Top 5 Bayonets

Bayonets. You know, those pointy things that people hang off the end of rifles that you use to poke things with. While not the most romantic piece of military hardware (or the most relevant these days) the bayonet was once incredibly important to a soldier. In this video, we quickly run through 5 of the neatest ones ever produced.

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Transcripts …

– [Voiceover] Hey, guys, it’s Alex C. with TFB TV.

Today I’m going to run down my top five favorite bayonets, and I’m going to do it pretty quickly.

I say quickly, because firearms are mechanically complex objects with moving parts and are often feats of engineering that are very complex, with lots of history that I can delve into, but bayonets are pointy steel rods with handles on them, and the technology hasn’t changed for hundreds of years.

Countless amounts of research has showed that your enemy’s ability to fight back is directly proportional to their aorta leakage, and really the form of the bayonet has changed very little relative to firearms.

In the black-powder era, they were more important as they allowed line infantry to fend off cavalry attacks, and a longer bayonet meant that you had a better chance of sticking your opponent before he stuck you.

But as the presence of horse-mounted cavalry and saber-wielding soldiers disappeared, and fighting occurred less and less in open fields, changes were made.

But the principle of operation is still the same: the bayonet is a pointy thing you hang on the end of your gun to induce a stab wound.

So first up, we have the Gewehr 98 bayonet, named “the Butcher Blade” by the Entente as a provocative move to make the Germans appear savage and ruthless.

Also, the name just sounds bad-ass.

The Butcher Blade is heavy as hell.

And when you have one in your hand, it feels less like a bayonet and more like a short sword.

The handle is sized right and the user’s fingers would be well protected by the guard.

While a shorter, handier blade might be better suited for a trench raid, the Butcher Blade has enough heft to double as a machete, and are almost always exceptionally well made.

They also look cool.

Next we have the Bulgarian AK-74 bayonet.

I have a thing for orange Bakelite and these bayonets have plenty of it.

The pommel is reinforced by steel, as soldiers less-than-effectively used the old bayonets as a hammer, and this was found to be a suitable upgrade.

The blade features serrations that make it suitable for sawing and the point itself is quite sharp.

However, that isn’t the neatest feature.

This bayonet, when used with the scabbard, can cut wire, even electrified wire.

There’s also a retention strap to make it more effective as a combat knife.

Really this bayonet is just great looking and well thought out.

Third, we have the Swiss K31 bayonet.

Really, the Swiss rifles and their bayonets are beautiful and second to none in aesthetics.

The K31’s blade bayonet is a gorgeous piece of finely forged and extremely well crafted steel.

The scabbard is solid, well made, and the frog is of excellent quality as well.

These are also very sharp bayonets.

Generally, bayonets are not the sharpest blades out there because they generally don’t need to be.

When the force of a grown man is thrusting even the dullest of blades, it really doesn’t matter how sharp said blade is, as it will pierce clothing and skin pretty easily.

The Swiss, however, in typical Swiss fashion, went above and beyond, and made a bayonet that a sushi chef could take to work.

Next, I like the Enfield sword bayonet.

When the Long Lee was in service, and even early Short Lees, features like magazine cut-offs and volley sights were still present.

The incredibly industrialized warfare that WWI introduced to the world had yet to really be shown.

And the major powers of the world did not see these things as obsolete.

As such, the sword bayonet was still in vogue.

These things are very long, and could be used in a duel if need be, but on the end of the gun they look very intimidating.

While this is a reproduction, it is quite a good one.

The British ditched the sword bayonet on the number four for short-blade bayonets and then spikes, but the old sword is just cool.

It’s a weapon that had heft and some authority, but carrying one on your web gear must have been a pain.

And many soldiers in the field ground them down into trench knives, or just for compactness.

Either way, to me, an SMLE equipped with a sword is a very cool symbol of the British Empire.

Lastly we have the MAS-36 bayonet.

This one isn’t particularly special in any way.

But it’s the design that gets it some points.

The MAS-36’s bayonet stores well within the rifle itself, which makes carrying it unnoticeable and easy.

The Germans copied its design on their FG42 rifle as well, noting its cleverness.

While it is short, it gave the trooper carrying it more length than the British spike bayonet.

And it is of a cruciform design, to make your enemy more dead-er.

Deploying the bayonet is easy, and it does not hang off the barrel so as not to affect accuracy, a problem that plagues many rifles.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this quick run-down of five interesting bayonets.

There are a ton of them out there and while I’m not a bayonet collector per se, each nation’s approach to how to poke their opponents to death often reflects their grander military strategy, so that’s pretty interesting when you think about it.

Big thanks to Ventura Munitions and we hope to see you next time.

Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


  • Richard

    What do you think of the Ontario OKC3S/OKC10?

    • Anonymoose

      Dunno about Alex, but I like it.

  • Anonymoose

    What, no Garbage Rod bayonet? The post-1946 M44 bayonet is pretty great.

    • Major Tom

      The original 1930 spike bayonet for the Nugget is one nasty son of a. It’s like a railroad spike but better. And unlike a lot of bayonets and rifles, that one requires no lugs or attachment points of any kind save an intact front sight.

      • Vitsaus

        It was also entirely too long, an an already anachronistically long rifle, and if removed interfered with the POI of the rifle as they were sighted with bayonets fixed. While its general profile is pretty fearsome, it was a throwback design that dated back virtually to the Napoleonic era.

        • They are cool, but everything you said is true.
          Also mounting/removing them is a huge pain.

          • Major Tom

            It is literally one motion. Slot through the front sight and turn right to fix. To unfix you press the spring loaded button and turn left and out it comes.

            It took me 30 seconds to figure that out when I got mine and not even 30 minutes to master it.

          • Hmm, mine are more like: put bayo over muzzle, start twisting, get mad, try to twist more, bang bayonet into place with a mallet.

          • Major Tom

            The phrase “You’re doing it wrong!” is insufficient for that statement.

            To fix the Mosin bayonet properly you turn it to where the spike is above the “plug” and thus the slot that fits over the front sight is facing up. Then fit over the muzzle and it will only let you go so far and at that point you rotate to your right.

            Or are you trying to fix a busted SKS bayonet onto a Nugget?

          • Pretty sure I know how to put a damn bayonet on.

          • Major Tom

            Well if you’re using a mallet I’m not entirely sure you do. :3

          • Sigh.
            Maybe I need to make a video.

          • Bob

            Well, if it is any consolation, I have had trouble with both of the Mosin bayonets I’ve had experience with, and it isn’t hard to find people talking about how hard they are to mount and dismount online as I recall. So if we’re too stupid to do it right, we’ve plenty of company…

          • Zachary marrs

            You’ve never handled a mosin nagant, have you?

          • Major Tom

            I have one just outside arms reach right now. It’s a model year 1939 with the Izhevsk Mechanical Works stamp on the receiver and it obviously saw wartime use by quite a bit as it has a refurbished barrel and a refurbished Tula Arms bolt.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            The fit is so tight on mine, I have the same issue. It’s never gone on without a mallet. I thought something was wrong with it when I got it long ago. I’ve even sanded and polished the inside of the bayo to no avail.

          • Riley

            Some of my Mosin-Nagant bayonets fit better than others, or it could be the rifles, the outside of the barrels aren’t exactly round.

        • Major Tom

          A design philosophy that saw use up to and beyond the war. The Ishapore 2A1 Lee-Enfield derivative is an anachronism being fielded in an era where everything was automatic rifles and subguns. By comparison the Mosin-Nagant and its bayonet was on par with everyone else in 1939 save the Americans who decided to be forward thinking and adopt the self-loading Garand.

          • Vitsaus

            Most other major combatant powers had bayonets that doubled as fighting knives, and were greatly shortened (Japan being the exception). The Ishapore is a bad example as it was adopted mainly due to lack of military budget for anything modern, as was the case with Mexico who also produced new bolt action variants into the 1950s. Face it, by 1936, most European powers had a short(er) rifle as GI, along with a shortened, knife style bayonet.

          • Major Tom

            Not necessarily. The same bayonet the Lee-Enfield had in the First World War also fought in the Second on the No. 4.

            The US still used the pattern 1903 sword bayonets until late in World War Two with the adoption of the M1 bayonet (itself designed on 1903 bayonets that were cut down).

            And the only “short” standard issue rifles adopted by 1936 (in major quantities anyways) were the Kar98k and the MAS-36. The No. 4 was little different than a SMLE. Same with the Mosin-Nagant. (More like a modernization.) The Springfield 1903 was ahead of the game already. The Carcano series stayed roughly the same size as well.

          • Zachary marrs

            You cannot fit a no.1 mk3 Bayonet on a number 4

            While No.1’s did see service in WW2, they were largely replaced with the No.4

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Well it had better be good because when the gun lets you down youre going to need it.

  • Rob

    I believe standard issue K-31 bayonets were dull on the edges. Only the point was sharp. That is how mine is. Some soldiers sharpened them to use as field knifes after they were issued. Supposedly a sharp edge was more likely to get stuck in bone. No first hand knowledge on that, happily.

    • gunsandrockets

      I have a bayonet for the StuG-57 rifle and though it is very well made it is also as you describe, with dulled edges.

    • Dario B.

      Yes our bayonets, even the stg90 one, are originally dull.

  • Lance

    I agree on the AK-74 pattern bayonet and the British sword as being cool. But the US M-7/M-9 bayonet should been added. And M-1903 and WW2 era M-1 bayonet should have been used. Also wish he shown a German G-3 bayonet and how it mounts on the G-3.

    • Anonymoose

      OKC-3S is better than the M7 or M9.

      • Gary Kirk

        Yes it is.. But was specifically designed for dual roles, bayonet and combat knife. I love mine, only time I didn’t enjoy having one was running the bayonet course on P.I. this time of year about ten years ago..

    • Justin Roney

      I’d like to see another video with more bayonets and the rifles they were attached to as well. I enjoyed this one, thanks Alex!

    • J Garcia Sampedro

      I prefer the CETME C bayoten to the one for the G3.
      The one for the CETME L is very similar (the blade) to it, though.

  • Wolfgar

    I read that during mob violence, soldiers who fixed bayonets would take the fight right out of the mob. I now understand why. Another great video Alex.,

    • Marcus D.

      Yup, never have to reload. Takes a lickin’ and keeps on stickin’.

    • J Garcia Sampedro

      It was quite effective in the Balkans. People were so used to rifles being waved around, that aiming one at their face didn’t make them even blink.
      Fix bayonets… and magicaly, the angry shouting would-be-rioters became peaceful bystanders that suddenly remembered they had to go somewhere.

  • Martin M

    I poke you! I poke you to death!

  • Pete Sheppard

    There’s something about ‘cold, bare steel’…

  • Edeco

    Couldn’t resist an M1907 at a flea-market one time. They’re interestingly made; not lovingly made but thick with extravagant amounts cut out. It felt like it was oozing hazardousness, along with the grease it really was oozing. Getting out to the car without accidentally wounding somone took finesse, had to hold by the point, wrapped in newspaper with the rest between my arm and torso.

  • Gary Kirk

    Yugo sks blade bayonet.. Idiot proof

    • Scouse

      I have an AK47, it did not come with one. I know about the MK4 Lee Enfield’s bayonet, when I was issued a never fired Canadian MK4, in 1954, also on the counter was banged a spike bayonet, case, and frog to mount on the web belt.
      I pulled it out, and asked what is this? GD Jones said, “It fits on the end of the rifle, for sticking in people” I looked at him, aghast!
      “We don’t get bullets?” The amount of times the command “Bayonets’, FIX” the next one “Shoulder ARMS” was followed by the clack of bouncing bayonets. Was a lot.

  • Uncle Festet

    If you need to use a bayonet today, running away should be part of your plan.

    • Not that I disagree really, but there have been successful bayonet charges in the sandbox.

      • ostiariusalpha

        A couple squads of Brits bayoneted the f–k out of a bunch of Mahdi Army militia in 2004. I enjoy rereading about that one every time.

        • Tassiebush

          Sounds awesome! i shall look it up starting with those exact words.

    • codfilet

      They still have use for guarding prisoners,too.

    • Jim_Macklin

      FIX BAYONETS Best when guarding a neighborhood from rioters you want to stay a block away. These Americans could have used the bayonet to show they mean business.

      The 1917 Springfield bayonet was a better bayonet than the cut-down version used on the Garand,

      • Uncle Festet

        If our police/military ever fixed bayonets to control a riot, the press would insist on arresting everyone involved.

        • J Garcia Sampedro

          It was quite effective in the Balkans. People were so used to rifles being waved around, that aiming at their face didn’t make them even blink.
          Fix bayonets… and magicaly, the angry shouting would-be-rioters became peaceful bystanders that suddenly remembered they had to go somewhere.

          And when trespassers, demonstrators or rioters see a cutting pointy thing pointed at them, they know instinctively what it can do (almost everybody has got a cut sometime). With bullets, not so many.
          So perhaps some psychologist can even explain it.

    • Tassiebush

      If a bayonet was your only remaining option due to expended ammo and you had an out then i’d agree but i’d be interested to see whether your average person could cross a room faster with a bayonet than they could reload. It’d also be worth using a bayonet in a raid until you were forced to start shooting. I mean when the targets are caught off guard since it’s entirely feasible they mightn’t expect a patrol to be within many kms of them in a current war.

      • AK

        They have done tests about this, and it’s about 20 feet, or 6 meters, that is the max distance that a knife fielding assailant will get a stab in before getting shot with a holstered handgun. For a slung rifle, I would imagine this distance to be slightly longer if slung on the back, equal if hanging from the neck in front. Also factoring into this is alertness, terrain, etc. With a bayonet, you will also get additional distance due to the lenght of reach. So maybe 30-40 feet in the best case scenario. Indoors the preferred method would be to detach the bayo and use as a knife, due to added reach becoming a handicap in tight quarters.

        • Tom

          I have always heard it as 21 being the minimum distance where a person stands a decent chance of drawing on their opponents. But nonetheless its an important point to make.

          • AK

            That’s correct about the Tueller method. I was framing the issue from the attacker’s perspective – that’s why I mentioned 20 feet or less, you will likely then get a stab in before getting shot.

          • MiniBus

            And the Tueller drill originated as a LE training technique in respond to knife attack. Even in America’s most violent precincts there aren’t many bayonet charges. As AK noted having the edged weapon out on the end of the rifle raises the distance that the wielded is a danger to someone with a bolstered handgun.

        • Tassiebush

          Yeah the Tueller drill certainly suggests it’s still a viable option. I think as far as detaching or fixing bayonet the choice is probably less clear nowadays given the shorter carbine length service rifles and shortish bayonets so less likely to hang up and immediately ready rather than any transition required of drop gun draw knife. Sorta Bang, bang, click, stab as quickly as you can say it. I’d agree weapon length is a recognized problem though. It’s good that bayonets are useful camp knives these days because it removes the conflict over carrying more ammo instead of it. It’s not an extra.

          • AK

            From guys who have had to use these things in action, it was supposedly better to just use them as a fighting knife already in WW2 era, following the “trench knives” experience of WW1. The fairly recent cases of British bayo charges were probably partly so effective due to psychological reasons, not the actual weapons themselves. A charging, screaming group of soldiers would be pretty scary even if barehanded.

          • Tassiebush

            Quite a diverse range of potential close fighting scenarios and bayonet would often be in the way when mounted. In ww2 rifles were still pretty long and it’d be a further nuisciance. If a close scenario was crawling up to a sentry then knife would be way better. If getting into a bunker, tunnel or trench then same thing. I reckon the Russian notion that the spade sharpened was best has huge merit too.
            If it was knife vs mounted bayonet in an open enough area then bayonet would be better simply due to reach and a knife guy wouldn’t have a safe way to parry if bayonet guy was switched on but I guess it’s unlikely to be such a match up. Hand to hand combat would generally be unplanned most of the time.
            I think an important consideration in a contemporary use of bayonet charge is it’s probably not exclusive bayonet use. I’m sure they probably shot a few people during the charge. Doesn’t sound like they ran out of ammo so much as they ran low so a charge made more sense than maintaining distance.

          • AK

            Keep in mind that the Russians had generally just the issued spade and the M91/30 “rat’s tail” bayonet to choose from, besides any improvised items.

  • codfilet

    No M1 Carbine bayonets? a really good, sharp knife that can also serve as a bayonet.

  • Steven

    That was about the worst run down on bayonets I have seen in like for ever! Modern bayonets are combat knives that can also be mounted on the end of your rifle if things really go to hell in a hand basket. If it isn’t a useful tool, it won’t be carried.

  • gunsandrockets

    +1 on the cool MAS bayonet.

    However, I would have included the spike bayonet of the Chinese SKS (Type 56 rifle). Instantly deployable, yet out of the way when stowed. A perfect weapon for the zombie apocalypse!

    Bayonets for the Japanese Type 38 rifles also deserve inclusion. Care for form, fit, finish and QC seems to have been lavished on the bayonets instead of the crude Type 38 rifles! Right there one could see what the Japanese Army really cared for, and what they grudgingly conceded.

  • Marcus D.

    My “collection ” of (one) bayonet(s) is an 1861 pattern saber bayonet. Brass handled, one of the few bayonets that fit the Colt rifled musket, 20″ of steel, slightly curved like a saber, and an awesome hand weapon if the need arose.

  • DW

    My picks:
    1. CZ Bren 805 bayonet. It is actually sharp can you believe that! Looks and functions like a quality tactical/survival knife, with bayonet ring attached to it.
    2. Zero Tolerance’s ZT9. Another quality combat knife that attaches to rifles.
    3. Eickhorn’s bayonets for G3 and the other rifles that think we suck and hate us. These combat knives isn’t priced at “GTFO pleb” range but are getting harder to find

    The list basically is all about the “knife” rather than “bayonet”, but realistically we have better chance of being a fruit ninja rather than mall ninja so…

    • jono102

      The bayonets from the CZ Bren 805 and the Beretta ARX 160 are the only redeeming features as service rifles for both.

      The ZT9 is no longer made, is there any utility knife/Bayonet of similar quality around apart from the OKC3 etc?

      • DW

        I do not believe so, that was the one and the only psychotic attempt at using S30V on a bayonet… or adding tacticool crap on a otherwise great combat knife.

  • Don Ward

    No Japanese bayonets?!?

    Shamefur dispray!

    Such disrespect!

  • Zachary marrs

    No OKC3S? Fail.

    • USMC03Vet

      My fav.

  • Fruitbat44

    Cartoon: a GI is holding his M1 with fixed bayonet and a look of amazement on his face, the caption reads, “Gee guys! This can opener fits on to end of a rifle!”

  • John

    The L3A1 is the best bayonet, i use mine to cook bacon.

  • Madcap_Magician

    Is there a competitor for “Most Worstest Bayonet Ever” other than the M9?

  • Laionidas

    You can’t really make a list of “Top Bayonets”, without including a full-size French yataghan style bayonet (>.<)

    • Cannoneer No. 4

      This is a real sword bayonet. Brits get confused because Rifle units fix swords instead of bayonets. The only difference between this and a hanger is latches and muzzle rings.

  • disqus_PDmXLtTxJj

    I wouldn’t write off bayonets as a peice of history. The AK and SKS variants are still being used in combat in the Middle East, in matter of fact there is a pretty brutal video on liveleak of an individual being murdered by his captors, bayonet attached to rifle. Not a way a man wants to be killed, not a clean way to be killed, very cruel.

  • LazyReader

    well lets not forget

    • Mazryonh

      Funny how the designers went to all that trouble for a chainsaw bayonet but didn’t put an ejection port on the gun.


    Nothing you linked to actually was what it should have been.

  • Ron

    There have been a handful of bayonetings in the GWOT by US forces and at least two bayonet charges by U.S. Marines in Iraq. The first was in the early days of the invasion when elements of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment came into contact with Fedeyeen at close quarters in some marshland. The second was at An Nasirya when a company of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines fixed bayonets when it came into close contact with insurgents in a palm grove.

    While not bayonet charges during the Battle of Najaf there was heavy hand to hand fighting involving Marines to include bayoneting of several insurgents while clearing a hotel occupied by Mahdi Army.

  • Tim

    I like my side mounted folding bayonet on my M44, but my favorite bayonet is my un-issued German HK G3 bayonet which clip mounts into a neat over designed trapdoor lug (real HK part I installed) on my PTR-91. The Soviets and the Germans knew/know their weaponry.

  • Michael

    Really? No swiss k11/ k31 sawback ? Most intimidating bayonet ever

  • Ron McDonald

    You forgot the bayonet on the Winchester 1897 shotgun.

    • Mazryonh

      That bayonet looks like it could chop off limbs instead of just stabbing people.