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KA-bar knife


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This may seem like a really dumb question, but knives are not my specialty in the collecting hobby. Recently I purchased a KA-bar knife in an antique/flea market store for thirty-five bucks. I know that many of them were made for the US Military, but this one has no military logos stamped in the metal; only the word "KA-bar" near the hilt. Did they ever make them commercially between wars? Would a military knife have a military symbol on it somewhere? I fingured that for thirty-five bucks I could either display it, or put it in my hunting bag, depending on answers I get to this post. Thanks for any information you may have.

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This may seem like a really dumb question, but knives are not my specialty in the collecting hobby. Recently I purchased a KA-bar knife in an antique/flea market store for thirty-five bucks. I know that many of them were made for the US Military, but this one has no military logos stamped in the metal; only the word "KA-bar" near the hilt. Did they ever make them commercially between wars? Would a military knife have a military symbol on it somewhere? I fingured that for thirty-five bucks I could either display it, or put it in my hunting bag, depending on answers I get to this post. Thanks for any information you may have.

Here's the story of the Ka-Bar from the company's website:

On December 9, 1942, after the start of World War II, KA-BAR submitted a fighting knife to the United States Marine Corps in hopes that it would become general issue to that branch of the military. Working in conjunction with the Marine Quartermaster Department a design was devised and soon production was under way on a new and improved fighting / utility knife for the Marines. As the war escalated, the demand for these knives was so great that the KA-BAR factory alone could not keep up. The government assigned several knife companies to create similar knives as supplemental pieces for those serving the War. KA-BAR's wartime production totaled more than 1 million. The KA-BAR knives became so well recognized for their quality and so abundant in number that "Kabar" became the name by which many referred to this knife pattern, regardless of whether the knife was manufactured at the KA-BAR facility. These knives were depended upon to perform daily tasks such as pounding tent stakes, driving nails, opening ration cans and digging foxholes, not to mention defending lives. Growing so in popularity and earning only the greatest respect, the KA-BAR was adopted by not only the Marines, but also the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Underwater Demolition Teams. Years after World War II, many KA-BARS were unofficially reactivated in the Korean, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom conflicts. The dependability and consistent quality of wartime KA-BARs was the result of constant strict quality control procedures by KA-BAR workers and supervisors as well as the US Marine Corps and Navy Supply inspectors who were assigned to the KA-BAR factory to work along with company personnel to accomplish this goal. These high quality standards were maintained in 1976 when production was reintroduced to commemorate the Marine Corps 200th Anniversary of service to the United States. It was then that the original factory in Olean, New York, along with some of its original craftsmen, undertook the job of creating a "full dress model" of the original – a Limited Edition Commemorative that would prove to be most meaningful to the Marines. Using the original blueprints which had been stored in the company archive files, the recreated knife was a true work of art that retained the look, feel and performance of the original battle ready combat knife. The first one of its kind, serialized with the number "1", was presented to the Commandant of the Corps and was later put on display at the USMC Museum at Quantico. The USMC Commemorative was so enthusiastically received that it became obvious that the original KA-BAR Fighting / Utility knife had retained its popularity through the years. The limited production Commemorative was so quickly taken up by the Marines, knife enthusiasts and collectors that KA-BAR decided to return it to regular production in its standard form. With only a few changes made possible by modern technology, the KA-BAR Fighting / Utility Knife was reintroduced. Today, the original USMC Fighting / Utility Knife remains the first choice for many Marines who choose to carry it as their personal option knife during service. It is also a favorite of adventurers, survivalists, outdoor sportsmen and, of course, knife collectors who know that this knife – this "American Legend" – deserves a place in their collection.

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Edited by Harvey
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Military-issue Ka-Bars (such as those for Marines) have "USMC" (or USN) stamped on one side of the blade nearest the hilt - the opposite side is stamped "KA-BAR."

As it was a commercial company (Union Cutlery Company), they of course continued to produce knives for the civilian populace, even during wartime. If yours doesn't have anything other than "KA-BAR" stamped on it, it's likely a commercial production run of the well-known fighting knife.

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