Camillus "Demo Knife" Review

Editor's note: This article was originally published in January 2014 and was updated in May 2024 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
Camillus closed its doors a few years ago, and another company purchased 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 commonplace in the military. The knives were either issued to personnel, added to survival kits, or could be found in toolboxes.  

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 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 3.625 inches long and weighs 3.5oz. 

Stamped on the center side of the scales of the 1760 knife are the initials of the 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 it. You will see the words can opener stamped on the can opener. Why is this the only tool that is stamped as what it is? The can opener is a robust tool and one of the best 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 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, which I call overbuilt. The blade length is 3.250 inches and the closed length is 3.625 inches. It's not loaded to bear with a lot of tools. But you will find what you need and not anymore. In addition to the knife blade, the knife has the following tool types.
  • Pen Knife Blade (awl).
  • Medium Flat-Tip Screwdriver.
  • Bottle Opener.
  • Can Opener, flat-head screwdriver.

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

If you are in the market for a classic pocket knife for camping, backpacking, or general outdoor use. 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. The NSN for the "demo Knife" is NSN 51100-00-162-2205. Now you know why 2205 is part of the name. That model looks to be no longer made. Colonial Knife Company is currently carrying  MIL-K-818D

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 tools for everything you will encounter in the field. 

Now It's Your Turn-

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


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.
Irish-7 said…
Article mentions the can opener can be used as a "church key". Assuming he meant "bottle opener", I just thought I would mention there was a specific bottle opener as one of the knife attachments (with flat head screwdriver).
You are correct there is a bottle opener under the flat-head screwdriver and a "church key" is a term used for a bottle opener. I was referring to the type used to punch a triangle at the top of a can. Good catch! Thanks for leaving a comment, so I could clear that up.
Ed Leavitt said…
I have two of the stainless pocket knives both of which were handed to me by our R.O.T.C. unit's supply sergeant as a nice-to-have item. They are dated 1970. It was the excellent design of the can opener that made me fall in love. The "P38" can openers that came with every case of C-rats got better with prolonged use but sucked by comparison when it came to making a tiny stove out of an empty can, typically from the B3 dessert unit + a piece of a trioxane "heat tab". The fact that the Camillus would never rust was huge. I have several other Camillus knives. One is a lineman's TL-29 and two are Aviator's survival sheath knives. Love 'em all. (Ditto for my KA-BAR sheath knife. It took years but I finally was able to acquire both my brother's KA-BAR and my Dad's KA-Bar from World War II.) They all sit in a safe EXCEPT one of the U.S. stainless knife. I wear it in a little home-brew belt-sheath made circa 1972 out of O.D. nylon strap material.
Thanks for leaving a comment and taking the time to provide a story. This is the type of comment I like receiving.
Anonymous said…
A Church Key is a pointed triangle on openers that punches holes in the top of soup cans, and before the Pop Top was invented, beer cans. It is called a Church Key as it could be used to pry the lead of stained glass windows apart to more easily break into churches to steal the Sunday offering there before it could be deposited Monday morning.

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