By Bill Porter
I hope you all enjoyed my selection of rare US bayonets last month. I wish I could post a comparable grouping every month!
The next group of bayonets that I’d like to highlight is foreign manufactured bayonets for the US M1 Carbine. I did a display of these at the 2003 Society of American Bayonet Collectors (SABC) annual banquet. You can view pictures of the display at www.bayonetcollectors.org . If you’d like more information on the organization just email me.
Japanese M4 Bayonets
The first three Japanese M4s shown below were all manufactured by Kiffe. Gary Cunningham did an excellent write up on Kiffe bayonets in his Bayonet Points #14 and #15 and I suggest you read it for some excellent background information on these bayonets and the company that produced them. I still classify them as Japanese because that is where they were manufactured.
All three models shown have a segmented leather grip with five grooves. At each end of the leather grip there is a resin spacer. The spacer is a black material with varying amounts of red specks in it. The crossguards on all three examples are loose and wobble. The tang extends through the latchplate on all three and is peened over. All metal parts are blued
The markings on the three examples are all different. The bayonet on the left has an extremely faint marking KIFFE over JAPAN on the left ricasso. The center bayonet is completely unmarked. The bayonet on the right is marked JAPAN on the right ricasso and S. A. B. over RIDGEFIELD, N.J. on the left. According to Gary Cunningham’s information it was supposed to read S.A.C. for Service Armament Co but the manufacturer mismarked them.
The scabbard bodies on all three are made from molded plastic and do not appear to have any kind of reinforcement. They have the same steel mouth piece with two of them marked U.S. M8A1 and one unmarked. Two of the scabbards have attached leather hangers and one is equipped with a web hanger.
Overall length 290 mm
Blade length 164 mm
Blade thickness 4.3 mm
Blade width 22.4 mm
This next bayonet is also a Kiffe, unfortunately not in as nice shape as the previous examples. It has a segmented leather grip like the others but this one has six grooves, not five like the others. The false edge is considerably longer then that on the previous three examples. The right side of the blade is marked KIFFE over JAPAN. It is in a standard US M8A1 scabbard. The metal parts of this bayonet are blued.
Overall length 292 mm
Blade length 169 mm
Blade thickness 4.4 mm
Blade width 21.0 mm
(Ed Note. A Guard Marked Kiffe)
One of the first bayonets I bought as a beginning collector in the late 1960s was this M4. It came from an outfit in California by the name of Garcia Arms. I think they are long out of business. Its quality is comparable to the previously posted Kiffe bayonets. It has a segmented leather grip with six grooves and resin spacers at either end. The right side of the blade is marked ROSCO within a diamond over JAPAN. All metal parts are blued. The scabbard is made of a rubbery vinyl material. It is surprisingly supple considering that it is almost forty years old.
Overall length 290 mm
Blade length 166 mm
Blade thickness 4.6 mm
Blade width 22.3 mm
Unlike the preceding bayonets that are commercial copies, this next bayonet is an extremely well made substantial bayonet. It is the same quality as the US military contract bayonets. It has a segmented leather grip with six grooves. It does not have the resin spacers at either end. All metal parts are Parkerized. The front of the crossguard is marked U.S.J-M4 over S.I. According to M. H. Cole in Book IV, these bayonets were made in Japan under U.S. control probably during the Korean War.
Overall length 296 mm
Blade length 171 mm
Blade thickness 4.6 mm
Blade width 21.7 mm
Finally, we have two Japanese manufactured M8 style scabbards. The plastic scabbard body is very similar to that found on the M7 scabbard for the Japanese Self-Defense Force M1 Garand bayonet. The metal throats are riveted to the plastic body. One scabbard has a Japanese manufactured throat marked M8A1. The other has the throat from a US manufacture scabbard. It is marked U.S.M8 over B.M.CO.
That’s it for this month. Next month we’ll continue with more foreign bayonets for the M1 Carbine. I’ll try to mix it up a little and post something other than M4s.
Questions or comments can be forwarded to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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