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Old October 25th, 2008, 00:31   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Boker Applegate-Fairbairn Combat Knife

As some of you know I've been waiting for this bad boy for awhile now and now that I have it I feel like doing a small review on it!

The same guy who designed this knife, originally designed the Commando knife from WWII that we all know and love!

Lieutenant Colonel William Ewart Fairbairn! Colonel Rex Applegate! Major Eric A. Sykes!

The three of them not only developed the most famous knife from WWII, they also developed "Point Shooting" (IE What every police officer is taught today)!

Fairbairn and Sykes were both members of the Shanghai Police Force before WWII. Fairbairn met Sykes when they were posted together as Snipers for Police Force. During World War II, he was recruited by the British Secret Service as an Army officer; together with Sykes he was commissioned on the General List in 1941. He trained UK, US and Canadian Commando forces, along with Ranger candidates in close-combat, pistol-shooting, and knife-fighting techniques.

Fairbairn is also the father of Defendu:

Sykes' career took him almost hand in hand with Fairbairn's.

Applegate worked in the Office of Strategic Services where he trained allied special forces in close-quarter combat during World War II. In 1943 he wrote Kill or Get Killed, still considered the classic textbook of Western-style hand-to-hand combat. The updated 1976 edition of Kill or Get Killed was also published by the US Marine Corps as Fleet Marine Force Reference Publication 12-80.

Applegate developed the techniques outlined in the book during his work with William E. Fairbairn, who had previously developed his techniques while working for the Shanghai Municipal Police from 1907 to 1940.

Applegate was the proponent for a system of combat pistol shooting that is outlined in "Kill or Get Killed", based on point shooting and stressing training for close range, fast response shooting.

The first time I seen this blade was nothing more than a simple passing in the movie Rambo 4 and even then all I saw was it sheathed and never used but something told me to look into it. Problem being is that I didn't even know the name nor manufacturer of the blade.

With the help of NovaKaynE who found it on google and I delved deeper into it and started learning.

"The knife as seen in the movie Rambo 4"

When I first looked into it after finding out the name, I noticed that there are 6 different versions of the blade!
  • Combat Boot: This is a 9 inch version that looks similar. Comes with a molded Kydex sheath with a belt clip. The blade is a 4 3/4 inch 440C grade stainless steel, with unique concave grind for advanced cutting potential. Black fiberglass reinforced Delrin handle with lanyard hole and finished with a Brass guard.
  • Fighting Knife Version 1: 11 inch 440C grade stainless steel (some sites claim 420 Solingen stainless), partially serrated, blade. The blade is also etched with the signatures of Applegate and Fairbairn. Comes with a Kydex Belt Sheath with a secure click hold design. (This is the one from Rambo 4 that was pictured at the start)
  • Fighting Knife Version 2: Same as the above except no serrated blade and comes with a heavy black cordura belt sheath. (The exact one I'm reviewing, couldn't find movie version)
  • Fighting Knife Version 3: Same as the above one but has a black coated blade and guard. ($75 more for this version)
  • Fighting Knife Version 4: Same as Version 2 but instead has a tan handle instead of the black and comes with a tan Kydex belt sheath.
  • Training Knife: For some reason these are slight larger than the above knifes, about 11 3/8 inches overall. All black thermoplastic construction. Blade length is 6 1/2 inches.

As this all depends on where you purchase the knife I can only give rough estimates on the average purchasing prices from various websites. All prices are in USD. (Prices in Red are in CDN dollars taken from

Combat Boot: $80 - $150 ($193.72)
Version 1: $100 - $180 ($178.81)
Version 2: $80 - $140 ($223.54)
Version 3: $130 - $220
Version 4: $100 - $180 ($223.56)
Training (set of two): $17 - $25

As you can see the black bladed version is considerablly more expensive than the rest!

When I first opened the parcel I was greated with a pretty rough box in the terms of being beat all to hell. Granted this had to do with the seller but when I opened the box, the knife was just lying inside the box. It wasn't wrapped in anything and wasn't coushined in any form. Granted this is a fighting blade and shouldn't need to be babied. The box was grey in color and had a picture of the knife on the top and on the bottom talked all about Applegate (almost nothing about Fairbairn).

So I removed the knife and came to realize how big this thing actually is. I collect boot knives and when you pull a knife with an overall length of 11 inches (6 inches of that nothing but blade) to come to realize that this is a true fighting knife.

The blade is held in place by a simple velcro strap positioned diagonally. This keeps the knife in place even when positioned upside down. The cordura sheath is strong and rigid meaning the knife will slide in and out without problems for the most part (see problems section).

After pulling the blade free of the sheath the first thing that catches your eye besides the size of the double edged blade are the markings. On one side of the blade are the signatures of Applegate and Fairbairn etched into the blade.

Below that is the company Logo and the supposedly unique 5 digit serial number.

On the otherside is simply the manufacturing location and blade material! (Good to note that rumors have started to float that Boker has out sourced a factory to China! The knives can be of poorer quality compared to those made in their German Factory)

When I first handled this knife it felt as though it weighed a ton! It wasn't until I walked around the house for a couple hours with it that I realized that it's actually a decent weight, certainly not as hefty as some of the hunting knives or bowie knives that I've owned. In reality this knife weighs in at about 8.5 ounces.

The Delrin handle is very comfortable and fits the hand nicely. The weight inside the handle balances against the blade nicely (compared to other knives I've held where the blades are the heaviest part of the knife).

The double edged blade was nice and sharp although not razor sharp. This is being that fighting knives are mostly used for stabbing rather than cutting. At the same time though they are sharp enough to cut but a razor sharp edge will have a greater chance of knicking or chipping as well as dulling faster.

I have omitted the pictures from this section due to the graphic nature. I will not be posting them and I won't be sending them out anymore.

I took the knife over to a friend's place who happened to have a side of pork hanging in his shed that he was going to use to feed his dogs with. We decided to test out the actual usage of this knife under "combat conditions" against the side of pork.

For the cutting edge it slid easily into the pork through skin and tissue. Comparing the cuts to his skinning knife, they weren't all the impressive, the skinner could slive straight to the bone, but remember the knives are for different purposes. Granted you don't want to cut yourself with this blade because it cuts easily.

Stabbing with this blade is where it really comes to shine. With the weight behind it this blade will sink straight to the guard without a problem. More than once we actually cut a rib in half without even knowing it until looking at the other side.

After we spent about an hour testing this blade on the pork as well as cutting think ropes and even using it to split a couple pieces of kindling for the fire, I cleaned it off and started looking for knicks or chips in the blade. I couldn't find a single one, even the tip was perfectly pointed, and the blade was still as sharp as it was when I took it from the box.

Just like everything there has to be at least one thing that someone won't like about an item and I have a couple.

First off the Cordura sheath for two reasons. The first being that one or two of the stitches weren't properly done and have come loose. This is a minor problem and more of an annoyance. The second problem being the velcro strap holding the knife in. When trying to put the knife back into the sheath I have found that the knife really likes to catch on the strap and so you have to hold it out of the way. Once again this is more of an annoyance and has nothing to do with the blade itself (The Kydex sheaths do not have this problem of course).

Another problem I have is brass guard. It just seems out of place on a fighting knife. Granted this is fixed on the black bladed version but sadly this version costs so much more.

Lastly is the size factor. This thing is long as most standard hunting knives or one bladed combat knives. Granted this isn't really a problem until you start trying to stab with it as the larger heavy blade can be a little cumbersom at first until you get the hang of it.

Overall I realyl enjoy this blade and it currently resides in a place of honor with my hunting gear.

If you are looking for a "fighting dagger" style but larger than a standard 5-7 inch boot dagger I would suggest the 9" version of this blade as it would be so much easier to weild. But if you are a collector of blades, want that "wow" factor, or have large hands then this blade is for you!

I would also suggest that if you do buy the 11" version, that you purchase the version with the Kydex sheath. You won't be disappointed.

I give this blade a very solid 9.5/10

Last edited by Drache; October 25th, 2008 at 00:40..
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