The knife is good, extremely good. Mine came with a sharp blade and the steel is top notch. The handle requires water proofing (bees wax and special chemicals are best, and decently cheap to). My only other preference is a Gerber (LHR, Steadfast, Mark II, and the Silver trident).
I have had no problem with the leather handle. Moisture does not destroy it. If it did, the Ka-Bars used in the humid and rainy South Pacific would have fallen apart. Applying wax to the handle will waterproof it to some degree, if you want some added peace of mind. The black coating is just a coating -- all coatings wear off with use. If that bothers you, then strip it with paint stripper (like I did).
Not that good
I don't understand why everyone praises the Ka-Bar. It's really not that great of a knife at all. I've owned two and both broke at the tip from being used in a chopping action on mere saplings. That's pretty weak. The leather handles are destroyed by the slightest moisture. The coating on the blade flakes off like it's a crummy paint job. Sure, this knife might have some history, but it's not 1941 anymore and, in today's market, this knife is little more than a step up from an imported junk knife made out of 420j2. I apologize for ein so critical, but I'd rather be honest than praise something substandard just because it looks nice and has a honorable history.
It's a Ka-Bar!
It's a Ka-Bar...the best knife you can buy.
BTW: The USMC or US Army stamp on the side of the blade is just a cosmetic nicety. The knives are the same otherwise.
U.S.M.C. OR ARMY?
A good looking knife,but if it is a U.S. Army Fighting Knife why does it have U.S.M.C. STAMPED ON IT???
Only reason I'm giving it a 4.5 is it's a little on the heavy side. Makes my belt sag with the sheath and all but other than that it's a good, solid knife.