Question for the Army guys

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Shorttime, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Shorttime


    Oct 16, 2011
    Digging through the archives made me want to ask a question of those of you who have served in the Army. Mostly infantry, but it's a free forum and we're all friends here, so chime in!

    I know a little bit about regular issue knives: that it varies by unit, by specialty, and by the CO's own orders, sometimes.

    Likewise, the PX sells 'em, but options vary widely from place to place.

    So here's the question:

    What does your knife do?

    I know some of youse actually cut things with it. But what else? And while we're at it, what do you have to cut?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder

    Aug 12, 2005
    In the post-Vietnam era, what you were permitted to carry depended a lot on your unit commander. My experience was in the Reserves in the 70's and 80's, but I never saw an "issued" knife, even a bayonet and I was in combat arms (field artillery) for most of that time with a little stint in a combat MP unit at the end of my hitch.
  3. GermanyChris


    Feb 18, 2015
    I used my knife to dig, open MRE's, cut wire, cut those big ratchet straps the chair force uses to air drop stuff, screw driver, open sandbags, scrape carbon et. al.

    11B2P 2000-2005
  4. BladeScout

    BladeScout Basic Member Basic Member

    May 16, 2010
    Ive carried a knife to Iraq and two tours in Astan - didnt use the knife once. Literally didnt take it out of the sheath.

    Also was issued a semi--auto pistol - didnt use that either. Dead weight - apart from having to carry a gun to go to eat meals when in camp, thats when the nine mill came in handy.

    Carried a .556 carbine - used that.
  5. falar


    Jul 7, 2012
    Looks like we did the same things at the same time.

    I bought a Ka-Bar from the Airborne PX one of my first trips there. A guy at Ft Bragg used to travel around to the various PXs on post selling and sharpening knives.

    I used my Gerber and Leatherman way more but I did cut some stuff with my Kabar. 550 cord and MREs being the main things.
  6. Charlie Mike

    Charlie Mike Sober since 1-7-14 (still a Paranoid Nutjob) Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 1, 2000
    Wasn't "issued" anything. Carried a MT D/A Socom during the majority of my deployment. Used it mostly for eating MREs.
  7. GermanyChris


    Feb 18, 2015

    I had an 18 guy give me an AFO just before Anaconda and I carried that until I lost it a couple months before I got out. They got to unit buy those things and get them issued where we didn't at that time though I know that changed.
  8. Steve.b


    Dec 12, 2014
    Well, besides dispatching thousands of bad guys, I didn't use my knife once. ;)

    All joking aside, I was mostly just a collector during the time I was in. I was a single E4 who lived on post and had a junk car. Therefore, quite a bit of disposable income. I had my knives that served a purpose though. I was Military Police and I carried the Benchmade Triage. Only had to use it once for its intended purpose, and I could have just used the Houdini tool they have because I never had to use the blade. That was my "road" knife though. When we were in the field, it was either my Adamas or contego. Both were used for cutting open mre's (you could split your mouth open like the Joker trying to open them with your teeth), cutting para cord, straps, 100 mph tape (duct tape), splitting wood, flicking open and closed when we had to hurry up and wait....all that stuff.
    I'd have to say that the most used tool by any soldier is a multi tool. I knew tons of guys who didn't carry knives, but that always had a multi tool on them. It could get you out of any number of pinches and quite possibly the best thing for a soldier to have. If you need protection, that's what the M4 is for. Back up is the 9mm, as Bladescout mentioned. A knife is absolute last resort for any self-defense. Personally, I'd keep it to fisticuffs in a fight. Retention on a knife isn't as good as retention of a hand that is attached to your arm.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. 91bravo

    91bravo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    The only knife I was issued was a bayonet of some sort. At the time, I carried a LM multitool and a BM Griptilian. It cut everything I needed it to cut! I was a combat field medic, so I opened MREs, cut away soldiers' clothing when addressing a wound, cut open gauze and any other medical supplies I needed to cut. Oh yeah, I'd have to cut chow line to length and open those packages of chem light batteries...:D
    MarriedTheMedic likes this.
  10. falar


    Jul 7, 2012
    Speaking of bayonets, ours were only a "Drill and Ceremony" item. Used them for Division Review, change of command ceremony, etc.
  11. evilgreg

    evilgreg Why so serious? Gold Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    It's a long time ago for me, I got out in '94, but FWIW I carried mostly knives you could buy in the PX (Gerber, but also some SOG and a Leatherman). I had a SOG Tomcat that I liked at the time, and a couple of small fixed blade Gerbers and one large one.

    Deployed to some interesting sucky places, but outside of some occasional digging/prying mostly used knives for the odd day to day task (e.g. MRE pouch opening, cutting string/rope/packaging/etc.)

    The last two units I was assigned to were SF units, 2/3 SFG(A) and 1/10 SFG(A), and most of the 18 series guys carried the same sort of knives. I remember mostly Leathermans, SAKs and Gerbers, FWIW. If there was one most popular knife I think it would have been the Leatherman, probably, so nothing particularly sexy. I saw large fixed blades only very rarely, and I don't think I saw anything larger than a dive knife ever actually get used for anything.
  12. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    My experience may be a bit dated, as I served in the 1960's to include one tour in Vietnam with the 39th Combat Engineers. My experience was that of being on a construction site where ever we went. Building and demolitions was our primary mission, so our job was little different than a civilian construction worker except we were better armed. Any attacks on us were just harassment to hinder us in road/bridge/building construction.

    A knife was needed everyday on the work site, and the supply room had boxes of the MIL-K-818D pocket knives that were handed out like lollypops at the doctor office. They also had a good number of the Camillus made TL-29's, and they were very popular. But the Camilus MIL-K "demo" knife was the most prized. Basically an all steel scout knife, it did a wide range of work. The screw driver was used everyday on electrical connections wiring a new structure, and the can opener was easier to use on the C-Rations than the little P-38. The so called demo knife was so valuable that if you went 'downtown' you could trade the knife for a case of iced down 33 and maybe a girl. If you tossed in a large can of American coffee they'd throw in the room.

    Everyone in the company carried a Camillus demo knife, and it was sort of a standard. They worked great for sharpening makeshift survey stakes for foundation marking, opening said C-rations, cutting whatever needed to be cut, screwed, pierced with the awl. The screw driver made a good improve light pry tool.
  13. will62


    Oct 18, 2002
    I did four tours in Iraq and carried a Leatherman Wave and a Benchmade Griptilian and a pair of trauma shears. Most units that issued anything were issuing Gerber multitools and some Benchmade folders.

    Being in a reserve unit we had people who thought they needed a massive fixed blade along with a large folder and a multitool. The fixed blade usually ended up in the bottom of the footlocker or shipped home.
  14. Connor_MacLeod


    Oct 19, 2016
    My brother is currently Army SF and has done tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He carried a couple of knives over there. One I believe was a Gerber auto that he said had been issued to him. It looked like a pretty cheap knife to me, and from the looks of it, he didn't cut much with it. He also has a Mini-Presidio that he said was his beater knife that looked pretty well used, although I'm not sure what he cut with it.
  15. uxo2

    uxo2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 3, 2013
    The only blade I was issued was a M7 bayonet. Which I never used.
    It remained clipped to my Lrg Alice pack.

    Camillus KaBar I bought at the PX was used for

    MRE cases
    C-4 cases
    Removing wire security seal from stuff.
    Cutting C-4.

    I had a sometime type of folder on my belt.
    Gerber Bolt Action, Buck, Puma with a early model Leatherman.
  16. mutinousdoug


    Sep 28, 2007
    I served with the 1st Cav in 1970. The only knife I was issued was a 22" machete. Everyone carried one, even the CO. I know they had bayonets in the rear and you could have one if you asked but they weren't good for anything but stabbing stuff so they weren't popular. I carried a Herter's Canadian knife on my leg that I used for cutting cord and maybe a little food prep when I could find bamboo shoots or a very occasional NVA chicken or goose.
    Most of the time we worked in triple canopy and the machete was a necessity if you walked point just to get from "A" to "B". There were some nasty briars and bamboo thickets over there. The machete also served to clear a place on the ground to sleep on. Once, we got in a bind and had to take re-supply in this clearing on the side of this ridge that would have been great except for about 3 teak trees; each maybe 12" in diameter in the middle where a slick couldn't get in until we cut them down. I think everyone in the company had blistered their hands by the time we got them cleared.
  17. Halfneck


    Jun 30, 2005
    I was a Medic in the Infantry (2/187th) from '93 to '99. Started out carrying a Spyderco Delica and a Victorinox Huntsman. The Delica was mostly used to open MREs, & cut paracord. The Vic Huntsman saw a lot more use. The scissors got used to cut medical tape and dressings. The tweezers were used to remove splinters and debris from wounds. The saw got used to remove twigs & limbs when setting up my hooch. Ended up losing the Vic Huntsman in the field and giving the Delica away to a soldier in need of a good knife. The SAK was replaced with a multi-tool with saw & scissors, and the Delica by a Benchmade/Emerson CQC-7. I also carried a Spyderco Remote Release on my right LBV strap in case of a sling load gone bad. They hammered the fear of a bad sling load in me so that I wanted a serrated knife quickly accessible. Luckily I never had to use it. Carried a couple different fixed blades, but mostly they were dead weight and the folders did the work.
  18. Low_rez

    Low_rez Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 15, 2011
    I find this discussion very interesting. Of the knives that have been mentioned, there has been little mention of carrying or use of pricey knives or unusual items (tomahawks, etc) from any of you. As a civilian knifenut, I hear about soldiers buying overbuilt knives like Medfords and different breaching tool/axes from so many sources. I guess a small EDC beater knife is really all you need in this modern age.
  19. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    Didn't get to play with a multitool until I got out. It was a Leatherman of some sort.

    I recall thinking "Damn, I could have used this baby when I was in..."

    Didn't have much use for a knife I suppose. If I was going back in today, I'd take a Leatherman or Gerber multitool.
  20. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder

    Aug 12, 2005
    By the late 70's and 80's,that little all steel Camillus knife was widely available and you saw a lot of guys carrying them.

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