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M-9 MPBS Bayonet
In 1987 the Army began distributing its new bayonet, the M-9, which doubles as a field knife and wire cutter. It weighs 1.3 pounds with scabbard and replaces the M7 bayonet. The M-9 can saw through 2-by-2-inch pine boards, aircraft fuselages, or two-strand barbed wire.
M-9 Multipurpose Bayonet System (MPBS) History
The M-9 bayonet was designed by Phrobis III Ltd., an R&D company from Oceanside CA, just outside USMC Camp Pendleton (click here for the history of Phrobis). Phrobis eventually licensed their design and production to the Buck Knife Company while retaining the patent rights. The first military contracts were produced from 1986 until 1989. Buck made the M-9 under Army contract into the early 1990s, including a batch of 1200 with a chevron mark ">" (a code for 1989) that are now especially prized for collection. Buck also supplied the USMC with M-9 MPBS during this period.
In 1992 Lan Cay won the next contract for M-9 bayonets. These M-9 bayonets had a simplified manufacturing process and do not have the same overall quality as the original Phrobis/Buck production. In 1995 the finish was changed from unfinished to black oxide finish.
A surprisingly large number of small variations have been identified over the life of the M-9 bayonet. This important information for collectors and historians is spelled out in detail in the article "Lan-Cay M9 Bayonets" by Frank Trzaska in the June 2000 issue of Knife World.
M-9 MPBS Description
The M-9 Multipurpose Bayonet System is used as a bayonet on the M16 series rifle, on the M4 series carbine, as a hand weapon, as a general field and utility knife as well as a wire cutter together with its scabbard, and as a saw. The M-9 Multipurpose Bayonet System has a heavy 7x1.4 inch blade, and is 12 inches in overall length. Its main features are listed in this table, numbered according to the drawing above.
M-9 MPBS Components
The scabbard has a sharpening stone under a rear flap, and has a screwdriver at the tip (near small hook seen at top of top photo). In addition, the knife and scabbard together form a wire cutter by slipping the scabbard stud into the hole in the knife blade.
The NSN for the M-9 Multipurpose Bayonet System is 1095-01-227-1739 for the whole package of bayonet and scabbard together.
Markings on the M-9 Multipurpose Bayonet System
There have been four manufacturers with U.S. military contracts to produce the M-9 bayonet: Phrobis III, Buck, Lan Cay and Ontario. These and other manufacturers have produced commercial copies of the M-9, a very popular item with collectors. Early M-9s had a dull metal finish, while later knives had a dark gray oxide coating, both with black grips. The Ontario-made M-9 had an olive green phosphate coating with forest green plastic grips.
The standard marking pattern is found on the upper blade, just under the hand guard. Some of the marking combinations:
"M9/LAN-CAY/USA" in block letters of equal size means blade was made for Lan Cay by General Cutlery under subcontract (1992). "M9/LAN-CAY/USA" with the "L" and "C" much larger than the other letters is standard Lan Cay production. The USMC M9 was so marked.
Technical Manual for the M-9 Multipurpose Bayonet System
Along with the M-6 and M-7 bayonets, the M-9 is covered by TM 9-1005-237-23&P with the long title, "ORGANIZATIONAL AND DIRECT SUPPORT MAINTENANCE MANUAL (INCLUDING REPAIR PARTS AND SPECIAL TOOLS LIST) FOR BAYONET-KNIFE, M6, WITH BAYONET-KNIFE SCABBARD, M10 (1095-00-014-0369), BAYONET-KNIFE, M7, WITH BAYONET-KNIFE SCABBARD, M10 (1095-00-017-9701) AND M9 MULTIPURPOSE BAYONET SYSTEM (1005-01-227-1739)". The manual appeared with various dates including January 1993 which supersedes 18 November 1986.
Where to buy the M9 MPBS
The M7 bayonet and scabbard are available from militaria dealers or sources like eBay, as well as from other vendors of military items. Amazon.com lists several versions of the M9 bayonet, along with related books and manuals.
Find More Information on the Internet
There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.
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Especially recommended: M9 Multipurpose Bayonet System.