View Full Version : John Ek EK44 by Kabar - Review

Maple Flag
11-15-2015, 16:38
Recently, I came to have an interest in the design of modern (ie: 20-21st century) military daggers, along the lines of historic pieces like the Fairbairne Sykes and the V42, along with the Applegate

Fairbairne and others. I already own a few knives (actually, quite a bit more than a few), and they are all users or users in waiting. I knew this knife purchase was going to be an exception, in so far

as a dagger design has only one practical use as far as I know, and mine was extremely unlikely to be seeing that kind of use.

To make a long story short, I dismissed the modern Fairbairne Sykes by Sheffield due to poor reviews, didn't care for the V42 when held in hand, very much liked the Spartan Breed and Spartan George V-14s

from Spartan knives but was not ready to part with that cash for a shelf knife, and was all settled on the the Applegate Fairbairne, but my local store was out of stock. I ended up discovering the John

Ek EK44 made by Ka-bar, and I'm glad I did.

Info about John Ek Commando knife Company and it's history: http://www.ekknives.com/

Ka-bar reference page with Ka-bar video about the EK44: http://www.kabar.com/knives/detail/215

The basics:
The EK 44 is 12.6" long with a a 6.6" double edged spear point blade of parkerized .154 stock of 1095 cro-van, Ka-bar's standard steel stock. It reportedly weighs 0.7 lbs.

It comes with glass filled nylon handle slabs and a "Celcon" hard sheath. According to the Ka-bar site, both the knife AND the sheath are made in the USA.


The knife it self consists of 10 parts: the full tang blade, two handle slabs, the cross guard, and 3 handle bolt and nut pairs. Everything fits together tightly with nothing to rattle or shift. The

tolerances are very close. Both knife edges were very sharp, and the point becomes very fine.

The sheath is a hard textured material coupled with a heavy nylon belt loop riveted on with 3 rivets. The belt loop has a thickness similar to my scuba webbing weight belt -very heavy duty. It has bot ha

snap strap retention on the handle (also very stiff) and the sheath is molded to engage the knife's cross guard and lock it in place. When sheathed, the snap strap around the handle is almost redundant.

Features I like:

1. The EK44's tang is almost the full width of the blade, with the blade just a millimeter wider to lock the cross guard in place. This is a nice change from the rat tail tangs seen on some of Ka-bar's

other designs, as well as many of the older, more traditional daggers like the FS and the V42.

2. The tang extends past the rearmost end of the handle slabs, providing a rounded prying/impact protrusion of full .154 thickness steel.

3. The sheath positively engages with the cross guard, locking the knife in place with no movement or rattle at all, even with violent shaking! Very nice.

4. Despite this positive lock, the knife can be drawn with only a slight soft scraping sound as the blade rubs against the sheath. BY pushing on the portion of the sheath locking the cross guard, it

disengages without having to noisily yank it free like on some kydex sheath designs. Also nice!

5. Construction with the massive "X Head" bolts means it is easy to disassemble and reassemble the knife. (I like my Emersons for this reasons too).

6. The sheath has lots of tie points giving you options on how the carry the knife.

7. Balance is good, with the center being just aft of the cross guard.

8. 1095 carbon steel, parkerized. I know I can put a very keen edge on this blade without much drama if it ever needs it.


I have to say there is not much for me to dislike really.

I would have been happy if the blade stock was .187, but really, that is a hold over from my experiences with more general purpose working blades. This dagger doesn't need it, and the increase in

thickness would have driven the knife weight up by 15-20 %, which may not be worth the trade off in the case of a full tang fighting knife/dagger like this one. If it was a rat tail, a bit more thickness

might help compensate to reduce breakage, but I really don't think it's needed here. (Yes, I just turned my "dislike" into a "like").

Ka-bar lists this knife at $125, which I think is a great deal for what you get. The EK44 strikes me as well thought out design, well executed in materials, workmanship and tolerances, and all made in the USA.

I'll try and attach photos soon.

Maple Flag
11-15-2015, 16:46

12-04-2015, 19:12
Shiny! I may pick up that blade in the future, for pretty much the same reasons you outlined.