KA-BAR VS Ontario Tool and Knife: Comparing Traditional Knife Manufacturers


KA-BAR VS Ontario Tool and Knife Both have been around for over a century.  Both have a long and storied history when it comes to their roots and their commitment to making excellent knives.

KA-BAR has made a name for itself by cutting into the United States Military and other local law enforcement agencies.  They are utilized by many different service members across the United States.  We’ve also compared KA-BAR to other manufacturers here, here, here, and here.  You might say that we know a little about them (one of our editors has over ten different KA-BAR Knives).

Ontario Knife and Tool is probably slightly less known than KA-BAR, but they do produce some awesome knives.  They manufacture many of their knives in the United States but also go overseas for some blades.  They are extremely popular and have a very broad selection of knives, specifically pocket knives.


1. More about KA-BAR:

KA-BAR VS Ontario Tool and Knife

KA-BAR’s history dates to the 1890s, and as mentioned, they are a very popular manufacturer with the US Military and many types of local law enforcement agencies.  Many of their knives are somewhat tactical looking in nature, but that doesn’t limit the functionality that they have.  Their knives can be used for a wide variety of different tasks and are often carried daily by outdoor enthusiasts that prefer a fixed blade.

2. KA-BAR Specs:

KA-BAR has a number of different options to choose from, and here are some of our favorites:

Leather Handled Little Finn: The Leather Handled Little Finn is a fixed-blade knife with a stainless-steel blade of 3.62”. Weighing just 0.10 lb., this knife is easy to carry around. It has a straight point shape and hollow grind.

The Gila Folder:
The Gila Folder is an affordable folding knife made from stainless steel. The blade length is 3.87”, and the open length comes in at 8.87”. This is a hollow-grind knife in a clip shape.

TDI Law Enforcement Knife: The TDI Law Enforcement Knife is a tactical-themed military/law enforcement knife. With its 2.31” stainless steel blade, this knife is ideal for close-quarter encounters. It is a hollow grind knife with a drop-point design. It weighs 0.20 lb., and the overall length is 5.62.”

Kraton Handled Big Brother:
The Kraton Handled Big Brother packs a punch with its 9.37” Cro-Van steel blade. Its overall length is 14.37“, and the weight of the knife is 0.90 lb. This product comes in a clip shape with a flat grind blade.

Skeleton Knife: The Skeleton Knife is made from stainless steel and has a 2.5” blade. The overall length of the knife is 6.12”, and it has a clip-point shape with a hollow grind. Its skeleton handle lends it a unique appearance that distinguishes it from other fixed-blade knives.

Agama Folder: Convenient, portable, and stylish, the Agama Folder has a 3.62” stainless steel blade. This clip shape knife weighs in at 0.30 lb. and has a side lock mechanism. It is a hollow grind knife with an overall open length of 8.5.”

KA-BAR Knife Reputation and User Reviews:

Customers and users of KA-BAR knives generally have positive experiences and praise the brand for its reliability and durability. Many users appreciate the robust construction of KA-BAR knives, which are known to withstand demanding tasks and hold up well under heavy use. The knives are often lauded for their sharpness and edge retention, allowing for efficient cutting and slicing. Additionally, KA-BAR’s designs and aesthetics are widely appreciated, with users finding them practical and visually appealing.

However, some customers have mentioned that certain KA-BAR models can be heavier, which may affect their portability. Additionally, while the majority of feedback is positive, a few users have reported issues with inconsistent quality control, particularly in regard to blade alignment or handle fit. Nonetheless, these instances appear to be relatively rare, and overall, the positive feedback for KA-BAR knives outweighs the negative.

3. About Ontario Knife and Tool:

Ontario Knife

Located in Upstate New York, this manufacturer has been priding itself on quality and high performance for more than 125 years. Like KA-BAR, it offers a range of knives in a variety of categories.  They are particularly well thought of with their diverse line of folding knives but carry some fixed blade options as well.

4. Ontario Specs:

While there are a number of different models that Ontario Knives and Tool produces, here are some of our favorites:

P3 Army Quartermaster: The P3 Army Quartermaster comes with a satin stainless steel fixed blade. Its overall length is 10.8”, and it has a plain edge and a sturdy brown handle.

Bushcraft Woodsman: The Bushcraft Woodsman is a stylish fixed-blade knife measuring 15” overall. It has a satin steel blade and a solid brown handle. It also comes with a full flat taper blade grind.  While we prefer the Blackbird SK-5 better for Bushcraft activities, the Woodsman is a close second.

XM-1DS Camo Combo Edge: The XM-1DS Camo Combo Edge is a robust folder with a stylish camo design. It has a satin steel blade and a custom tan camouflage handle. It also comes with a liner lock mechanism and a combo edge blade (hence the name).

SP-41 Boot Knife: The SP-41 Boot Knife is an outdoor survival knife made from 5160 steel. It has an ergonomic handle for comfortable handling, and its overall length is 8.3”. The knife has a powder-coated finish and a plain edge type.

CT2 Sawbuck: If you are looking to buy a machete, you can opt for the CT2, 12 Inch Sawbuck. The blade is made from 1095 carbon steel and also comes with a zinc phosphate finish and a shatterproof handle. The length of the machete is 1.77 inches.  It didn’t make our list for the top in its class, but it’s a close runner-up.

You will also find a range of tools available from Ontario, such as strap cutters and axes. In addition, you can buy limited edition knives, cutlery, and accessories from this manufacturer.

Ontario Knife Reputation and User Reviews:

Customers and users of Ontario knives generally have positive feedback and appreciate the quality and performance of the brand’s products. Ontario knives are often praised for their solid construction and durability, making them reliable tools for various tasks. Many users find Ontario knives to be sharp out of the box, and they maintain their edge well over time. The brand offers various knife options, including folding knives and fixed blades, catering to different user preferences and needs. Ontario knives also receive positive remarks for their ergonomic handles, providing a comfortable grip during extended use.

However, a recurring point of feedback is that some Ontario knives may require additional sharpening or blade adjustments upon purchase. Some users have also mentioned that certain models could benefit from improved sheath design or retention mechanisms. Despite these minor concerns, the overall sentiment is positive, with users appreciating Ontario knives for their reliable performance and value for money.

5. Choose Your Manufacturer:

KA-BAR VS Ontario Tool and Knife Both these manufacturers have roughly the same amount of experience within the knife industry, having both been founded over a century ago. The product range and a number of categories with KA-BAR are more expensive, but quality and performance are the focus of both companies.

While it’s hard to make a bad pick, make sure you weigh up suitability, quality, and price when you are making your choice.

Bottom Line: If you are looking at price only for KA-BAR VS Ontario Tool and Knife Then, Ontario Knife & Tool has some really solid options to meet any budget.  If money isn’t an object, KA-BAR has some quality stuff that will last for decades.


In conclusion, the comparison between KA-BAR and Ontario Knife and Tool reveals two reputable and historic manufacturers with a shared commitment to producing exceptional knives. Both companies offer a diverse range of options to cater to various needs and preferences. KA-BAR stands out with its tactical-looking knives favored by the military and law enforcement, while Ontario Knife and Tool excel in their wide selection of folding knives. While KA-BAR tends to be pricier, its focus on quality and longevity is undeniable. On the other hand, Ontario Knife and Tool provide solid options for those on a budget without compromising performance. Ultimately, the choice between these two esteemed manufacturers comes down to personal preference, considering factors such as suitability, quality, and price. Whether you opt for KA-BAR’s enduring craftsmanship or Ontario Knife and Tool’s value-driven offerings, both companies continue to demonstrate their dedication to producing knives that withstand the test of time.

The Out sider

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