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Discussion Starter #1
All,

For years I have admired the simple elegance of the Fairbairn Sykes knife, but I've never owned one. Here's a question I have always had but I guess I never got around to asking.

What are the "tabs" sticking out on the sheath for?

 

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The tabs were intended to be sewn to the pants of the user, in his preferred location. :ehsmile:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Snake45 said:
The tabs were intended to be sewn to the pants of the user, in his preferred location. :ehsmile:
Now that I would have never guessed. I've never liked the lower leg location for a knife mostly because it catches on every piece of brush, and it keeps its own rhythm separate from mine when running. And because of this, it's easy to lose a knife that gets jostled loose during a hard run. Something tells me, this is the one part of the Fairbairn Sykes knife that wasn't thought all the way out.

I will admit that it is a great place to have a knife in a scuffle, because it's the one place you're likely to reach when you're on the ground wrestling around.
 

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I don't have a very high opinion of the S-F knife (and its derivitatives and progeny) after reading what Fred Rexer Jr. had to say about it in Brass Knuckles Bible. Long story short: It's very, very good for one task, and almost useless for anything else. In WWII, one would have been much, much better armed and equipped with a "KaBar" or even the USGI M4 or M5 bayonets than with the S-F.
 

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One problem with the Sykes Fairbairn knife is the round grip which tends to let the knife turn in your hand while using it, Specially if your hands are bloody.I think a much better design was the Appllegate, Fairbairn, It corrected the grip problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree, the FS knife is a good fighting knife, but not so great for just about anything else. It balances well and can be thrown with little practice (but throwing a knife is rarely a good idea). The blade is long enough and balanced well enough that it can be a good slashing knife even though the foil style handle is less than perfect for slashing attacks. As a stabbing knife, it has few peers and is truly excellent for the job. So I rate is as a good fighting knife.

Personally, I see fighting knives and utility knives so incredibly at odds, that I just can't abide the concept of a general purpose military knife. I really like the M4 & M6 bayonets because they make a good fighting knife, and a competent bayonet. The pommel is tough as nails and can be used for many pounding jobs. The blades are generally very tough and hold an edge well once you get one established (getting the edge established on an M4 or M6 bayonet is a cast iron pan in the arse though). Since the M6 is Fairbairn-Sykes - esque, it's a good fighting knife, just poorly balanced with too much weight in the pommel. Still, slashing power is decent and thrusting is excellent. The blade is thick and sturdy, so you don't have to worry about the broken tips that plague most purpose built daggers like the Fairbairn Sykes.

For most everything else, a good multi-blade folding pocket knife is the ticket. I've always been a huge fan of the Victorinox Swiss Army knife, but I'll admit their blade steel is less than stellar. The blades are ductile enough to avoid breakage, but they easily lose their edge. If a Swiss Army knife is to be carried, one HAS to have a sharpener available or the knife will quickly become useless.

If I were a young buck fighting in foreign lands, I doubt I would choose the FS as the knife for me. I would probably seek out an M6 bayonet for my M16, a good Swiss Army knife and a $2 Smith's Wal Mart Special knife sharpener like this one:


The little Smith's knife sharpener is a gem. No, it doesn't give you a perfect razor edge, but it comes close. Most importantly, it sharpens very well with very little effort and takes absolutely no skill to use. The carbide side will put an edge on an M6 bayo or any other blade for that matter, and then the fine ceramic sticks will hone it to a rather sharp edge; wonderful little device.

Finally, a good multi-tool such as the Leatherman is always a good idea, but I'm not aware of any multi-tool that has a truely excellent quality knife blade. Still, my Leatherman Wave has a lot of functionality and blades made of 420 stainless. 420 isn't the best stainless in the world, but it's certainl not bad, and I'm not aware of any multi tools with better blades (I'm sure they exist, but when I bought my Wave several years ago, there weren't any better).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
bearcat6 said:
One problem with the Sykes Fairbairn knife is the round grip which tends to let the knife turn in your hand while using it, Specially if your hands are bloody.I think a much better design was the Appllegate, Fairbairn, It corrected the grip problem.
Agreed.
 

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I have a different kind of Smith's sharpener, and it does a fantastic job on many of my blades, including my daily carry Victorinox Adventurer and my Ontario KaBar clone. I wouldn't use it on anything with a really sharp edge, though, such as a Gerber or my CRKT M16.

I'll have to look for that little sharpener with the built-in diamond sticks. That looks way cool! Mine has a scissors sharpener, though.
 

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If you can find a link to the one you're using, I'd like to see it. And I agree, the cheap Smith's sharpeners are utilitarian in nature, and for what they do, they're darned good. But like you, I won't be using my Smith's on my best quality knives.

Hey, thanks for clearing up that decades long curiosity about the Fairbairn Sykes sheath.
 

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bearcat6 said:
One problem with the Sykes Fairbairn knife is the round grip which tends to let the knife turn in your hand while using it, Specially if your hands are bloody.I think a much better design was the Appllegate, Fairbairn, It corrected the grip problem.
The way Rex Applegate explained it to me, his biggest objection to the round grip was not that it allowed the knife to turn but that, in the dark, it gave no tactile sense of which way the edges of the blade were oriented.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
spwenger said:
The way Rex Applegate explained it to me, his biggest objection to the round grip was not that it allowed the knife to turn but that, in the dark, it gave no tactile sense of which way the edges of the blade were oriented.
Stick your index finger out and feel where the crossguard is; problem solved.
 

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I recall Applegate criticizing the blade shape also. The point was excessively thin and frequently broke. Thus, the different blade profile on the Applgate/Fairbairn.

I don't know that the sheath tabs were exclusively used for sewing to the pants.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
William R. Moore said:
I recall Applegate criticizing the blade shape also. The point was excessively thin and frequently broke. Thus, the different blade profile on the Applgate/Fairbairn.
That's a problem that's endemic to most double edged daggers.
 

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Kevin Gibson said:
[quote="William R. Moore":2tsry7x1]I recall Applegate criticizing the blade shape also. The point was excessively thin and frequently broke. Thus, the different blade profile on the Applgate/Fairbairn.
That's a problem that's endemic to most double edged daggers.[/quote:2tsry7x1]
Are there lots of reports of broken or bent blade points on the Gerber Mark I and II, or on the USGI M4, M5, M6, or M7 bayonets (which are essentially double-edged daggers at the point)? I've never heard of this being a particular problem with these or other blades. :ehsmile:
 

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Kevin Gibson said:
spwenger said:
The way Rex Applegate explained it to me, his biggest objection to the round grip was not that it allowed the knife to turn but that, in the dark, it gave no tactile sense of which way the edges of the blade were oriented.
Stick your index finger out and feel where the crossguard is; problem solved.
Yes, I can see how that may work if you have the time. Perhaps it depends on whether you're in a fight or preparing to take out a sentry.
 

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spwenger said:
Perhaps it depends on whether you're in a fight or preparing to take out a sentry.
Taking out sentries--i.e., murdering unprepared, unaware people by surprise--is pretty much the S-F knife's long suit. Not terribly good for anything else, except perhaps opening the morning mail.

Good for a "slashing attack" in a stand-up knife fight? Give me something with more weight in the blade, please, even if only a KaBar.
 
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