This is a full size field ready commemorative edition K-Bar.
The Original KA-BAR® - The United States Marine Corps World War II Fighting Knife. "An American Legend"
U.S.M.C Fighting/Utility Knife - 02-1217-K1. Hand crafted in Olean, NY. Features a 7" black powder-coated, non-glare blade of high-quality carbon steel with a hand-honed razor-shard edge, strikings of U.S.M.C. Handle is highly-polished compacted leather discs. 11-7/8" overall. Sheath is durable cowhide branded with the U.S.M.C. "Eagle & Globe" crest. Giftbox, complete with a reproduction of the original design blueprints for World War II and dated December 9, 1942.
The USMC Fighting Knife is famous in its own right, and has an historical background behind it that is an exciting adventure story and is now an American legend. This is the story of one of the world's most famous fighting knives.
Ask some World War II Marines what kind of knife they depended on during the war and you'll get only one answer - a KA-BAR!
Back in 1941, after the start of World War II, KA-BAR submitted a Fighting-Utility knife to the United States Marine Corps that was accepted as the standard issue for the Corps.
KA-BAR started supplying these knives and they soon became the prized possession of every fighting Marine. They depended on it for a combat weapon and for such every day tasks as pounding tent stakes, driving nails, opening ration cans or digging fighting holes (fox holes to the Army) - their KA-BAR was constantly at their side.
During World War II, the KA-BAR Fighting Knife earned the greatest respect, not only of the Marines, but also of those who served in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Underwater Demolition Teams, who were eventually issued the USMC/KA-BARS.
Years later, during the Korean, Vietnam and Desert Storm conflicts, many KA-BARS were reactivated into military service as World War II veterans, remembering how well the knife had served them, passed their personal KA-BARS along to their sons.
The dependability and quality of the wartime KA-BARS weren't the result of just a casual approach to the production of these knives. In addition to the constant on-premise quality control procedures of the US Marine Corps and Navy Supply Depot inspectors, Dan Brown, then President of KA-BAR, and the entire KA-BAR Company was dedicated to making this knife their contribution to the war effort. As a result of this personal involvement, quality went into the knife that assured its meeting all types of tests without failing. Even tough Marine Corps and Navy test were supplemented by additional trials, such as driving the blade deep into a 6" x 6" timber and straining the blade back and forth at extreme angles, constantly testing edge retention in cutting through all types of materials and submitting the leather handles to severe atmospheric and corrosion tests to be sure they would hold up under all conditions of cold, heat or jungle rot without loosening or decomposing. As a result, the many thousands of KA-BARs produced during World War II performed so well that the people at KA-BAR were very proud of the reports that came back from all areas of operations and the excellent reputation that had earned.
World War II ended and KA-BAR Fighting Knives went out of production until 32 years later when the original KA-BAR factory in Olean, New York and some of the craftsmen who worked on the original knife began production again to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps. KA-BAR wanted to recognize this great milestone in USMC history by issuing a "full dress model" of the original KA-BAR - a limited edition would be most meaningful to the Marines.
Throughout the production of the Commemorative a few KA-BAR senior employees proudly performed the same tasks they worked on during the years 1942 to 1945 when KA-BAR was making its contribution to the war effort. As a result the completed knives were a true "work of art", but retained the look, feel and performance of a battle ready combat knife. KA-BAR was proud to present Commemorative Serial No. 1 to the Commandant of the Marine Corps destined to be displayed in the USMC Museum at Quantico, VA. THE USMC Commemorative was so enthusiastically received that it became obvious that the old KA-BAR Fighting/Utility Knife had retained it notoriety throughout the years. The limited production Commemorative was very quickly taken up by Marines, knife enthusiasts and collectors and KA-BAR knew that it should now be returned to production, in its standard issue form, with all of the original specifications. Fortunately, they were available because the original blueprints were found in the company archives.
So the "fighting KA-BAR" got back into its original gear and today it continues to be a favorite among Marines who adopt them as their own personal option knife and carry them into active service, but it's also a favorite of adventurers, survivalists, outdoor sportsmen and, of course, knife collectors who know this knife - this "American legend" - above all, deserves a place in their collection. And so it is, not only in America, but throughout the world.
Here are some of the original specifications that continue in the current production of this great knife:
Blades are Hi-carbon USSI 1095 steel hardened and tempered to resist breaking under severe pressure and to accept and retain a super sharp edge, but also an edge that can be restored with reasonable ease even in the field.
Blades are stamped from cold steel sheet. The mark side tang is deeply stamped KA-BAR, OLEAN, NY in capital block letters and the pile side tang with a bold U.S.M.C. Later in the war the KA-BAR Fighting Knife was also adopted by other branches of the service and were stamped accordingly.
The elongated oval hand guard is mounted above black fibre washers to separate it from the leather handle which could corrode the guard. The hand guard has an 8% bend toward the handle to deflect a wire., branch or another blade. On later models, when KA-BAR was trying to keep its production of blades applicable to any branch of service, it omitted the pile side tang stamp and put the service designation on the guards.
The leather handle of the KA-BAR Fighting Knife is formed by stacking 22 slotted genuine cowhide leather discs over the rectangular tang and then compressing them under great pressure to turn the discs into a solid unit - so solid in fact, it resists absorbing moisture or contamination of any kind and is highly shock proof. With the leather discs in place and still under pressure they are locked together by topping them off with a 3/8" solid steel pommel pinned right through the tang from side to side. With this accomplished the knife is assembled into one virtually indestructible piece and ready for the finishing operations of adding five grooves around the handle for a comfortable, slip resistant grip, polishing the leather and finally hand sharpening and honing the blade to a razor edge. The finished knife is then a truly battle-ready KA-BAR.
During the war period 1942 to 1945, the KA-BAR USMC Fighting Knife went through several changes and modifications, the most important of which involved the design and method of fixing the pommel to the tang. The first World War II plans specified a pommel about half the thickness of the final dimension approved and it was to be screwed on to the end of a threaded tang. This was soon improved, so as to better meet the extreme demands placed on the knife, by steel pinning the double thick pommels right through the tang the KA-BARs were ready to accept the challenge "beyond the call of duty."