Lan-Cay M9 USMC Trials Submission (2002)
By Dr. Jim Maddox
The US Marines have continued their search for a bayonet that is unique to the Corps as well as fully suited to their needs. In July of this year (2002), based upon requirements and specifications provided by the USMC, various manufacturers submitted sample bayonets for evaluation. This article will discuss only those M9-style bayonets submitted by the Lan-Cay Corporation for these most recent trials.
Shown here are four distinct styles of the M9 bayonet from my collection that were produced for this submission. These varied in blade length (long or short) and blade weight (standard or lightened). All non-fullered, the Short blades are the standard 7 ¼ inch version; the Long are 8 inches. The Standard weight blades are simply the usual flat blades (long or short) with an oval T-stud hole for mating with the scabbard cutter plate. The Lightened blades have several additional 9.5mm holes with beveled edges cut into the blade to reduce weight. At Lan-Cay, these blade variations are unofficially called Long or Short and Holy or Unholy. All blades are sandblast finished and stamped on the obverse ricasso with a large "Eagle, Globe & Anchor" (EGA) logo, and on the reverse in two lines, "USMC" over "LAN-CAY".
All four prototypes shown here are otherwise identical. All grips are the new "Ka-Bar" style tan zytel, contoured to the hand. The latchplates (pommels) are all stamped "LAN-CAY". The scabbards are tan zytel with a newly designed black nylon web suspension system, intended for use with the MOLLE II vest.
Scabbards are the latest model, marked "LAN-CAY" on the back near the cutter plate. There is no stone or stone recess. The cutter plate has a screwdriver. The black webbing is in two parts. The upper portion has two snaps…one horizontal which encircles the grip and another diagonal strap that secures the guard and snaps to the scabbard body. Fastened to the scabbard by machine screws, it also has a belt attachment loop with small Fastex snap. The lower section has a nylon "boot" that covers the cutter plate and prevents sideways slippage of the webbing. On the back of each part of the webbing is a long, narrow loop for an Alice clip. Each scabbard has a 1/8" round black cord leg tie with fastener.
When Lan-Cay began production of the new USMC bayonet, the original solicitation specified a blade length of 8-10 inches. Lan-Cay decided to produce an 8" blade, which would still fit comfortably into the standard scabbard. With some difficulty, special laser-cut blade blanks were obtained from a subcontractor. Unfortunately, all of the various milling machines at the Carrollton, KY plant are set up to produce a standard length blade from a standard blade blank. Most manufacturing and finishing steps use the oval "T" Stud hole in the blade for alignment. Many temporary modifications were necessary to utilize factory equipment and numerous steps were completed by hand. Many blades were ruined in the laser cutting and finishing process.
Special dies were procured to stamp the EGA logo and the other USMC markings. It is of interest to note that the 2-line "USMC" stamp on the reverse ricasso was made using the old 3-line die for the rare M9-FT (Field Trial) bayonets submitted for previous trials. The top"M9-FT" line was merely ground off the die. One result of this modification is that the USMC Trials bayonets are intentionally not marked "M9".
In February of 2002, the final solicitation was changed to specify a blade length of <9 inches. Accordingly, Lan-Cay fabricated standard-length, specially marked blades to be used for submission in addition to the longer blades. Trials bayonets were submitted with either Tan or Black zytel grips and matching scabbard bodies. Scabbard webbing was black on both. Scabbard bodies submitted without cutter plates were not modified further. Green grips and scabbards were not used because the Marines did not want their new bayonet to resemble the Army’s green one. Various combinations of short and long blades, holy and unholy, with and without saw, sandblasted or "bronze", were assembled.
The following is a list of specific details of all 21 Trials bayonets actually submitted in July. There are sixteen distinctly different combinations represented.
A1 71/4" blade no holes with cutter Tan
A2 71/4" blade no holes with cutter Black
A3 71/4" blade no holes with cutter Tan
A4 71/4" blade no holes no cutter Black "bronze"
A5 71/4" blade no holes no cutter Tan
A6 71/4" blade no holes no cutter Tan
Note: "no cutter" means no cutter plate was installed on scabbard body
Note: "bronze" describes a bronze colored blade finish
B1 71/4" blade with holes with cutter Black "bronze"
B2 71/4" blade with holes with cutter Tan
B3 71/4" blade with holes with cutter Tan
B4 71/4" blade with holes no cutter Black
B5 71/4" blade with holes no cutter Tan
B6 71/4" blade with holes no cutter Tan
C4 8" blade with holes with cutter Tan
C5 8" blade with holes with cutter Tan
C6 8" blade with holes with cutter Tan "bronze"
D1 8" blade no holes with cutter Black
D4 8" blade no holes no cutter Tan
D6 8" blade no holes no cutter Tan "bronze"
E1 71/4" blade no holes no cutter Black "bronze" no saw
E2 71/4" blade no holes with cutter Tan no saw
E3 71/4" blade no holes with cutter Tan
Note: group E had experimental Aluminum tang rods and laminate guards to further reduce weight.
It should be noted here that in December, 2002, the Marine Corps announced their decision to select the Ontario Knife Company’s submission. Special thanks are given to Barry Brown, President of Lan-Cay Corporation for providing the details included in this brief article.
Click on the thumbnails for the full size photos
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