For Iraq/Afghanistan Vets - What Was Your Most Useful Sandbox Knife?

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In Iraq I carried a CRKT M16 type model. In Afghanistan I carried the same until the pocket clip failed and I lost the knife. I replaced it with a Cold Steel AK47. That was an upgrade in every way. I also had a the large KA BAR tanto tip fighting knife on my warbelt. I ended up using that to scrape for command wires and hammer nails in the hooch. I still wouldn't ever go to a combat zone without a fixed blade, no matter what.

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My ZT 0301 Ranger in OD Green with Tiger stripe saved my life on more than one occation. The first time it cut me out of a jammed seatbelt when my truck was hit by an IED. I used it for everything from cutting open MREs to stripping radio wires to digging cat holes. The last time it saved my life, it stayed where it was used. I suspect the shroud man has a new tool these days.
I've handled about 100 knives pulled from the garbage here in Afghanistan. Only 2 Spydercos...both in working condition, and both FRN handled.

The only good reason to get any of the larger Spydercos with a steel handle is so you can engrave something nice on them.

Went to the local toy store and looked at the FRNs. Nice, may have to get one.
OIF 2003 and OEF 2005 - I carried a Sypderco Endura (stainless handle) that I had been carrying and using since about 1997... It was just my everyday knife.

About 6 months into the second Det I lent it to troop who managed to break the locking mech on it, which turned it into a slip joint...

I still have it stored away in my knife collection as a reminder...

Other than that I was issued a Gerber Multi tool right before we shipped out in 03... Lots of guys broke theirs and bitched about how crappy the Gerber was.... but everything on mine still works (probaly because I never let "THEM" use it).
but everything on mine still works (probaly because I never let "THEM" use it)

Isn't one of the tradesman laws "never lend your tools"? (For me it's never lend my roadbike.)
I really like the stainless Spydercos. I have a grasshopper that I can't keep my hands off of. Don't know why but I've always loved stainless. It's my favorite semi precious metal. I'm trying to resist but I want a stainless endura or delica. Any suggestions on which is better?
Staying on topic, how did the endura handle the sandbox?
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I am very anti-stainless when it comes to knives. Stainless steel in knives is either 440A, 440B, or 440C steel. 440A being the "best" of the group and C the worst and cheapest. If I see a knife that says "surgical stainless" or just "440" I don't trust the company to know enough about their knives to buy from them. I will take a 1055, 1095, or D2 steel blade any day of the week.
I am very anti-stainless when it comes to knives.

I have always been the same way, but with some of the manufacturers using better stainless alloys now, you can get a decent blade that is stainless. I love my Benchmade folder in 154CM. All my fixed blades are plain high carbon steels though.

440A being the "best" of the group and C the worst and cheapest.

I've been known to type the opposite of what I was thinking at times so I assume that's the case here, but for everyone else's information 440A gets used for a lot of knives, but C is the better blade steel for most applications because it is more wear resistant (keeps and edge longer) and is stronger than A and hardened more than A. That said, A is easier to sharpen than C so some people like that it is easier to put an edge back on it.
Yeah that was my fault. I get the two mixed up from time to time.

After the first 15 or so stainless steel knives it was time to stop buying knives with terrible blades and buy something that would last. My lowest quality knife is 4034 Stainless but I don't use it for any more than slicing open boxes or cleaning under my fingernails or something. So for that they last about a year and are cheap to replace if I lose them or break.
Readyrod - I have a stainless handled Delica (VG-10 blade) and love it. Very slim, comfortable handle. If you have big hands, you will probably like the Endura more, but either would do.
Stainless steel in knives is either 440A, 440B, or 440C steel.
Except when it's: AUS8A, AUS6A, AUS10A, VG2, VG5, VG7/8, VG10, G2/GIN1, 425M, 420HC, 12C27, ATS-34, ATS-154CM, S60V, BG-42, S90V, S30V, Sandvik 12C27, N690, 17-7 PH, S35VN, S110V, CTS-20, CTS-40C, 8CR13MoV, etc.
I've been getting the feeling (message?) that in the sandbox knives have more of a utility use than other. So I'm wondering how folders fare what with the sand and dust. I'm specially interested in the steel Spydercos but that is just an aside as I have a thing for stainless. (and Spyderco)
Anyways I'm thinking that the most useful approach would be to think workknives instead of tactical. What do you folks think?
Anyways I'm thinking that the most useful approach would be to think workknives instead of tactical. What do you folks think?
Clearly so. While somewhere, sometime some US soldier in the current campaign(s) has undoubtedly used a knife for defensive (maybe even offensive!) purpose at least once, the uses will be for utility needs at about a million-to-one.

I got to inspect a box of folders which were all damaged and discarded in Afghanistan. Benchmades, CRKT, Gerber, Kershaw, etc. Didn't get any Spydercos back. (They're probably still working...;))

They universally appeared to have been used very hard in prying and heavy cutting operations. Many mangled or missing serration teeth. Most had broken tips. The folder mechanisms (especially the assisted opening blades) were pretty gritty. Flooding them with oil and/or repeated baths and rinses got most of that out, but they'd never be as smooth as factory new. That's a very, VERY harsh environment.
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Craftsman "Work Knife" ... I am finding out it's a rebranded Kershaw Chubby.

It's thick enough to not break when you're jiggling things apart with it and hefty enough to hit things with as well, when they won't go into the hole they're supposed to.
Short Benchmade folder.

During my first trip to Afghanistan, I really needed a saw and didn't have one. Before the next trip, I bought a camper's chain saw which looked like a bike chain you roll up and put in a pouch. I never needed it again and ended up leaving it behind after a short while.

For whatever that is worth.
Would the saw on a SAK have done the job? Mine works well, tho in a Mikey Mouse kind of way. I sawed off the end of an umbrella for the kids to use as a toy pistol. Gotta work on their muzzle control tho, LOL.
I don't think I would have been happy with less than a lumber mill. We were cutting down anything that would burn so we could fit it in a potbelly stove. That was a long time ago and I never ran into quite the same situation again. Most people don't get stuck up in the mountains for weeks during winter. Overall, a smallish Benchmade folder was my most useful knife but, as others mentioned, a Leatherman-type tool is worth its weight in gold. If you're going to have a truck, take whatever you want because overkill won't break your back. If you're walking a lot though go light and simple.
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