Though many do collect these knives simply for their historical value, if you’re looking for a rugged knife the bayonet certainly qualifies. Military bayonets are all about function. These military knives are built to survive the worst field conditions and do the toughest jobs, in addition to becoming the modern version of the spear when attached to a military rifle.
The first bayonets were hunting knives rigged to the barrels of flintlock rifles. Slow reloading rates made the quick conversion of musket to sword a necessity for hunters as well as soldiers. Today every Army has different ideas about what style of bayonet blade works best. Designs are based on cultural traditions, using concepts familiar to the common soldiers who carry them. Some would make excellent spears while others are wicked spikes. The current American knife bayonet bears little resemblance to battlefield types from other eras.
American bayonets have become all purpose Bowie knives with a heavier than normal build. Applied to hunting and camp chores these knives can be too stiff for efficiency. The bayonet is always a good choice for anyone who might need to pry, cut and saw their way out of a downed aircraft, but what the bayonet lacks is finesse. Don’t expect an easily sharpened hollow ground edge — the bevel of a genuine bayonet is tough enough to cut through nails but peeling an apple or cleaning a fish is a little outside its normal range of use.
One of the classics, the Lee-Enfield Bayonet can’t be mistaken for a hunting knife — the heritage clearly clearly goes back to the long sword.
The Smith & Wesson M9 Bayonet includes a scabbard with map pocket and sharpening stone — the M9 is a good foundation knife for any survival kit.
Ontario Knife Company’s SW3G Bayonet offers combat quality with a combo-serrated edge.