First produced by Ka-Bar in 2005, the Desert Fighting Knife came about because many military personnel serving in the Gulf region wrote the company to request a desert version of the famous Ka-Bar fighting knife. Ka-Bar’s Desert Fighting Knife incorporates handle material and sheath in desert tan.
A combo cutting edge 7 inches long provides a plain edge section for the finer chores and a section of ripping teeth for severing rope, harness, and cable. The modified Bowie blade follows the familiar Marine Corps fighting knife pattern, strong enough to piece a steel drum without serious damage. You’ll probably need to hone the edge afterwards, but the 20-degree edge bevel, flat ground on chrome vanadium 1095 high carbon steel, will hold up to very abusive conditions.
Eleven and 3/4 inches long overall, the desert version is a little lighter than some models of the Ka-Bar fighting knife and weighs a conservative 0.66 pounds. Both the carbon steel finger guard and powder steel butt cap are made in the functional pattern of the classic military Ka-Bar — not pretty, but dependable. The butt cap is hardened steel, able to drive nails if need be. The Kraton-G grip formed around the knife’s rat-tail tang is the modern improvement of the older stacked leather washer design. It’s utilitarian and practical but lacks some of the mystique of the older material.
Camouflage extends to metal parts with a coating of black epoxy to reduce reflectivity. The coating is tough but does wear off gradually through hard use. The knife comes with a glass-filled nylon sheath colored to match the handle. The knife is made in the U.S.A., but the sheath is an import from Taiwan.
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