30 thoughts on “Fairbairn Sykes British Commando Knife Review

  1. Desctructo Math says:

    I have to get myself a K-Bar and see what the US use. I like the look of them.
    A bit big maybe, but for bushcraft, K-Bar looks pretty decent.
    I'd obviously go F-S if I was taking out Kraut or Commie sentries.
    Do your special forces use the K-Bar or do you have a special purpose (Delta etc…)?
    The extra leather extensions are for strapping to your leg, just above your knee you want the tip.
    Don't sharpen your FS, it's needlework. There's a great (graphic) video from an old WW2 vet on Youtube about how to use em. Hardcore.

  2. paulie 4x says:

    Say Heah, I picked up rare find at the pawn shop. Yeah it cane in a heavy clear plastic bag with printing for the name, It looked like it was typed on a typewriter. Anyhow its called the Desert Storm Tan, But its a Stainless Steel blade and appears to be like a bayonet blade but its not a bayonet, Sort of like a trench fighting knife, I've been around knives for a few 24's so I could tell it was made pretty well quality wise, I found very info that someone wrote there is no record that these were made for Desert Storm, But the Sheath was made by a company that has contracts for making Sheaths for the military and if top quality, strictly military, General also makes Canadian M-7 Bayonets in Stainless, and Its made by General Cultry out of Canada, I opened the bag and examined it after I bought it for either $10.00 or $20.00, It is a tan handle and I know its combat ready, I'm not a pro, But the knife is made very well, any info would be appricated.,,.

  3. mlminto says:

    I'm a hobbyist knifemaker, and have done some reading on this knife because I am making a few of them. Col Fairbairn specified the knife have razor sharp edges because of the greater damage a clean cut would do in a piercing wound. I would have thought otherwise, but…

  4. John L says:

    Very nice review and you helped me decide to get the knife, but you may have missed some obscure history in your research. If you look for the original 1943 version of "Kill or Get Killed," written by then Maj. Rex Applegate of the U.S. Army as an "offense" training manual for US forces and later adopted by the Marines with updates that emphasized restraint and control more than killing, he has a chapter called, "The Fighting Knife" that details the development, design and use of this knife. It was designed to be a "pure fighting knife," not just for assassination or silent kills (but he does show how in book). Applegate trained Allied special forces and worked with Fairbairn, who was picked to train the Brits after spending 20 years with the Shanghai police riot squad while western countries occupied China before the war. Fairbairn was in hundreds of street fights with Chinese rioters armed with melee weapons and often trained in martial arts, and developed his knife fighting by fighting, not going on commando raids with just silent kills. They also looked into then existing knife fighting instruction, and found some fencing instructors trying to teach but decided that approach was based on closing distance from front instead of close in knife fighting. But F & S realized the round grip of the fencing foil is best for a pure fighting knife because it allows thrusting and slashing in all directions without changing grip, provided you use the fencing type grip they teach in book. (When the first US-Canandian special forces was formed they adopted the F & S design and added a thumb groove to promote this grip, becoming the Case V-42 stiletto). F & S felt typical knife grips made compromises for utility purposes and were not maneuverable enough. Using the fencing grip with both sides sharpened, the fighter could slash in any direction with palm up or down, and the book taught to slash the neck or thigh artery as quick kills. They even talk about the psychological effect having a "pure fighting knife" versus designs like Bowie or Ka Bar types that make compromises for use as utility or survival knife, and recommended that soldiers be issued a 2nd knife for those tasks. They felt it made our soldiers more confident to have a pure fighting knife, and would put fear into opponents in a fight, especially if the knife is made with a "bright blade." Their preferred design was a bright blade with black handle for concealment. Just happened to be reading the book and thought I'd share. Lawyer Prepper 🙂

  5. jpd782 says:

    I bought a small version of this back in the 90's. Good knife. The only thing I didn't like? The sheath was terrible. Fell apart easily. And I've never found anything similar and better.

  6. James Hart says:

    You realize this is not a bush craft or survival knife, it is a knife used to kill an enemy, and not in a face to face fight. But sneaking up from behind and either Stabbing into the body, for a heart shot, or slitting the persons throat. Grizzly, isn't it 🙂

  7. Mason Dawson says:

    I'm a transplant Rock Hellion converted Yorkite. I picked up a very long awaited William Rodgers version a couple of days ago. That's how I found this. Very nice knife! Although I consider the one I picked up "battle ready" I am sure yours is too with more attention to detail.

  8. CSGraves says:

    Others have touched upon the points I'm going to comment on, namely on the usage of the FSFK and comparison to the Ka-Bar.
    The Fairbairn Sykes was intended for both thrusting AND cutting, as detailed in Fairbiarn's book "Get Tough". That's not to say it was expected commandos would be doing both in equal measure. Cuts were recommended primarily for the arms/wrist of the opponent, as one doesn't have to go as deep to hit an artery as, say, the torso. That said, some of the current reproductions come with a very obtuse edge which would be less than ideal if one were an old OSS'er trying to cut an enemy with heavy coat sleeves.
    The Ka-Bar is a jack of all-trades. You can certainly hurt someone with one in a pinch, but as someone else pointed out, the design is not purely as a weapon, there's some utility in mind as well. As such, it can be less effective in certain combat scenarios compared to the FSFK… penetrating clothes or armour for example. Simon Hengle has several reviews where he tests both on combat armour. The FS goes deeper far more easily than the Ka-bar… but is going to be inferior to the Ka-bar for most utility tasks. Apples and oranges.
    And then you have the SMATCHET!

  9. 11apples100 says:

    Just a couple FYIs mate.

    This is a reproduction not an original. An original is going to run you waaaay more than you paid for this. Not that it matters too much because the quality of the originals isn't that great. As you pointed out they really only had one function and that function didn't call for Damascus steel type artistry.

    As for sharpness… you need to sharpen it. They were delivered to troops with a vaguely sharpened edge and then had the shit sharpened out of them. Once again; they weren't used for chopping wood or prying shit open but slashing was definitely done as was cutting up an apple for a quick snack.

    As for the tabs; they were used to secure the sheath to the thigh. The uniforms at the time had a loop of fabric on the trousers that would sit between the two tabs.

    About the slim handle… I saw in the comments down below that you should look into fencing grips to overcome this problem!? Good grief!
    If the handle feels too small you just need to wrap it in some tape. That was the solution back in the day for many who felt the same way.

    Its a nice little knife. I've got my grandfathers original as well as a couple I knicked from a reserve armory many years back.

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