Monday, September 14, 2009

Praxis: L. Neil Smith's KaBar Carbine Bayonet

L. Neil Smith's KaBar Carbine Bayonet

L. Neil Smith, Libertarian thinker and novelist, wrote this reply to my earlier piece on the obsolescence -- or lack thereof -- of bayonets. Bayonets SHOULD BE good camp knives. Alas, the slender issue blades are not. Neil's modification is a great idea which I intend to do to an M-14 bayonet as soon as possible.


Every generation seems to think the bayonet is obsolete -- until harsh reality teaches them otherwise. I figure, as long as it's a good fighting/camp knife, what does it hurt to make it attachable to the rifle, as well?

I'm not a military guy, and I only have one working bayonet (if you don't count the replica M1907 that goes on my '03 Springfield). It's for my M1 Carbine -- which needs all the helpit can get. See the attached photo. I took an issue bayonet apart, and rebuilt it around the blade of a Camillus copy of the USMC Ka-bar.

Springfield Armory used to offer a bayonet with twice the blade for KAR-15s like mine with the long, stupid flash hider. Wish I'd bought one when they were available.


PS: I might add that, for my hand at least, the bayonet grip is much more comfortable than the original leather washers.


Scott H. said...

This Brit used his bayonet effectively:

"He was alive when it went in--he wasn't alive when it came out--it was that simple."

j said...

Glad you are back and hope you are getting the medical attention you need.
Just as a BTW - although the quality control is just a bit 'spotty', you may find that the Glock field knife / bayonet CAN be had with some very good steel and a decent handle to it, and it lends itself to various modifications too. Might provide a bit more length than the Ka-Bar -
although my own Ka-Bar remains my favorite knife, so no slight is intended to that worthy and legendary blade!

Dakota said...

My question is how do you convert a KBar into a bayonet? What would be the procedure????? Great Idea.

Anonymous said...

I also would like information on how to do this for my M1A.

Thank you for your consideration.

Anonymous said...

Dontcha just love us Libertarians! Intelligent bstards we are!

Great article!

Unknown said...

Every rifle I own has a bayonet with it (except one where it wasn't built to use one). I don't feel a military rifle is complete without one.

Jammy Harbin said...


110 bucks.


Happy D said...

The simple explanation is that you add the bayonet parts on to the K-Bar blade, you will have to shape the blade some.
I had a friend that found some bayonets that the blades had been torch cut off.
Being an expert welder he welded the blades he wanted on. I don't know how or if he heat treated them.

He also welded a fork onto one.
I said he was a friend I didn't say he was sane. Sadly I have no pics and have lost touch with him.

Kristophr said...

I'm sure El Neil was a little more professional about it than merely welding a blade on.

I would guess that he took both knives apart, ground/worked the KaBar tang until it was identical to the bayonet's tang, and then assembled the bayonet guard, grips, and hilt to the new blade.

Happy D said...

I must clarify that welding a new blade on is not an procedure an lay person should even think of trying.
The alloys of the blade, welding method, and heat treating that may be required are areas of advanced knowledge and training. And should be left to the Pros.

Happy D said...

Just found my M6 M-14 bayonet funny its always in the last place you look. Took it apart. I humbly suggest fabricating new parts instead of taking them off a donor knife. The tang on the M6 and M9 are a little thinner than I feel safe with. But I have not heard of them breaking.

Warning! Welding, Brazing,and soldering are both an art and science. If you don't know what the dangers are hire a professional.

Remove the finish on areas you plan to weld! Heat the wrong kind of finish or metal to high and you will POISON YOURSELF!

You will have to make the tang like the donor knife if you are transferring Parts over. The guard will have to be welded, brazed, silver soldered, or riveted on.
To weld you should Gently clamp the blade in a steel vice to act as a heat sink. I would strongly suggest using a rivet or other mechanical fastener, the risk of heat damage (weakening) to the blade is to high for me.

The Pommel (part opposite of the pointy end) Someone correct me if I have the wrong term will need to be welded on. I suppose it could be bolted or riveted.

Once again remove the finish on areas you plan to weld! Heat the wrong kind of finish or metal to high and you will POISON YOURSELF!

Gently clamp the tang in the vice with the area you plan to weld on one side of the vice and the blade on the other side. Heat stop paste or putting the blade in water may be a good idea.
Water around electric welding processes is not a generally a good idea. Though the hydrogen explosion that can be generated is kind of cool from a safe distance.
Now refinish the blade.

Anonymous said...

I’ve always believed the SKS was a good alternative to the AK and AR because so many SKS rifles came with a bayonet.

In close quarters that little blade out on the end of an SKS might save your life or get you a better weapon

Happy D said...

That SKS spike bayonet makes an O.K. mono-pod as well.

Happy D said...

Did my attempts to explain how to make your own help anyone?

Anonymous said...

So if i dismantled my usmc KaBar with the stacked leather handle, leaving only the blade and handle guard ... how difficult would it be to replace the original handle with this m7 bayonet handle?

Happy D said...

After you have removed the steel pin from the pommel. Removed the leather washers. It would only be a matter of shaping the tang for the bayonet parts then attaching them.
The modern KaBar is very fine triple heat treated steel and will not be easy to work. I would not weld or braze it.
It would not take me long. I work with metal every day.
If you are skilled with hand tools it would take a day perhaps. If you are not accustomed to working metal I would suggest going very slow. Practice on a piece of scrap steel first. 1 hour a day for as many days as it takes. At the end of each hour stop think what you would have done different. What and how will you do it tomorrow?
Good luck.