Knife Madness 2017 match 2: KA-BAR vs. Utica Cutlery


The second matchup of our 2017 Knife Madness tournament features KA-BAR vs. Utica Cutlery Co. Both are New York Companies with roots dating back more than 100 years each. They both have a history of making knives for the military, though in the case of KA-BAR the brand has become almost synonymous with “military knives” with their venerable USMC Fighting Knife.

Before we dive into today’s companies in more detail, just a reminder about how the tournament works. You can vote twice per day. Once on Facebook, and once in the comments below. Name your pick below, or on Facebook vote for KA-BAR by clicking “like” or vote for Utica by clicking “love”. You can read more about the contest and see the complete brackets here.

Tipping off today’s matchup from the USA Legacy division…


While we are attempting to remain impartial, we have to disclose that we have a connection to the company through their legendary designer Ethan Becker. David and I have both visited him at home, and I have lunch with him on a semi-regular basis. I am honored to call the man a friend. David has done several KA-BAR reviews including the BK16, BK9, and BK21 Reinhardt Kukri (and here).


KA-BAR Knives was founded in 1898 in Tidioute, PA as the Tidioute Cutlery Company. This company eventually became known as the Union Cutlery Company and moved to Olean, NY in the early 1900s. KA-BAR was a trademark of Union Cutlery and was stamped on the iconic USMC Fighting/Utility knife introduced during WWII. Today, KA-BAR is still made in Olean, NY and makes knives for military, law enforcement, camping, hunting, and bushcraft.


Twitter: @KA_BAR
Facebook Page
Youtube Channel

All TTAK KA-BAR tagged content.


UTICA Cutlery Co.

We honestly do not have much experience with this company. It is a shame because they have a pedigree dating back to when they first started making pocketknives at the turn of the last century. Today they are more known for their tableware, but still manufacture hunting and pocketknives under their Kutmaster product line.


The Utica Cutlery Company was founded in 1910 by a group of prominent Utica businessmen. It was felt that a metal working industry would create employment and bring economic balance to the area. The primary industry in Utica at the time was textile manufacturing.

The original location for the company was 820 Noyes Street. Through the years, several major additions were made to the building, but the address remains the same. The current size of the factory and office is approximately 100,000 square feet.

The company has continuously manufactured pocket knives since 1910. In 1918, fixed blade kitchen cutlery was added. During World War II, the company manufactured bayonets and carbine parts and earned UTICA the coveted Army-Navy E., as well as a number of other awards.

Stainless flatware was added to the line in 1952 and has been continuously manufactured and marketed by the company since that time. The flatware program was substantially enhanced during the “mid-seventies” with the addition of imported flatware. This broadened the line by adding a number of new qualities and price points.

In 1970, the company acquired the Walco Stainless Division of Voos Industries. WALCO is a major player in the hotel/restaurant industry and provides an entire array to the institutional market. WALCO is an independent division of the Utica Cutlery Company serving the institutional market.

Utica Cutlery Facebook Page

Since we do not have any original Utica content, I am including a couple of videos about the company and its products.

Remember to vote for your favorite, below.

Yesterday’s tip-off match between Ontario and Case was a see-saw saw battle early, but a series of Twitter and Facebook shares by Case rocketed them into the lead by mid-day. Once they seized the momentum, they never looked back. Final score was Case 29 (13 TTAK/16 Facebook) to 14 for Ontario (6 TTAK/8 FB).

Thank you to everyone who helped make Day 1 a success. Congrats to Case on punching their ticket to the Sweet-16.


  1. Dennis says:

    Today I’m going with Ka-Bar

  2. cmeat says:

    i don’t know if there’s still a utica club beer, but it was better than fitger’s. so while i have three bk knives, i’ll vote for the underdog. ‘cuz beer.

  3. Wade says:

    I have to go with Ka-Bar, the most recognized military fighting knife on the planet. I just restored a MK3 to usable condition last year that was carried by a friend of mines Grand Father in WW2 but has long since passed away. It had been hanging in a barn for who knows how long. There was a very heavy coating of rust that I had to remove and zero bluing remained.

  4. Cubbie says:

    Ka-Bar for its history.

  5. Willie Pfisterbottom says:

    Never owned a Utica, so my vote goes to KaBar

  6. Peter says:

    KA BAR.

  7. Daniel J says:

    Kabar, but I’m really interested in the new Utica knives they debuted at shot show. They seem like some nice, low priced Esee competitors. Would love to see a review on the big one!

    1. Spoke with a Utica rep today. I don’t know what they will be sending a couple of knives to test. Looking forward to seeing and sharing what comes.

  8. Matt says:

    KA-BAR wins this match. Their USMC knife is a true classic, and they still sell them.

    I thought Utica went out of business, I’m glad to see they are still around.

  9. Robert D. says:


  10. VaqueroJustice says:


  11. Stax says:

    This is a very strange match up considering Utica made “Kabars” starting in 1960 along with Camillus and Ontario. I prefer the post WW2 since the grip swells to the pommel and fits a fighting grip better. A better match up would be Union “Kabar” with Pal or another true WW2 era “Kabar”
    Even though Union took the name. Each company version has its slight differences.
    I think their all great. Hands down the best gen purpose fighter since it’s inception. Semper Fi

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Knife Madness 2017 match 2: KA-BAR vs. Utica Cutlery

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