Dating Ka-Bar Knives

The Ka-Bar is the American warfighters’ official military and tactical blade.

In this blog post, we will talk about this unique blade, its history, features, and ways of determining the manufacture date of these knives.

Ka-Bar Knife

Ka-Bar Defined

This knife was designed for combat and originally made by the famous Union Cutlery Co., later to be run by Imperial Schrade Corp. The Ka-Bar company continues to make this knife today, having bought it from Schrade in 1985.

The name “Ka-Bar” comes from one of two spelling variations of the company’s name. The knife was designed with a straight point, for military use. In fact, it is the official survival and utility blade of the United States Marine Corps.


These blades were originally designed by a person named Carl Brenders. Mr. Brenders used to work in the Olean, New York division of the Union cutlery firm in 1902.

The company manufactured the first batch of knives in 1903 and they were sold under the name U.S.N., which stood for United States Navy. However, they were also marketed as Ka-Bar knives because this was a special term used by sailors to signify that they had done successful whittling work.

The knives became very popular and even today they are being sold worldwide. It is said that this knife has also been used by the military to dig fox holes, cut wood for shelter timbers, and other uses.



The tool has always had a 4-inch blade. It is made out of sturdy carbon steel with a clip point. It is also made to be military tough, but also very practical for everyday use.

The blade is not serrated but can effortlessly slice through hard materials like wood and other objects that you can find in the outdoors.


The Ka-Bar has a leather handle that is riveted onto the pommel. The first models had smooth wooden handles but this was replaced by the leather ones in 1937.


Ka-Bars are full tang knives. Their tangs extend to the handle and secure into the pommel. However, blades of this kind use narrow tang. Tangs like this taper after the blade. Eventually, the tangs are pressed with leather discs to form the grip.

Dating Ka-Bar Knife

Checking Tang Stamp or Logo

Since its introduction to the world of knives, the stamp used to mark the blades has evolved. Hence, it is the simplest way of determining the manufacture date and age of the knife.

Checking the Serial Number

The knife comes with a model or a serial number containing two or four digits. With these details, you can be able to determine the manufacture date by looking up cutlery catalogs or books. 

Looking up Print Items

As mentioned, print materials could give you a hint about the age of a blade. Print kinds of literature usually contain images of dating details like stamps and dates of manufacture.

Exploring the Internet

To find out the manufacture details of a Ka-bar knife, you can also check online information. The company has a website where you can get reliable information to help you with dating your blade.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, the Ka-bar knives are not just another blade in the market. It is the ultimate American warfighters’ knife. Beyond this, it is a knife with cultural relevance and historical value.

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