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Question about Ontario survival knife.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Scott S, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. Scott S

    Scott S Member

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    I just received a "jet pilot" Ontario survival knife circa 1976. I have a question about the two holes on the hand guard. It seems like a well thought out piece of equipment and I am sure they serve a purpose. Thanks all in advance!
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  2. Browning

    Browning Member

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    It’s to lash to a pole to make a spear.
     
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  3. Browning

    Browning Member

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  4. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Well, I don't know for sure what the original intent was, but it made a handy place to attach a lanyard.
     
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  5. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    These are relatively cheap at the local Walmart. Think I'll purchase one for the jeep. I have my CS shovel in there but you never know
     
  6. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Browning has provide the correct answer.
     
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  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    I have a Camillus made version, and I remember the lore that the holes were to used in fixing the knife to a pole as a spear. I recommend, try it. I don't think it will work well at all. I think it is one of those things that sounds good in theory, but does not work well in practice. Like the drain holes in the Jungle Boots of the era. I remember being told that the drain holes would allow water to drain from the boot, and would keep the water from getting in! In my opinion, they worked in the exact opposite!!
     
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  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    That is a very functional knife at a good price. I have a couple that I keep around. At 5" is a better survival knife than the 7" USMC fighting knife that is more commonly seen.
     
  9. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    I have an old Camillus I bought in the 80s or sooner. It has banged around for camping and hiking and spent a lot of years in my truck tool box. It is now in my garden shed for opening an occasional fertilizer bag or cutting rope and nominally for SD if the need arose. 1095 I believe and easy to sharpen. It holds memories for me, but I would not buy another one. The saw back is annoying and the thick blade does not slice very well. For combat or survival it is full tang but not full exposed tang so there is a weak spot where the blade meets the handle.
    There are newer designs out there. The Kabar Navy has some charm and looks like a more functional design for one. The Walmart ones I have seen have atrocious finish on the handles so plan on filing them down
     
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The saw back isn't meant for wood, but to cut through the thin aluminum skin of aircraft. The idea was to help surviving air crewmen to escape from a plane or helicopter in the event of a crash if they needed to cut a new door somewhere. I've only read of one incident where that actually happened successfully. But that is why it is there.
     
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  11. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Member

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    And that one feature is what turned me off all those years ago when my Dad brought a couple of them home as gifts for me and my brother on his return from his first trip to ARVN land, back in 1965 or 66... We were boy scouts back then, just getting into explorers and I imagine he picked them up at the closest PX on his route home.

    That sawback feature was very distinctive - and absolutely useless.... My Dad did a second tour in 1969 (and by then I was in the service myself). I didn't get over there until 1971 when things were winding down....

    Funny how things turn out - my Dad is long passed now - my brother has been living a full-bore homesteader's life in Alaska for more than 35 years - and I'm a full time fishing guide down here in south Florida (the salt or brackish parts of the Everglades are my AO...) since 1996...
     
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  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    I have had several of the Ontario USAF Survival knives over the years. Gave one to my brother when he was in the Army and he used it for Pathfinder and Ranger training. He was pretty tough on his knives but the Ontario held up well needing only some minor refurbishing required on the leather washers. The sheath on the other hand took a real beating and I replaced it with one of the later metal backed versions.

    Still have mine and keep it along with the camping gear.

    t0yRFVi.jpg
     
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  13. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Only Ontario knife I owned was their USN-1 survival knife. Was so unimpressed with the quality I sent it back the same day I received it. As I recall, that model did not have spear lash holes, other than for a lanyard on the butt.
     
  14. DDeegs

    DDeegs Member

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    I have one I got back in the 80s. I used the saw back for cutting the metal straps that held the bricks when I worked for a mason,
     
  15. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Scott S

    Back in the mid to late 1950s the Marble-Arms Corporation submitted their version of the USAF pilot survival knife, based primarily on their Ideal Hunting Knife design. Through the bidding process Camillus Cutlery won the government contract so Marble produced a version of it for the commercial market to recoup some of their expenses. It's easy to see the similarities to the USAF pilot survival knife to this Marble's knife which my father bought at around the same time.

    t0yRFVi.jpg

    cOkvwIZ.jpg
     
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  16. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Kinda wanted another of these knives for years. Had one as a teenager. Disappeared. Probably one of my ‘friends’.

    Saw one at Walmart today on clearance for $9.

    If it wasn’t for this thread I probably wouldn’t have been looking.

    B3CE2CCD-1626-4B3A-B4D4-49E083E907D6.jpeg

    This one still has the spear holes.
     
  17. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Browning

    Wow that's a great price too! Definitely way less than what I paid for my last one and that was quite a few years ago!
     
  18. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Yeah. There were two.

    Should’ve bought both of them since I ended up going back for it for a friend I mentioned it to, but they were gone on the clearance glass cabinet.
     
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  19. Browning

    Browning Member

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    I was thinking of cutting off the top guard. Like this guy did.



    It does bug me to not be able to put my thumb or forefinger on the back of the spine. I’ve never lashed one of these to a stick to make a spear.
     
  20. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator Staff Member

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    003-1.jpg

    Not an Ontario but a Edge, soligen. Bought in 1965 for the princely sum of 9.95.
    Went to RVN with me and and still in use today.

    ETA, that is a calf strap rig I made years ago.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
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  21. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Guess I'm going to walmart...
     
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  22. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    Where was it made?
     
  23. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    The knife is made in the US the sheath in China.
     
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  24. The Evangelist Cowboy

    The Evangelist Cowboy Member

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    Well the kids wanted chicken nuggets and I wanted a new knife.... So to Walmart we went (also has a McDonald's) I payed 19 bucks but hey that's still a sub 20 dollar American made knife IMG_20190902_122020788.jpg
     
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  25. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    Heck, the sheath is worth 20 bucks in material and labor. :thumbup:
     
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