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Why Tanto shape?

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Old 04-17-2010, 05:04 AM   #1
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Default Why Tanto shape?

Frankly I just don't understand what the draw is with tanto shaped knives. Does it offer some tactical or utility advantage over bowies or clip or drop points? or is it just that it looks like a tiny samurai sword? I was reading some catalog just now and it said the cold steel tanto recon was becoming the go-to knife for SWAT... I don't really believe it, but if it were true, what's the draw?
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:06 AM   #2
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It just looks so bad ass. Rambo knives just arent cutting it anymore. I believe though its a strong design and can be used for more than just defense. I.E. prying, cutting, that kind of thing.

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Old 04-17-2010, 05:33 AM   #3
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I'm definitely not the knife guy, but I believe the Tanto shape was originally designed to pierce armor.
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Old 04-17-2010, 05:52 AM   #4
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CA, you are good!!

From Our Blades | Benchmade

TANTO: Most tantos seen on the American cutlery market are Americanized formats. Like the Japanese tanto, the Americanized tanto has a high point in-line with the pivot. A flat grind is applied to the point, leaving it very thick and extraordinarily strong. This thick area helps absorb the impact from piercing, as the tanto was originally designed for armor piercing. The front edge meets the bottom edge at an obtuse angle rather than curving to meet it as seen in the Japanese tanto. The only negative aspect of the tanto blade shape is the cutting surface area is sacrificed to gain tip strength.
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:41 PM   #5
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Like dunerunner said, 99.9% of the "tanto" shaped blades offered in modern knives are Americanized tantos which are quite different from a traditional tanto point.

My very subjective and personal opinion is that their main purpose is looking cool and helping sell more knives. It's not a good utility blade shape at all, and the alledged extra tip strength isn't a big enough advantage. Drop point and spear point blades can be made just as stout without sacrificing that much usefulness.

There's a reason why no survival or wilderness expert recommends a tanto blade.

For a dedicated fighter that's not expected to be used for anything else, the tanto blade is good. Not only do you get a good piercing tip, but the transition between the main edge and the shorter edge that runs to the tip is excellent for quick snap cuts.
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Old 04-17-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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Designed to pierce armor and vests and stuff. Very strong design, simple and brutally efficient. I love it.
I like my Ka-Bar better.
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Old 04-17-2010, 02:17 PM   #7
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i keep a set of skinning knives, an old vietnam era m16bayonet, and a one piece hatchet in my outdoor gear. non of em are tanto shaped. i had and lost a cold steel tanto at one point. it was one of the more useless knives i ever bought. the only reason i got upset over losing it was i was about to sell it to a guy and lost it on a day hike the day before he was going to buy it.
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:50 PM   #8
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great design. perfect for survival or any utility.

i see no advantage any other blade shape could possibly have over it.
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by deth502 View Post
great design. perfect for survival or any utility.

i see no advantage any other blade shape could possibly have over it.
Ever tried to skin a deer with one?
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Old 04-18-2010, 02:42 AM   #10
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The Americanized version is pretty much built with a very strong, thick chisel type of point/tip that excels at prying and penetrating things (utility tool) that you should not really be using an anti personnel knife for.

IMO I much prefer a traditional Japanese Tan-to Blade that is designed for the cutting, penetrating of flesh which might be covered W a type of leather/Bamboo Armour and in my personal experience when it is properly sharpened (polished Blade/edge) the edge all the way to the point will be breathtakingly sharp and also because of the correct geometry of the blade/edge it will slash amazingly deep especially through non armored flesh and leave very freely bleeding wounds, that tend to stay wide open and are also much more difficult to stop (very cleanly severed arteries) W/O immediate professional medical attention, and it will do it W/O very much (comparatively speaking) effort/force being used in the task, which IMHO is just exactly how you want a anti-personnel knife to perform.

Most of the commonly seen (not all) Western "style" blades have poor to very poor (too obtuse at/near the edge) blade geometry to cut like the above description out of the box.

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