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Vietnam Kabars - How To Tell If They Are Of The period


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Would like to know how you can tell a positive ID on Vietnam era Kabar MK 2s whether they are made by Camillus, Conneta, etc. Searching, some say Vietnam era examples only have oxblood handles and brown leather sheaths others say black. I might want to add one to the collection but dont want to end up with a post Vietnam piece. If you could let me know for sure I would appreciate it.

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Note the correct MilSpec name for the post war knife is Knife, Combat, MIL-K-20277 with various changes up to MIL-K-20277h in 1993. KaBar did not make any military contract versions post 1945.

 

The change from Oxblood (very dark slightly reddish brown color) to black officially occurred circa 1966. See my notes at: http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=20399 for a look at the colors. However, the change was not fully adhered to for some time.

 

Following WW2, the makers were (in order of when contracts were issued) Utica, Camillus, Conetta, MSI, and Ontario. Ontario still makes them on military contract from time to time I believe. Production by MSI and Ontario are post-Vietnam. Camillus marked US over Camillus, NY is pre 1974, after that they dropped the NY mark.

 

Frank does state that at least Camillus apparently used the "oxblood" color for some time after the specification was changed. Spec MIL-K-20277c dated 5/13/66 called for black leather. Spec MIL-K-20277d dated 3/4/68 changed the dimensions to metric, and when Camillus updated their production card in 1970 they inserted a line stating "All leather washers dyed black" and the color was specified as Standard Black Shade No. 111. He states that he had a knife in the original pack dated 1979 in which the scabbard was black but the handle was oxblood, so it appears that Camillus was possibly using up "old stock" washers on a later contract.

 

The above information is summarized from the article by Frank Trzaska in Knife World January 2005 titled The Post War Combat Mark 2. Any error in transcription is mine, not Frank's.

 

In summary, all Utica production is before or during Vietnam. Oxblood Camillus is likely, must also have the US over Camillus NY mark to be pre-1974. All Conetta is Vietnam, MSI and Ontario are post-Vietnam.

Gary Cunningham - Bayonetman

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Here's a topic I started on these when the forum was just getting started. It shows an example of what I consider the best of the post WW2 "k-bars".....the 1960-1961 knife by UTICA which was still made when the WW2 specs were in place.

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...?showtopic=2403

Greg Robinson "marine-kabar"

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I wonder about the Camillus fighting knife i have, it is blade marked US over Camillus NY......but has a bright blade, with Sword Brand and crossed sabre etching....what period would it have been? slightly OT, but it is a Ka-Bar styled knife....

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I wonder about the Camillus fighting knife i have, it is blade marked US over Camillus NY......but has a bright blade, with Sword Brand and crossed sabre etching....what period would it have been? slightly OT, but it is a Ka-Bar styled knife....

 

Those were made during the same time as the military version but were made for civilian sales. They also made a chrome plated Jet Pilot's knife, also for commercial sale.

Greg Robinson "marine-kabar"

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oh ok, so they couldve been private purchase, or civilian used...alrighty thanks for the info! its still a nice knife lol

 

I own a chrome plated Camillus jet pilot's knife with Jan 1968 date on it. I paid a pawn shop $15 for it and the shop owner swore it had belonged to a Navy SEAL. Possible, I suppose, since they sold those in PX's.....but you know what they say...."buy the knife....not the story". :D

Greg Robinson "marine-kabar"

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