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powered by Illinois Policy Institute
New bayonet saves U.S. cool million
     |     October 24, 1995     |      Good Government

Two Arsenal Island engineers took an age-old weapon and figured out a way to save the taxpayers about $1 million.

The bayonet, a rifle-mounted knife designed to impale enemy soldiers, has taken on a new look.

In an age of supersonic bombers, nuclear weapons and other high-tech weaponry, it’s easy to forget that weapons as brutal and simple as bayonets are still used.

The knife refined by John Kreider and Loren Brunton is designed to be carried by elite military units such as the Army Special Forces or Rangers.

The improved M-9 bayonet differs considerably from its predecessor.

The most obvious difference is that it lacks a long, deep groove on the blade.

“The blood groove is there to eliminate suction,” Kreider said. “You see, when you take a cold knife and stick into a warm body, it can be difficult to pull out. But we determined that this bayonet would leave a big enough hole that there shouldn’t a prob-lem with pulling it out.”

A study Buck Knives conducted involving freshly killed antelope was used to reach this conclusion.

Besides eliminating the groove, the engineers added several other cost-saving measures such as using cast parts instead of brazed ones and eliminating several webbed straps for the scabbard.

These changes reduced the cost of manufacturing each knife by $9.38. With the Army buying 105,000 of the weapons at cost of $37 each, the design changes saved the government about $980,000. But the changes don’t stop there.

The new blade is black and a screwdriver attachment has been repostioned on the scabbard. Rather than have a gray metal blade, soldiers said they preferred a dull finish that wouldn’t reflect light and reveal their position as easily.

The screwdriver located on the end of scabbard was moved because paratroopers complained about being jabbed in the leg when jumping from aircraft.

Bayonets are more likely to used for cutting wires, probing the ground for land mines or cutting branches than as a hand-to-hand combat weapon, Brunton said.


Note: This post originally appeared at the Quad-City Times.

image credit: Photographer: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images


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Scott Reeder is the Executive Editor of the Illinois News Network, a project of the Illinois Policy Institute. Scott joined INN after more than 25 years covering local and state government. He made a national name for himself investigating teacher tenure in Illinois and the lack of accountability in the teacher certification process.

Scott previously served as a national managing editor for the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he worked to establish a national network of statehouse bureaus. Prior to his time with Franklin, he ran an Illinois statehouse bureau for 10 years providing customized statehouse coverage for newspapers in five Illinois communities.

Among the journalism awards he has captured are the Investigative Reporters and Editors Freedom of the Information Award, the Clark Mollenhoff Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and the John Aubuchon Freedom of Information Award, which is the highest honor of Capitolbeat, a national association of statehouse journalists.

He received his bachelor’s in journalism from Iowa State University and holds a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield. He and his wife, Joan, reside near Springfield and have three daughters: Grace, Anna and Caitlin.