What Knives do the US Army, Marine, Navy & Air Force Use

One of the most important pieces of gear that the army packs is a knife.

So important are knives for the military that we have the swiss army knives – a set of foldable multitool blades that were specifically designed for the army.

Crossing the border into the US, different parts of the armed forces have enjoyed several knives for a long time now.

That begs the question of what knives the US Armed Forces uses. After all, these have to be the most functional utility knife out there.

Read on to find out more about the different kinds of knives used in the US army and military forces today.

Which Military Knife Is Issued to The Army?

Ontario 490 M9 Bayonet System

The army faces a lot more threats that have to be defused with close-quarters combat than most other military units. It, thus, stands to reason that they are the most demanding when it comes to the kind of knives they get.

For a well-rounded approach, the Army does not issue just one kind of knife to its operators.

Some of the knives that the US Military has officially issued to soldiers in the army include, but is not limited to:

  • M9 Bayonets – adopted in 1986, this M9 bayonet is gradually being phased out of the army today.
  • Ka-bar knife – this knife has seen a lot of action in the war and is still popular among the Army, Navy, and Marines today. Look through this Ka-bar knife dating guide if you happen to have one, but don’t know what era it’s from.
  • Yarborough knife – these knives are said to be named after General William Yarborough who is widely considered the father of the modern Green Berets. This knife is reserved for only those who pass the Special Forces Qualifications Course, or other relevant courses in the army.
  • Gerber Multitool – at some point after basic and advanced training, the Gerber Multitool knife will be issued. This knife is more for tooling around the guns (M4s and M16s) as well as other equipment rather than being primarily used as a knife.

What Knife Is Issued to The US Air Force?

Aircrew Survival Egress Knife (ASEK)

For military personnel that should spend a lot of time in the air, you would think that there is no need for any physical combat skills.

That’s not true.

The Air Force crews are also trained in combat and know how to handle themselves when they come across an opponent on land. The US Military issues an Aircrew Survival Egress Knife (ASEK) to air force personnel to aid in their hand-to-hand combat as well as staying functional in other cases where a knife is needed.

Since 2003 when the ASEK first made its way into the Army, it has gained widespread love among other units and sections.

Developed and made in the US by the Ontario Knife Company, the large blade is 10.25 inches long and holds its edge for long. That is no surprise, given the high carbon steel material used for the knife.

It is believed that this knife is so sharp, it can pierce the aircraft’s aluminum body. That sure makes it a handy knife to have in different situations where its use might come to play.

What Knife Is Issued to The US Marines?

The US Marines also get their share of the Ka-bar knives, although they are not as popular with this unit as they once were.

Today, it is easier to find a US Marine decked out in their Strider SMF knives, especially those in the Detachment One (or ‘Det. One’) unit. The knife is not only compact and reliable but features titanium blades that will take very long before they start wearing out.

Such a reliable knife that will slug it out with the operator for years to come sounds like the perfect thing.

What Knife Does the US Navy Use?

Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife

Like the Army and US Marines, the Ka-bar knife was also a darling pick for many years.

These knives are as practical as they are functional, so it is little wonder that they cut through different arms of the Armed Forces like this.

Since Ka-bar knives are not recognized as they once were, most US Navy operators would be found with an Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife. The Ontario Knife Company sure knows what it’s doing, and they have combined lightweight with premium materials on this 6-inch blade.

What About Other Knives the Military Use?

A quick distinction to make here is that I am talking about knives that are officially issued to members of the US Military.

Clarifying that becomes important because military men will buy other knives for themselves all the time. Thus, you might see a Marine Corp, Army ranger, Naval officer, or a Special Forces operator with any other knife than the one on this list.

I have even heard that the military sets up small knife shops on base so that soldiers can get the ones they like.

In that case, most soldiers are bound to go for those knives that are fairly well-made and don’t cost a fortune either. That way, if the knife were to get lost, they would not think too much into it.

As a general rule, members of the United States Armed Forces can carry whatever knives they like. The only condition is that the knife does not violate the rules of the command team, nor does it deviate from the rules of installation.

Can You Buy Knives Issued to The Armed Forces?

Of course.

Before buying them, though, you need to know that most of these knives are illegal for use in civilian cases.

The military is expected to encounter violent resistance and force, so they are equipped well enough to meet that head-on.

In a civilian setting, having those knives on you makes it feel like you are looking for trouble. Thus, a law enforcement officer has enough probable cause to arrest you.

Now, that only applies to carrying the knives as an EDC, not collecting them. So, as long as the knives stay in your home/ collection, you should not have anything to worry about under the law.

To be on the safer side, make sure you check through your local laws in case anything has changed in recent times.

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