The Boker Applegate-Fairbairn II combat knife was a concept developed by Rex Applegate and W.E. Fairbairn in order to upgrade and resolve some issues with the knives used in WWII combat. The definition of a combat knife is one that is ideally crafted for hand-to-hand combat and other close combat situations. The Boker Applegate-Fairbairn II will pierce and slice with the best of the combat knives and will suffice as a utility knife in light application situations. This knife has a great balance between form and function.
What can this knife handle?
The Boker Applegate-Fairbairn (called the Boker A-F from here out) is not your everyday carry knife meaning it is not up to the daily tasks, but then again it is not designed for anything other than combat and fighting. The double edged blade is sharp enough for slashing, stabbing, and piercing, but many of the day-to-day tasks require a much sharper blade. The knife had originally been intended for combat and to this day, fighting situations are the best use for this fixed blade knife.
Construction and Blade
The Boker A-F II has a huge 6 inch blade that is sharpened on both the spine and the belly for a double edged blade ideal for a piercing and stabbing. The steel blade has a satin finish which is extremely smooth and has a very nice non-reflective quality which makes it ideal for combat situations when stealth is required and a gleaming blade can alert the enemy. The 3/16 inch thickness is extended through to the point which creates a very solid and strong tip that is more resistant to breaking than some of the thinner steel points. The flat ground blade is in a very nice cruciform shape that also creates a very solid and well balanced blade.
A full tang knife, the 440C Soligen steel Boker Applegate-Fairbairn has a Rockwell hardness rating of 58 and came sharp out of the box, but not hair splitting. I was somewhat disappointed in that but after some elbow grease and sharpening tricks I was happy to have an extremely sharp knife.
Handle, Grip, and Feel
From end to end the Boker Applegate-Fairbairn has a handle that extends 4 ¾ inches long. The handle is molded from black Delrin which was engineered by DuPont to provide a handle that is built on “resistance, strength, stiffness, hardness, dimensional stability, toughness, fatigue resistance, solvent and fuel resistance, abrasion resistance, low wear and low friction.” The handle is textured for a tackier grip that stays secure in your hand in any condition. The Delrin scales are affixed to the body of the knife by two black hex bolts and are thicker in the middle section for a more ergonomic feel and greater control. You’ll notice that there are some grooves sculpted into the handle which one would presume are for grip, but I am not sure that it really adds a whole lot to the already secure feel of the knife. The Boker A-F also has jimping on either side (top and bottom) of the handle for additional finger gripping.
The knife weighs 9 ounces which may seem like a lot to some knife users, but in actuality I feel like it is an advantage. I find that a little heavier knife, especially when it has such a long blade needs to have a little weight behind it. For those who are against a heavier fixed blade knife, Boker has made it possible to lighten the Applegate-Fairbairn. The knife is made with steel weights inside the handle for that added heftiness. What you can do is remove the Allen screw so that the handle scales can be removed and some of the steel weights can be taken out.
The sheath for the Boker A-F is made from cordura and spans 11 ¾ inches when the knife is. The knife itself is secured in the sheath with a Velcro strap which is nice but I would have preferred to see a snap closure. There is a part of me that questions Velcro since after time it doesn’t seem to stick together as well and I am sure after getting wet a few times it will become less effective. It features a belt loop as a carrying option but the handle has a lanyard hole that will accommodate 550 paracord as another viable carry option.
Boker’s Applegate-Fairbairn is a great knife for its intended purpose. There are jobs that this knife is meant to take on and there are jobs it is not. It is a terrific fighting and combat knife; engineered and balanced perfectly for said use. If you are looking for an EDC or utility knife, you might want to look in a different direction.