KA-BAR PTK Pays Tribute to Historical WWII Knives

HL Dalis is following up their Gold Rush Von Tempsky Bowie with the Pacific Theater Knife (PTK), another functional recreation of historical cutlery. Produced by KA-BAR’s custom shop, the PTK is a unique take on the legendary USMC knife.

“Pacific Theater knife” refers to a type of handmade blade that turned up on the Pacific Front during World War II. Subjected to strenuous conditions, the fixed blades American soldiers brought with them did not jive well with the tropical weather and begin to deteriorate. “The original stacked leather handles would rot off in that particular climate,” explains Jon Blumenfeld, Owner of HL Dalis and the man behind the PTK.

In need of a new handle, the troops turned to readily available materials. They assembled new makeshift handles from whatever they could salvage which included Bakelite, scraps of plastic, and electric insulating material. “[They] would search around for replacement materials that would work – and it became a recognizable style,” Blumenfeld explains. The new handles each had their own individual, composite look that collectors and historians today recognize as authentic pieces of WWII folk art.

The KA-BAR PTK is based one of the most common fixed blades carried by WWII soldiers – the KA-BAR USMC knife. “Many of the original knives that became Pacific Theater knives started out life as military-issued KA-BARs,” Blumenfeld points out. The PTK’s handle consists of colored G-10 – yellow, black, tan, green, and red – stacked in rings layer by layer, with a leather cap. “No two of these knives are alike in their handles,” Blumenfeld tells us. It has a copper guard and a historically-correct stitched and stapled leather sheath, as seen on USMC knives of the WWII era.

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The change in materials results in a burlier tool compared to a standard KA-BAR USMC of today. The iconic 7-inch 1095 clip point blade remains the same, but the PTK is almost two ounces heavier and has an exaggerated barrel handle shape. “These are highly functional knives – very well-balanced, very durable, very ergonomic,” Blumenfeld says. He reckons it would make a great gift for a veteran or currently enlisted soldier, or even for those in the market for a tough-as-nails fixed blade. “It’s like a regular KA-BAR on steroids.”

The PTK is shipping out now in batches to dealers. It is currently limited to a numbered run of 200 total pieces – 100 in a raw finish, 100 in a blued finish. MSRP is $249.95.

Knife featured in image: KA-BAR PTK