Black Leather KaBar?

Discussion in 'KA-BAR Knives' started by digital9ja, Aug 15, 2020.

  1. digital9ja

    digital9ja

    108
    Feb 4, 2007
    A friend of mine at work is a Marine and he was telling me how he got screwed trying to buy a KaBar online. He simply wanted the original USMC stamped knife with the brown leather handle and sheath. He said what he got was a black blade, black leather washer handle stamped USN KaBar with a black sheath. He was disgusted with it so he has been beating on it since he got it.

    I happened to have a pristine USMC KaBar at home so I gave it to him and told him I'd trade him straight-up for whatever it is he has. Honestly, when I bought this knife on Amazon it was listed as used but it came to me brand new. I have a beautiful USMC KaBar decorated with the Vietnam War Commemorative logo that my little daughter gave me one year for Father's Day. So that is my "safe queen" and I wanted a beater KaBar anyway. Since the one I got on Amazon for $50 was brand new I never wanted to beat on it so it sat in my desk drawer with the Vietnam one.

    I haven't seen the knife he is bringing me on Monday but I did a precusory search online and in this forum specifically and I haven't had any luck finding pics of an all black USN KaBar with black leather washer handle and black sheath.

    My friend didn't want to take my knife but I insisted. I told him it warms my heart to see a US Marine with a USMC KaBar! He is such a good guy anyway I would have just given him that knife so he could have it in his collection. I bought a US Army Kabar for my cousin's son when he made it through basic training ( and just did a tour in Syria and Iraq), I sent my friend in the 10th Mountain a KaBar Tanto when he was in Iraq and I bought my pastor's son a D2 Extreme when he made 19 Delta Cav Scout. My other friend became a Recon Marine and I got him a Bark River K&T Bravo 1 but that was because he really liked Force Recon and I thought it would be cool to spring for the Barkie for him.

    Anyway I love giving warriors KaBars. It's just such an awesome token of appreciation for what they all give us. They are writing a blank check to America for anything up to and including laying down their lives.

    I just wanted to know if anyone knows about an all black leather/black blade USN KaBar. Maybe it is something else, but I'm getting excited that I might get something really cool to add to my collection! If it ends up being anything rare and valuable I'll tell him to keep both knives.

    Thanks for any help or advice!

    Steve
     
  2. 1066vik

    1066vik Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 28, 2009
    it's very likely he either got one of the Ontario made issue knives or a knock-off.
    I'm not aware of any solid black KaBar made mk2 knives, but one or both of the real KaBar history experts will be by in a day or 2.
     
  3. digital9ja

    digital9ja

    108
    Feb 4, 2007
    I asked him if it had a rubber (Kraton) or leather handle and he said he thought it was black leather. I guess I'll have to wait and see what I get on Monday. I never heard of an all black leather KaBar but since he said it was stamped USN I got excited thinking it was maybe some kind of rare limited issue SEAL knife or something! Which reminds me I still need to add one of those BUDS knives to my collection. I think it is an Ontario MK something or another. Thanks for your reply! I'll respond here with a picture when I get the knife this week.
     
    eveled likes this.
  4. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    None of the "real" WW2 MK2s/1219C2s had black leather handles or sheaths. They may developed near black handles with use or oil or leather treatments but they weren't black.

    If the knife truly has a black stacked leather handle with a knife stamped Kabar and USN, I'd love to see pictures of it. As for as I know they don't exist. The Kabar-made leather handles are brown.

    The Kabar black Kabars have grooved Kraton handles and are stamped KABAR over OLEAN NY on the mark side and USA over 1211 on the pile side. The 1212 is the combo blade version, but is also stamped 1211 for some reason known only to the Kabar folks. I've never seen one stamped USN.

    The post-WW2 1219C2s/USN-MK2s were redignated as the MIL-K-20227, had NO branch stamps and were brown handled and brown or ox-blood in color, although they were very dark with the anti-fungal treatment required under the specs. The requirement for the knife handles and sheaths to be black was a change to the specs in 1966.

    The current MIL-K-20227s are made by Ontario and are stamped US / ONTARIO. The civilian version is the Ontario Model 498.
     
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  5. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    False hope - Kabar has never had a real contract to produce MIL-K-20227s. There may have been some private purchases, some PX sales, etc., but I doubt Kabar made a special run for SEALS and never said anything about it.
     
    MolokaiRider likes this.
  6. Wurger190

    Wurger190 Basic Member Basic Member

    420
    Jul 5, 2014
    The mystery Ka Bar is intriguing! Be interested to see what it turns out to be.
     
  7. eveled

    eveled Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 11, 2016
    Yes looking forward to some pictures.

    My guesses? A really dark brown leather handle or Kraton in a Black plastic sheath, or a cheap knockoff.
     
  8. digital9ja

    digital9ja

    108
    Feb 4, 2007
    It looks like a KaBar and it is all black leather handle and sheath. It is only stamped US ONTARIO. So not a real KaBar but still a cool addition to my collection. I'll post a pic when I get home from work.
     
    eveled and GIRLYmann like this.
  9. MolokaiRider

    MolokaiRider Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    I had a feeling it was the Ontario 498.

    A neat knife nonetheless.
     
    eveled likes this.
  10. Sharp Steel

    Sharp Steel

    245
    Aug 10, 2009
    I thought the Ontario version was the one issued to the military? From the description, that sounds like the one with black leather washers. The differences I see between that one and the Ontario 498 I have are that the issued knife has a protective black coating on the washers and a sharpened swedge. Forgot that my 498 does not have the fuller, either.
     
  11. digital9ja

    digital9ja

    108
    Feb 4, 2007
    I don't think I can post a picture, my free photobucket account is full. Anyway, it does have black coated leather washer handle, sharpened swedge and a fuller. Looks like I got an Ontario 498, which is pretty sweet!

    When I look at it side-by-side with my USMC KaBar the primary bevel on the KaBar is wider than this one. That's about the only difference I noticed. I'm happy with it and I'm glad I was able to make my friend so happy with the KaBar he always wanted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
    eveled likes this.
  12. GIRLYmann

    GIRLYmann

    Nov 7, 2005
    its not a ka-bar.
    but is a genuine U.S. stamped
    usgi ontario made kbar.
    shouldn't that make it sonewhat cool ??!
    it's sad that ka-bar has done away with the sharpened false edge combat knife feature...
     
  13. sac troop

    sac troop

    910
    Mar 4, 2009
    Ontario started making these knives around 1980. From 1980 to about 1989 Camillus and Ontario were the two major providers of these knives to the U.S. Government. There are some other manufactures that did have small contracts of very small quantities during that time span. What Zzz, said about the specification changing the color too black is factually correct, but the color of the knives provided to the Government continued to be the dark reddish brown,(oxblood) late into the seventies.
    Ka-Bar, (Union Cutlery) was one of four providers of these knives during WW2. Camillus made the largest total numbers of these knives for both the U.S.M.C. and the Navy. With the Ka-Bar marked knives coming in a close second. Robeson Cutlery and PAL were the other two providers. From 1945 until 1976 Union Cutlery/KaBar didn't make anymore of these knives.
    The sharpened swedge is part of the official specification. So many State laws are written about knives that consider the presence of a sharpened swedge as defining the knife as a double edged blade that the manufactures avoid putting such an edge on their commercial products. They really are trying to protect the public from not being aware of their own local laws.
    The knife described above without a fuller sounds like a knife Ontario makes specifically for sale thru Walmart.
     
    th3ug1y0n3 likes this.
  14. digital9ja

    digital9ja

    108
    Feb 4, 2007
    I really like this knife. I never even knew about the 498 but I have a 499 AFSK so this is a great piece to have. I love the all black look and somewhere I read the rat tail is thicker than other manufacturers make it. Not sure if there there is any truth to that, but being USGI I'm sure it's tougher than woodpecker lips! I might end up buying another one of these to put in a display case. My actual USMC KaBar is the one with the gold embossed Vietnam War commemorative design on the side so I never use that one. This 498 will be my "user" and go-to blade for social work if the need were ever to arise. I think it would look great to have a display with my KaBar, the AFSK, a 498 and a Camillus "Demo" knife all together. Title it "'Nam Buddies" :) Thanks for all the info and replies. If I can make some space in my photobucket account I'll get a pic up.
     
  15. digital9ja

    digital9ja

    108
    Feb 4, 2007
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  16. th3ug1y0n3

    th3ug1y0n3 Basic Member Basic Member

    85
    May 22, 2019
    I bought my dad a KA-bar in the 90's but it was all black with a black leather handle stamped USMC. I can no longer find them with black leather handles only the kraton grips.
     
  17. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    MId 90s, that would have been a 20227 made by Ontario. The stamp would have been US over ONTARIO. Ontario is still making them for the government. The civilian version of it is also available. It is called the "Ontario 8180 498 Marine Combat Knife".

    Use that string as a google search to find the online stores that sell it.
     
    th3ug1y0n3 likes this.
  18. th3ug1y0n3

    th3ug1y0n3 Basic Member Basic Member

    85
    May 22, 2019
    I had him check them this morning. One is a Camillus and the other is a Ontario.

    He did say that when he was issued one during the 1965-69 time period it was a KA-BAR, not Camillus nor Ontario, with a dark leather handle not like the light brown ones that are sold to the public nowadays. He was pretty adamant that it was KA-BAR that he used in his time in Vietnam but who am I to argue, he's still more handy with it than me. lol
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  19. zzyzzogeton

    zzyzzogeton

    Feb 17, 2013
    Camillus made the black leather handled version from 1964 to 1984, so there was a 2 year overlap of Camillus and Ontario making them.

    If he was issued a "KABAR" brand Kabar during the VN war, then he was issued a holdover in the stock system from WW2 as Kabar did not make any 1219C2/USN-MK2s from 1945 to 1975.

    If it was black handled, then it had a "makeover" before being issued - the Marines changed the specs to black in 1963.

    On-hand pre-1963 leather goods were dyed black upon issue so as to meet specs. Items already issued were also dyed black to meet specs. Both types (NIS and issued) of items have been found to have been dyed on both sides and also just on the face, with the back side being left brown.

    Kabar first made a commemorative in 1976 and it sold so well, Kabar ramped up production for the model 1217 and have made them and the various versions ever since, with brown leather handles like the originals or the kraton handled versions (starting in the late 1997 with the 1245).
     
    th3ug1y0n3 likes this.
  20. th3ug1y0n3

    th3ug1y0n3 Basic Member Basic Member

    85
    May 22, 2019
    That all makes sense thank you for the info. Growing up it was always the knife that set my standards for knives.
     

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