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View Full Version : New M5A1 bayonet: how sharp should they be?


ender
08-04-2010, 10:16 AM
Hi all,

I just received my "new / unissued" bayonet from the CMP. I received a MIL PAR COL M5A1 inside a TWB M8A1 scabbard. Condition over all seems pretty good, although the handle appears to have more wear than I would have expected for "new unissued".

Anyway, my question is this: how sharp should the blade be? I'm sure that the point is quite sharp and this would be good for poking things (people), however the blade is not terribly sharp - I certainly wouldn't want to be cutting vegetables with it. :) Now I understand that this knife wasn't created to cut vegetables, but since I'm a complete beginner with respect to bayonets, what was the desired sharpness? After being issued a bayonet would they be used as-is by the soldier or were they intended to be sharpened? How sharp should the blade be? Any and all information is much appreciated!

DaveE
08-04-2010, 12:11 PM
Most "collectors", consider a bayonet that has been sharpened to be of lesser value.

Dave

ender
08-04-2010, 03:51 PM
To clarify, does that mean that a new / unissued bayonet is supposed to come un-sharpened / dull? That would explain the lack luster cutting edge of mine.

Or do you mean that re-sharpening an old bayonet reduces its value? Or both?

ender
08-04-2010, 03:58 PM
For those interested, I've now posted pictures of it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/end42/sets/72157624654275742

drywash
08-04-2010, 04:28 PM
If i had been in Korea facing thousands of chinese, I would have sharpened it with a flat file and could have cared less about value, just my life. Today ,yes it lowers collectors value.

m1ashooter
08-04-2010, 06:04 PM
Most bayonets are made to stick things verses cutting things. I've never had much luck keeping a sharp edge on my bayonets, a M4 and M6 .

captaincalc
08-04-2010, 06:22 PM
Could never make any sense out of it myself... yeh, it's supposed to "stick". Not really a reason for it to not be able to slice, too. Anybody out there have a reason, or is it just "because."

Scott in Michigan
08-06-2010, 09:43 AM
Could never make any sense out of it myself... yeh, it's supposed to "stick". Not really a reason for it to not be able to slice, too. Anybody out there have a reason, or is it just "because."

A deep, ragged puncture wound take much longer to clot off than a clean slice. A puncture is also more likely to drag debris into the wound.

gunny
08-06-2010, 09:57 AM
Most bayonets are made to stick things verses cutting things. I've never had much luck keeping a sharp edge on my bayonets, a M4 and M6 .

They work good for slashing also. Followed with a butt-stroke.

Gunny

oldUSMCsgt
08-06-2010, 11:37 AM
They work good for slashing also. Followed with a butt-stroke.

Gunny

Way better than a pugil stick for the slash, although the padded buttstrokes could knock you loopy for a little bit.

Library Guy
08-06-2010, 07:22 PM
I too am used to bayonets being about as sharp as a butter knife. I was very surprised then when my unissued Imperial M5A1turned out to be paper slicing (but not arm hair cutting) sharp.

Did it leave the factory that way? Looks like it to me but I'm no expert on these things.

Semper circa,
LG Roy

Craftsman
08-06-2010, 08:02 PM
I'm hopin the two I've got coming, are sharp enough to "Shave the short hairs" off a Teetsey fly!;)

OHShooter
08-07-2010, 02:16 AM
Got mine today. It's not quite sharp enough to shave with but since I have a full beard, I'm not about to try it.

eaglescouter
08-07-2010, 02:40 AM
I thought they would be very dull, but they are surprisingly sharp. Sharpening was done after the parkerizing was finished.

KoreaMarine
08-07-2010, 05:33 AM
Bayonets are sharp enough to do what they are designed to do- be a weapon. One of the other members posted the spec sheet on the bayonets- the steel used in their manufacture is a quality grade knife/tool steel, but it is tempered so it is on the "low" end of the Rockwell C scale, around 52 at most. This means it's somewhat softer than, for example, a USMC combat knife (figure around 54-57, using 1095 steel) or a Strider custom knife (uses S30V steel, a crucible particle metal steel at around 60-61). The Ka-Bar style knife takes and holds a good edge, but the design of the blade is wider, and it isn't designed to be affixed to a rifle and thrust into someone. The Strider is a high end and much more expensive blade which, even with the toughness of S30V, would be a little too pricey to make into mass produced bayonets (and working with properly heat treated S30V doesn't lend itself to production runs big enough to support bayonet production).

The bayonet is softer, so it won't take nor hold an edge quite as well, but it will take a pounding better, and it will be less likely to break than a harder, more brittle tempering.

coppertales
08-07-2010, 09:11 AM
Thursday. It looks brand new and is very sharp, which surprised me. It sure looks good on my 1953 dated Garand.....Thanks CMP...chris3

tazaroo
08-07-2010, 10:33 AM
They work good for slashing also. Followed with a butt-stroke.

Gunny

Why would you want to give the enemy a "butt-stroke"? Is this part of Obama's philosophy on a gentler war in which you get medals for not killing folks?;)

duggaboy
08-07-2010, 11:58 AM
a butt stroke for the great leader would not involve a gun,: get it?

kraigwy
08-07-2010, 10:03 PM
In the early part of 1967 I was in the 82nd Abn Div. My Plt Sgt ( who was a Korean war vet) caught me sharpening my bayonet. He chewed my butt, telling me to never sharpen a bayonet, it cause them to stick when used.

A couple Months later, on leave prior to deployment to Vietnam, my father (a WWII & Korean War Vet but never talked much about his experience] took me aside and out of the blue, told me the same thing, "never sharpen the bayonet, it causes them to stick".

When I got to SE Asia, I didn't so I cant vouch for what I've been told, I have never poked anyone but no reason to doubt either my Sgt or my Father.

m1garand1055
08-09-2010, 09:15 AM
A Bayonet should always be dull. It is for ripping and tearing. This type of wound is harder to sew up. A sharp blade will will cut a nice even straight cut that can be sewed up alot easier.An old Marine told me one time while he was on Iwo Jima, They would go around with their bayonets on their rifles. When they'ed see a dead Japanese soldier that was blotted from the heat of the Sun, they would stick them with their bayonet to release the body gases. He said talk about stink, it was enough to make you sick.I geuss that was one of the crazy things they did during WWII !!!!

Trailboss
08-16-2010, 11:41 PM
A Bayonet should always be dull. It is for ripping and tearing. This type of wound is harder to sew up. A sharp blade will will cut a nice even straight cut that can be sewed up alot easier.An old Marine told me one time while he was on Iwo Jima, They would go around with their bayonets on their rifles. When they'ed see a dead Japanese soldier that was blotted from the heat of the Sun, they would stick them with their bayonet to release the body gases. He said talk about stink, it was enough to make you sick.I geuss that was one of the crazy things they did during WWII !!!!


God bless them guys!


Slamming a bayonet fixed to a Garand into a body, wouldn't require a razor sharp blade...as some have said, a jagged blade would do more damage especially when you think of the physics of the weight of a Garand behind the thrust.

A7Dave
08-17-2010, 12:55 PM
Mine arrived a week ago and is super sharp ("unissued" and looks it!).

sunray
08-20-2010, 10:44 PM
The vast majority of bayonets were used to cut wood, open cans, etc. That was the biggest complaint about the No. 4's spike. Good for nothing but poking.

steddyshot
08-26-2010, 12:03 AM
Unless you are going to use it for camping suggest you not sharpen it at all. That is if you intend to preserve it to government specifications. One would not sharpen a Bayonets IOT (in order to) be IAW (In Accordance With) ARTICLES OF THE 1949 GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND THE 1907 HAGUE CONVENTIONS which the United States is a signatory to... U.S. Army Field Manual ~FM 27-10 Paragraph 34 states...It is especially forbidden * * * to employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering. (HR, art. 23, par..) Bayonets are held to a higher standard in the Geneva than a knife because of the multiple purposes a knife can serve and where a bayonet has really only one purpose... The factory edge is the standard!

Leigh
09-01-2010, 11:45 AM
The factory edge is the standard!

For the sake of our fighting forces, I sure hope this has changed.
While some troopers purchase and carry their own fighting knives, others still use the issued M9.

Being a muti-use tool (cutting/sawing/cutting wire) and still considered a bayonet, they should be indeed SHARP!

hummer1
09-01-2010, 10:39 PM
If you plan on slaming it into a body you better sharpen it,you most likely will be going thru heavy canvas,leather,and probibly a vest.The first thing the Army told us was the enemy has about the same equipment we have and they also have live ammo.