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zackmars

OKC 499 AFSK

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In the late 40's early 50's, the US military found itself in an odd predicament. Not only had they just fought in one of the largest, most destructive wars in the history of the world, they were facing a new threat, the rise of the Soviet Union.

 

With Russia's rise in influence, the US looked deep and hard at its military, overhauling and introducing training programs, new uniforms, new weapons, thus creating a truly modern force.

 

One of the new programs was "SERE", or "Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape". With this new program came new equipment, which included a new knife

 

Made by the Ontario Knife Company, the 499 (aka AFSK) is exactly what downed pilots would have had to rely on to survive, it had to be small, light, and able to give as good as it got.20151219_164045.thumb.jpg.87fb595c8be14d

Similar to other knives of the era, the knife uses a relatively maintenance heavy leather grip and sheath. Obviously not the best material, but this was introduced in the 50's, so it gets some leeway, in my opinion.

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The sheath has a plastic backer that also wraps and helps protect the toe of the sheath. Originals do not have backers.

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While the original knife had a camillus multi-tool in the front pouch, the 499 comes with a sharpening stone, which can come in handy since the 1095 carbon steel blade is only hardened to 50-55 HRC. You can still get the original multi-tools if you want, but you would get more use from the stone

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The knife has a very nice clip point, and has a very nice length of serrations on the spine, to aid in cutting wood, or even sawing through aluminum (this is an airforce survival knife, afterall)

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The finish on the knife is zinc phosphate, and in my experience, resists rust pretty well, but you will still need to maintain it.

The pommel is very robust, and can easily drive home a nail, and works well in any situation where blunt force may be needed. The tang is full, so there is no worry about it coming loose

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The crossgaurd has 2 small holes next to each other so the knife can easily be turned into a spear. The knife balances well, the thin (.17 inch) blade is not all that long (5 inches) along with the pommel, the balance is towards the rear of the knife

 

It can easily cut through saplings, and even thick limbs can be hacked through, though at that point the knife is pretty much at it's limits. The sawback works well, but it is no replacement for an actual saw, so nothing special.

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Overall, this is a very stout knife, but it hasn't aged well for actual use, the steel is not the best choice, the leather is not the best choice, but, considering that this knife was designed in the 1950's, it's best not to judge too harshly.

 

While it has some shortcomings,  it's still a cool knife with a cool history. If you are willing to take care of it, i highly recommend picking one up.

Edited by zackmars
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Its a badass knife to be sure, one of these days I will review it- definitely one of the most iconic military knives ever produced! What do you think of it from a real world perspective? Is it a decent outdoor knife?

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5 hours ago, Thomas said:

Its a badass knife to be sure, one of these days I will review it- definitely one of the most iconic military knives ever produced! What do you think of it from a real world perspective? Is it a decent outdoor knife?

I could go both ways...

 

As far as practicality, a glock knife is probably a better choice, but just isn't as cool as the 499.

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On 12/22/2015 at 4:44 AM, zackmars said:

I could go both ways...

 

As far as practicality, a glock knife is probably a better choice, but just isn't as cool as the 499.

Good to know, does the thickness of the glock knife impact its utility at all?

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1 hour ago, Thomas said:

Good to know, does the thickness of the glock knife impact its utility at all?

Not really. It seems pretty close to other fixed blades as far as thickness goes. 

 

It's no scalpel, of course 

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