The best KA-Bar alternatives are the Cold Steel Leatherneck SF, the Ontario Combat Knife, and the Case Military USMC Knife. Each of these knives has a similar grip to the KA-Bar, and they all have the classic tapered blade point. They’re also made of hardened steel to provide a clean cut.
Throughout this article, I’ll break down the details of each of these KA-Bar alternatives, whether or not they’re better than the classic KA-bar knife, and more. Let’s dive right in!
1. Best Overall KA-Bar Alternative: Cold Steel Leatherneck SF
The Cold Steel Leatherneck SF is the best KA-Bar knife alternative because it’s made out of powder-coated stainless steel and is designed to last for many years. This knife includes a sheath that mimics the comfort and protection provided by standard USMC KA-Bar knives. It also has a waist strap.
The blade on this knife measures 6.75 inches (17.14 cm), which makes up far more than half of the 11.75-inch knife (29.84 cm), including the handle. You’ll also enjoy the textured grip that resists moisture from sweat while preventing you from dropping or mishandling the knife. The bottom cap is made of pure steel that you can use as a makeshift hammer when needed.
Bottom Line: The Cold Steel Leatherneck SF gives the KA-Bar USMC knife a run for its money. This high-end knife alternative boasts impressive, durable features from top to bottom. It’s also very easy to sharpen since it’s made of rust-resistant stainless steel.
- Includes a high-quality, comfortable sheath
- Uses a built-in steel cap to make it a multipurpose tool
- Has a built-in belt loop holster and a quick-release strap
- Comes with a steel quillon guard to protect your hands while using the blade
- Incorporates the same curve and general design as a KA-Bar knife
2. Best Budget-Friendly Knife: Ontario Combat Knife
Are you looking for a KA-Bar knife without spending too much? If so, the Ontario Combat Knife is more than worth considering. This knife is a budget-friendly, modern take on the KA-Bar, thanks to its tapered wedge groove at the top. Despite its lower price point, it uses high-end carbon steel on a 7-inch (17.78 78-cm) blade for all-day performance.
This knife is slightly longer than the previous alternative, sitting at 12.1 inches (30.73 cm) from top to bottom. The grooved handle is shockproof and you can use it in various survival scenarios. The blade’s edge is coated black, unlike the KA-Bar and the previously mentioned Cold Steel knife, and there is no exposed silver edge, which may or may not be an issue for you.
Bottom Line: The Ontario Combat Knife is an excellent choice for people who want to save money while getting a knife similar to the KA-Bar USMC collection. These knives include everything you need for maximum protection, including a guarded hilt and a carrying sheath with belt loops. They also have extra-long blades.
- Includes a tie loop at the bottom of the handle
- Crafted by a reputable brand in the knife industry
- Comes with a narrow sheath to keep it out of the way when moving around
- Is made of carbon steel for higher density and tensile strength
- Doesn’t need to be sharpened as often as similar blades in its price range
3. Best Comparable Knife: Case Military USMC Knife
The Case Military is as close as it gets to a KA-Bar knife without actually being one. These top-shelf knives are within the same price range as KA-Bar knives, but they include unique all-leather sheaths. They’re perfect for the avid outdoor enthusiast who wants a high-end knife with USMC standards.
These knives are much lighter than some of the other alternatives mentioned above at only 10.2 ounces (289.2 g). The blade is 7 inches (17.78 cm), while the entire assembly is 12.13 inches (30.81 cm), making it just a tad longer than the Ontario Combat Knife. It also includes a limited lifetime warranty, which is invaluable to most knife collectors.
Bottom Line: If you want a knife similar to a KA-Bar with a bit more of an outdoorsman feeling, the Case Military USMC knife is the way to go. Everything from the stylish sheath to the grooved leather handle is built to last for a long time.
- Uses a leather handle and sheath for grip and style
- Made out of high-end carbon steel for better strength and durability
- Looks, feels, and has a similar weight to classic USMC KA-Bar knives
- Includes a limited lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for the blade and handle
- Designed and submitted to the USMC as an official knife
Is the Ka-Bar the Best Knife?
KA-Bar is the best knife for longevity, reliability, and military collectors. If you’re looking for a survival knife, there are many comparable knives from which to choose. However, there’s no doubt that a KA-bar knife can be your go-to choice for many decades (as it has been for many service members).
Back Country Chronicles explains that a KA-Bar knife is second to none in terms of durability. These knives can cut through any fabric, carve any wood, and clean any fish or animal you’ve hunted. They also serve as memorabilia for those who enjoy collecting USMC gear. That said, it’s also worth checking out some of the abovementioned alternatives.
Does the USMC Still Use the Ka-Bar?
The USMC still uses the KA-Bar due to its familiarity and ability to work in varying temperatures and humidity. The KA-Bar doesn’t need to be sharpened as often as many field knives because it’s made with hardened steel. It’ll likely be issued to USMC service members for many years to come.
According to KA-Bar, their knives have been used by the USMC for over 70 years and still remain active today. This is a true testament to the high-quality construction and reliability of these knives. You’ll find similar features in many modern alternatives, but none that the USMC has used for nearly as long.
While KA-Bar knives will likely always be coveted military classics, many alternatives exist if you are looking for one. The above-mentioned alternatives offer something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a higher-quality knife or a low-cost alternative.
For more, check out Do Soldiers Carry Knives? (With Examples of a Few Favorites).
Hey, I’m Jim, and I’m the author of this website. I have been teaching people a wide variety of survivalism topics for over five years and have a lifetime of experience fishing, camping, general survivalism, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up, I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!