As far as legendary fighting knives go, there are a few that stand the test of time. The Ka-Bar, the Bowie knife, the Fairbairn-Sykes, and the often forgotten Gerber Mark II Combat Knife are all famed fighting knives. The Mark II was designed in 1966 and quickly became a popular choice with soldiers and Marines headed overseas. Particularly, the Mark II became a favorite with the MACV SOG teams that were the premier special operations unit in Vietnam. 

Inside the Mark II

A former Army Captain designed the Gerber Mark II. And he designed it not just to be a tool but a weapon. The Mark II has a 6.5-inch blade. That length allows the blade to strike something vital in the torso from almost any angle. The Mark II uses a dagger type design making it less of a slasher and more of a stabber. This dual-edged blade, with its dagger point, will penetrate deep and with ease. 

The Mark II also incorporates a dual serrated edge to add to its utility. The long serrated edge makes it super easy to cut through thicker and denser materials. This includes thick ropes, roots, and heavy canvas materials. 

The knife also incorporates an aggressive handguard to keep your hand positioned on the handle in a fight. Your hand won’t slip or slide into the blade as you stick and stab to kill a Commie for mommy. 

The all-metal grip is made of aluminum. It is incredibly durable and very well made. Aluminum is an unusual choice for a knife’s handle, but it works here. It’s strong, and the material used for build various gun receivers, including AR 15 80% lowers. When you work in conditions with strict logistics, you’ll take the weight of an aluminum handle over something fragile. The grip is also super comfortable and conforms well to the hand. It allows for an ice pick style grip, a fencing grip, or a standard hammer grip. 

The Mark II Back in Production

The Gerber Mark II slid in and out of production over the years, but Gerber has recently re-released the knife in a very affordable package. The new Mark II uses the same classic dagger-like design and metal grip and handguard. It comes with a more modern nylon sheath that will fit on a belt or a MOLLE platform. It even comes with a thigh strap to secure and keep it from jumping around. 

The blade is now made from a 420HC high carbon stainless steel. This steel isn’t terrible but isn’t as tough as something like the 154CM. The use of stainless steel does prevent corrosion and is often a great choice for survival tools. It’s strong, easy to sharpen — and can become quite sharp as well. The downside is that the steel does not hold an edge for a very long time. Yet, the Gerber Mark II is a fighting weapon first and tool secondary. 

The modern Mark II is a bit dated in design, but the Mark II is also a historic knife worth preserving. I wouldn’t hesitate to use the Mark II for hard and heavy work, but I’m not often knife-fighting. For utility purposes, there are better knives. As far as fighting knives go, the Mark II is most certainly one of the most proven options out there, and it’s nice to see Gerber bringing it back so knife nerds can get their hands on one. 

Check out the Gerber Mark II today and see why it was the choice of special operations troops for generations.