Weapons: January 10, 2004

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Folding combat knives are replacing bayonets for many American combat troops.  U.S soldiers carried a multitude of civilian manufactured folding knives into combat during the war in Iraq. Among the favorites were the Karambit, a hook shaped folding blade with lengths varying between two to four inches, weighing 3.5 to 3.8 oz.. and with an outside edge and tapered inside edge. attached to an alloy or polymer injection molded handle with an index finger ring. Developed in Indonesia during the 12th Century as a utility knife, it is known to have killed at least one an Iraqi who tried to grab an American soldier's weapon. The soldier's unit received training on the use of the Karambit as a personal defense tool, and it paid off as the peculiar shaped knife can easily inflict a lethal wound. These knives are fairly expensive, costing $240 and up.

Other folding knives are more conventional in shape. Many Marines favored Strider knives, designed and manufactured by retired combat veterans. The Strider knives were noted for their durability and every member of the new Marine commando unit (Special Operations unit Detachment One) received a specially designed Strider knife called the SMF. 

Troops are buying the folding knives to replace the M9 bayonet, which is also being replaced by multi-purpose tools for many everyday tasks. Companies like Leatherman Tool Group offer the knife-sized metal implements in a variety of models. These combat "Swiss Army Knife" items are only four inches long when closed and 6.25 inches long when opened. They are a lot cheaper than the folding knives ($50-60), but won't help you much in a fight. -Mike Perry 

 


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