View Full Version : Randall Knives

06-17-2007, 05:40 AM
I was wondering if anyone in the field is using Randall knives. I have a few in my collection. Mainly, I've admired this knife maker since I was a kid and couldn't afford them until I grew up. The waiting list is something like six years from the maker.

Randall Made Knives (http://www.randallknives.com/catalog.php?action=viewcategory&catalogcategories_id=5)

06-17-2007, 10:20 AM
I don't know about today. Years ago, in 1967 I had purchased one, over the counter, at the Randall factory in Orlando which I was able to "sneak" with me to Viet Nam. I had it engraved with my name and service number in Da Nang. Later on, in the field, it was taken from me by a pogue "lifer" - (unauthorized weapon) and I never got it back. I was a lowly Pfc at the time.

Later in 1968 in an isolated unit with no officers or lifers around I had my sister ship another one to me. I kept it and used it throughout my tour and left it with a buddy who still had a lot of time to do.

I don't recall the price back then, but it was "high", maybe $35 - $40 which was at lot at the time.

06-19-2007, 12:49 AM
I bought my Randall Model 1 right after I enlisted. Over more than 20 years it has been a workhorse in every type of field environment. I've shaved wood, cut through metal and pryed open crates with it. It still holds a good edge and is just as beautiful as when I bought it.

I'm also a big fan of Ek Knives (http://www.ekknife.com/). If you get one, get it without the crossguard.

....The grips on his more-popular knives had eight scallops -- four on each of two grips. The gripping power was so good that John Ek found that a crossguard was not necessary to prevent the hand from slipping. When questioned about this by the War Production Board, Ek greased his hand and plunged one of his knives into the wooden floor with such force that no one was able to pull it out. This dramatically demonstrated that the crossguard was not necessary to keep the hand from sliding onto the blade...

06-19-2007, 12:30 PM

At $4,800.00 I wouldn't dare take it out of its show case, let alone use it.

06-19-2007, 06:47 PM
well, i have taken a randall with me on several trips, loved it ended up selling it, (dumb move) but i have found that this guy is pretty darn good at finding them for very good prices, he is pretty knowledgable about blades in general and even if he is my lil brother a pretty good guy, for someone who likes running into burning buildings.
check him out and send him a wish list if you want, there is a forum over there as well that is blade/weapons/gear focused.
www.cooperknives.com (http://www.cooperknives.com) i is the same wierdbeard over there as well, for those of you have been to Africa anybody actually have some knowledge on using fighting sticks? I never really found any time to study while i was over there.


06-20-2007, 04:12 AM
I haven't found any 501(c)(3) organizations that is taking donations to purchase these types of practical knives and get them into the right hands that would otherwise be stuck with a K-bar and so forth. It would be a lot of work but really cool to set up some sort of lottery based on random selection of applicants to give these knives to. Or better yet, base the selection on the applicants themselves; i.e. Infantry Badge, Airborne, Special Ops, SOF, and so forth. I'm sure that not everyone in uniform that wants one can get one for various reasons. It might not even be something that can be done. Anyway, it is just an idea.

Ken White
06-20-2007, 05:36 AM
My wife gave it to me for Christmas, took it SEA and broke it in less than a month. A friendly PBR Squid at Cat Lo gave me a Ka-Bar (USN Mk II, made by Camillus) as a replacement. Used that Ka-bar for the rest of that tour and two others and a few years more. Gave it to my Kid who stayed in the Army; he's taken it to Saudi and Kuwait once, Afghanistan twice and to Iraq once and it's still going strong and holds a good edge 41 years and three wars later.

Some units frown on knives and won't allow 'em, most don't but the kids are well paid enough today that he who wants an exotic knife and can carry it usually has what he wants. Personal preference plays a big part in what's carried and varies widely. Folders are virtually universal.

The SF guys get one of these when they graduate from the Q course:

LINK (http://www.soc.mil/swcs/museum/yarborough_knife.shtml)

Randall's are still popular with some but deemed overpriced, Lyles are far more popular -- but this guy is stealing a lot of business from both:

LINK (http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=450351) (Top ad).

06-20-2007, 08:33 AM
My Camillus has been opening C-Rat cans, pounding tent pegs, prying open paint cans and worse, since 1982. I just keep grinding out the nicks (surprisingly few) and keep using it. Best damned knife ever made.

Though My current new blade is a Cold Steel Bushman. I can hike in the woods with a specially prepared walking stick and a Bushman on my belt, and noone thinks I'm a nut with a spear. However, I can turn that walking stick and Bushman into a spear in a second.


I've had several run-ins with wild dogs in the wilderness, and it's a Good Thing(tm) to add 6 feet to my reach when confronting them.

06-20-2007, 11:28 AM
My squirrel and small game butchering knife is an Opinel that takes a sharp edge real fast. I had a Ka-bar in Nam but couldn't sneak it out of country when I rotated out. Them Mora knives are cheap, real handy to have around and they take a razor edge real fast.

06-20-2007, 01:10 PM
I once had a Randall, a Model 1. My wife gave it to me for Christmas, took it SEA and broke it in less than a month. A friendly PBR Squid at Cat Lo gave me a Ka-Bar (USN Mk II, made by Camillus) as a replacement. Used that Ka-bar for the rest of that tour and two others and a few years more....
Randalls breaking is not a usual occurence; even under severe conditions. Mine has been used and abused going on its third decade and its still a great knife. Randall is also really good about replacing the rare defective blades - especially for servicemembers.

But you're right about the Ka-Bar. It is a sturdy field-worthy knife and is all that most will ever really need. The vast majority of troops are really just wasting money putting out anything over a hundred dollars for a knife. The prices that Randalls are going for now is ridiculous.

But even though I picked up mine for much less - even in inflation-corrected dollars - than they are going for now, I still didn't take it anywhere that I figured I may lose or ditch it. As I mentioned, I'm also a big fan of Eks, and I used to keep a few around as alternates if I thought I might not bring the knife back with me. But that was in the days when Eks cost just slightly more than a good Ka-Bar - and the full tang as opposed to the rat-tail was definitely a deciding factor between the two. But today Ka-Bar prices remain relatively steady, while the cost of an Ek has more than quadrupled.

As an aside, I've been into the edged-weapons corner of the martial arts neighborhood since long before I enlisted. I've put a wide variety of knives (all fixed blades) through severe punishment while training, cutting and penetrating all types of materials. The only major manufacturer whose knives have consistently failed is Gerber. I've had'em break off at the hilt and the blades just snap in two. I've never had any Gerber stand up to real abuse.

Cold Steel is great, Strider Knives are outstanding, but looking at it realistically, a good Ka-Bar or just the service bayonet is good for everything the average troop will need a knife for in the field.

06-20-2007, 01:36 PM
I bought a Ka-Bar in 1978, and like others here - used and abused it - and it is still in great shape. I have four others - an added benefit of being a Marine - Ka-Bars are often used as presentation items for jobs well done or going aways. Ka-Bars are still reasonably priced too. I'm thinkng about getting a short Ka-Bar (https://www.kabar.com/product_detail.jsp?productNumber=1250&mode=category&categoryId=1,2,3,7&categoryName=All-Purpose/Utility). I didn't even know they made them until I visited their site this morning.

06-20-2007, 02:06 PM
Jedburgh nailed it with regards to Strider knives. Unreal strength and legendary ability to take abuse. They have an ironclad warrenty as well which makes me feel better about them. I've carried a Strider folder and fixed blade on all my trips to Iraq and never had a single issue with them. That being said, they are very expensive, especially for some of our younger troopers. If I had to choose one knife though, it would be a Strider.

That being said, some of the other makers such as spyderco, kershaw and SOG make good knives at fair prices. They'll handle 99% of what a soldier in the field need them to do. The only knives I"ve ever seen consistently fail in just about every type of situation is Cold Steel...which is mirrors their poor business practices as well. Cold Steel does a great job stealing other knife makers designs and has even posted online smear campaigns to discredit other makers...hence the reason they'll never get a $ from me.

I've seen some beautiful Randalls from some older guys and they are just beautiful!

06-20-2007, 02:20 PM
...The only knives I"ve ever seen consistently fail in just about every type of situation is Cold Steel...which is mirrors their poor business practices as well. Cold Steel does a great job stealing other knife makers designs and has even posted online smear campaigns to discredit other makers...hence the reason they'll never get a $ from me...
I'm not a big fan of Cold Steel, but they've made some solid fixed blades that are certainly far better than the Gerbers I've mentioned. I still have one that's been through the wringer and is just an odd-jobs tool now. I last used it recently for prying small rocks out of steps I was cutting in the clay down our hillside out back; it may not keep an edge that well anymore, but the blade doesn't bend or break.

Of course, I should state clearly that I don't keep up the current market on fixed blades like I used to. I've got too many at home as it is. If certain manufacturers have improved/deteriorated in quality over the past couple of years, then I'm in the dark.

However, I am still an avid collector of WWII era fixed blades. So, if someone happens to have a Pacific theater wooden-hilt Fairbairn they're looking to get rid of.....

06-20-2007, 03:03 PM
I've never had a Cold Steel blade but I bought an axe from them, the Rifleman's Hawk: http://www.coldsteel.com/axes.html and upon using it, a big chip came out of the blade. They were fast to replace the axe and the replacement has had some brutal use and has held up extremely well. It is a good grubbing axe in extremely heavy brush when you can stand fully upright, good for prying, quasi digging/gouging, a heavy duty wood chisel, getting up close and personal with tree roots, etc.

06-20-2007, 07:33 PM
I never could keep an edge on my issued USAF K-bar. I do like that short version mentioned above. I'm getting one as well.

06-21-2007, 03:58 AM
I never could keep an edge on my issued USAF K-bar. I do like that short version mentioned above. I'm getting one as well.

Is that the USAF knife sold by Quartermaster General at all the PX's? If so, that seems to be a universal complaint with them. Plus, it seems like the sheath wears out pretty darned quick, too.

Edited to add: I finally got the short Ka-Bar page to download, and I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the idea of a shorter Ka-Bar: The only thing I don't like about my Camillus copy, is that it is a titch too long.

06-21-2007, 04:47 AM
Is that the USAF knife sold by Quartermaster General at all the PX's? If so, that seems to be a universal complaint with them. Plus, it seems like the sheath wears out pretty darned quick, too.

Edited to add: I finally got the short Ka-Bar page to download, and I have to admit that I'm intrigued by the idea of a shorter Ka-Bar: The only thing I don't like about my Camillus copy, is that it is a titch too long.

I couldn't answer that question but I wouldn't doubt it. It was issued to me and was on the check list of things that was inventoried by supply. I wasn't much impressed with the overall quality of the knife as well as sheath and it may have been a Ka-Bar knockoff. I mean at that time my issued sidearm was an old S&W M15 .38 revolver that I couldn't hit the side of barn with and for the annual qualification the base range master retrofitted our GAU-5 carbines to fire .22 long rifle. It was a real treat to get on an Army range and fire a Model 1911 .45 sidearm and/or use real M16 5.56 ammo. So, I wouldn't doubt if my USAF Ka-Bar was an impostor. Just about all our equipment was leftovers from the Vietnam era. Right down to the radio batteries and C-Rations. But I'm getting off topic.

06-30-2007, 06:35 PM
Okay, I picked up a real USMC Ka-bar Fighting Knife. Had it inscribed in the blood groove with my late brother's name since he served around Da Nang during 66-67. I wanted to compare the Ka-Bar with the Randall Model #14 I have. Though the Randall is of far superior quality I can't see by appearance and feel that the Ka-Bar would be a bad choice for actually field issue. It is economical and made well enough to perform harsh duties and can be easily replaced. It is a good choice for USMC standards. Apparently, has been since WWII. The manufacturer actually has a big inventory of knives for various uses. Good enough for my ladies.


06-30-2007, 10:06 PM
I have been a student of the Fairbairn/Applegate theory of close combat for 30 years. They had a good bit to say about knives and kinife fighting. Here is a very good link with a lot pictures of the first Fairbairn Commando knives.


Jedburgh: Check out the wood handle ones:)

07-12-2007, 04:08 AM
What does anyone know about the SOG knife company? I picked up a new Scuba/Demo reproduction for a steal ($145) with the company's 20th anniversary logo on the blade.

SOG Scuba/Demo SSD89 (http://sogknives.com/store/SSD89.html)

03-31-2010, 07:48 PM
I carried my Randall no1 for 5 years, off and on.

It used to drive my CO crazy and I had to take it off for a few weeks then sneak it back on... Have done everything possible with it from chopping, splitting, slaughtering goats, cutting... It has been in a drawer for the last 15 years... still a babe..

Once in Central Africa we were given Camillus as X-Mas gifts... All other knives were forbidden, we all had to wear the Camillus... Mine broke at the hilt after a week... Told my Captain they were cr2p... which did not please him at all.

It was one of those moments I will treasure for ever when his broke a week later doing some chopping... a friend gave me his but it to broke at the hilt within a month...

I had the Randall back on my gear a couple of weeks later.....

GI Zhou
03-31-2010, 09:40 PM
All I ever carried in the outback of Australia (not the outback seen in Survivor was a two-inch folding Buck knife which I carried on my belt and a small Swiss Army knife I carried on a long length of 'hootchie cord' attached to my shirt. The Buck knife was smaller, lighter and still good enough to skin and remove the hind leg of a boar. (Which had been killed by a Fairbairn/Sykes fighting knife to the heart as dogs held it down).

I figured if they ever got close enough to need a knife in combat for personal defence I was in deep ####e and my entrenching tool (old style) was a better bet.

04-01-2010, 12:55 PM
Agreed Zhou,

but a knife is a tool. A big knife can do almost everything a small one can do, but a small one cannot do everything a big one can do.

As stated, i used the Randall for chopping, splitting, skinning, slaughtering, delicate cutting and rough hacking. Romoved thorns with the tip, made splints, cut just about everything except wire.

The only human flesh it ever bit into was my own :( but I am certain there are enough stories around of it being a good all round combat knife.

I can type pages about guys in my section with Boot knives, commando daggers etc. etc... who waited years or years for the opportunity to kill a sentry on a dark night with a stilletto to the throat.... the opportunity never came....

All of them spent their time out on the terrain saying "Guys... I need to chop some wood.. build a shelter.. whatever.. can I borrow a knife ? " ;-)

04-01-2010, 05:26 PM
An unmistakable sign that I was maturing (or at least getting old):

Enthusiastic young warriors ask my opinion about what knife to invest in, and my recommendation has two central points;
-"Good enough to use, cheap enough to lose", that is to say, get a good tool that won't cause heartbreak if stolen or lost.
-"Can you make a sandwich with it?" 'Cause food prep is the most frequent use I have for a "field knife".

Randall is an absolute premium knife, but a little expensive for the first point. Ka-Bar fits the bill this way. Any opinions on the Cold Steel 'homage' to the Randall #1? Identical geometry, first rate materials, and a bit less expensive, but I haven't heard too much field testing.

For the second point, Victorinox Swiss Army, Buck, Opinel, and others do well. Opinel is outstanding for food prep, takes a good edge, and is very easy to sharpen.

The Swiss Army knife scissors or a Leatherman Micra is also a good idea as moleskin is much easier to trim with scissors.

But I ramble...

GI Zhou
04-01-2010, 06:54 PM
For some reason we weren't allowed to take big knives or bayonets on exercise, probably to stop people playing Rambo - I saw alleged professionals carry two different large knives and an all purpose bayonet and leatherman. That sort of stuff set a bad example to the younger troops.

I rememebr a freind carrying a Gerber boot knife on his pistol rig, he lived in the Outback, as was told get rid of it as it is dangerous. He pointed out his loaded 9mm pistol and six magazines of ammunition mightr be considered dangerous too.

I have always reckoned two hand grenades are more useful than a pistol - same space and weight. I could consistently head shoot a target at 25m and torso shoot at 50m with a service 9mm Browning so 'its lack of accuracy wasn't a concern'. They are a large ditch back up weapon anyway. Any thoughts about the space and weight of a large knife?

Ken White
04-01-2010, 07:34 PM
Ka-Bar fits the bill this way...It does indeed. My second issue Ka-Bar, at age 50 something, has been to its second and third wars with my son. The first one with two wars and an intervention or two was stolen, I'm pretty sure by a 'friend' -- military acquaintance, more like, I guess -- after about 12 years of field use... :( . Both opened a lot of cans and made a bunch of sandwiches among other things as they ended up with shorter but still adequate blades due to snapping points while prying things. :D

04-01-2010, 11:49 PM
In my day the large lockable Buck Knives were just coming out and were a big hit in the 82nd. Outside of the that the K-Bar was fairly common, the sheath had a wide loop and slide over your web belt very easily. A couple of guys did carry the mini K-Bar (i think this was called a USAF survival knife,but not sure). Some Officers carried a Gerber long slender knife that was supposed to have been popular in Ranger school. Too pricey for me.

During some of my experiences with SF I was given the advice to carry a boy scout hatchet. One of the most useful things I ever did, everyone wanted to borrow it in the field, couple of other folks finally bought their own. Nasty close combat weapon:):) Outside of that I carried the commo rig (cant remember the name) but it had a pair of wire cutters(open many a can of C-rats) and a small pocket knife(like the old cub scout knife) all in a leather sheath. One of the best things the Army ever invented, cant remember the name.....mayeb Ken will.......for some reason I want to say a DL-50 rig but not sure.

Tidbit, I grew up down the street from Randall Knives (South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando,Fl) it's all Topless Bars today:eek:

Ken White
04-02-2010, 12:39 AM
LINK. (http://onlinemilitaria.net/shopexd.asp?id=4179)

One of my dipwad sons scuffed my set... :D

04-02-2010, 02:56 AM
I own one of the Air Force knives Slapout mentioned--the sticker on the back of the sheath of mine says "Knife, Hunting, Sheathed, Survival, Pilot," NSN 7340-00-098-4327. Mine is made by the Ontario Knife Company, mail-ordered from Atlanta Cutlery. It meets the criterion Van mentioned of being cheap enough to lose. As previously mentioned, it's hard to get an edge on this model of knife, but I've never understood why some deer hunters insist on sharpening their knives so much more than an ordinary kitchen knife. It must be a "getting ready for the season" kind of thing.

04-02-2010, 03:47 AM
I used to have a Randall Model 1 with an 8" blade. I bought it in a shop in Fayetteville, NC in '85 or '86 (can't remember the name of the shop). I carried it on my LCE but never used it much. The blade was about two inches too long to be practical for anything other than a hand to hand fight. Years later, I traded it to a Randall affectionado for three smaller knives - Gerbers and Bucks - that I've used quite a bit.

I think 6" is about the max size for a utility knife. Knives longer than 6" are verging on being a small cutlass/saber and are less than ideal for general use; however, I'm sure the additional length is good if you anticipate preparing to repel boarders, two legged or four.

04-02-2010, 05:10 AM
I carried a K-Bar while a Marine. And picked up a Sykes-Fairbain, pre WWII fighting knife, with a brass handle and blade guard in Hong Kong when my BLT was in port on Liberty. Cost me $50 Hong Kong dollars in 1959. About $5.00 us at the time.

I have a WWII lead handle and steel guard tucked away lo these many years between the seats of several pick up trucks. The WWII modal guard loosend up after about a year and rattled constatly.. Both the Fairbains took poor edges, but the object with that knife was to either stick the opposition or whack him in the head with brass ball on the end of the handle.

The Fairbains had cheap sheaths and I had both fitted with sturdy Mexican leather when I got back to Pendleton..

My cousing married a SEAL and wanted to send him something to keep him safe. She asked me to pick out something that would be appropriate. He was on his 2nd tour in the Delta.

I found a Gerber #1 in a sports shop in Hackensack, NJ. It cost about $50.00 and was better made than the Fairbain's and had an elegant look about it. The blade was wasp waisted near the handle and the grip hade a non-slip finish.

Pete liked it and said it was admired far and wide by his team mates and the local troops. He sold it to an incoming Bosn's mate for $250.00. He said that particular knife made its way thru the Teams for about 15 years.

He retired after 24 years in the Teams.

I still have a 28" blade with a steel guard and a buffalo horn handle shaped in the form of a hoof I traded a case of "C" Rats for in a way back and beyond village on Mindinowa. It was supposedly made from a WWII Jeep spring.

The weight and balance beat any US issued machete in the wild of several southern swamps and later on as the main camo grass gathering tool in many ducky locations in the nor'east and Texas.

04-02-2010, 02:39 PM
Here is a knife/hatchet combo.

http://cgi.ebay.com/WESTERN-HATCHET-KNIFE-SET_W0QQitemZ220579711324QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Def aultDomain_0?hash=item335b93495c

04-02-2010, 02:40 PM
LINK. (http://onlinemilitaria.net/shopexd.asp?id=4179)

One of my dipwad sons scuffed my set... :D

That's it!The original Multi-tool:D