How to Sharpen a Combat Knife

Typical combat knife issued to soldiers around the world.
Typical combat knife issued to soldiers around the world. (Image: knife army image by robert mobley from <a href=''></a>)

Due to the large blade size of combat knives, sharpening one requires a larger sharpening stone and fair bit of practice. When purchasing a stone to sharpen a combat knife, look for a stone that is 3 inches wide and 9 inches long. Stones much smaller than this don't provide enough surface to stably sharpen a combat knife and can lead to irregularly sharpened edges on the knife.

Things You'll Need

  • Large sharpening stone
  • Honing oil or water

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Apply lubricant to the sharpening stone. For oil stones you can apply a few drops of honing oil or water to the surface. Submerge water stones in water for 15 minutes before you use them for best performance.

Set the stone on a stable surface.

Firmly grip the combat knife with the blade on the thumb side of your hand.

Place the knife on the sharpening stone near one end with the hilt of the knife next to the sharpening stone.

Sharpen the combat knife by pushing it forward along the stone while you pull it sideways across the blade at the same time from the hilt to the tip to promote even blade wear.

Flip the blade over.

Pull the blade to you, again pulling from one side to the other.

Repeat this process about 20 y times, periodically checking the sharpness. Do this by slicing a sheet of paper or shaving hairs on your arm. Once you are satisfied with the cutting ability, stop sharpening the combat knife.


  • "Complete Guide to Sharpening"; Leonard Lee; 1995
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