Original U.S. WWII Named USMC Mark 2 KA-BAR Fighting Knife by Union Cutlery with Leather Scabbard

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The originator of the KA-BAR trademark, Union Cutlery Co, began using the name in 1923, having received a letter from a fur trapper who had used the knife to kill a wounded bear which attacked him when his rifle jammed. According to company records, the letter was only partially legible; "ka bar" could be read, as fragments of the phrase "kill a bear". In 1923, the company adopted the name Ka-Bar from the "bear story" as its trademark. From 1923, the KA-BAR trademark was used as a ricasso stamp by Union Cutlery Co. on its line of automatic switchblade pocket knives, including the KA-BAR Grizzly, KA-BAR Baby Grizzly, and KA-BAR Model 6110 Lever Release knives. The company produced about 1 million knives with the trademark on the ricasso.

This is an excellent field used example of the legendary WWII Production USMC Mark 2 "Ka-Bar" fighting knife by Union Cutlery, with a Leather Scabbard. Overall length of this Mk2 is 12 inches, with a 7 inch clip-point blade. The markings on the blade are as follows:


The opposite Side:


The Mk2 Knife was developed as an improvement over the Mk1 design, which had issues with blade snapping due to the thinner design. Working with Union Cutlery, USMC Colonel John M. Davis and Major Howard E. America contributed several important changes, including a longer, stronger blade, the introduction of a small fuller to lighten the blade, a peened pommel (later replaced by a pinned pommel), a straight (later, slightly curved) steel crossguard, and a stacked leather handle for better grip. The knife was officially known as the 1219C2, but it was commonly called the "Ka-Bar" after the trademark of Union Cutlery that was on the blades of early examples. The first production order went out to Camillus Cutlery Company, who produced the largest number of knives during WW2. The design was subsequently adopted by the Navy as the US Navy Utility Knife, Mark 2, and the USMC adopted it as the USMC Mark 2 Combat Knife, or simply the Knife, Fighting Utility.

In 1944, a change order was implemented to have the markings moved from the blade to the cross guard, so this knife was produced before that change. It also has the later war slightly swept back cross guard, though it does appear to have been straightened out. It features original leather washer grip, which is in good shape with no cracks or splitting. It definitely does show wear however, with a dark color, and some damage which appears to be notches that we cut. The cross guard and pommel are slightly loose, as the leather has shrunk.

About 30% of the original blade finish is still present, with the usual wear from the scabbard and use. It has been sharpened multiple times, and the false clip point edge was sharpened as well. It has a heavy steel pommel with cross pinned tang. The blade is in very good condition, and is still sharp, with a few small edge dents from use.

The leather sheath is the standard type used with the Mark 2, and is in good, service used condition. The leather has aged to become quite dark, with the belt loop showing a bit of a lighter dark red brown color. It is still supple and with the expected cracks from service use. All of the stitching and rivets are still intact, and it is structurally very sound. The securing strap is mostly intact with the male end snap side strap mostly torn away.

A tag can attached to the Ka-Bar as belonging to Corporal C.L. Campbell (345835) and there is what appears to be faint marking on the sheath, but they are too faded to be able to be read properly.

A very nice example of the hard to find USMC-marked early Blade Marked "KA-BAR" knife, in good service used condition. No knife collection is complete without an example of a "Ka-bar".


Blade Length: 7"
Blade Style: Clip-point "Bowie" Style
Overall length: 12“
Crossguard: 2 7/16”
Scabbard Length: 8" with Belt Loop

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