Bayonets for Sale: Design Types and Features

Bayonets for Sale: Design Types and Features

Jun 25th 2024

Modern bayonets, which take their name from the French “bayonette,” and are the result of centuries of distillation and refinement. It’s not clear exactly how long bayonets have been fixed to the muzzles of long arms and used as a secondary weapon, but throughout history, designs in bayonets have evolved significantly.

Here are some of the major styles of bayonets that have been used across the centuries.

Plug Bayonets

The earliest bayonets were likely fairly primitive and most likely of a style known as “plug bayonets.” The early shoulder mounted arms around which they were designed were also primitive and lacked any sort of specialized hardware for mounting or securing a blade at the muzzle end, so the bayonets were simply made with rounded handles and designed to be inserted directed into the muzzle of the firearm.

Plug bayonets were in use among French military forces as early as the early 1600s, during the Thirty Years War, and there are aspects of such a design that are naturally amenable. They can be used with any compatible firearm with a bore of adequate diameter and are simple in design.

However, the drawbacks are obvious: for one, the weapon cannot be fired with the bayonet fixed, and on top of that, there is no way to actively secure such a style of bayonet to the muzzle.

Socket Bayonets

                    Bayonets for Sale

The problems with early plug bayonets, and the limitations they imposed on the users, made innovation necessary. The next iteration in bayonet design came in the form of a socket bayonet.

Though there is more than one type of socket bayonet, the principle and overarching design are the same. The blade is designed to be offset, and contains a collar that can be threaded, twisted, or pushed onto the muzzle of the weapon. Lugs typically secure the bayonet.

This design allows the user to load and fire the weapon with the bayonet fixed, offering much greater utility and versatility in engagements. Early socket bayonets had a tendency to disengage from the weapon, leading innovators to improve the designs with lugs and other locking mechanisms that prevent unintentional separation. By the 1700s, most European military forces had migrated away from plug bayonets in favor of socket bayonets.

Sawback, Trowel and Spade Bayonets

One class of bayonets that might be termed “multi-use” or “multi-purpose” bayonets consists of a class of designs that incorporate multiple different design features to maximize utility - sort of making them a bit like multi tools.

Some bayonets were designed with a spine that sported saw teeth, giving the tool the ability to double as a saw for cutting wood and other coarse materials. This style is associated with some German models that were used during the First World War, but their unpopularity - on both sides of the front - led to them being replaced.

Another style of bayonet is known as a spade or trowel-style bayonet, the design of which is wide, blade, and shovel-like. These bayonets were intended to double not only as offensive weapons but also as entrenching tools. One design, the U.S. Model 1873, was a trowel-style bayonet that had multiple use cases; however, due perhaps to its overspecialization, the design was considered obsolete only a short time later.

Sword Bayonets

As bayonets evolved, many countries experimented with longer and longer designs that came to be known - for obvious reasons - as sword bayonets.

Many bayonet designs from the late 1800s and early 1900s, such as the U.S. M1905, the French Model 1886 Epee bayonet, the German M1898, and the Japanese Type 30 Arisaka bayonet, were sword bayonets.

The concept behind the design of sword bayonets was not only that they offered extra reach (and they did) but that they could be detached from the weapon and, since they usually possessed a full hilt or handle, could be used in hand-to-hand combat.

The main issue with sword bayonets was that, in close quarters (such as in the trench warfare along the Western Front of the First World War) they proved wildly impractical. Their use resulted in overall lengths that were far too great to be used effectively in cramped spaces, leading most of them to be phased out (or modified) in favor of knife bayonets - which constitute most of the modern bayonets in issue around the world today.

Knife Bayonets like the M1 Bayonet

Knife bayonets, as the name might imply, are shorter than sword bayonets and when detached from the weapon with which they are compatible look no different from most other fighting knives.

The designs of some knife bayonets actually stem from the designs of predecessor sword bayonets. For instance, the M1905, which had a 16” blade, was redesigned and reissued with a blade ground down to 10” as the M1 bayonet, which was compatible with the M1 Garand.

Knife bayonets like the M1 bayonet are lighter, more nimble, better in close quarters engagements, and when detached from the rifle, more versatile. Like sword bayonets, most knife bayonets maintain a full hilt, making it possible to use the tool as a fighting knife, utility knife, or for many other applications.

                   Bayonets for Sale

Looking for a Specific Bayonet for Sale?

SARCO, Inc. carries a wide range of militaria including bayonets for sale, along with helmets, field gear, shooting accessories, and gun parts for military platforms. Take a look through our collection and get in touch with us at 610-250-3960 if you’re looking for something specific that you don’t see listed.