Unlike the Marines and their legendary K-Bar knife, the Army doesn’t have an “official” knife.

Oh, sure, there’s the M9 bayonet. Inspired by the multipurpose bayonet issued by the Soviets with their AKM and AK-74 rifles, the M9 entered service in the late 1980s. In addition to serving as a bayonet, it also serves as an emergency wire cutter, and all around survival tool. The Marines also use the M9, and truth be told, more Marines probably carry the M9 than the K-Bar.

M9 Bayonet

AKM Bayonet

Still, the Army doesn’t have a counterpart to the K-Bar. Some guys carried the survival knife. Issued to aviators of all services, it was also pretty popular as a purchase item with troops. Indeed, I’ve still got one in my tool kit.

I’d hazard a guess that the “unofficial” knife of the Army is probably either the Leatherman multi-tool, or maybe a Gerber multi-plier.

I ALWAYS carried one or the other with me to the field.  I also usually had a BuckLite folding knife. Lightweight, handy for almost every task, and sharp as heck, I wasn’t looking to bring a knife to a gun fight. I was looking for a tool for the myriad tasks I faced every day. I probably used my knife every single day I was in the field.


What is your favorite knife?

9 thoughts on “Knives”

  1. I have a Gerber Multitool on my duty belt. I want an Emerson SARK, but quail from paying $180.00 for a jackknife.

  2. I carried a Victornox Swiss Army Knife (Tinker/Huntsman model) while as ARNG Tanker. I later got a Buck multi-tool I carry these days, but still carry the same Swiss Army knife I had in the TNARNG as well. I liked opening C-rats with teh Swiss Army knife much better than using a P38. I still have a P38 on my keyring, however.

    I had a Bowie Knife I kept with my TA50 for use when I needed a heavy knife. My personal weapon was an M3 Grease Gun, so was not issued a Bayonet. It would not have been an M9 anyway in 1985. The Bowie Knife came in handy a few times.

  3. The Gerber multitool is good for that…being a general multitool. My favorite, however, has been the Applegate-Fairbairn combat folder the Gerber put out. I’ve taken that with me on every deployment and field problem. It’s just an all around great knife.

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