COLONIAL MARK 1 - A True Blast From The Past

by Denis Prisbrey, Tactical Knives Magazine

In the chronicles of classic U.S. knives, it takes notoriety, tradition, and usefulness for a knife to “carve” its place out in military history. Needless to say, it is interesting to see reproductions of knives that played an important part in our nation’s military past and to note the important features that made it a good all-around utility and combat blade. Colonial Knife™, a U.S. Based American Knife manufacture that has been around for four generations, reintroduced the U.S. Navy Mark 1 combat utility knife. With this reproduction, they adhered to packaging, blade steel, and temper specifications that were established in 1942 by the Department of Defense (War Department) to create a timeless reproduction piece that is well suited to the tasks asked of the original Mark 1 knife and more.

During WWII, the U.S. Navy needed huge quantities of utility belt knives for use on board their warships. Colonial knife™ was one of a dozen or so companies that produced the very basic “Mark 1” to meet this requirement. The knife grew in popularity and respect as the people who used it depended on it for combat, rescue and survival situations. Many have filtered their way through the military knife collectors market, but now are a rarity due to their increasing popularity. The polymer-handle versions are few and far between. Colonial knife™ decided to fix that for the collector and user.

The Colonial Mark 1 Combat knife is made out of 1/8 inch thick 1095 carbon steel. On the half-inch ricasso, the knife is marked U.S.N., and “Colonial Prov.” on the other. The steel has a black oxide non –reflective finish and is slick to the touch. This coating also helps with rust prevention, which is important for any carbon steel knife that might have duty on the high seas. The tang extends almost all the way to the end, inside the Tenite handle. Tenite is a cellulosic plastic that is known for its high impact resistance and toughness; it’s been in used in everything from radios, to toothbrushes and toddler toys.

The blade length is 5-1/8 inches, an interesting deviation for the many 7-inch combat knives many are familiar with. This smaller blade size helps fulfill the Navy’s need for an all-around utilitarian design, and the absence of the large guard further reinforces the knife as a user, not just a fighter.

One of the specifications of the original knife was the ability to boil the tool for sterilization. In a situation where there is a pressing need to surgically remove anything using a 5 inch blade. In a slick environment, this Tenite is more comfortable than a more common stacked leather handle. The Mark 1 has textured segmentations in the middle. That’s no problem either; as these little segmentations will grip onto a cord warp very well; if the hunter is worried about hand slippage; a cord wrap would be an easy way to prevent it.

For less than $80, the user can own an authentic piece of American history and still have a dependable utility knife that they would be proud to say is made in the U.S.

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Box of Mark 1 Navy Deck Knives in final production stage needing lanyards and then packaging before being shipped to customers


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