The story behind KA-BAR is pretty freaking awesome. The story goes that a fur trapper carried a Union Cutlery knife and used it to fight and kill a bear when his rifle jammed. He was so impressed by his Union Cutlery knife that he wrote a letter to the company. The man was not quite literate and described killing the bear with the phrase Ka-Bar. From then on, Union Cutlery became KA-BAR. KA-BAR has since produced dozens, maybe hundreds of different designs. As such, we’ve gathered the top five knives currently produced by KA-BAR.
1) The Classic KA-BAR
Duh, the classic KA-BAR is the number 1 knife on the list. KA-BAR is a company and also the name of their flagship knife. The KA-BAR goes back to World War II, where it famously became the knife of the Marine Corps (and the Navy to a lesser extent). To this day, the KA-BAR is a part of Marine culture.
The big seven-inch blade can reach an internal organ from basically any angle of the body. It’s a huge blade that works as a tool and as a weapon. The staying power of the KA-BAR is proof that it’s a damn fine design. It’s a very capable tool that’s ergonomic, extremely capable, and it’s undoubtedly proven.
2) The TDI Investigator
KA-BAR teamed up with a variety of experts to design a number of knives in their Master series of blades. The TDI is named from the Tactical Defense Institute and is a design that comes from the head honcho of TDI, John Benner. This mini fixed blade is designed for close-quarters fighting and has a unique grip and blade angle.
It’s extremely easy to use in a fight. The knife uses the natural movement of punching and cutting to make to its advantage. In a fight, simplicity works, and the TDI provides a simple and capable tool for slashing, stabbing and creating distance between you and an opponent.
3) Ek Model 4
The Ek Model 4 is a classic commando knife from World War II. It was a favorite of commandos and it also served extensively with troops overseas. The Ek Model 4 disappeared over time until KA-BAR purchased the design and began reproducing it. They took the Ek Model 4 and gave us an affordable but very well-made replica of the classic dagger.
The massive dual-edge blade is extremely sharp and delivers deep slices and powerful cuts. The handle is tough to beat. It uses the original Ek scallop design to increase the knife’s grip and make it easy to wield when dueling Nazis.
4) Becker Kephart
So far, we’ve covered knives made primarily designed for combative purposes. You know, making holes in people. However, the Becker Kephart takes a classic knife design and brings it back to 2021. Much like the Ek Model 4, the Kephart comes from Horace Kephart, the father of modern bushcraft.
This knife works as a tool for building shelters, skin game, carve spoons, make traps, and various other bushcraft tasks. It’s a simple blade made for work and replicates the simple Kephart design. The knife comes complete with a wood handle and a simple leather sheath ready for work.
5) Dozier D2 Folding Hunter
KA-BAR makes tons of folding blades, and most are robust, well-made, and affordable. The Dozier Folding hunter stands out. The knife uses D2 steel to deliver a premium-grade knife that’s well suited for a working knife. The Dozier D2 folder uses a simple Zytel handle, but it’s a robust polymer design.
The checkering keeps the knife in your grip in non-permissive situations. Beyond the checkering, its drop-point blade is very versatile and perfect for a variety of tasks. It also features a lock-back design and a thumb stud; its handle even comes in a variety of colors.
The KA-BAR Connection
If you need something sharp and pointy, then KA-BAR has you covered. They make a dizzying array of knives, and you can find something for everyone in the company’s catalog.
These are my five favorites, but I’m a mere mortal man with limited time and limited experience. What’s your favorite KA-BAR? Let us know in the comments below!