Ka-bar USMC

9.1
9.1 score
(TheGearHunt) score (9.1)/10

Our TheGearHunt score is based on 3 different factors: Editor's rating after in-depth testing. User ratings submitted on this page Overall score from the "reviewmeter" based on reviews across the web the weight of each factor is: 40% editor rating 15% user ratings 45% reviewmeter.
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Editor rating: 8.3 / 10
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Ka-bar USMC Review Facts

Known for their high-quality military knives, Ka-Bar is the first choice for those looking to purchase survival hunting blades. These are not the stereotypical blades meant for using as wood cutting tools, or even for skinning what you catch. Instead, they are intended as more of a defensive hunting knife. Of course, the quality of the blade also means it can be used for just about anything you might use a sharp blade for when surviving in the wild. This is one you go for if you plan to spend a lot of time camping while hunting and aren’t just going out for the day. While many of the knives we show you are intended for multiple uses or are multi-tools, this one was built to be military grade, and therefore isn’t something you get as just a random purchase and forget about it. The brand has a great reputation for making their tools as good as you can get them, so if you want the best that is what we have to show you here.

There are a few things to note when you go to buy this blade however to help you as the consumer to get your money worth and still keep your price on the lower end. First, and most importantly, make sure you are purchasing from Ka-Bar and not some knock-off company. They sell through many sites, but they do go as “Ka-Bar” only. By checking up on the seller you can be sure you are getting the actual high-quality blade. Always check around on prices, as they do have sales and you can often get them for less if you do your research. Whether you know it or not, it is best to get the knife with a sheath, it will help protect the blade against wear and is worth the extra few dollars to do so.

Now that we have covered all the main bases and have pointed out that this is a combat/survival knife and not just your average blade, let us check what makes this particular knife stand out from the rest.

Editor's Pros & Cons
Pros
  • US Military grade knife
  • Serrated 7” blade
  • Full tang
  • Carbon or stainless steel
  • Protective hilt
Cons
  • No lanyard holes or grooves for lashing
  • Leather sheath not water treated
Primary Use

Primary Use

The primary use for this blade is survival/combat, meaning it is designed to help you out of situations in the wild where you need that extra failsafe. It will serve you when you find yourself facing an animal that is bigger and stronger and gives you at least some edge. While it can be used for other things, the Ka-Bar combat knife was originally designed for military combat and defense which means it is stronger than your average survivalist blade. With a full tang, it is almost impossible to break and the way it is sharpened is to supply an easy piercing over a slice across an object. Due to its length, however, as well as its original use, you may want to check your local and state laws before purchasing. Its length can actually make it illegal to carry and its primary use can end up with legal charges if you aren’t careful and follow the regulations for carrying it. This is a beautiful combat knife, but we don’t want to encourage the purchase of such a blade, or its use if it is illegal in your area. More specifically, it seems to bring up legality issues in the state of California for certain. If you can carry it for camping and hunting purchases, however, we would definitely recommend it as a great tool for your supplies.
Blade

Blade

The blade for this one is 7 inches long with a 4.75-inch leather bound full tang handle and a thickness of .165 inches. The serration is only in the last inch which gives it a six-inch sharpened blade leading into it. This makes the knife deadly and easy to use. It weighs a little more than others but given its full tang (meaning the blade is fixed and part of the handle) it is not only expected but actually does well in the combat aspect. It is also properly balanced so that you can easily throw it and won’t lose grip easily when working with it. Some may find it upsetting that the blade isn’t sharpened the full length, or rather isn’t put through a grinder, however, this actually serves a purpose as a combat weapon. It means the tip is still extremely sharp and can easily pierce even some of the tougher hides, like a bear, to give you a knife that will give protection where others may not. You even get to choose which you prefer it to be made of, carbon or stainless steel so that you can feel confident that your knife fits what you want out of it.

Originally this military designed blade had another quality which would have made it illegal to own in any state- a double edge near the tip. While the back edge is still obvious, it is no longer sharpened to the same degree, which keeps it from being double-edged. So long as you leave it unsharpened, this tool remains legal in most states to carry for a hunting or survival tool. Be aware of your state's laws, though, even with this in place, some states or counties may consider this to be exactly what it is and as such, may still find it too close to illegal to ignore.
Accessories

Accessories

This particular knife can be purchased with a leather sheath, which is the best route to go when caring for any knife. Of course, there is a downside that we found while researching on the sheath itself. It does cost extra, but given that it is an accessory, we already expected that in the end. The problem is also the plus depending on how you choose to view it. The sheath is a real leather sheath which means it is durable and made of a material that will assure your blade is protected and you are too. However, despite this, the downside comes into play since the leather appears to be not treated to be protected against water. That means in rainy weather, or if headed outside after it rains, the leather could be damaged by getting wet. This can cause a problem by causing the leather to crack and tear, however, there are ways to assure this doesn’t happen. Simply treat the leather yourself if you wish or purchase a sheath that isn’t leather for the blade. Either way, you still will have a way to protect your knife from the elements. Some have even chosen to purchase the sheath and just keep it in their gear bag or box until they need it if they think that the weather might cause it damage, the sheath is simply that worth it to have.
Durability

Durability

The best part about having a full tang blade of any kind is that they are extremely durable. With the same piece used for the blade extending into the handle to effectively secure it and prevent the type of wiggle or looseness of a blade that is simply screwed or somehow secured into place as a separate piece. The two types of metal this blade is offered in are also strong and reliable for their durability, making it an even better tool in the end. With this being a military grade knife, you can also be sure that the attention and workmanship put into it is better than most. The company has a great reputation for long-lasting, dependable and durable blades that they want to keep up on, and they certainly are doing that.
Weight

Weight

Though a little heavier than other blades, at 11.2 ounces, the fact that it is balanced by its make and the way the blade is designed actually makes it feel to most like it weighs less. A well-balanced blade is actually better overall than a lighter one in the end because it can handle more and because it won’t put all the weight on one end or the other which can actually put stress on the user as well as the blade itself. In this case, the balance actually leaves it easier to wield and safer to handle in tougher situations. You don’t have to worry about the blade snapping back or your grip being lost because the blade is not secure and designed to be managed in survival conditions.
Finish

Finish

Whether its darkened carbon steel or shining metal you prefer, the finish on this one is well worth saying that it is beautiful. The blade is perfect for its use and looks good as it performs. Where most blades wear easily, or loom as if they have been badly treated while being made, this one looks both beautiful and sharp, ready to do its job without sacrificing on appearance. The stainless-steel version won’t shine like a mirror, but instead looks sheik and smooth. Its shine is more of a polished but not decorative style. Built to work, every inch of this blade is perfect in design, and won’t disappoint.
Safety

Safety

The safety features built into this tool are great for what it was made to do. A leather binding was solidly built into the handle to give it a great gripping power when in use. The handle also meets with a hand guard to prevent your hand from being pushed onto the blade when it is in use, and you have to, to shove the blade forward. If you think of this as more of an old school weapon such as a dagger or sword, you are giving it exactly the credit it is due. Designed to protect the user in a combative style of use, especially in the wild, the grip and guard are perfect for using this tool as intended to take out larger predators or work on making other tools. It Isn’t designed to be bound to a pole or used as a polearm style tool, but the way the leather handle is made, there is an easy way to turn it into such if needed or desired.
Price

Price

Some feel that this knife is a bit pricey when considering tools to use for camping or hunting, however, given its purpose, it is actually in the lower range of expense. This Ka-Bar 7-inch blade is actually designed for survival combat-related scenarios and as such, it is one of the best you can buy and not the most expensive by a long shot. Other blades in the same area of intent range upwards of over one hundred dollars, and sometimes even two hundred or more. Very few knives sit in the same range that are as reliable as this one is. This tool sits at between $65 and $70 dollars depending on where you purchase it. If you make sure you are purchasing from the company itself you know you will not only get a quality blade but many times you will find it for sale through them. This cuts down on needless expense and gives you something worth every penny and more for less.
Key Features

Key Features

-Full Tang
-Leather bound handle
-7-inch blade
-Stainless steel or carbon steel
-Not too expensive
-Durable
-Centered balance
-Military grade build
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

When searching for any camping or hunting tool, one has to ask what it is they want their tool to do. When you plan to become a survivalist for whatever the reason, you need to do the same. While there are other choices out there, the fact that you can rely on this brand's ability lends credence to it being what you need. It will handle any task you put it to and succeed easily for those it was made to do. The Ka-bar USMC is a military blade that even its title tells its story of. If what you want is true quality and the knowledge that you can use this blade for nearly anything, then you needn’t look further. If what you want is a multi-tool, this is not what you want.