Which fixed blade for standard issue?


March 29, 2003, 12:06 AM
My old classmate works as a procurement officer for the Ministry of Defence in his home country and recently for my opinion on what production fixed blade knife would make a good standard issue fighting knife for issue to approximately 10K infantry troops.

I'm pretty new to the fixed blade issue myself, having only one x-42 SOG Recondo and a custom bowie but I supppose key issues would be:

Ease of sharpening (no serrated blades)
Corrosion resistance (stainless steel preferred)
Cost (i.e. less than $140)
Length (anything from 5" to 8" for sufficent reach)
Should have a full tang for strength.
Should be able to withstand smashing into a enemy soldiers skull with the pommel.

Did I miss out other vital criteria? What production knife would you recommend for mass issue to groundpounders? Would standard Ka-Bar USMC knives be the solution?

If you enjoyed reading about "Which fixed blade for standard issue?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Jim March
March 29, 2003, 04:54 AM
What country? It may matter for various "political considerations".

Also, how far up on the list of priorities is actually using the knife as a weapon? Do they already have detachable bayonettes for that function?

What you want, if possible with the price cap, is a very high grade stainless.

Just under 7", right at your price ballpark, and with a really killer steel and good ergos across a broad range of hand sizes:


That's already in use by Sweden's military so it's an easy sell.


SOG has possibilities:



SOG is odd in that they use fairly low-grade stainlesses such as 440A or it's close relative AUS6, but heat-treat it VERY well and get a good blade. The advantage in doing that is extreme corrosion resistence...in marine environments, these and the Myerchin fixed-blades just rock. Edgeholding will still be down a hair, but field-resharpening will be easy and blade toughness (resistence to breaking) is high. Ergonomics are very good on these...looks are a bit "Gonzo", which may be good or bad.


The very latest Kabars are quite good:




I've shown you the listings for the same blade here with either some serrations, or plainedge all the way. I personally would recommend partially serrated for any of these pieces; most are available either way.

Those Kabars are of good stainless steel, moderate ergonomics.

There's also the Kabar "Impact" series in D2 tool steel. NOT a true stainless, but tends to resist rust well enough unless you're dealing with a serious marine environment:



That's a start anyways. The prices shown are "Internet deep-discount" - at the kind of bulk prices you're talkin' about, figure you'll get at least those price levels if not lower straight from the makers.

March 29, 2003, 07:20 AM
Go over to bladeforums or knifeforums and search the knife evaluations for lots of good information. Cliff Stamp from the Physics department at the Memorial University of Newfoundland posts over at bladeforums and he conducts very well documented tests. His information is usually excellent. http://www.physics.mun.ca:80/~sstamp/knives/index.html

March 31, 2003, 02:19 AM

It's a non muslim East Asian Country that's supportive of US interests. The M-16 is standard issue and so are M7 bayonets. The proposed fighting knife is envisaged to be used as a close combat weapon for CQC. Basically the 10,000 troops in question are naval infantry in the process of being turned into a marine division based on the US model.

According to my dear friend, SOG, Kar-Bar, Camillus and another US maker are the final brands shortlisted.

March 31, 2003, 02:47 AM
The afore mentioned knives are of course very good, but the more I look at my Becker 7 the better value it appears to have...at under $50. it's hard to beat. Hmmm, the Becker 9 looks interesting also... http://www.knifeworks.com/product.asp?0=395&1=396&3=1630

Jim March
March 31, 2003, 04:19 AM
Two problems with the Becker:

1) The grip ergos are designed for BIG American hands. I'm quite serious here: for the type of nation we're talking about, I would predict they'd be dismal failures for that reason alone. *I* find the grip "chunky" and I'm 6'4" tall. Himalayan Imports had to seriously enlarge their Khukuri grips for the US market.

2) On top of that, the Becker steel is a good high carbon/borderline tool steel. He just said "marine duty".

Sounds like it's the Philipines, or maybe Thailand?

Based on this newest info, the SOG would be my first choice for it's extreme corrosion resistance and good small-hands ergos.

The Fallkniven A1 (first link I provided) would be my second choice, or one of the stainless Ka-Bars failing that. The A1 has one of the best edgeholding stainlesses made. The Ka-Bars are in the middle in terms of edgeholding among the stainlesses but the grip ergos are only so-so. The SOG ergonomics are excellent bordering on extraordinary, with Fallkniven not too far behind both for fighting and utility roles.

March 31, 2003, 08:25 PM
Good Day Jim,

If you were an infantryman assigned to costal duty, which one of the SOG blades listed below would you pick?

1)X-42 Recondo
2)Govt Agent
4)Desert Dagger
5)Seal Knife 2000

March 31, 2003, 08:37 PM
The grip ergos are designed for BIG American hands

I have smaller hands and the handle did not feel bad to me, but then again I have not worked with it for any extended period of time...plus I did a para-cord wrap the same week I got it.

How much trouble could you have with the 0170-6c carbon steel with an epoxy-powder coating...not questioning you just curious if I should keep an eye on mine.

Jim March
April 1, 2003, 12:43 AM
1)X-42 Recondo

The Recondo is a bit short, 5.5", and the steel is a stainless with excellent edgeholding but...I'd be a bit concerned about both brittleness (high Rockwell numbers) and just HOW stainless is the stuff in a marine environment?


That's the original "neo-Tanto-esque" type blade; there's also a less Gonzo blade shape available with an actual belly which would be better.

2)Govt Agent

Hmmm...not bad. Rather plain, but would work. It's got the AUS6 type steel, extreme stainless properties and good toughness at the expense of edgeholding, which will still be decent.


Lacks a place to tie a lanyard loop, which in marine situations could end up being a very bad thing.


Ehhh...no. Expensive, 440A for the stainless properties and toughness but...made to be "flashy" and "cool looking". Ergonomics are mediocre. Not what you want.


4)Desert Dagger

In my opinion, hell no. Lacks a lanyard hole, but worse it's fully double-edge. There are utility functions that need pressure to the blade's spine. It's a pure fighter, very limited utility use. Let's get real: most of the time, these'll be used to open ammo cans or something. Knife-fighting isn't a very *common* activity.

Oh, and the nylon sheath sucks. You want kydex.


5)Seal Knife 2000

That's the one, in my opinion. 7" blade, good ergos for a wide variety of hand sizes, kydex sheath, lanyard loop hole, it's got the right steel for extreme marine duty. You can probably order it with the outermost half of the spine sharpened in "Bowie fashion" which wouldn't limit utility roles too much.


There's also a 9" blade stretch version called the Tigershark...has more or less all the same features of the 2000, and only a bit more bucks. Might be worth a look:


Jim March
April 1, 2003, 12:53 AM
Bruz: let's remember 2 things: this is for use near oceans, which is a "worst case" situation for rust resistence.

Second, this will be a soldier's knife. A LOT of different guys are gonna get ahold of these and beat the crap out of 'em, neglect the oiling needed in a seawater environment, etc. Under those conditions, if the choice is between a good stainless and a carbon steel, go stainless.

An *individual buyer* in the US, spending his own cash, is more likely to take care of a carbon steel blade and may be able to make that work even around an ocean. But I don't think it'll work for ALL of those soldiers.

In some ways, this is about providing a "lowest common denominator" knife that'll work even for the "Gomer Pyles" they get :). A high-maintenance carbon steel blade is the wrong approach, in my opinion.

Understand, there ARE praiseworthy things about the Becker. The ability to disassemble the grip and recycle the blade as a spearhead is a cool and remarkable thing. And the performance for the dollar is excellent. Just...not for this situation, in my opinion.

If you enjoyed reading about "Which fixed blade for standard issue?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!