GI5 (Gurkha Issue 5th)
The reigning CHAMPION yet largely underrated, from late 1950 to 1990 till date; a raw service kukri ..
GI5 (Gurkha Issue 5th) ; A raw service kukri
The reigning CHAMPION yet largely underrated >> MK5 or GI5 (KHHI’s version) .. "MUST READ (buy)"
The issue of the kukri started to the "Brigade of Gurkhas" after Indian Independence in 1947 in late 1950's. It is the longest surviving British Standard Issue (BSI) kukri whose reign ran across for almost 4 decades. GI5's exact pattern was used from ca 1958-1960 to 1990’s and its variants are still active today (current year) in the army. However the kukri was largely overshadowed by the reputation, significance and discussions of various early Gurkha Issues like the MK2, MK3 etc. Variants of GI5 are still issued today even after 70 years in the service proves the essential value of the knife. After the 2nd World War and with the modernization and advancement of military gears the khukuri’s primary role as a main weapon was restricted to a mere back-up / utility knife (gear) or rather as an iconic symbol. Now the khukuri was seen more as an inseparable integrity of a Gurkha, his self-identity, a sign of courage, honor and pride, rather than a lethal weapon. Thus to continue the legacy and the amazing bond a service kukri in the form of GI5 was started from late 1950’s. The kukri was objected as a Dress Knife to carry in parade (kukri drill), on duty and other official military services. Blade size was reduced to 10 inch approx, style and shape was changed too. GI5s kukris were much simpler and very convention compared to its earlier counterparts. A few of them had very strange shape and many with inferior quality. It seems both the makers and receivers took the subject (supply) very lightly. It remains mystery and confusion as to its exact version, details and facts as it has been hardly documented or archived.
Although GI5 was issued as a “Dress Knife”, supposedly to have well finishing and shiny, the khukuris was not up to the standard required for parade. Here it wouldn’t be an offence to write that GI5 was the weakest (poorest) of all Gurkha Issues. Recruits thus had to painstakingly clean the blade and scabbard during their entire nine months of recruitment training. Blades were roughly grounded, unpolished and black topped sometimes, and scabbards were made from raw buffalo hide. Recruits thus had to literally finish the khukuri with whatever resources available. This trend continued till late 1960’s after when soldier started to replace the raw hide by patent leather bought from local workshop at the suggestion of their superior. The blades however were mostly self-polished by the carrier.
Origin & production of 5th Gurkha Issue kukri knife
GI5 is the first issue (pattern) of its kind that originated (made) in Dharan, Eastern Nepal. In late 1950's (ca 1958-60) production started there with the help of some army officials at “Dharan Recruitment Centre”. “Origin” and “Date” were stamped initially for a few batches but somehow discarded or ignored in later years but again done in 1980’s and again discontinued. Local contractors made inferior quality khukuris and supplied to the Army in thousands. Nonetheless the modern ones specially after 1990’s when 2 variants of GI5 were issued to a single recruit [#1 (Parade knife) and #2 (Training knife)] are much more better made, shaped and finished.
The amazing legacy and feat of the Gurkha Issue Kukris of the formidable soldier is successfully and proudly carried by GI5 and handed over to the new generation.
Besides its historic significance GI5 is also an excellent working kukri knife that would with no doubt hold a special place in the heart and mind of the user. It is an all-out all-purpose utility knife that carries the history and also has all the characters of an assault knife. It’s a well balanced kukri blade and made of the highest quality. The blade comes in RAW format to ditto reproduce the classic ones when they were first made for the army. Even the two accompanying knives, Karda and Chakmak, have the RAW black finishing.
Size of Blade: 10-10.5 inches approx.
Handle Size: 4.5 inches approx.
Materials: Water buffalo leather scabbard, unpolished water buffalo horn handle, Raw Black finishing, 2 x small knives (raw black like the mother blade)
Origin: KHHI, Kathmandu, Nepal