Buck Barrel Nut M9

by

Bill Porter

A contribution from our good friend Bill Porter that previously appeared in the SABC Journal. We thought it needed repeating here for the world to see.

Buck Knives, Inc. of El Cajon, California was involved with the manufacturing of the M9 bayonet from its inception in 1987 through 1997 when they ceased commercial production. Buck started out as a sub-contractor to Phrobis III, the design firm and winner of the first US Army contract for the M9 Multi-Purpose Bayonet System (MPBS). Concurrent with the manufacturing of the government contract M9s, Buck was licensed to manufacture the M9 for the commercial market.

Buck bid on a subsequent military contract for the M9 bayonet in the mid 1990ís and was underbid by a different company. Upon examining a sample of the winning contractorís product, Buck was surprised by the unfinished appearance of the bayonet, especially the heavy grind marks on the blade. This was definitely not the type product they would want associated with the name "Buck". The engineering staff at Buck Knives set out to develop a more cost-effective method to manufacture the bayonet without compromising the quality.

One of the designs the engineering department came up with is the Barrel Nut M9. The blade is made from a laser cut blank and has a full-length tang. The tang is turned down at the end and threaded. A standard M9 crossguard, grip and pommel are used, but a special barrel nut fastener is used to hold the assembly together rather than a standard socket head cap screw. The tang rod that is utilized with the standard M9 design is completely eliminated, thus reducing the manufacturing of one complete component.

This bayonet is most likely a further revision to Buckís 1993 USMC solid tang M9. That particular model used a forged blade where this later variation uses a laser cut blade blank. Using a laser, versus a blanked part, is another cost saving move. It allows for greater flexibility for design changes. Once a fineblank die is made, and the huge cost incurred, it is often not possible to make changes. Changes can be made in minutes with the laser with little or no additional costs.

Notice that the back edge of the blade does not have saw teeth like the standard M9 bayonet blade. Buck did not see any sense in spending the time or additional expense to have the saw teeth cut since these blades were only made to test the concept of the barrel nut design. There were approximately twenty of these blades manufactured, all with the 1996 date code ( ). This design was never put into production. Buckís tooling for the standard design M9 was wearing out and the company made the decision in 1997, based mainly on economics, to stop production and any further developmental work on the M9 bayonet.

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Thanks Bill for allowing us to run it in Knife Knotes.

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