Camillus "Demo Knife" Review

Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2014 and has been updated in January 2021 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
 
 
 
Camillus closed its doors a few years ago, and another company purchased the intellectual properties from Camillus. The name lives on, but the knife does not. For years Camillus furnished knives to the Armed Forces. One of those knives was called the Demo knife and was quite commonplace in the military. The knives were either issued to personnel, added to survival kits, or could be found in toolboxes.  If you want to read a little history of the Demo knife then go here. The author of the site did a great job! 

The knives pictured below are what is known as the Camillus Model 1760. The Model 1760 is the Army version of the Demo knife. The two Army knives that I own are stamped 1981 and 1991 at the base of the blade. The year stamp was the year that the knife was manufactured. 


Camillus "Demo Knife" review
The knife measures 3.5 inches long and weighs 3.5oz. 


Stamped on the center side of the scales of the 1760 knife are the initials U.S. You will also find Demo knives stamped U.S.M.C, U.S.N., and U.S.A.F for the 1763 model. Both models of the knife, are the same, other than the initials stamped on the knife.

Click on the picture below to enlarge. You will see the words can opener is stamped on the can opener. Not sure why this is the only tool that is stamped what it is. The can opener is a very robust tool and one of the best that I have used on a knife. The can opener can be used as a church key if needed.

Camillus Demo Knife tools
Four of the most common tools are needed while in the field.

The demo knife is about as Soldier and Marine proof as they get. Almost indestructible, they really do make a great field pocket knife.

Camillus Demo Knife tools
Soldier and Marine proof and almost indestructible.

The Demo Knife is an all-stainless steel knife, that I would call a bit overbuilt. It's not loaded to bear with a lot of tools. But I think you will find what you need and not anymore. The knife is equipped with a blade, can opener, flat head screwdriver, awl, and a bottle opener.

The Demo Knife was not refined in its craftsmanship and was not meant to be. If you are looking for a more refined knife, look for a vintage Victorinox Soldier, Pioneer, or a modern Pioneer Alox. These knives have the same tools as the Demo knife, but the craftsmanship is what you expect from the Swiss knife maker. I had a vintage Pioneer, and that would have been my go-to knife over the Demo knife.

If you are in the market for a classic pocket knife to use for camping, backpacking, or general outdoor use. I believe the Demo knife is the bombproof knife that you are looking for. You can still find them at gun shows and online auction sites. Look at paying around $35 for a used Camillus Demo Knife. If you find it for less jump on it. Colonial Knife Company produced a version named the 2205 Military Scout. That model looks to be no longer made. Colonial Knife Company is currently carrying  MIL-K-818D
 
Conclusion-

If you want a classic pocket knife for camping and general outdoor field use, then the Camillus Demo knife is going to be your answer. Military tested, dependable, and has the right amount of tools for about everything that you will come across in the field. 

Now It's Your Turn-

Were you issued the Demo Knife when you were in the Service? Did you happen to be gifted a Demo Knife from a family member that served? What was their service story? Please leave a comment.

Comments

Ken Cook said…
You've got a really great blog, lots of interesting reading. Thanks for the link to my article. That was a long time ago but I had a lot of fun putting it together.
Anonymous said…
When my brother came home from Basic Training, for Christmas in 1976, all of the gifts were from clothing sales or the PX. He gifted 5 year-old me a Camillus Demo Knife with a square braided fob made from gutted 550 cord. I carried it all the time until I lost it in my pre-teen years.

When I heard Camillus was going under, I bought two, one for me and one for my long-retired brother.