Sunday “Long-read”: Ka-Bar and Fairbairn – Two fighting children of different philosophies.

Ka-Bar and Fairbairn

When TTAK launched, Chris referred to diving down rabbit holes. I liked it when I read it, but I never knew at the time how apt that analogy would be. When I wrote my “Know your Knives” piece on the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife earlier this week, I accidentally conflated the F-S with its descendant, the US V42 stilletto. I mistakenly said that the Fairbairn was on the US Special Forces patch, when it was the v42.

Reader Knight of Bob explained my error and the subtle but important differences between the two, most notably the v42s thumb patch on the cheek to facilitate a horizontal thrust between the ribs, but also differences in guard, pommel, and grind.

This led me to explore the topic further and I came across a great piece. It is from, which is a “independent, neutral meeting ground and resource site dedicated to the Historical European Martial Arts community.”


The US V-42, in silhouette, the only differences you can see from the F-S are the spiked pommel and slight flare to the guard. Photo from (HROARR)

While the KaBar and the F-S are highlighted in the title, it is really a history of fighting knives in general. I am not going to waste any more of your time, it is a longer piece, but one of the best historical pieces I have stumbled across.

Go read:

The KaBar and the Fairbairn-Sykes: Two fighting children of different philosophies.

Enjoy, and please let me know what you think.


  1. cmeat says:

    i find the m3 design very appealing.
    sounds like ol’ boy was more scar tissue than smooth flesh.
    last time i heard that “kill a bear” legend i was doubtful. time to reconsider.
    i completely enjoyed that read.

  2. AW1Ed says:

    Thanks for the link, very informative and interesting. One can clearly see the lineage from the KA-BAR to the Navy aviator’s survival knife I carried for many years in my flight kit, and still have. I also have a couple Gerber covert folders, with Applegate and Fairbairn names on the blades.
    Guess I’m covered, either way!

  3. Jon M. says:

    Seriously an amazing read.

  4. Sam L. says:

    Three years later, it’s gone. It says, “Sorry. No posts found.”

    Seems the bits and bytes disassociated into pixels and all have wandered off.
    My google-fu is insufficient to this day.

      1. Sam L. says:

        I looked thru all their links and did not find it. Thanks!

  5. Jerry Russell USN Ret says:

    To my knowledge the KBar is the only knife I know of, documented to have killed a Tiger. (The Cat, version.) The story was all talk when I got to Vietnam. The story behind the incident is remarkable.

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Sunday “Long-read”: Ka-Bar and Fairbairn – Two fighting children of different philosophies.

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