US M5 Bayonet by Columbus Milpar
Straight unfullered spear-pointed knife blade measuring 17cm (6¾ inches), chequered black plastic scale grips held with two screws, steel hilt and pommel. M8 scabbard of olive green fiberglass with steel fittings at mouth and chape, olive green canvas frog, wire hook for attachment to webbing and a leather tie attached to an eyelet at the chape.
The upper surface of the hilt is stamped with ‘U.S. M5A1’ on one side of the blade and ‘MILPAR COL’ on the other, identifying the maker as Columbus Milpar and Manufacturing, which was one of five companies to produce the M5. The hilt does not appear to have a Defense Acceptance Stamp, so may be surplus production.
The throat of the scabbard is stamped ‘US M8A1’ above ‘PWH’. This indicates that the scabbard was manufactured at the Pennsylvania Working Home for the Blind.
Made during the 1960s, the M5 was the last bayonet made for the M1 Garand, and the only US bayonet without a muzzle ring, as the stud on its crossguard fits into the gas cylinder lock screw instead. The M8 scabbard used with it also fits the M4, M6, and M7 bayonets, as well as the M3 fighting knife.
Founded in 1874 to provide employment for blind men, many of them Civil War veterans, the Pennsylvania Working Home for the Blind won the large and lucrative contract to produce M8A1 scabbards for the Army in 1965, and continued to do so until 1970, producing more than 3 million scabbards over the period at an accelerating pace due to the growing US ground campaign in Vietnam.
Metal parts retain most of their parkerised finish, with minor wear on the blade consistent with sheathing and drawing, and some rubbing to raised edges of the hilt parts.