If a knife could represent a war to me?
The M-1918 Mark I brass knuckle trench knife would be WWI.
Perhaps the M3 Trench knife & Ka-Bar would best represent WWII & Korea.
But for me at least, the Gerber MKII just screams Vietnam.
They were introduced in 1966, and every GI I knew then wanted one.
The problem was, there just were never enough of them to go around.
Every time a shipment came into a PX, they were all sold before they got done putting them on the shelf.
Initial production was only 1,000 knives in 1966, and never exceeded 4,500 to 5,000 per year from 1968 until 1975.
By then the Vietnam war was over.
By that time, the Peaceniks had firm control of the news media and the country's thought process, so Gerber added serrations, and changed the advertising from a deadly Combat / Fighting knife to a more acceptable Survival knife.
Gerber continued production several more years, reaching a high of 12,000+ in 1978, and another high of 15,809 in 1980.
In all, there were so many variations made the Gerber MKII has become a collector “specialty” for some knife collectors.
Since they were all serial numbered, the year of manufacture can be pinned down exactly, and that adds interest to collectors.
Early knives were made with a sprayed molten steel grip surface called “Cats Tongue” in Grey & black.
Later models had something called “Armor Hide”, also in Grey & Black.
Divers models were made with orange & yellow handles.
Early knives had a canted blade angle to the grip of 5° , 10°, and 15° degree to one side at various times.
It was purported to be for a better blade angle when held in a fencing grip.
But Gerber got so many complaints about the blades being "bent", they soon stopped doing it.
They also all had the signature wasp waste blade shape with no serrations.
Later "survival" knives had serrations, and later still became straight blades without the wasp waist shape.
And IMO, they just lost all the visual appeal of the early knife.
Blade serrations were at first 14 Teeth per inch but clogged easily.
They were later changed to a courser 8 TPI that worked much better.
Some of the Divers knives were fully serrated on one edge.
These older Gerber MK’s were made from L6 tool steel until a change to 440C in 1979.
Sheaths were oiled brown or died black, or green leather from 1966 to 1986.
They were made from black nylon after that.
Early sheaths had the retainer strap crossing over the rear guard. They often got cut off by accident, and all later sheaths had the strap crossing over the front guard.
Some leather sheaths had a pocket for a steel sharpening hone.
The divers sheath had slots top and bottom for leg straps and a rubber flap handle retainer.
In all, 16 variations of sheaths were used at different times.
There were also 5 different “Presentation” models offered at different times.
All of those have a serial number preceded by either XX, or CS to prevent anyone faking an earlier, rarer, and more desirable early knife.
During the 90's production was off again, on again until finally, the MK-II was dropped from the line in 2000.
Finally Gerber added the MK-II back to the line in 2008.
6 3/4” - MK-II
made in 1977
Black blade, Black sheath, Armor Hide handle.
6 3/4” - MK-II
made in 1978
Polished blade, Armor Hide handle.
Oiled reproduction sheath I made for it.
I bought it cheap at a gun show, without the sheath.
MK-I - 5” Boot Knife
made about 1977.
I bought it cheap from the guy that bought it new.
He then proceeded to cut himself bad at work that night, while scratching it all up on a sharpening stone.
The night nurse taped his finger back on, but it scared him so much he was afraid to take it out of the sheath again.
So he sold it to me at a big loss the same day he bought it!!
Gerber 5” Folding Hone
The folding steel hone is 5”x7/8”x1/4”.
If the blade is already sharp, it makes it really sharp!
If it isn’t already sharp, it doesn’t do anything.
Wedge on end can supposedly be used to split wood, etc.
But I wouldn’t try it.
It is so short I think you would just get it stuck in the wood, then need to find something else to split wood with to get it out.