Looking for a solid combat knife


July 25, 2010, 10:52 PM
I have a fair collection of knives, including several high value collector knives. There are a couple of knife styles I have, as of yet, failed to purchase. I only have one valid excuse for failing to buy a well put together combat knife, and that is... I can't tell if they're well made over the internet, and everyone says their knife is well made.
There are a couple of brands I would trust anyway, such as Gerber or Ka-bar, but they both have a big price tag. So, if anyone can point me to a reliable combat knife with a decent price tag, I would be very thankful.:cool:

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July 25, 2010, 10:54 PM
What price-point are you looking at?
The Gerbers and Kabars are gonna be about $60-$80 and up. If you shop right a $25-ish knife can be amazing bang for buck.

July 25, 2010, 11:06 PM
Here is (http://www.manventureoutpost.com/products/Ka%252dBar-1217-USMC-Straight-Edge-Fighting.html) the USMC Kabar for $46 dollars. Great knife, and great price.

Short of that, look at Ontario Knife's Spec Plus series. They usually sell in the $35-50 range and are excellent.

July 25, 2010, 11:23 PM
I want it under $50, and prefferably no serrations on one side, thanks.

July 26, 2010, 09:39 AM

What do you want to do with it? Is it intended to be an example in the collection or will you be deploying to Afghanistan and need it for patrols?

July 26, 2010, 10:44 AM
Depends also on whether you mean a "fighting knife" or combat knife.

Fighting knife- 5-12" blade, self-explanatory use. Good, less expensive options include several Ontario knives, such as the Marine Combat Knife (http://newgraham.com/store/product/7035/Marine-Combat-Knife/), Marine Raider (http://newgraham.com/store/product/1929/Ontario-SP10-Marine-Raider-ONT-8345/), and (getting a little more upscale) RTAK-II (http://newgraham.com/store/product/4204/RTAK-II-PE-ONT-8628/).

Combat knife- 3.5-5" blade, used for the many things a deployed troop may need to do. (Fighting is near the BOTTOM of that list.) A longer blade will get in the way of your combat load, may not be allowed, and will get you laughed at, at the least, by those around you. :) Some options include the RAT-3 (http://newgraham.com/store/product/6019/RAT-3-PE--ONT-8630/) and Spyderco Aqua Salt (http://newgraham.com/store/product/5016/Aqua-Salt--SE-Black-SCFB23SBK/) (completely rustproof).

John (my favorite combat knives were a Spyderco Native, custom 5" blade [both used in several firefights to quickly extract mortar ammo], and Spyderco Waved Endura and Speed Dialer sheath. My favorite fighting knives are my 16.5" HI WWII kukuri and 19" HI Crow, a super-sized bowie)

July 26, 2010, 01:15 PM
In addition to Ka-Bar, don't overlook the Ontario Knife Co. and also Camillus

Unlike a lot of other companies selling Chinese copies of low quality at low prices, Ontario & Camillus have actually held government contracts to supply the real deal issue knives, bayonets, and machetes to our armed forces.


You can waste your money by buying a cheap copy for $25 bucks, but you would be taking a big risk if you ever really had to use it for anything more serious then taking up a hole in your collection.

Unlike a lot of things, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to the differance in price between a chinese copy and a real Ka-Bar, Ontario, or Camillus.


July 26, 2010, 03:14 PM
I'm trying to fill my collection as well as having a good reliable combat knife. A big piece of the collection also involves having knives that serve their intended purpose as well as looking good.
And the marine style is what I was looking at, thanks for the links everyone :)

July 26, 2010, 03:41 PM
If you're looking for a "combat" instead of a "fighting" knife then the "classic" options narrow down to the Mk II of previous eras and the current Beckers (at least to my way of thinking).

If you're looking for a "fighting" knife then the classics are the 1918 knuckle knives, Case V42 dagger or a John Ek sticker, Mac V Sog style knife, Al Mar Shadow, Gerber Mk II. Unfortunately none of these will fit your price range.

July 26, 2010, 07:57 PM
Most military knives are sharpened prybars with awful balance. If you're in the market for a durable knife that could be used in a variety of situations, from camping trips to an unscheduled adventure, check out ESEE :


July 26, 2010, 08:23 PM
Most military knives are sharpened prybars with awful balance. If you're in the market for a durable knife that could be used in a variety of situations, from camping trips to an unscheduled adventure, check out ESEE :

http://www.eseeknives.com/knives.htm. . . which are nothing more than the aforementioned RAT knife company, under a new name.

July 26, 2010, 10:37 PM
i would take a look at the KA Bar Becker BK7 or BK9. The RAT/ESEE knives are worth taking a look at also.

July 26, 2010, 10:40 PM
maybe a fallkniven of some sort too. those are pretty popular as bushcraft/survival knives as well as being issued to Swedish Air Force Pilots and soldiers. (i think)

NOTE: I have never handled one myself, only have heard and read good reports on them here and in a few other places.

July 26, 2010, 11:10 PM
Do you have any of the knives we've suggested?

July 27, 2010, 03:43 PM
Nope, my dad has a nice Ka-Bar though

July 27, 2010, 07:38 PM
I would also appreciate a good deal on a fairbairn-sykes style fighting knives

July 28, 2010, 08:52 AM
Fallkniven makes the only decent double edged knife I've ever handled:


July 28, 2010, 09:45 AM
I would also appreciate a good deal on a fairbairn-sykes style fighting knives

That could be a little expensive.

July 28, 2010, 12:33 PM
The Fairbairn-Sykes knives are still being made and are around $100 depending on the model.

July 28, 2010, 12:51 PM
The question of quality comes into the equation. Our friend specified he wanted to stay under $50 and that makes getting anything worth having challenging.

July 28, 2010, 01:05 PM
I have used,... and still have,.... both the KaBar fighting knife, and a Gerber MarkII,...each have ridden on my rig at different times,..and served me well.

The KaBar's can be found pretty easily at a decent price. Don't settle for the substitute copies,..get the real deal. The Gerber Mark II's are harder to find nowdays,...but in my opinion was and still is well worth what I paid for mine many years ago. My Gerber went with me on my last several go-rounds before I retired,..and has since made a couple more trips to the sand box on the rigs of a couple very fine young men I hold in high regard.

In my opinion,...the KaBar makes a better working knife for general field functions, ....albeit a bit long. The Mark II is a better balanced knife for up close and personal work. Both will get that job done well though.

In todays military environments,..unless you are a grunt,..(and sometimes not even then),....having either of these on your rig is an invitation to a conversation with your higher,..and probably won't be permitted.

Just my take on it,....ymmv. Different war,...different times,.....

SGM, USA, Retired

July 28, 2010, 03:23 PM
I know that a fairbairn sykes is an expensive knife, just wondering if there are any amazing deals on them, if there are I might be willing to push my price limit a little

July 28, 2010, 05:04 PM
I think the Fairbairn-Sykes Commando knife is without a doubt, one of the worst combat knives ever designed.

They were fine for sneaking up behind a sentry and sticking it between his ribs, or cutting his throat, but little else.

The point and tang are way too delicate on them for any other combat field use.

Either the point will break off, or the whole blade will break off at the guard during light duty use that wouldn't phase a Ka-Bar or Navy MKII.

BTW: A combat knife will be used about 99.99999% of the time for other things besides knife fighting or killing a sentry.

Most all of the time, that will be things like digging holes to poop in, cutting rope or flex-cuffs, opening ammo crates, chopping brush for camo or to clear fire-lanes, etc.

For any of that, no double-edge dagger will serve you at all well in combat.


July 28, 2010, 08:32 PM
At the risk of being contentious, I have to point out my personal experience with Camillus knives. Without exception, they have been pure junk. When I was on active duty I was issued a number of them and still have, as mementos, a "Camp Knife" and an "Electrician's Knife." Both of these have blades that dull cutting butter. The camp knife's can opener doesn't work. The electrician's knife really let me down one day when I had to cut some nylon risers out of the bomb bay of a B-52. Dulled halfway through the first one and there were many. Had to borrow a kife from one of the guys that actually cut. Got my first AF survival knife in Vietnam. Cool sharpening stone built in to the sheath. Unfortunately it was like trying to sharpen a piece of bread. Worthless knife. Junked it for a Kabar.

Still have two Gerber MK-1s and a Guardian. These are double edge daggers that are high quality and hold great edges. Perfect if you want insurance if you are brought to ground, out of ammo, etc. As boot or hidden-away daggers they are hard to beat. But they aren't camp tools. My squadron used to give engraved MK-1s as gifts to departing officers. The Fallkniven GARM looks like an interesting piece for this role but I haven't personally handled one.

July 28, 2010, 08:50 PM
Why even look beyond the K-Bar? Buy one!!!!

July 28, 2010, 09:10 PM
I have an Ontario USAF survival knife and it is really solid and pretty well balanced. You might want to consider it.

July 28, 2010, 09:31 PM
. . . which are nothing more than the aforementioned RAT knife company, under a new name.

Ahhh, no sorry, that is incorrect. ESEE was formerly known as Rat Cutlery, not the Ontario made RAT. ESEE is superior in quality and have a no holds barred, unconditional full replacement warrantee. They are superior knives for the money. Check out the ESEE 4, 5 and 6 for these uses.

I also have a Fallkniven F1 and two Bark River Bravo-1's which are also excellent for all around survival, bushcraft, and combat zone knives.

July 28, 2010, 10:59 PM
There are combat knives, fighting knives, collector knives. My favorite was my Gerber Mark 1 I bought at the PX in 1966/67 (?). It is currently riding the boot of a career NCO who I helped train in Search & Rescue as an Explorer Scout. To me it is and was a fighting knife pure, plain and simple. Now when I carry a sheath knife it is a puukko purchased from Ragnar's forge on the Internet. It is one of the most versatile knives I have ever owned, I believe it is called the troll. I have skinned elk, cut for campfire, carved with it, cleaned fish, and shown it off more than once to others who were mystified by it's ability to absorb punishment and maintain an edge. As for combat or fighting, it was more than capable when the Germans invaded the Scandinavian countries in WWII. Mine is made of three plies of steel and is carbon steel, not stainless.

Sgt Ranger
Like my father before me

July 28, 2010, 11:15 PM
Thanks, the camping knife is what I was looking for. The fairbairn would be for show, it's just an afterthought. I don't want to buy a "survival knife" unless it has a full tang, absolutely NO exceptions on that rule, I would also like it to hold a good edge (I do a little carving now and then). So sorry about the fairbairn comment, it belongs on a different thread, my bad.

July 29, 2010, 12:11 AM

I think you misunderstood naolith. I think he's referring to the original RAT knives and not the ones produced by Ontario under agreement with Randall's Adventure & Training. If we do a little more digging into the history of RAT and ESSE we find that around 2002 Ontario entered into an agreement with Randall's Adventure and Training Team (RAT) and started offering a production version of the "real" RAT knives. RAT had been making knives since 1997 and had developed a stellar reputation. Much like other collaborations the folks at Randall's weren't happy with the Ontario RATs and eventually Randall and Ontario parted ways. RAT continued to make their outstanding knives. In 2010 Randall's Adventure & Training changed the name of the cutlery division to ESEE. Same company, same knives, different name. Read the press relief yourself. http://www.eseeknives.com/February%201%20Press%20Release.pdf

July 29, 2010, 12:20 AM
The "Troll" that blindhari mentions is made by Brusletto.

The one RagweedForge sells has this picture:


I have one that's similar, but not as well put together.

I should probably get a photo of it, since it's the only Norwegian knife I have.

July 29, 2010, 03:54 AM
My thanks to the moderator. I purchased 4 of these a while back (lower price then) and have yet to wear out the first one. I have given one to each of our children and the third is still pristine because of the wood on the handle. My wood carving tools are Ramelson and this is on an eaqual footing as far as quality, but far more useful for casual or slab carving.


July 29, 2010, 08:30 AM
+1 to the Thepunisher'sArmory

July 29, 2010, 08:44 AM
My old RAT 7 has cut wood, chopped anything in the way, and will still shave you(after a mild sharpening that is). It is my second favorite-first is a freebie from a bud. It is a Gerber and unbelievably sharp, tough, and easy handling. The BOB has a "Rambo" piece of junk and on top is a fighting knife(dagger). Different tools for different jobs.

July 29, 2010, 10:27 AM
In 2010 Randall's Adventure & Training changed the name of the cutlery division to ESEE. Same company, same knives, different name. Read the press relief yourself.

Thanks HSO. I am very familiar with RAT Cutlery and the name change to ESEE. I have three of their fine knives as well as a fire starter and even a coffee mug. :D

I'm also active in their forum here.


I assumed he was comparing the Ontario made Randall designed RAT knives to the current ESEE/RAT Cutlery knives. Thanks for the clarification.

July 29, 2010, 11:37 AM
Thanks for the links, although a wood handle seems a little fancy for a camping knife that may be exposed to a variety of bad conditions. Rubber or leather grips seem a little better for the situation.

July 29, 2010, 01:01 PM
I have seen and repaired a lot of leather washer handles on WWII combat knives that just fell off due to jungle rot.

The wood handle knives seems to have survived just fine, even from the civil war & WWI era, as they are not subject to jungle rot or being damp 24/7 for months.

Rubber handles are a fairly recent development.
We will have to wait 75-150 years to see how well they compare to wood for longevity.
But I wouldn't place any bets on them lasting that long.


July 29, 2010, 01:20 PM
although a wood handle seems a little fancy for a camping knife that may be exposed to a variety of bad conditions.

You're making an incorrect assumption. Leather stack washers are a recent feature compared to wood. I've handled wooden gripped knives from before the civil war. They might crack, but they don't rot off like leather.

July 29, 2010, 01:23 PM
hmmm, guess I didn't think about that... I also prefer the feel of leather or rubber to wood, unless it's checkered wood. Any suggestions for checkered wood?

July 29, 2010, 01:25 PM
You don't want a checkered handle on a knife. They'll raise blisters.

July 29, 2010, 01:28 PM
good thought.... but smooth wood doesn't feel right to me. Any non conventional grip suggestions that aren't smooth?

The Highlander
July 29, 2010, 06:15 PM
Micarta and G10. (Micarta is layered Canvas, Linen, or Paper impregnated with a durable synthetic resin/epoxy and G10 is similar to fiberglass and is also reinforced with epoxy; both can be made smooth or textured)

July 29, 2010, 08:54 PM

July 29, 2010, 09:58 PM
I really like my Ka-Bar Tanto.

July 29, 2010, 10:27 PM
Thanks, I'll take a look at some of those grip options. I feel kind of stupid not thinking of stag though :). My dad owns a Ka-Bar tanto, don't want an exact copy of his, but thanks.

July 31, 2010, 12:21 AM
You could always try the "rough use knife" at Cheaper Than Dirt - http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ItemListing.aspx?catid=682;
If you don't like it you are only out ten bucks. Better yet save your pennies and get the Ka-bar.

July 31, 2010, 04:07 AM
I got one of the Glock combat knives for christmas and its a fine blade. Holds an edge very well. Must confess, never been in a knife fight though :)

July 31, 2010, 12:26 PM
Cold Steel Recon Scout. you can get the cheaper (high carbon steel, black coated) for apx $60

as others have said "combat knife" and "fighting knife" are two different things. imho, a combat knife is more useful because it will fill in for the fighting knife better than the fighting knife will fill in for it (utilitarian).

The Highlander
July 31, 2010, 01:23 PM
If you want a cheap tanto Cold Steels Kobun aint bad and if youre lucky you can see them as low as $25-30

July 31, 2010, 02:36 PM
All sound like good suggestions. I would like a completely straight edge though, also thinking about a bone grip, any suggestions?

July 31, 2010, 05:13 PM
Surplus M7 Bayonet's can be had from cheaper than dirt for about $30.00

July 31, 2010, 05:50 PM
I would like a completely straight edge

What do you mean? Actually a straight cutting edge as opposed to curved or an edge without serrations?

July 31, 2010, 10:42 PM
I meant an edge without serrations. Sorry for being so picky, and thanks for all the links and advice.

July 31, 2010, 11:18 PM
Many people don't like serrations on a blade.

Bone grips come on cheap junk and on more expensive blades, but there's little middle ground. Also, combat knives don't come with bone grips usually.

I think you would benefit from doing some research on combat knives and fighting knives throughout the ages before making any decisions.

August 1, 2010, 06:25 AM
when you say "bone" are you really stuck on bone? or would stag suffice? if you're cool with stag, take a look at Linder, which i think someone already suggested, but i'll see if i can find you a good link

Here ya go (http://www.youwantit2.com/Linder.html)

it will mean spending a little more than you had planned, but that kinda happens to all of us lol

August 3, 2010, 11:37 PM
I'm not dead set on anything yet. I'm aware that bone isn't popular on combat knives though, I bet I could order a bone grip somewhere though, but again, not dead set or even kind of set on anything yet.

August 4, 2010, 01:10 AM
I bet I could order a bone grip somewhere though,

You sure can, but your choices are still limited expensive customs well beyond your $50 price bracket or a cheap piece of junk from a third world country.

You really will benefit from spending less money and spending more time learning about the great wide range of knives out there. Try Bladeforums or Knifeforum or USN.

August 5, 2010, 02:09 PM
You're right, I'll take a look at those, thanks.

August 6, 2010, 07:20 AM
I think Queen has some bone handle knives, not really combat knives though. But probably some sturdy fixed blades.

August 9, 2010, 10:34 PM
Let's be sure that any current issue military knives are acquired properly.

August 10, 2010, 01:11 AM






Not all these are speciifcally w/in your price range or bone (some are stag, horn, etc) but there are certainly options from Queen, as I said. If I were you I'd get a Queen catalog. Although I'm not so sure your "pure combat knife" is a Queen, it'd be pretty versatile and nice for the price IF the main focus is bone.

August 10, 2010, 09:51 AM
The Hen & Roosters will be good.

August 10, 2010, 01:37 PM
I think the 0008 fixed blade bowie looks really cool from H&R, just wish I knew the blade steel. 440A?

August 10, 2010, 07:54 PM
That would require some research to be sure.

August 10, 2010, 11:57 PM
It never fails that I forget what it was called, but I found a Gerber dagger that looks similar to a Gerber Mk1 that was about perfect for a fighting knife. It was about the size of the current Guardian. I probably wouldn't have bought one myself because I am not particularly interested in fighting with a knife and was satisfied with the folder I carried for all other tasks, but I have to say, that Gerber was awfully nice and I would like another one at some point.

It's just my opinion, but having handled a couple of Applegate-Fairbairn daggers, I think they are pretty rad. The Boker models are over 50 bucks, but with a little saving could easily be called affordable.

August 11, 2010, 01:33 PM
Alright thanks, I have several things to save for right now, I'll probably get my 1911, followed shortly by a good combat knife to complete the look, and my add to my collection

Psyco Tyco
August 16, 2010, 12:32 AM
cold steel SRK or a SOG seal team elite

August 18, 2010, 03:22 PM
Another reason why it is hard to beat the Ka-Bar is, the ease of sharpening that carbon steel. You can hone a razor's edge on that knife, yes you have to work to keep it up, and keep a thin coat of oil, I prefer "balistol" as it wont affect the sheath. A good Ka-Bar with the thumb guard milled off makes one hell of an all around knife. You wont have a fortune in it either, and buy a good stone set and learn how to use it, the knife will last you a long time if you use it for what a knife should be used for.

Big Bill
August 20, 2010, 06:23 PM
I like my Ontario SP6 Fighting Knife. It's next to my bed ready to go. I've had great luck with these folks...



September 15, 2010, 02:16 PM
When I was heading to Afghanistan I kept thinking of that scene in "Band of Brothers" where the German kills the Ranger with a knife in that upstairs room. As unlikely as it would be that even as an infantryman I would find myself in a similar situation, I still felt that I ought to have a decent knife with me when out on missions.

I ended up choosing CRKT's (Columbia River Knife and Tool - I'm an Oregonian, after all) CR-2705 First Strike tanto with a plain edge, blackened metal, and a sharkskin/cord grip. I liked it because it was sturdy but had a flat, low profile that wouldn't stand out too much on my IOTV.

Initially I fastened it to the back of my IOTV waist belt, but after being in the scrum of a bunch of Afghan kids I decided I preferred it in the front, fastened horizontally on my strong-side mag pouches with handle to the right. It's still there. I wrapped the sheath and the grip with ACU camo cloth to make it less noticeable.

I note that it's been discontinued, but it seems you can still get them at various places for $40 to $60.

September 15, 2010, 05:14 PM
See if you can pick up a used Becker BK7 or BK9. I have the BK9 and while it is a bit heavy, it is a comforting heavy. Also, check out bladeforums.com. They have a section with reviews for a lot of manufacturers, both popular and unknown.

September 18, 2010, 12:23 AM
thanks, I think I will

September 19, 2010, 06:01 PM
I'll play!!! You can't beat Cold Steel unless you want to take out a second mortgage.

G.I. Tanto is awesome!! And at $35 you can abuse the heck out of it and not even feel bad.

And if you want something bigger, try the Kukri Machete for $27. I have both of these and they are hard to beat. I just use the heck out of em and don't even care.

September 19, 2010, 08:14 PM

i'm definately with ya, on the G.I. Tanto :) i just ordered one, for a good friend, and i took some time to mess around with it a little before i had to part with it. MAN! that is one capable knife. everything about it is just great. i've been tempted to add one to the collection just because it's cheap, strong, and made to be thrown :D

btw - his was $29.47 shipping INCLUDED. at that price, i can get over the "China" on the side of the blade.

September 23, 2010, 12:05 AM
Very nice, thanks a ton! I just may buy one of those G.I. Tantos for myself, right after the 1911 that keeps barely escaping my grasp.

September 23, 2010, 12:32 AM
Two issues with the CS GI Tanto -

1055 is the steel used in their machetes so don't expect the very thick GI Tanto to hold an edge well against abrasion.

Frankly, the GI Tanto is almost a dead ringer for a Stider BT Tanto (minus the camo treatment) and purchasing copies of extant knives isn't cool.

While they're a steal on deep discount sales, the upper guard needs to be removed to improve its practical uses and there are much better knives for around $70 made of 1095 that has been proven over and over again.

September 23, 2010, 03:56 AM

i see your point on the blatant rip off, but i'm confused about one thing: you said there are better knives for 70bux, what cost 70? the Strider's i've found are in the 300's and the GI Tanto is 20.

i'll have to pay attention to the GI Tanto my buddy just got and see how fast it loses it's edge. that could really change my opinion about it. i really like that knife, from what little i've seen of it, and i could deal with buying a knockoff better than i could deal with paying (literally) ten times as much for the Strider :(

September 23, 2010, 11:36 AM
Didn't I JUST read this same theory in another thread?

Black Toe Knives
September 23, 2010, 12:41 PM
Brad, it like a bad rerun.

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