When you’ve completed the stalk, fired the successful shot, recovered your game, and its skinning and gutting time, then the knife you want to have on hand needs to be much smaller than your bigger utility knife. For dressing out game in the deer, sheep or goat size range a knife really needs to be something that acts like a sharp extension of your finger. Choice of a knife for dressing out medium to big game is very much a matter of personal taste. I personally tend to favor a smallish fairly straight knife with a bit of a drop point and a minimal or absent top hand guard. So for me the Ka-Bar US Navy Mark 1 knife is a near perfect choice.
Why is a knife with a minimal or absent top hand guard to be favored for dressing out game? Simply to provide more options as to how the knife can be held and manipulated whilst we are working inside and outside of the carcase, cutting around the anus etc., working off the hide, dividing the carcase into sections. Sometimes we will want to hold the knife like a kitchen knife. Sometimes we will want to hold the knife as far forward as possible and run our index finger along the top of the blade so we can use it as a “sharp finger”.
The Ka-Bar US Navy Mark 1 has a full flat ground blade unlike the USMC knife which has a flat saber. This means it has a slender light blade, but durable. The knife has a nice weight about it and it is made in the solid Ka-Bar style with all the quality we expect from Ka-Bar’s US made knives. Interestingly the US Navy Mark 1 knife has the same pommel as the USMC knife which I note that some reviewers have criticized. The flat pommel is not intrusive, at least not for my standard sized paws, and it provides the same advantage as the one on the USMC knife. The pommel is big enough and flat so you can hit it with the heel of your hand or even with a mallet or piece of wood to drive the knife into something that needs that kind of force. Not a usual use for the knife but its good to have the flat Ka-Bar USMC style pommel available should a bit of a whack be needed.
The blade has a slender full tang with the handle being made of stacked discs of leather in the same way as the USMC knife. The grip is comfortable and the knife feels balanced, it feels like a knife that was made by someone who is a connoisseur of knives.
Despite the fact that this knife was designed for the US Navy this is a near perfect hunting knife for field dressing game. It’s built with no nonsense military ruggedness and with flawless Ka-Bar quality. There is not one defect on this knife that I could find, and I can be a pretty finicky perfectionist if I need to be. The knife also comes shaving sharp and ready for its first trip out hunting. It is also likely to prove to be pretty good out fishing also. Its a Navy knife so it should stand up to water and seawater well, although I’d be rinsing the seawater off it and using some oil or WD40 to keep it rust free once done.
The Ka-Bar US Navy Mark 1 knife is a perfect companion to your USMC knife. The USMC is the camp utility and bush survival knife. The Navy Mark 1 is more of a hunting and fishing knife. Both knives were also designed as military knives that can do combat duty if needs be.
The Ka-Bar US Navy Mark 1 knife comes in both plain and serrated edge styles and either with leather handle and sheath or Kraton handle and plastic sheath. If you live in the United States you can purchase these knives direct from Ka-Bar.
You will find the Ka-Bar home page if you click here.
You will find the US Navy Mark 1 plain edge knife with leather handle and sheath if you click here.
You will find the US Navy Mark 1 serrated edge knife with leather handle and sheath if you click here.
You will find the US Navy Mark 1 plain edge knife with Kraton handle and plastic sheath if you click here.
You will find the US Navy Mark 1 serrated edge knife with Kraton handle and plastic sheath if you click here.
Since I was introduced to Ka-Bar knives more than thirty years ago they have been a personal favorite. They are knives you can depend on, if the going gets tough they are knives to keep you going.
Jon Branch is the founder and senior editor of Revivaler and has written a significant number of articles for various publications including official Buying Guides for eBay, classic car articles for Hagerty, magazine articles for both the Australian Shooters Journal and the Australian Shooter, and he’s a long time contributor to Silodrome.
Jon has done radio, television, magazine and newspaper interviews on various issues, and has traveled extensively, having lived in Britain, Australia, China and Hong Kong. His travels have taken him to Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan and a number of other countries. He has studied the Japanese sword arts and has a long history of involvement in the shooting sports, which has included authoring submissions to government on various firearms related issues and assisting in the design and establishment of shooting ranges.