Military knives come in various forms and serve a variety of different purposes. They are used by the military for utilitarian tasks such as opening canned or dried goods, chopping food, or peeling fruit but some variants also include features that make them better suited for combat. 

Originally designed and issued to soldiers during World War II, the M1917 U.S. Army Knife was designed by William Harvey Parker as an alternative to the spike bayonet that was intended primarily for use by WWI infantry troops on offensive maneuvers when they encountered wire obstacles or barbed-wire entanglements defending enemy positions. 

The M1917 U.S. Army Knife was issued to U.S. soldiers in 1942 to supplement the earlier M1911A1 semi-automatic pistol and would serve as the standard issue knife throughout most of the 20th century for U.S. Armed Forces personnel with the exception of a brief period during the Vietnam War when a replacement model, the M1779, was issued to replace it due to overheating or other issues related to its design and manufacture during its production run of over 400,000 units from 1942-69 in various forms.

History of Military Knives

Military knives are a type of knife with a blade that is designed for military use. These knives have been used by militaries for centuries but were officially made part of standard-issue equipment in World War II (WW2). In addition to blade shape, materials, and size, these knives may also be characterized by their intended use: fighting or utility.

The purpose of these knives is to provide soldiers with the necessary tools to complete the tasks they are assigned as efficiently as possible without having to procure them themselves. Typical utility tasks include field dressing/skinning animals. Fighting tasks would include combat and self-defense situations where the knife could be used offensively or defensively. 

Many of these knives have been, and continue to be, designed for both. Many nations are known to issue their military forces with folding or fixed-blade combat knives. In addition to the fighting aspect of a knife, the knife can also be used as a utility tool. Some known purposes include cleaning the game and cutting ammunition belts.

The United States Army started using military knives in 1776 during the Revolutionary War when they issued them to soldiers for hunting and protection against wild animals. By 1810, the United States had regimental suppliers that provided cool pocket knives or "hunting shirts" with a lock blade under contract.

The Top Military Knives

Throughout history, there has been a long-standing tradition in many cultures of using knives not only for eating but as weapons. Whether it be in the military, for hunting, or as part of a chef's knife kit, knives are an integral part of life. 

In modern times there are hundreds upon hundreds of variations on the design and function of knives--some more specialized than others. What are the different kinds of knives? There are many military kinds of knives made for different purposes and they come with different blade shapes, sizes, and uses.

1. Rigger Knife

The Rigger Knife , also known as the Lifeboat Knife, dates back to the 1800s. It was initially designed for use on whaling ships as a survival knife. In addition to whalers, it was used by life-savers or lifeboat crews in areas of the ocean that were prone to storms. 

The Rigger's design is based on that of a skinning knife and features a deep belly for slicing and skinning, as well as a short, straight blade profile which enabled it to be used at close quarters when fishing whales or rescuing stranded sailors at sea.

2. Buck Special

The Buck Special is a widely available knife that has been around for many years--in both the military and civilian markets. The name refers to Samuel A. "Buck" Burke, one of the famed firearms designers of the early 1900s. 

In 1916, he created his own company--Buck Brothers Cutlery Company of Elkhart, Indiana--making a variety of hunting and survival knives and other knives such as hatchets, machetes, fillet knives and tomahawk axes. The Buck Special was one of these products. It is a 3 1/4-inch blade with a handle consisting of stag or rubber wood scales wrapped in leather.

3. Para-Ordnance Knife

The Para-Ordnance Knife is a military-style knife that features a 3 3/4-inch blade with a 1 1/2-inch pommel. It was created in the 1970s by Green Beret and Special Forces legend John Hall, who wanted to find a way to have an easily concealable knife that could also work as a general purpose utility tool. 

He partnered with the Pappalardo Manufacturing Company of Brillion, Wisconsin to make the design. His goal was for it to be rugged enough for military use, yet still be able to function as an everyday carry folder. The Pappalardo Company went on to sell the knife to law enforcement agencies and individuals.

4. Ranger Knife

The Ranger Knife is a fixed-blade knife with a 3 1/4-inch blade. It was designed in 1997 by Randall's Adventure & Training , which is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. The company specializes in training programs for military, law enforcement, and individuals interested in outdoor survival and wilderness skills. The Ranger evolved from an older design from Randall's Adventure & Training known as the Designated Survivor Knife , which was similar but had a shorter blade of 2 1/4 inches.

5. TOPS Knives

TOPS Knives is a company that was founded by Tom S. Engleson and David O. Taylor in 1999. They specialized in making large survival knives for military, law enforcement and individuals interested in outdoor skills such as hunting, fishing, camping and emergency preparedness. 

These Military Knives are now on their third generation of manufacturing, which has seen them move from having manufacturing done in the U.S. to China in later years. The TOPS brand of knife is now owned by KA-BAR Brands.

6. Zombie Apocalypse Knife

The Zombie Apocalypse Knife was designed by survivalist Ray Mears . The knife features a 6.5-inch blade with a 2.5-inch handle and is made from the highest quality materials. It comes with a sheath that can be attached to most backpack straps or belt loops for easy carry on the go. 

The knife's handle is made from acrylic black coated carbon fiber, which is extremely strong and will not bend or break during use as it is stored in its sheath. Mears originally designed the knife for use during a zombie apocalypse, but it has since been used by fitness enthusiasts for use at home or as an addition to their gym kits (the latter being particularly popular amongst bodybuilders).

7. Automatic Knives

There are many military knives on the market that work by using a spring to automatically deploy a knife when you want to use it. These automatic knives are also known as assisted openers, and there are several brands and models to choose from. Some of the most popular brands include Benchmade, Kershaw, and Spyderco.

How are Military Knives Used Today?

What are military knives used for? This is a deeply unanswerable question as there are so many diverse ways that the military can use knives. One thing is for sure: they’ve been in use from ancient times to the modern day. These knives are synonymous with utility. They come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, some big enough to gut an animal with one clean stroke from their blade, others small enough to be hidden on one's person and forgotten about until needed... but they all have one thing in common: simplicity.

A good military knife is simple: it is durable, reliable, and effective. The biggest worry that a military soldier has is the practicality of their gear. Would a regular pocket knife work well to cut the Velcro straps on his or her backpack when it snagged in the brush? Would a miniature Swiss Army Knife make a good belt buckle for signaling purposes? It's these concerns that help improve and define what society accepts as being 'military grade.'

So, what are these knives used for? They're used for virtually everything! From basic survival needs to complex combat scenarios, they can be found in every branch of the armed forces and have been used by people on every continent since prehistoric times. 

These knives are used for the basic tasks of survival, from cutting wood for a fire to skinning a rabbit. They have countless applications in warfare, from dispatching an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat to disarming a roadside IED with its prying end. Being tools they are also extremely useful for survival in the wild or even on the home front after a natural disaster. Their uses are limited only by your imagination.