Back in 1982 while I was in the 10th Special Forces Group (Abn) we had a briefing on the Falklands campaign by a British Major. The Scots Guards had been ordered to attack Mount Tumbledown, which was defended by the regulars of the Argentinian 5th Marine Battalion. Due to the rough, exposed terrain, the Scots Guards put in assault at night and made effective use of their bayonets on the enemy troops. Shortly afterwards, the British Army re-thought the specifications for their then new rifle, the SA80 (now the much-improved L85A2), a weapon not originally designed to take a bayonet. When you look at the current British bayonet’s round hollow handle and the way it fits over the flash suppressor with an offset blade, it does look like an afterthought.
Currently the U.S. Army’s Improved Carbine Competition (ICC) program is looking for the next generation of battle rifle. I recently talked with an Infantry NCO who was astounded that the army had decided that whatever rifle was adopted, it should take a bayonet. His reasoning was that many units in Afghanistan do not carry bayonets, partly because of the type war they are fighting (chasing bandits around the hills) and partly because of the very heavy loads they carry. There is an age-old truism in the army that we always train to fight the last war. If you are following current events in Asia, who is to say the next conflict will not be one of a more conventional type, with World War II-style amphibious landings on numerous Pacific islands and massive infantry attacks by both sides?
Adaptive Combat Bayonet
Good friend, Special Forces Chief Warrant 3 (Retired) Michael Haugen, is currently the Director of International Military/Law Enforcement Sales for Remington Defense. He recently casually mentioned, “Hey, we have a new bayonet, would you like to see it?” But of course!
The ACB is made in Italy by Fox, has a blade made of 440C (HRC 60-61) just over 7 inches long, 1.38 inch wide and 3/16 inches thick. The blade is clip-pointed with a slightly re-curved edge and very aggressive serrations. The spine of the blade has 3-inch section of double-row saw teeth. There is also a rectangular hole cut out of the blade that mates with a stud on the scabbard, allowing the user to cut barbed wire obstacles. The blade is coated with black “Idroglide” which eliminates reflections and provides additional corrosion resistance.
The 4.88-inches long handle of the ACB is covered with black “Forprene” a vulcanized Thermoplastic Elastomer. Because it is a bayonet, there is a muzzle ring/guard and a lug latch on the pommel. Note: the ACB is designed for rifles with barrels 14.5 to 20 inches, and certain military-issue flash suppressors and muzzle breaks (birdcage types, Izzy brakes, Phantoms, Mini and Y-comps). The muzzle ring opening is a NATO STANAG 22mm. The ACB without scabbard weighed in at 13 ounces.
The scabbard is in two parts, a fiberglass/nylon body that holds the ACB, and a Cordura “Frog” that straps around the scabbard. The frog has a belt loop, is fully MOLLE compatible and has a vertical retention strap. On the back of the scabbard is a 2.75-inch long diamond sharpening pad, and a drainage hole in the tip. The scabbard weighs another 10.5 ounces for a total of 23.5 ounces.
Out of the box, the ACB would not shave hair off of my arm, but two light strokes on my EZE LAP medium diamond hone had it up to par. Later in my evaluation, I started to use the diamond pad on the back of the scabbard. Like most diamond hones, it was fairly rough and needed to be “broken in.” Once this was done, it was easy to re-sharpen the straight-edge portion of the ACB.
I had a cherry tree sapling next to my fence that was starting to get in the way. First, I tried out the saw back. On a 1-inch thick branch, the saw worked quite efficiently and the handle was not as awkward to hold as it is with some saw-backed knives. On branches up to a little over ½-inch thick, the serrated part of the blade worked equally well when used in a sawing motion.
When I cut thru the sapling’s trunk (about 2.5 inches thick) I was surprised that chopping with the serrated section seemed to work as well as with the straight edge section. The rectangular handle provided an excellent grip, unlike the round M9 bayonet handle that tends to torque in your hand when chopping. Other items I chopped or cut thru included dried cherry branches, bamboo, cardboard, and blackberry vines. As far as I can tell, the ACB more than meets the goal of being able to function as a utility knife.
I stabbed the point of the ACB into a log butt and pried the blade out to the right and the left with no damage to the point. The handle proved to give a secure grip, with no hot spots noted, and the muzzle ring and lower guard insured your hand will not slip forward onto the serrations or saw back. Again, the ACB more than meets the goal of being able to be used as a combat knife.
From my own experience as a Special Forces trained combat swimmer, I also feel this knife bayonet would make an ideal dual-purpose cutting tool for units like the SEALs. Its serrated edges would be an effective answer to cutting the ropes, lines, demolition wires, charges and natural entanglements diving knives have always been require for. Once out of the water, it is an equally effective hand held close-combat weapon or, in extreme situations, as a rifle mounted bayonet.
Mike Haugen also allowed me to fire an Adaptive Combat Rifle with the ACB fixed on the end of the barrel. The Adaptive Combat Rifle is quite innovative. It has a superbly reliable gas piston operating system, is controllable on full automatic fire, has ambidextrous controls, and was conceived to provide today’s warfighter with an American made, reliable, accurate battle rifle.
One more interesting feature of the ACB is that you can reverse the muzzle ring and handle. This allows you to use the ACB with the sharp edge either up or down. When testing the ACB as a combat knife, the sharp edge was up (saw teeth down). When used as a bayonet on the Adaptive Combat Rifle, the presentation was reversed, so the sharp edge was pointing down (saw teeth up). Regardless of the presentation of the sharp edge, stabbing or slashing with the ACB would result in devastating wounds.
After testing the Adaptive Combat Bayonet, it is my opinion that it is a lot more versatile the U.S. Army’s current M-9 bayonet. Better steel in the blade, better edge geometry, serrations, shape of the handle and the ability to reverse the edge presentation all add up to a superior bayonet to that the Army currently fields. If you need a bayonet for your M4/M16 or Adaptive Combat rifle, one that will serve you well as a utility or combat knife, then check out Bushmaster’s Adaptive Combat Bayonet.
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Back in 1982 while I was in the 10th Special Forces Group (Abn) we…
by Personal Defense World / Nov 12, 2012