The Making Of KA-BAR Knives

Hell yea:

If you ask me everyone needs a KA-BAR.  I’ve got their classic USMC fighting knife with the leather sheath.

Nothing beats a good “making of” video…


Hat tip: Chris



NikonMikon July 8, 2012 at 12:43 am

Awesome video, wish they mentioned the origin of their name in the clip though.

matt July 8, 2012 at 01:04 am

Kill A BeAR

NikonMikon July 8, 2012 at 01:06 am


Yeah I know what it means, I just wish they mentioned it.

matt July 8, 2012 at 01:12 am

And why didnt they mention that the knife was developed jointly between the Marines and Navy? One of the knives shown was even marked USN. For a little while the Marines ran out of their own KABARs and were issuing Navy models.

matt July 8, 2012 at 01:07 am

Anyone know of a good way/product to clean the leather handle? I have my grand fathers WW2 USN MK2 KABAR, but the leather is very dark. Any can anyone recommend a good MOLLE sheath for it (or a US Army Air Force Folding Survival Machette) that comes in Coyote Brown?

NikonMikon July 8, 2012 at 01:10 am

a molle mounting solution for anything you get, thats the best I can do.

i googled that mk2 kabar and noticed most of them are really dark, i think thats normal? perhaps you should just get a new one and leave his as is?

matt July 8, 2012 at 01:17 am

Thats a interesting product, but you’d still need a Kydex sheath. The plastic sheath it came with doesnt have any screw holes.

NikonMikon July 8, 2012 at 01:22 am

Yeah it requires a sheath but its super useful, faliaphotography on youtube did a video about it. Really in depth video.

Perhaps you can make some holes. If you can make at least 2 it will work I think? They make a blank platform too for custom holes.

Jim P. July 8, 2012 at 10:57 am

Are you going to use it or mount it?

Leather naturally darkens with age and handling. It absorbs the oils off of hands.

If you are going to use it look at this: Absolutely do not use any of the Carmax products.

If you are going to mount it for display — do a light oil on the blade like a 3-in-1 oil and leave the leather alone.

matt July 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Use it for camping.

Jim P. July 8, 2012 at 01:37 pm

Then to clean it up, look for leather soaps.

As for a sheath — I’m in Ohio and have some of his leather work/art from the Ohio Ren Fest. If I need leather done in any form or fashion, this is the person to go to:

Rob C. July 8, 2012 at 09:49 pm

Just buy a new Ka-bar USMC for camping. They cost $45. WWII vintage ka-bars are very quickly becoming quite valuable/collectible.

Jim P. July 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

WWII vintage ka-bars are very quickly becoming quite valuable/collectible.

I do generally agree with you to leave it alone and buy a new one. But he might rather say to his kids — “Grandpa used this in WWII, and I’m still using it,” around a campfire than to point to a museum piece on a wall.

He may regret it later in life, but he needs to find what is important to him. Reverence (and/or regret) may come later.

matt July 9, 2012 at 05:21 pm

I dont care if they end up being worth $1,000 in todays dollars. I dont plan on selling it.

Rob C. July 8, 2012 at 09:47 pm

Leave it alone!!! If you do it incorrectly you will destroy the value of your knife. $350 is becoming the norm for WWII Ka-bars in decent shape w/ sheath. “Cleaning” it will turn it into a $75-$100 knife.

SqDb July 11, 2012 at 02:43 pm

Check out a Spec Ops sheath or a Blackhawk MOLLE sheath. Not too pricey and will get the job done.

jake August 22, 2015 at 06:37 pm

The reson your grandads knife handle is dark is because the marines would use a black paint to protect the leather handle form decomposing in the salt water

hydepark July 8, 2012 at 01:14 am

Not a “making of” or “how it’s made” video but awesome nonetheless.

Jim P. July 8, 2012 at 01:22 am

Cool video.

A really nice knife is the KABAR TDI Law Enforcement.

The prices vary but this place is in the ballpark. Note that if you are left-handed and want to remount it to right handed, you’ll need a size 5 torx bit. It’s a little small for my hand but the grip is still natural.

doyletoo July 8, 2012 at 06:15 am

I had a marketing class in college back in ’85. During the lessons on sales one assignment was to bring some small object to class and attempt to sell it to the teacher. I brought my Ka Bar. a block of wood and some nails and rope. showed him how you could chop, cut, pound nails, etc. After class he asked me to stick around. I figured I was in trouble for bringing a large knife to class. Nope, he wanted to know where he old get a KaBar. I got an “A”. I still have that Ka Bar, (with a replacement sheath) that I carried for years in the National Guard.

Dennis July 8, 2012 at 09:07 am

I have the Marine KA BAR with a kydex sheath and love it! I stretched small black rubber O-rings around the handle so they sit in the grooves and barely rise above the leather. Makes the knife a bit more “grippy” and even looks like it was supposed to be that way.

Mr_Rich July 8, 2012 at 10:40 am

My father-in-law still has his USN KA-BAR he carried during the unpleasantness during the ’40s in the Pacific as a SeaBee. The leather is also kinda dark.


hydepark July 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

If you guys want a really great sheath for this thing, check this guy out

Dilhack July 9, 2012 at 03:06 am

That is freaking awesome…

Church July 8, 2012 at 03:12 pm

Very cool video!

jpcmt July 8, 2012 at 05:22 pm

Am I the only one here that realizes many of their knives are made in China and not as this commercial says “Made in USA?” I once shopped for a ka-bar and immediately moved on to actual American knife makers to get one made here. I’m not Captain America or anything and don’t mind many things made in China but when you say they’re made here, they should actually all be made here. It also appears they’ve removed such topics from their FAQ as found here:

ENDO-Mike July 8, 2012 at 05:58 pm

Maybe they were referring specifically to the USMC one? Mine says “OLEAN N.Y.” on it… I don’t know if they all do.

matt July 8, 2012 at 08:39 pm

That search is broken. If you click the links for some of the knives, it says they are Made In USA. Not to say some of their knives aren’t made in China but it looks like their search engine is broken. Look at the D2 Extreme Fighting/Utility Knife for a example.

jpcmt July 8, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I think they’re distancing their chinese stuff from their official sight..the search isn’t broken, they’ve pulled the FAQs with those questions but the cached searches are still showing. But if you go to other knife sites, you’ll see all the chinese made ones.

@mike, yeah, it looks like they reserve their USMC knives as US made which is great. I’ve handled an old one and they’re superb knives.

matt July 9, 2012 at 05:19 pm

The FAQ still has the thing about why are certain products made in China. And yes the search is broken, the metadata is stale.

AP July 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm
There’s there list of Made-in-the-USA knives.

Some of their more ‘budget’ knives are made in China/Taiwan. I know their green Zombie series are made in either Taiwan/China, but I’m not sure what exact other series are.


BrowningBottoms July 9, 2012 at 01:52 pm

I personally like the SO Combat Master sheath (lifetime guarantee, replaceable kydex liner, jump-capable):



hydepark July 10, 2012 at 01:00 am

That too is a neat sheath, but I couldn’t find anywhere on the links you provided saying that these were made in the USA. If they’re not, it’s pretty much a deal breaker for me.

Also, if you check out the link that I provided, the maker of those sheaths provides a 25 year warranty. That’s pretty great if you ask me. Prices between the two represent a wide gulf, but you should also take a look at the way the strap is made in the link I provided. The strap holding the knife in the sheath actually is loaded so that when you undo it the strap is held away from the mouth of the sheath. Pretty ingenious if you ask me.

BrowningBottoms July 10, 2012 at 01:46 am

I possess both the long and short versions of the SOCM sheaths and it says “Made in the USA” on the tags and the package labels. All Spec Ops brand products are made in the USA that I know of. The sheath you posted looks like a great product too. Options make life interesting.


Sean July 10, 2012 at 08:10 pm

I remember 22 years ago being a little surprised to not be issued one of these at Parris Island. When the time came to buy a fixed blade knife, the young grunt version of me went with a Gerber Guardian Mark II instead of the KABAR. The Gerber served me well and I never regretted my decision but agree that they are very sturdy, well made knives. I own a Baconmaker and am more than satisfied with it.

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