Often, firearms are the focus of most of the fanfare and chatter on the internet. However, weapon accessories deserve their place in the spotlight every once in a while.
This time, the limelight falls on the M9 Bayonet--currently one of the standard-issue bayonets in the United States Military. From the Marine Corps to the Army, this foot-long multi-purpose knife has seen action in four wars since its adoption in 1986.
Bells and Whistles, or Barebones Blade?
Though bayonets might appear a single-purpose tool, this piece can apply to more than just combat.
When used in tandem with its scabbard (sheath), for example, it can function as a wire cutter. Additionally, the 8-inch blade can be used to saw through wood or metal. As a tool intended for combat, the M9 bayonet can cut just about anything.
Charles A. “Mickey” Finn designed and developed the M9 under the name "M9 Phrobis III". His designs met with vast approval and grew in demand quickly. Unfortunately, this popularity led to other makers illegally copying and counterfeiting his product.
Once the contract for the knife under the title M9 Phrobis III ran out, the U.S. Army acquired the rights. An assortment of companies have produced multiple variations of the M9. Depending on the needs of the military specs at the time, many past and present bayonets include a fuller, which is a sloped groove on the flat of the blade meant to lighten the knife weight.
The United States military decided to commission hundreds of thousands of these bayonets beginning in 1986. The M7 Bayonet--predecessor to the M9-- saw most of its action during the Vietnam War. Compared to the M7, the M9 is a significant upgrade with more utility use, an added section of serrated edge, and lengthened blade.
Buck Knives became the first commercial manufacturer of the bayonet They have also produced the M9 for military forces all over the world including Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. Militaries aren’t the only consumer, however--the M9 is also available on the civilian market.
The M9 Bayonet in Action
As a blade in the military for 35 years, the M9 bayonet has seen plenty of action. From Panama to Iraq to Afghanistan, this bayonet has been put through the paces in four separate wars.
The M9 first saw fighting during Operation Just Cause, during which the United States marched into Panama with the two-pronged intent of fighting to protect U.S. citizens in the country as well as human rights.
Just Cause was a short affair, lasting between the end of 1989 to the first month of 1990. This successful military campaign acted as the first opportunity for the M9 to be put to the test.
Within the same year began the next event that had the M9 Bayonet in warfare: the Gulf War. With codenamed Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, this war began in late 1990 and lasted until early 1991, taking place in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq.
Up to the current time, the M9 continues to be a staple edge piece for military activities. It accompanied soldiers in the U.S. deployment into Afghanistan in 2001 as part of the War on Terrorism. Soon after, the Iraq War--which began in 2003--became the fourth major military movement that the M9 Bayonet has been part of.
Compatible Firearms for Bayonets
The M9 bayonet knife is great by itself. It fulfills its true purpose, however, when mounted to an equally exceptional rifle.
The M4 Carbine, also standard issue for the military, is one rifle that is compatible with the M9 Bayonet. A tried and true gun, the M4 is a rugged AR model.
With a signature carry handle, M16-inspired features, and an established place in any Army arsenal, the M4 is an unmistakable part of U.S.’s military. The combination of the M9 bayonet and the M4 Carbine is a match forged in steel and tried in combat.
The M9 Bayonet Knife: 7-Inch Blade, 35-Year History
Having been all over the world in the course of 35 years, this bayonet has proven itself to be just as, if not more capable than, its predecessor of the Vietnam war, the M7.
The M9 bayonet might not be the first thing that you think of when you hear about the Gulf war or Operation Just Cause, as it is a small blade in the massive maneuver of war. However, as a trusted piece that travels with every Army campaign, the M9 Bayonet’s story is a quiet but consistent one.