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Hackman Folding Knife, Military/CIA of Not ?


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#1 tom63

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:51 PM

My brother bought this Hackman knife for me at a flea market not knowing anything about it. It is marked "Hackman, Finland" on both sides of one section of the handle.

I did a lot of Internet searching and found that many claim it was considered a CIA or Vietnam Era military issue knife for certain units. I also found out that it is considered a "butterfly" knife so is taboo for me here in California! So, military/CIA connection or not?

hackman2.jpg

hackman1.jpg

#2 Cromwell

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:55 PM

IMO these were given out as "gifts" to Indigenous people in Vietnam by macv/CIA types.

Edited by Cromwell, 12 January 2013 - 01:55 PM.


#3 gunbarrel

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:00 PM

My understanding is that the CIA knives had black nylon handles like yours, but were marked "Retki" (short for "retkiveitsi", or "camping knife"). It may just be they were an earlier model. Supposedley they were part of a survival kit, although I'm sure they would have made excellent gifts to gain the esteem of the native people.

With all that being said, the one Mike Silvey shows on his book of military pocket knives has red nylon handles and makes no mention of any particular inscription.

Hackman Knife.jpg

Edited by gunbarrel, 12 January 2013 - 02:02 PM.


#4 sactroop

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

I’ll be very interested in following this thread. I’m hoping that there maybe more in the way of provenance that exists than I expect there could be.
What I’m thinking is that it’s hard enough to uncover supporting documentation for items that aren’t connected with an organization that is covert by it’s very nature. Lets face it the CIA isn’t going to be very interested in celebrating and preserving their history.

Also I do have a dog in this fight. But I know exactly where it came from and where it’s been. About as close to South East Asia that my knife came to was Denver Colorado.
It was 1974 (Yea Vietnam era), and I was in Tech school for the Air Force at Lowry AFB, (now closed). I was at a surplus store in Denver and found a curious knife in a blister pack for as I recall about $8. Also picked up a British made 3rd Pattern FS commando knife, (recent manufacture), for about the same money. I’m convinced that most of the Hackman folders around today came into peoples possession via a similar path.

I have made some effort to see what evidence maybe out there to support the story behind these knives. So far my efforts I would categorize as inconclusive.
Here’s a picture of the knife I’ve had for almost 40 years.
http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file-13.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/IMG_0048.jpg

One thing that stands out to me is the geometry of your blade. The clip formed on the front back of the blade is not typical of the normally scandinavian blade geometry I’m used to seeing with these Hackman knives. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not in regards to the questions asked in the OP.
I do think that two things I see in the pictures of your knife that might go in favor of the speculation are first the style of the mark on the handle. I’m under the impression that this is an earlier knife than my example. The second might be the black colored handles. I don’t know if there is anything to it but at least some speculation has been presented that the CIA procured knife would most likely have been the version with the black handle. This has been mentioned earlier in the replies.

This may end up being one of those items who’s perceived value is based more on legend than acquired provenance. Kind of like the “Delta” and “Marine Recon”knives.

Hackman stopped making these knives along with their fixed blade survival knife many years ago after the company was sold.
But this style of knife did and I believe likely is still available in parts of europe today. Up until a couple of years ago you could get a similar knife from Ragnard’s and I did get a couple once I heard how much some people were willing to pay for my old Hackman. Here are some pictures.

http://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file-16.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file-15.jpghttp://i285.photobucket.com/albums/ll61/sac_troop/Knives/file-14.jpg

#5 gunbarrel

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

A couple of other books (besides Mike Silvey's) that are mentioned as reference apparently do not make mention of a CIA connection. One is in Finnish book and the other one is Ken Warner's "The Practical Book of Knives."

However, there is a third book that supposedly states the connection. It's "The Knives of Finland" by Lester C Ristinen:

http://www.amazon.co...n/dp/0962683906

Does any member here have a copy of this book to look it up?

#6 tom63

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 12:27 PM

Thanks all for the replys. Interesting and informative. As far as this Hackman knife having a CIA / military connection, as gunbarrel says; inconclusive! Hopefully more info will show up.

#7 tom63

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:13 PM

I was following this Hackman Butterfly knife on eBay that just went off at $53, (#300858097654). I'm surprised it made it past the eBay censors. During the same 7 days this knife was being auctioned, two others were listed and removed by eBay. One was still in the blister pack and was listed at $399 (yow!) and another with the clip point got up to $58 before it was removed. Both had red handles.

I was hoping to get an idea of what these knives are worth but the eBay censors took care of that. I think the guy who won this one for $53 (plus $6 shipping) probably got a decent deal although the point looks a little messed up. Hard to tell from the one and only auction photo and the description was a little lacking.

knife2.jpg

#8 mhk

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:50 AM

Every kid had these in Finland back 80s :)
We had 2, one for me and one for by bro.
I cant remember what happened to my knife

-Mikko

#9 tom63

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:12 AM

Wow, $365 on eBay for a Hackman CIA knife in blister pack. I've been watching these knives on eBay for the last couple of weeks. The eBay knife screener must be on vacation because there have been about 6 listed and sold, mostly in the $100-$125 range (all red handles). Just when I thought I was getting a handle on the going price, this! Hackman Knife.

#10 sactroop

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:05 AM

Yep, that is the highest price I've seen one of these knives go for, even in the original blister pack. These things happen at auctions. It only takes two buyers that get it in their heads that they just got to have that knife. I hope the buyer stays in their stupor. Where ignorance is bliss tis folly to be wise.
I remember a thread in the past where a used mil-k 818 utility pocket knife sold in an auction for something around $300. It wasn't even a very specially dated knife as I recall. I haven't seen that auction cause some kind of chain reaction to drive the price of these knives up from what I normally see. Sellers can want the moon for an item and buyers can want it for free. At the end of the day what that item is worth is what the buyer and the seller agree too. That transaction doesn't make all future transactions go the same way.
What I see most of the time is an asking price of a little over $100 typically for one of these knives in used condition. Where I live they aren't coming out of the woodwork to grab these knives. So what is it worth?

#11 tom63

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 11:34 AM

I've continued to watch these Hackman knives sell on eBay. The red handled ones in good condition are now going for about $125-$150. The one black handled Hackman that was listed went for $280. All mention CIA-Vietnam in their descriptions while avoiding the word "butterfly" which would probably get their auction pulled by eBay.

One of the seller's posted a couple of comparison pictures that show the two different blade configurations. The blade on the black handle Hackman has a clip point, is rounded on the top edge, and, according to him, is 1 mm thicker. I copied those photos below for reference.

2hackman.jpg

#12 PvtTamura

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Posted 30 March 2013 - 07:39 PM

How long is the blade on these knives?

#13 tom63

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:39 AM

The blade on the black handeled knife pictured in the first post of this thread is 3 3/4" long.

#14 blackthickhackman

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:42 AM

My brother bought this Hackman knife for me at a flea market not knowing anything about it. It is marked "Hackman, Finland" on both sides of one section of the handle.

I did a lot of Internet searching and found that many claim it was considered a CIA or Vietnam Era military issue knife for certain units. I also found out that it is considered a "butterfly" knife so is taboo for me here in California! So, military/CIA connection or not?

hackman2.jpg

hackman1.jpg



#15 blackthickhackman

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:48 AM

I collect these Hackman finland, it's very hard to get them on Israel,(I have sister living in California, but she cannot get me one) do you want to sell it? Since I am new on this forum, I don't know if I am allowed to leave personal email address, but I leave it, please contact to - Max
[email protected]

#16 blackthickhackman

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 08:55 AM

Hi tom- I am new on this website, so maybe Iam doing some mictakes about communication. I collect thess Hackman finland knives, but in Israel it's very hard to get them. I have sister living in California, but she couldn't get one. Please contact me if you want to sell the black Hackman, thanks-Max
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#17 tom63

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:56 AM

Hi Max, Just to clarify, I don't own the Hackman pictured at the top of this thread or any of the other Hackmans pictured or mentioned here. I am just trying to find out if there was a CIA/Vietnam connection.
As a collector of these knives, what are your thoughts about that? Do you know of a definet CIA/US military connection or maybe even a connection to your military there in Israel?

#18 blackthickhackman

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 12:59 PM

I was heard that the red old one (Hackman balisong) was issued to C.I.A on Vietnam war, it appears on book of U.S military pocket knives, no connection to knives, issued in Israel military.

#19 blackthickhackman

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:24 AM

My brother bought this Hackman knife for me at a flea market not knowing anything about it. It is marked "Hackman, Finland" on both sides of one section of the handle.

I did a lot of Internet searching and found that many claim it was considered a CIA or Vietnam Era military issue knife for certain units. I also found out that it is considered a "butterfly" knife so is taboo for me here in California! So, military/CIA connection or not?

attachicon.gifhackman2.jpg

attachicon.gifhackman1.jpg

 



#20 blackthickhackman

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 01:27 AM

Hi- I am looking for such HACKMAN FINLAND butterfly, my problem is that my English is not good, and I don't know so well to use these forums, do you know about such knife? Can you help?

Thanks-Max  [email protected]



#21 tom63

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 08:38 AM

This knife site refers to the Hackman knife as CIA/Vietnam related.  They specialize in Balisong Butterfly knives so maybe they know what they are talking about.   Hackman



#22 sactroop

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 10:09 AM

Funny coincidence, in the last couple of days I was looking at a site where they are importing these as "kits".  I guess this is a way they can get them past customs today? They're asking about 3X's  the going price for the "Pertemet Sorsakoski" marked knives were going for while they still could be imported.

IMHO, I really don't think the CIA story has much of a chance of ever rising beyond hearsay and legend. But, thats part of fun in trying to hunt down facts.

I bought my red handled Hackman new back in 74.  It spent a lot of years in my tackle box.  Can't tell anyone how many salmon, and sea bass I processed with it.  It is a cheap little knife that always has done what I've asked of it.  That being said I don't hammer and pry with many of my knives.




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