As you may or may not know, a tanto shaped blade has a sharp angle in the blade that brings the tip to a very menacing-looking point. Tanto bladed knives have a very unique and “deadly” look to them, however, they are quite useful when it comes to every day tasks. The average user may think that they are only good for stabbing people, and they are good at that… but there are many other uses for these excellently-shaped folding knives besides unfriendly tasks.
Since the tip is reinforced with a triangular shape, tanto knives naturally tend to have much stronger tips than other styles of knives. Tip strength is especially prevalent in an authentic Japanese tanto. You may think that a curved tip would be more reinforced because there is more steel behind the tip. However, triangles can be very structurally advantageous, especially when used in a knife. In most homes, triangles are used for the roof because of their strength and shape properties. This same principle transfers over into knives. The tanto knife tip is strong because of the steel and triangular shape. The tip is strong on most tanto knives, however there are exceptions to this rule, such as in a tipless tanto. Yep, they actually make a tanto blade without a tip, and they call it a tipless tanto. Now, of course a tipless tanto knife wouldn’t apply for this tanto blade advantage.
Due to the blade only having two major blade edges, the chore of sharpening is really simplified. All that the sharpener needs to do is sharpen the two different edges of the blade separately. While this may seem like twice the work, it is usually is much easier to get a uniform edge on a tanto blade than it is to do for other blade types.
Yep, you knew this was going to be on the list. This goes back to the tip strength point listed above. Since the tip is so pointy and strong, authentic Japanese tanto bladed folding knives tend to have a much easier time piercing materials than other types of knives do. Aside from marketing to the consumer on “tacti-coolness”, the main reason why so many fighting and tactical knives have tanto designs is because of their ability to penetrate various materials. The penetrative ability is a tanto extra added benefit. Some double edged tanto blades have extreme penetrating abilities and should be used with caution.
Alright, this last point is purely aesthetic, but tanto knives tend to look much more intimidating than your average knife because of that sharp angle leading to a point. If you need a scary looking knife for a filming a movie or other event, a tanto blade will most likely suit you perfectly. While the main tanto knife benefits lean towards tip strength and penetrative ability, sometimes a knife owner just wants a knife that will look scary.
“Ok, great job Chase, you have this wonderful short list of tanto knife benefits, yet I still haven’t seen any awesome looking tanto knives.”
Well my fine guest, you came to the right place. Below I have listed some of my favorite tanto edged folding knives that I personally have had the pleasure of using and abusing.
I personally love the entire Code 4 series by Cold Steel, however, this time they really stepped it up by adding a tanto edged blade to their Code 4 line. This knife really stands out from your average tanto folder because of the design and the steel. The steel is made of Carpenters CTS XHP Alloy. What I love about the material is how corrosion resistant it is. I took my Code 4 tanto on a backpacking trip to the Rocky Mountains for a week and left the knife buried in the snow. The next day I took the knife out of the snow to find that there wasn’t a single instance of rust anywhere on the entire knife. I was highly impressed to say the least, good job Cold Steel.
Cheap? Check. Assisted? Check. Tanto? Check. If you are looking for a tanto knife that is very inexpensive, then look no further than the Kershaw Brawler. This tanto knife benefits from the fact that Kershaw decided to add their Speedsafe technology to it. Speedsafe is Kershaw’s assisted opening technology, and I believe that it is one of the best. If you are looking for a decent quality assisted tanto blade, then look no further. This knife is cool because it almost looks like a reverse tanto blade the way the blade shape is curved.
Now this knife is a fun one. I thought that when I purchased this knife that I would regret doing so. That prediction was incredibly far from the truth. I love using this knife and the blade profile reminds me of an authentic Japanese tanto sword. The Voyager XL is clownishly large, but the weight isn’t very noticeable in my pocket. It is fun to pull out this knife while out and about and just watching bystanders stare at your extremely large knife. Cold Steel has one of the strongest locks on their knives making this almost as strong as a tactical tanto fixed blade. I get an incredible amount of satisfaction from this big guy.
This knife is produced by CRKT under the Ruger brand. The great thing that I love about this knife is the frame lock. The 2-Stage that I purchased has one of the best lock-ups out of all my folding knives, including customs. I may have just gotten a great one, but if quality control is the same as other CRKT knives, then you shouldn’t have a problem. I really wish that they would make another version of this knife as a fixed blade, it would look great as a tactical tanto fixed blade. This knife just screams, “I like manly stuff.” And I do in fact, like manly stuff.
This knife is one of my favorites. I used to own a Flash II by SOG, after that knife I was a SOG fan boy. SOG decided to add VG-10 steel to the blade of the Vulcan, which I think is a huge plus. This knife is almost a double edged tanto knife in the fact that the blade is actually clipped on the top. The Vulcan has the standard Arc-lock that SOG uses on many of their assisted knives and a small reverse tanto blade on the back portion of the blade. The great thing about the Vulcan is that the blade steel is very corrosion resistant and also has the added tanto knife benefit of being able to stay sharp without needing to be sharpened for longer than a lower end steel.
If you liked this post, you may like my list of my Top 5 Recommended Folding Knives.