KaBar: Straight or Serrated


November 17, 2010, 09:59 PM
I am thinking about getting a KaBar. Basically, it will be just for playing around and having fun. What do you guys who actually use them find more useful the straight or the serrated blade? Full size or the shorter length?

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November 18, 2010, 12:53 AM
When you say KaBar I'm going to assume you mean something like the USN MkII or the USMC F/U knives of WWII that were made by Camillus, KaBar, PAL and many other companies.

Being a traditionalist, I suggest you stick with this (http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=ka1217).

OTOH, if you want something more practical, since we don't know exactly what you intend to do with the knife, but in the same style, go with the shorter version.

Even more practical, but away from the style, is the new Eskabar. A combination of the best elements of the Becker Necker and the ESEE Izulu, the Eskabar will probably see more use than a MkII style.

November 18, 2010, 11:13 AM
The straight edge can be easily sharpened when it gets dull.

The serrated edge, not so much.

If I wanted another real GI Ka-Bar type knife, I would buy a real GI issue Camillus MK-2 off eBay.
By the photo's, this one right here would clean up real good, as it hasn't been attacked by "Bubba the Mad Bench-Grinder" sharpener guy yet.

IMO: If it isn't a U.S.N. MK-2 type 7" blade, it just ain't a Ka-Bar, no matter what the blade stamp says it is.


November 18, 2010, 01:19 PM
I have owned a few serrated blades. I wouldn't buy or carry another one. As rcmodel says, serrated blades are hard to sharpen. And difficult to use if you're putting a point on a pencil or making shavings to start a fire. I understand serrations are popular with those who cut a lot of rope or mess around with sailboats.

November 18, 2010, 04:12 PM
Sounds like the 7" straight blade is the way to go.

Do you think the old leather handle or newer knurled style is better.

November 18, 2010, 04:32 PM
Do you want a traditional real Ka-Bar?

They had leather handles & leather sheaths.

The biggest threat to them was WWII & Vietnam jungle rot.

If you are not going to be jungle fighting in the South Pacific for years, go with the traditional leather.

If you are, get the plastic one.


November 18, 2010, 05:36 PM
Shorter/synthetic handle will be more practical than the traditional 7" with leather.

November 18, 2010, 07:14 PM
Yep. And understand that a "combat knife" is one used by deployed soldiers, but almost never a FIGHTING knife.

November 18, 2010, 08:51 PM
I'll just say that I have the straight edge sort and a buddy of mine has the half serrated.
I've used mine for all sorts of things from digging, to punching in pegs/nails, sharpening, chopping, and all that jazz.
My buddy's used his once or twice and given up because he realized he couldn't really resharpen his.

No worries about not being to resharpen mine.

November 18, 2010, 09:00 PM
My current one is the half serrated, and I wish I had stuck with the straight blade. For most things the shorter version would probably be more practical too. On the other hand, if you find a need to chop down small trees, pry open ammo crates, drive nails, engage in last-dich hand to hand combat, or any of the other things a true Ka-Bar is so good for, then nothing else I have found compares.

stan rose
November 18, 2010, 09:00 PM
Of all the knives I own I have never been in a situation where I wished I had a serated section of a blade, but there have been plenty of times I wished it was a full plain blade.

November 25, 2010, 12:37 PM
Not sure why everyone wants a smooth blade. I earn my living as a fishing guide and carry a Benchmade folder with a partially serrated blade. I've never had any trouble keeping the smooth edge portion of the blade razor sharp.. while the serrated edge portion is the only thing you'll want if you're ever tangled up in a rope and need to get free quickly. I've had several partially serrated blades over the years and never noticed any problem with the serrated portion not cutting when needed. Since I also have and use a large selection of Forshcner knives for cutting fish, sometimes as much as 300lbs at a time ( using knives that range from a 6" all the way up to a 14" Scimitar blade) I've got a pretty good idea of what edge is best suited for one type of cutting over another. Hope this helps.

November 25, 2010, 12:50 PM
I went with both...Ontario U.S. Marine Corps Multi-Purpose Bayonet (OKC3S).

$108 at knifesupply.com


November 26, 2010, 08:23 AM
That's exactly the edge configuration I'd want... but I believe I'll pass on the bayonet - although, if that's current issue I'll bet every young marine is glad to have it. By the way on a recent short section of one of those "How it's made" tv shows that exact weapon was profiled. I was very impressed by the standards it had to meet in manufacture. It sure is a far cry from the little blade that was issue for an M-16 when I was a lot younger...

November 26, 2010, 09:22 AM
It's a knife not a saw.

Get the straight blade .


November 26, 2010, 10:12 AM
There are so many good knives out there sometimes it is hard to make a decision. Depend's a lot of what you think you may someday need the knife for. I own a house full of knives and seldom have need of any of them. If you want a fixed blade configuration yet think you may also want the partially serrated edge then perhaps you should check out something like the Ontario ASEK survival knife system. It come's in black or camoflauge and can be found at 'Smoky Mountain Knife Works' and is or used to be anyway, item # ON1410. I own a couple of them and while I have not really put them 'to the test' they are good knives.. Complete system and is made of good 1095 High Carbon steel, same as the Kabar and Case XX..I think I paid about $140.00 each including shipping and all...I don't really think you would have to worry much concerning 'jungle rot' on the leather grip of a USMC Kabar or USMC Case XX. As a matter of fact I KNOW you would not have to worry about it but that's like my religion. I won't try to push it off on anyone else....

November 26, 2010, 12:04 PM
I bought a Kabar USMC knife with the leather scabbard(USMC marked)in the early to mid 1970s at a mom and pop store for very little money. I used it for years on my trapline for work too light for the hachet. Those knives were very plentiful and reasonably cheap here. Not being a knife person myself I never had much regard for them. I SERIOUSLY doubt they were the same as discussed here. They were obviously well made but in those days,folks around here went for Case knives. A Kabar was what you bought when you couldn't get a Case. I can't remember what I did with mine.

December 2, 2010, 02:31 AM
I would go with the straight edge, just my preference. All the knifes that i own with serration just seem to get in the way for my needs, i find no use in them, just like i said thats my opinion.

Riot Earp
December 2, 2010, 08:02 PM
I have one of each, both leather handled full-size models. The serrated one gets fondled a lot, and that's about it.

In WWII these were made by Union Cutlery (trade name "KA-BAR"), Camillus, Robeson, and PAL. After the war, existing inventory was used up until 1960, when Utica Cutlery, Conetta, Camillus, M.S.I., and, lastly, Ontario got into the mix. Ontario holds the current contract. Case made the M3 Trench knife during WWII but made no MK2s under government contract. They did submit a prototype MK2.

December 2, 2010, 09:16 PM
I'd get the version with both. I have a Gerber folder that is half and half, and use the serrations to sharpen my students pencils, and the plain edge at times to cut food at lunch. It works much better than the razor blades that the kids use to sharpen their pencils. As long as you know it's limitations, (it is NOT a saw) and use it correctly, the serrated is much more versatile.

*I know it sounds ridiculous to the American ear about bringing knives to school, but here it is common practice and there is rarely an event of violence at school. Corporal punishment is also permitted, and rarely is there a problem with the students paying attention under a good teacher as well. *

December 2, 2010, 09:43 PM
If you want to use that knife in the outdoors for things like wood processing, a straight blade makes more sense. You need a straight edge to whittle wood to make stakes and to notch sticks for trap-making. Pretty basic skillset for knives in the outdoors.

Ole Coot
December 2, 2010, 09:53 PM
Good Ole USMC KaBar sharpened false edge served me well in the late '60s with very little rot. Used for everything and retired with my EK edge & 1/2 of the same era. Used & abused still great.

December 5, 2010, 11:02 PM
I prefer the straight blade. With the US Army sheath.
An Ek will also serve you well.

December 6, 2010, 02:27 AM
wow, cool stuff for sure.

Gary G23
December 6, 2010, 08:17 AM
I just ordered this one:


I figured the straight edge would be easier to keep sharp.

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