Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Camillus MC-1 Paratrooper Knife Review.

I've had this knife for close on four or five years.
It was my first TADgear purchase; I was looking for one, they had them and for cheap!
This is the knife that was issued to Army and Marine Paratroopers before their first "real" jump. Generally during training they were all collected, clipped together and went with one guy to prevent midair injury but since Vietnam they've seen pocket time in action and many an old vet still proudly totes his orange-handled MC-1.
The main blade is automatic (in other words, it's a utility switchblade). It's not meant for use as a weapon (obviously) but rather for cutting shrouds after a hangup in trees or brush, if that should occur while landing.
While I've never used it for that, I have used it periodically for utilitarian tasks and I can tell you that it's very easy to open. Just retrieve it from your pocket (or unclip it--I put a spring clip on my lanyard loop), switch the safety to off, and push the button. It'll open in a flash, with a snapping sound. This is a leaf-spring auto--very strong but rather loose in the joint, so if you're obsessive about your lockup, don't even bother with this knife (unless of course you're a collector and just want it for show).

  • Heavy duty leaf spring will likely last you your whole life and longer. This one's a hand-me-down.
  • Automatic main-blade can be quickly and easily deployed in emergency situations.
  • Manually-deployed "cord hook" shroud cutter is useful for cutting paracord or even, I'd imagine, seat belts after a car crash. It'd be hard to get out under stress though...
  • Safety-orange Delrin handle is hard to miss should you drop it in leaf litter or water.
  • Bail loop to secure knife to yourself or your nylon gear.
  • HC steel is easy to hone, doesn't take long to put a new edge on it.
  • High-carbon steel dulls quickly and rusts easily.
  • Blade is rather thin, not meant for heavy usage (is more for cutting cord).
  • Bail loop would be better placed on the butt-end of the knife so as to avoid snapback opening failures and facilitate easier blade deployment.
Here's a vid of the action.

Manufacturer: Camillus Cutlery (No longer in business).
Price: 45.00-60.00. Generally over 50.00.
Berserker's Overall Rating: 5 Stars! This one's a keeper, and not only because it's collectible.


beeker77 said...

This very cool knife is also current standard issue to all USAF aircrew. Nick-name "Thigh Knife" because there is a special pocket exactly for this knife, on the inside of the upper right leg of every flight suit with a grommet for attaching a lanyard tied to the knife lanyard ring. I have one remaining, having lost two that were issued to me when on flying status. (I suspect my ex-brother-in-law of relieving me of my first one.)

TBlade said...

I own one of these for a long time now. It's very reliable. With Camillus Knives, you can never go wrong. Quality is at its best.