M7 Bayonet Page
Vietnam Era M7 Bayonets
After the M-16 was fully approved by the US Military in 1963-64 and massive production began, the M7 was slightly redesigned with a two piece finely checkered removable black plastic handle held on to the tang by two machine screws, all metal parts were Parkerized, the cross guard was made a little wider with manufacturers stamping their maker marks and US M7 onto them, and the pommel was now peened onto the tang. All of the Vietnam Era manufacturers, with the exception of Imperial Schrade Corporation, used what is referred to as a slotted tang, which has two screw holes and two elongated slots. Imperial, as well as Ontario Knife Company and General Cutlery Corporation used the solid tang, which only had two screw holes through the tang. Ontario and Gen Cut only produced M7's after the Vietnam Era. The first new production M7's were manufactured by Columbus Milpar and Manufacturing Company and Imperial Schrade Corporation under contract with Colt Industries. In a letter dated September 13, 1979, Mr. Robert E. Roy of Colt Industries wrote "The numbers that you have seen stamped on the blades are not license numbers. They are the part number of that particular bayonet. Part number 62316 is the standard pattern of the M7 bayonet which we have been furnishing since the early 1960's. They have been made by a variety of manufacturers, but in many cases there are no identifying marks to indicate who the manufacturer is." Milpar and Imperial are the only two manufacturers that I am aware of, other than Carl Eickhorn produced W. Germany versions (which will be discussed in the future), that produced the new model M7 with the blade stamped showing the Colt trademark and "COLT'S 62316 HARTFORD CONN USA" . The Milpar Colt stamped blade versions are somewhat rare and I have not been able to locate production numbers for this particular version. Imperial Colt stamped blades had approximately 30,000 produced and are fairly common and easily gotten for one's collection. Milpar had "MILPAR USM7" stamped onto the cross guard while Imperial only stamped "US M7" on their version, obviously being the manufacturer that Mr. Roy acknowledged in his letter.
With the onset of United States involvement in Vietnam, the Department of Defense issued contracts to companies other than Colt to keep up with production request for the M7 bayonet. During the Vietnam War approximately 3 million M7 bayonets were produced by five different makers. It is believed that MILPAR was the first non-Colt government contract for M7 production and began in early 1964. From 1964-1967 MILPAR delivered approximately 650,000 M7's. FZR is an unknown maker, but may be Frazier Manufacturing Company according to M. H. Cole. The M7 bayonets marked FZR were Vietnam War era and saw service there but there are no government procurement records for FZR. If FZR was associated with Frazier Manufacturing Company is currently being researched and if a direct connection is made in the future it may lay to rest why these M7's are uncommon if not rare. CONETTA produced approximately 130,000 M7's during the war and went out of business shortly before the end of the sixties. BOC is by far the producer of the majority of Vietnam War M7's with approximately 1.8 million delivered by them during the war. IMPERIAL received a government contract in 1973 and produced approximately 350,000 in that year. All five of the Vietnam War M7 makers had there maker marks and US M7 stamped onto the cross guard. Some makers have slight differences in their blade configurations, but other than the MILPAR and IMPERIAL Colt contracts mentioned earlier, these later production M7's have no Colt stampings on their blades. Each company developed their own style of peening the pommel to the tang. The issued scabbard for the Vietnam War M7 bayonet was the standard USM8A1 scabbard, with the exception being the IMPERIAL Colt contract M7's that were issued with a USM8A1 scabbard that had a crinkle type OD finish (The throat of this scabbard was stamped only "USM8A1" with no maker's name.)
I remember the M7 bayonet being used in many different ways in a combat zone, but when on patrol everyone I knew always had his M7 readily available. We had a buck sergeant that used to have us fix bayonets anytime we had perimeter guard at night. This used to scare the hell out of us thinking he knew something was going to happen that particular night that we were not aware of. One day we asked the sergeant why he had us fix bayonets on night perimeter and he told us his perimeter was overrun by VC one night and troopers were struggling to get their bayonets mounted, so he always assumed from that day on that we were getting overrun each and every night. When you are 18 years old, you don't have to be told a story like that more than once. When we returned to Ft. Hood, Texas we had a 1st Cavalry Divisional review for a new Divisional General. I remember it was about 108 degrees and very humid. We were in formation for approximately 45 minutes in the blazing Texas sun in full dress uniform waiting for the ceremonies to begin. The order was given to "Fix bayonets" which everyone complied with. Normally this would be done with the scabbard attached over the bayonet blade for safety in the New Volunteer Army, but this particular day the order was for bayonets mounted without scabbards so they could see the bayonet blades "glistening in the sunlight". Well, as the ceremonies began troopers started to pass out. As they fell, their exposed M7 bayonet blades were inflicting injuries on troopers next to and behind them. The ceremony continued while Medics attended to the injured. All told the amount of injured troopers was 42 with no major injuries reported. Needless to say I never saw any more formations with fixed bayonets. In the photos below is a BOC M7 with what appears to be a blade modification. This was carried by a 1st Calvary trooper from the 1/9th during 1969-70. The trooper said most of his fellow troopers had the same type of blades and they called them "Delta Pig Stickers". This may have been carried by just his platoon or his company, he is not sure. He was a helicopter door gunner and all the troopers on his chopper had this modification. At first I thought it may have been a factory modification, but I am now convinced it was a Unit field modification. 1st Cav units were notorious for coming up with anything that made their unit different from others. If anyone has any info on this type of modification or has ever seen one or has any additional information it would be greatly appreciated. Next month I will finish with known US M7 makers, both military and commercial types. As always your feedback, additional information, or questions concerning the M7 bayonet is greatly appreciated and requested.
Any comments, opinions, or new information regarding M7 bayonets or this page are welcome and always appreciated. I am a mere student of the M7 and always willing to learn.
I can be reached at: K75thranger@aol.com for questions or comments.
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