Weapon of the Week: Trench Knife

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Firearms & Other Weaponry, Weapon of the Week
Tags: , , , , , , ,

2012’s first weapon of the week is: The Trench Knife

When planning for survival away from your home, choosing multipurpose tools is essential.  The less you have to carry, the quicker you can run.  All blades are multipurpose in their nature.  They are defense weapons and a tool to use for everyday actions.  If you don’t believe me, try to go a day without using any sort of sharp tool (knife, scissors, clippers, etc).  I promise it won’t take you long to utter an expletive under your breath.

So lets get to it.  The first Trench Knives were developed during WWI for close combat.  They are Combat Knives which means they were designed to incapacitate and kill.  The earliest types were constructed from military issue bayonets by individual soldiers so they could more easily ambush the enemy and dispatch them silently.  Once the ‘powers that be’ caught on to the necessity of such knifes they produced them themselves and issued them out to their infantries.  The Germans had their Nahkampfmesser, the French their Poignard-Baïonnette Lebel M1886/14, and the US the M1917, M1918, and then the Mark I.

For practicality purposes, we’re going to stick with the US model.

The beauty of this knife is that it has three main features: A double sided 6.75in blade, knuckle dusters, and a steel nut end cap on the handle that was dubbed the “skull crusher” for its ability to..well, use your imagination.

Now, the double sided blade means you can use it any way you want. Stab, slash, cut, whatever and you won’t have to worry about positioning.  Its blade is also smooth (no serrations) so you can sharpen it easily.  The knuckle dusters were originally designed, not as a weapon, but so it couldn’t be muscled out of a soldiers hand, however, that fact has never stopped anyone from using them to their advantage in close quarter combat.  Finally we have the skull crusher; a pretty little peak gracing the tip of the handle that adds a little extra oomph to a head shot.

The models to trust: the M1918 or the Mark 1.  If you happen to have a M1917, use it only as a family heirloom and not as a weapon.  The M1917’s were quickly replaced by the M1918’s because they were faulty and often broke.  I’ve done a little research on modern variations of the classic design and so far nothing’s jumping out at me, but that isn’t to say a good one doesn’t exist.  As always, do your own research before investing your money and betting your life on something.

Lets be clear, I would not want to have to use any knife against a zombie.  But, if I had to use a blade against a hungry walking corpse, this is the one I’d want in my hand.  The greatness of this blade has not been lost on modern times.  We see it again and again from GI Joe, to Max Brook’s survival guide, and Call of Duty: World at War.

The downfall of this weapon: Real ones; good ones, are hard to find.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and say if you do find an authentic one you’re going to be paying a pretty little price for it.  Now there are modern “replicas” and variations on the original but their quality is questionable and I wouldn’t want to bet my pretty little post Zpoc butt on one unless it was tried and tested.  As with most anything, you get what you pay for and if you’re paying under $40 for a any blade (brand new), I wouldn’t trust it.  It’s also fairly large.  The entire unit is just under 1 foot in length with the blade measuring at 6.75in.  With the handle being made of cast bronze I’m gonna guess  it’s probably a bit on the hefty side for a bladed weapon.

So how does it rate?

Since our ratings scale was first developed to rate a firearm I have adjusted it for blades.

  • Ease of Use = 8
  • Size & Weight = 4
  • Durability = 8
  • Availability = 2
  • Cost (for pre-apocalypse procurement) = 4 (hard to determine)

Overall Score = 5

If you’re going to invest in a knife, you should probably look elsewhere.

  1. Vic says:

    I have a friend who made one of these. It weighs in at 2 pounds. he used all steel, and it is a killer to lug around. He also put spikes on the duster so it is something no one would want to simply try and grab out of your hand. It is also a real booger to keep sharp, but then again, so was the Bayonet I had while I was in service.
    If you were going to go with a blade, and had something equivalent to this, I might suggest simply using a short sword with a basket hilt.

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