The KA-BAR is a 12-inch fighting and utility Bowie knife used by the United States Marine Corps and United States Navy in World War II.Citation | last = Walker | first = Greg | title = KA-BAR: The Next Generation of the Ultimate Fighting Knife | place = Boulder, Colorado | publisher = Paladin Press | year = 2001 | isbn = 1581601204] A typical KA-BAR knife has a 7" clip-point blade. It is made of 1095 carbon steel and features a leather-washer or synthetic handle made of Kraton (a substitute for rubber, non-slip grip).


The knife was originally designed as a hunting knife in 1898, and would have been considered unremarkable at that time. In 1942, soon after the United States' entry into World War II, American soldiers experienced the problematic nature of "US 1917/1918" stilettos and "Mark I" daggers that they were issued initially and, realizing the need for knives suited to trench warfare, the KA-BAR design was chosen from a catalog of hunting gear. The Marines bought a great many knives of myriad designs from a large number of suppliers during the war, but it was the KA-BAR that was most common and popular. It was chosen for continued purchase and issue after the war was over. The final shape was decided upon by the Marine Corps. The changes included a slightly longer blade for combat use, introduction of a small fuller to make the blade lighter, and the pinned pommel and stacked leather handle as standard. In addition, the blade, guard, and pommel were all finished in a non-reflective matte black or grey phosphate finish instead of the brightly polished steel of the original.

Millions were made in the Second World War by KA-BAR, Ontario, and several other knife companies. The knife is inexpensive, easy to replace, and adequate for most tasks. KA-BAR knives have been made by different companies including: KA-BAR, Camillus Cutlery, Case Knives, and Ontario Knife Company. The knife saw service even as a diving knife in the Second World War, though the model in use at the time disintegrated rapidly in salt water. The various forms of this knife are still very popular with hunters, fishermen, hikers, outdoorsmen, and the US Military.


The KA-BAR company was founded in 1897 as Tidioute Cutlery Company. Following its financial collapse and take-over it was renamed the Union Cutlery Company. KA-BAR was initially a trademark but in 1952 the company renamed itself KA-BAR Cutlery Inc. The headquarters are currently located in Olean, New York. The Alcas Corporation, parent company of Cutco, acquired the company in 1996. [cite web|accessdate=
url=https://www.kabar.com/history.jsp |title=KA-BAR History - A Timeline|publisher=KA-BAR Knives Inc

As to its name,

blockquote|Soon after its introduction in the mid-1920s, the KA-BAR trademark became widely known and respected. There have been many versions of how the KA-BAR name came to be, but all evidence points to a letter received from a fur trapper. This particular fur trapper's testimonial turned out to be the most significant ever received by the company.

He wrote, in very rough English, that his gun had jammed and that he had therefore relied on his knife to kill a wounded bear that was attacking him. In thanking the company for their quality product the trapper described using his knife to kill the bear. All that was legible of his scrawled writing was "k a bar". The company was so honored by this testimonial that they adopted this phrase and used it as their trademark, KA-BAR. [cite web|accessdate=|url=https://www.kabar.com/name.jsp |title=How KA-BAR Got Its Name
publisher=KA-BAR Knives Inc


Today, KA-BAR makes Army and Navy versions as well. They are virtually identical to the Marine version except for different initials at the bottom of the blade and different symbols on the sheath. Marines today often give the blades, guards and pommels of their knives a few coats of non-reflective matte black spray paint to reduce reflected light and give them a little more protection against salt-water corrosion. Its moderate carbon and low chromium steel mixture allows the blade to hold an edge very well. In combat, the knife has seen service opening cans, digging trenches, cutting wood and roots, and hand to hand combat. In 1995, the design was updated with a tool steel blade, synthetic handle, and synthetic sheath marketed as "The Next Generation".


External links

* [https://www.kabar.com/index.jsp The KA-BAR Official Web site]
* [http://www.alcas.com Alcas Corporation website] . (Parent corporation of KA-BAR)

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