The US Army M6 bayonet is for use with the US military's M14 semi-automatic rifle and saw extensive use in the Vietnam War. Used as both a fighting knife and an extension of the rifle, the idea behind a bayonet is to convert the soldier's weapon into a spear if need be. Developed from the earlier M3 trench knife, it shows the same design lineage as the earlier M5 and later M7 bayonet designs. While it phased out of general use in the 1960's as the M16 replaced the M14, many still carry it on those ceremonial occasions where the M14 is still in use.
What are Its Physical Characteristics?
The M6 is a bayonet-knife style design with one full length, sharpened edge, while the other is only sharpened half way. Although clearly a bayonet rather than a combat knife, the blade design shows its knife heritage. This bayonet has the following physical characteristics:
- Dimensions: The bayonet is 11.5 inches long with a 6.5 inch carbon steel blade, and a total weight of approximately 12 ounces.
- Mounting System: Unlike the M5, which used a bayonet lug, the M6 uses a conventional barrel ring, which fits around the muzzle of the gun. A button on the underside just behind the guard triggers the spring-loaded release mechanism.
What about Bayonet Scabbards?
Every knife needs a scabbard. Different shaped blades need different scabbards: a sword bayonet won't fit in a scabbard for a spike bayonet, and a bayonet knife needs something else again. The US Military used two different scabbards for the M6 bayonet.
- M8A1 Scabbard: Made of fiberglass with a steel reinforcing ring, this was the original scabbard in use when the bayonet first went into use, and it stayed in service when the M16 rifle replaced the M14.
- M10 Scabbard: Designed for the M7 toward the later part of its service life, the black M10 scabbard was the first US Military bayonet scabbard made of composites rather than leather or fiberglass.
From the Garand rifle to the first socket bayonet, there is always something to collect in the world of militaria. With the same weapons used by both the army and the USMC, collectors have many choices for building a collection of edged weapons. The two aspects that drive collector value are condition and rarity. Rarity is important because the fewer there are of something the more likely it is that there are people who want it but haven't been able to acquire it. Condition matters for obvious reasons, although those who have more historical interests may prefer a blade that shows signs of use to one that was never issued and eventually sold as surplus.
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