I have been in the Army 17 years now and twice deployed to a combat zone and I have yet to be issued a bayonet. The reasons for this generally fall into two categories.
First, commanders consider the bayonet too dangerous to use (soldiers might hurt themselves), and second, the bayonet is accountable property and youll be paying for it if you break (read use) it.
Dont get me wrong, Im not all fired up to go out and stab someone with a bayonet, but there are times when you need a potentially sacrificial instrument to chop, hack, dig, probe, or test the proverbial waters with, and the last thing I want to do is get slapped with a $120 statement of charges because I used my shiny new M9 bayonet to probe a recently plastered section of brick wall looking for contraband and the tip broke.
Say hello to the kukri.
The kukri is the fighting knife of the Nepalese Gurkhas. A traditional kukri is hand-made in Nepal out of leaf spring steel (Im told that Mercedes-Benz springs are the best) and is a combination hatchet, short sword, and fighting knife.
While mine is by no means "traditional" (mine was made in India I believe) what it is, however, is a most excellent piece of kit, which I have used time and time again for all those jobs for which an issue bayonet would have been the ticket, were such a bayonet available. Moreover at $40 a shot (a traditional kukri will run you $150 or more)
I'm not losing any sleep if I chip the blade on my kukri (which I have done, trying to hack through a undiscovered piece of rebar.)
-- Eric Daniel
(Jam on lots more of Eric's stuff at Kit Up! - the place where warfighters talk about the gear beyond standard issue.)