What Pocket Knife does the Military Use?

Pocket knives are a standard issue tool for the military, and rightly so.

If you’ve ever gone camping or hiking, there are a lot of dangers to be found in the wild. I always carry a pocket knife when I go for hikes. That way I can always either defend myself or cut a few branches or vines along the way – it’s a multitasker!

Folding Iberian pocket knives have been found in Spain, dating back to pre-Roman days. There is also evidence of pocket knives being used in the Viking Era.

Today, the pocket knife is used by nearly every single military around the world. It’s not just a great weapon for close combat and hunting, but a tool for cutting ropes and foraging food.

What pocket knife does the military use?

Pocket Knives Used by the US Military

The US military has a few standard issue pocket knives.

They’re very different from the common Swiss Army Knife that one often thinks of. These tools are meant to cut through ropes, do some damage, and even forage for food in certain situations. Hence, they’re made to be tough and extremely versatile in their use.

Yet, they’re also designed to be used and gripped very easily.

Ontario 490 M9 Bayonet System

Ontario 490 M9 Bayonet System (Green)

You may have seen this knife in a movie about the US armed forces.

The Ontario 490 M9 Bayonet folding knife was first manufactured in 1984. It’s a utility knife which can double as a wire cutter and do some serious damage. Despite its 7 inch length, it looks like a formidable weapon that can tear through flesh in seconds.

It resembles its predecessor, the Buck 184.

Types of knives used in the military

Ontario Mark III Navy Knife

Ontario 6141 MK 3 Navy Knife (Black)

The MK3 Navy Knife is issued to all Navy Seals in the US Navy.

The stainless steel blade is approximately six inches in length and is very reliable and efficient. It resembles the Bayonet in a lot of ways, especially in the way that the blade sticks out.

However, its distinct faded green color sets it apart from the all-black Bayonet.

Strider SMF

The Strider SMF was especially manufactured during the War on Terror in 2003. It was the standard weapon of the Detachment One Unit. It was an extremely special tool since it was the first knife issued to an individual Marine Corp unit in 60 years.

This was a decision taken by the Detachment One Unit. They decided they needed a special pocket knife all to themselves.

The reliability of the knife came as a result of its compactness. The blade is made out of titanium, which makes it resistant to wear and tear. Hence, they have longer lives than the normal steel blades that military members carry.


KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife, Straight

This is the knife that the US Special Forces use.

It shows that this knife would be used by Special Forces since it’s a classic weapon which hasn’t aged a day. It was introduced first in World War II. It was specifically produced to cater to their requirements.

While this is very handy in a fight, it’s also very useful for opening crates and cutting wires.

The blade isn’t much longer than the MK3 or the M9, at 7-inches. However, the classic look and feel of that knife is still timeless. The blade is manufactured from classic carbon steel or stainless steel. It can also be made of Cro-Van Steel which includes Chrome and Vanadium.

The blade is also partially serrated, which makes it instantly recognizable from military films.

ASEK Survival Knife

Ontario 1400 ASEK Survival Knife System (Black)

The ASEK Survival Knife was introduced at nearly the same time to the US Army as the Strider SMF.

In 2003, this knife was issued to the army. However, since then other branches of the armed forces have adopted it too. The light weight of this knife and its practicality has made it a favorite. Its blade measures at only 5 inches and it has a sizable handle.

If there is a most common answer to the question “What Pocket Knife does the Military Use?” it’s probably the ASEK.

What kind of knives do they use in the military?

Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Huntsman Pocket Knife w/ Pouch, Red , 91mm

This is probably the most famous pocket knife in the entire world.

The Swiss Army Knife has become a symbol of efficiency and utility around the world. The original term is the “Offiziersmesser” or the Officer’s Knife.

However, the original name was too difficult for US World War II soldiers to pronounce. So they coined the term, Swiss Army Knife.

The knife was issued to the Swiss Army in the late 1880s. It was originally purposed to open canned food and disassembling the standard issue service rifle.

Then in 1891, they Modell 1890 came out. It had a blade, reamer, a can opener, and a screwdriver. It also included grips comprising dark oak wood and ebony wood.

Today, the Swiss Army Knife, built by the company Victorinox, is composed of 8 layers. It has 33 functions and weighs nearly 185 g.

The main tools include a large blade, a small blade, a nail file or metal file, and a wood saw. The other tools include scissors, a wire scraper, pruning blade, and a pharmaceutical spatula. There are several other tools embedded within the knife including a screwdriver, an LED light, and even a USB stick.

Military pocket knife guide

International Military Pocket Knives

Aside from the US military, there are a lot of standard issue pocket knives used by the world’s militaries.


Sheffield Sykes Fairbairn Fixed Knife, black finish carbon steel dagger blade, Black finish

This has been in used for decades. First issued in WW2 to the British Special Air Service, the Fairbairn-Sykes proved extremely effective. It was so effective that the US military tried to create its own version for the OSS.

Glauca B1

GIGN is a Special Ops group in France. The Glauca B1 was created by a company called Extrema Ratio to help them handle terrorist hostage situations. The knife features a custom blade, a plastic handcuff cutter and a window breaker.


This one is also used by the GIGN in France. This is an 11 inch knife which is simple. The WING-Tactic is issued to elite soldiers.


Joint Task Force 2 from Canada has guarded major world leaders and have hunted Serbian snipers. They’re dedicated to counter terrorism duties, so there’s very little actual information on them online. We do know that they’re fond of using the Karambit. The weapon’s origins are mysterious since it’s very old.

Ari B’Lilah

YAMAM is the Israeli counter terrorism force. They created the Ari B’Lilah for undercover Ops and hostage situations. Not only is it very effective, but practical.

Ballistic Knife

This knife is used by Russian Special Forces, Spetsnaz. Ballistic Knives were designed for close quarters combat and are usually used on intelligence missions. They’re built for utility and speed.

All these pocket knives are designed for very specific uses.

If you need one general knife that will fit most of your uses, you should probably get the Swiss Army Knife and be content with it.

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