By Bill Porter
We’ll continue with the topic we started a few months ago; foreign made bayonets for the US M16 rifle.
I decided to start this month’s feature with this particular bayonet because of two recent on line auctions. Both of the auctions listed the bayonet as a "prototype" bayonet. The first auction closed at $300. The next day I received an email from a person asking about a long M7 style bayonet with the only marking being "T65" on the face of the scabbard throat. I asked him if he was referring to the bayonet that had just closed the previous day. He said yes and that he had just listed one on eBay. He had copied the same erroneous information from the previous auction. I told him exactly what he had and asked him if he was now going to correct the item description on his auction. Never heard back from him, but he ended the auction, relisted it with the same "prototype" BS story with a $350 Buy It Now and sold it. I love the integrity of some people.
This is a Panamanian M7. It has the same basic configuration as an M7 bayonet but the blade is about 35 mm longer. The blade is slightly slimmer than a standard US M7 bayonet and the false edge is approximately half the length of the blade. The blade has a dark Parkerized finish.
The crossguard is stamped steel. The black plastic grips are held on with two machine screws. The inside of the grips are marking with a small "5" on the left grip and a "6" on the right grip. The scabbard body is a dark green plastic with a steel throat. The face of the throat is stamped "T65". The cotton web frog is a lighter shade of green than the standard US M8A1 scabbard.
These bayonets first showed up in the US shortly after Operation Just Cause in December of 1989. This was the US invasion of Panama to remove Manuel Noriega from power. The feeling by many bayonet collectors was that these bayonets were manufactured somewhere in South East Asia. A feature update was posted several months ago about a T65 scabbard that had come from a source in Taiwan and carried Taiwanese markings (http://www.usmilitaryknives.com/porters_page_3.htm). While this does not provide definitive information as to the source for the Panamanian bayonets, it does show us that an identically designated bayonet was made in Taiwan.
These bayonets show up with some frequency on eBay, always identified incorrectly. Now that two of them have sold for fairly substantial amounts of money, I imagine we will be seeing more of them as everyone tries to cash in on the craze.
Overall length 335 mm
Blade length 207 mm
Blade thickness 4.5 mm
Blade width 20 mm
You may have seen one of these bayonets at a show and not even know it. It is very easily to pass by as it looks like another one of those foreign copies. This is an Eickhorn manufactured bayonet, made for Israel.
The blade has the nice reddish-plum color that you see on many Eickhorn bayonets. The finish on the sides of the blades is surprisingly rough. The blades are completely unmarked.
The grip is a one piece black molded plastic with a checkered finish. One bayonet has a split roll pin through the center of the grip. Apparently they must have had a problem with the grips and remedied the problem by adding the pin. The pommel is a casting and held in place by a Philips flat-head screw. The identifying mark on this bayonet is found on the pommel, inside the mortise slot. Cast into the pommel at the back end of the slot are the initials "IMI" for Israeli Military Industries.
The scabbards are well made copies of the US M8A1 scabbard. They have a green plastic body and a metal throat. The two pictured are marked "U.S. M8A1" on the face of the throat and one has the additional marking "Made in W- Germany".
Overall length 299 mm
Blade length 170 mm
Blade thickness 4.7 mm
Blade width 21.9 mm
That does it for another month. As always, I welcome your comments or input. Questions or comments can be forwarded to me firstname.lastname@example.org
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