I found a company in the UK that is selling these new-made "replicas" for $28.00 and free shipping to the US. How could I pass that up? I didn't!
These shovels were commissioned by Mil-Tec, and were manufactured to the original Swedish Army specifications. They are exact in every aspect, with the exception of a couple of very minor ones. The weight, measurements, materials, are exactly the same as the original Fältspade, or as it is better known in Sweden, as the KLAS, or Kort Lätt Attack Spade (short light attack spade). I looked up the original specs, and compared them to this new version. They all matched, even the overall weight.
I believe these were introduced in 1958, when Sweden modernized their equipment load out, better know as the M58 gear.
These new made shovels have an improved blade hinge bolt that has an Allen head and a nylon insert, locking nut, as opposed to the original's standard bolt and nut.
Another slight difference is the peened ends of the blade rivets. The originals had rounded, peened ends, and this new made version has mechanically pressed ends that are not peened (flat ends, not rounded). A very slight difference, but technically different.
The paint color is the correct Dark Swedish Green, that matches the old Model 1958 equipment, but I suspect that it may be a bit too glossy. Most of the originals that are encountered today have been repainted with thick, OD Green paint, so I can't really say for sure if the glossy green is 100% correct or not.
Since I plan on using this shovel as a "Daily Digger", these differences are so slight as to not really make any difference at all. If I really wanted to, I could replace the hinge bolt, round out the rivet ends and give the shovel a brushed coat of thick OD Green and you would never know it was "new made" ! These new copies are that good.
These KLAS shovels are the toughest, and most user friendly of all the folders that I have ever seen (and I have more than a few in the bunker!). The handle is bent in an ergonomically correct angle that really lends itself to proper digging, without discomfort or injury. They may be a bit heavier than most military folders, but if you plan on doing much digging, then the added weight is well worth the "penalty".
The blades have a flat lip around the edge and two holes that are punched on each ear. This is so that the aluminum "snow shovel" attachment can be added to turn this into a proper "avalanche shovel". I'll definitely need to pick up one of those now as well!
I am very impressed with this "Mil-Tec Reproduction", and I can't wait to get out there and use it for exactly what it was designed for, digging!
If you get the chance to buy one of the original Swedish Army issued shovels, then grab it, but if you can't locate one, or can't find one that's affordable, then this Mil-Tec version is the perfect substitute.
Now let's take an up close and personal look at this heavy duty shovel.