method. ^_^

The problem with this is that the blade slices into the sheath and you lose ... yay, more Kydex.

This is bad 'cause it costs money.

Since I am a dork, I am probably doing it a stupid way.

Do any of you guys have recommendations? Do the rest of you Next Gen owners have this problem too? =)
Senshi - The "blade slices into the sheath " was that reason why I exchange it for a leather piece. I think that's the best thing to do.
Either that or try a different brand sheath. I have thought about getting Newt Livesay to make me a sheath for my Ka-Bar, but for now I will probably stick with the factory sheath or else make a new leather one myself.

"I am not, really."
I have owned several of these "Kabars" from various companies. For the money, you really cannot beat them. The blades take and hold a decent edge. The leather washer handles are comfortable, but need a little care. The buttcap can be used for light hammering. About the only complaint I have heard about these knives, is that they are a little too light for any real chopping, and the skinny steel guard will scrape ya if you do much chopping with them. Otherwise, a pretty good knife. I gave my remaining two factory versions to my sons(one is actually a Marine right now), the other is a teenager. As for myself, yesterday, I called Kevin Cashen, ABS Mastersmith and asked him to make me a custom version of this knife. Blade is to be a heavy clip blade, 8" long, forged out of L6 and marquenched. Guard and buttcap are to be heat treated and blued 5160 or L6. Handle is not leather washers, but Cocobolo or African Blackwood with grooves filed around for gripping. Basically, this will be a beefed up version, with flat ground blade(minus the worthless blood groove). Guard and buttcap will both be heavier and thicker. I cannot wait to see his version of this classic!

Danbo, soul brother of Rambo