Knife point styles

Knife point styles

This is a discussion on Knife point styles within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; What are the more popular point styles and purpose, pros/cons? Example, the tanto point. What is it designed for/what does it do different than others?...

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Thread: Knife point styles

  1. #1
    Member Array scratchy wilson's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Knife point styles

    What are the more popular point styles and purpose, pros/cons? Example, the tanto point. What is it designed for/what does it do different than others?

  2. #2
    Former Member Array The Tourist's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    Supposedly the 'tanto' point was made for penetrating feudal Japanese leather armor. However, the style is now known as 'The American Tanto,' because real tantos have a round upturn. It more resembles a vegetable knife.

    Either way, it requires care in sharpening and most double bevel knives out-cut it. Having said that, Emerson's CQC7 did jump-start Bob Terzuola's tactical knife craze, and collectors should own one.

    The 'drop point' credited to Bob Loveless is the superior design. It out does anything. Period.

    The 'clip style' knives (not to be confused with pocket clip knives) are in the likeness of Bowie knives. It's more for looks. However, you cannot go wrong with a Buck 110. In the extreme, like a Chinook, it is good for, uh, let me see now, it works on, no that's not right, it surpasses, what...

    Try them, live with them, make a decision based on your personal lifestyle. Don't let me or anyone else tell you otherwise. It's your money, your convenience and your personal butt.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
    My understanding behind clip point blades is that it's a way to make the point sharper. In theory you get a sharp penetrating tip, a deep belly, and a straight edge all one one blade. In theory however a hummingbird can't fly.

    Drop points or leaf blades (they look alike to me) are probably the best shape overall. As I go through my collection I find lots of drop point blades. Good drop point blades thrust okay (not as well as some other shapes but okay) and have good strong points to boot.

    Tourist said all that needs to be said about the tanto but I would like to add it is a good shape for scoring.

    There's also a sheepsfoot blade, which doesn't really have a point at all. It's a shape for those times you don't want to thrust at all. This shape is commonly used in nautical work, rescue knives, and Japanese chef's knives.

    There's what I call a dagger point blade, which is a double edged blade that comes to a fine point for thrusting. Not really a good design imho. I think a lot of the mystique around the double edged fighting knife is just that: mystique.

    There's also a spear point. This is a special case of a drop point. The blade is symmetrical but one side is not sharpened. The point of the blade is rather strong if a bit dull. Personally I prefer the traditional drop point. The spear point does look cooler though.

    There's the trailing point blade, where the point of the knife is higher than the spine of the blade. The main purpose here is to give the knife a lot of belly. It looks like a clip point/drop point merger.

    Some blade shapes can be correctly called more than one name sometimes. I tend to see everything as either a classic drop point, a variation on the drop point, a clip blade, or something weird (a la a tanto).

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  5. #4
    VIP Member
    Array Betty's Avatar
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    A lot of designs are morphing into "it's sorta this blade style merged with that style."

    I like my little MOD Ladyhawk (G) which is a hawkbill style blade, but it is limited to slashing. It's not a fantastic stabber. But when it digs in, it really digs in. Predatory birds and kitty-kats have curved claws for a reason.

    You can see American tanto variations in this CRKT (P), Camillus CUDA (I), MOD Razorback (N), and Cold Steel tanto (U). I like the American tanto for aesthetics. A selling point of tanto blades is that the blade shape makes the knife stronger down to the tip. Most of my knives don't see hard duty, so the extra strength isn't needed, and definitely not needed to punch clean through car hoods, which Cold Steel likes to advertise. I do notice that in cutting paper/plastic/cloth materials, the tanto snags at the angled edge.

    There's also the wharncliff blade style. I don't have an example in the picture, but it has one perfectly straight cutting edge.

    Dagger blades like the Cold Steel Triple Action (J) are great if you want both sides sharpened, but since both sides are sharpened, the tip tends to be thinner and weaker.

    I have a Ka-Bar camp knife with a big belly bolo blade:

    image © Ka-Bar

    It's great for "general hacking duties," but can still stab.

    I really like spear point blades, like my Benchmade Dark Star (Y). It's great for general utility, cutting and stabbing.

    Here is my Spyderco Cricket. I have no idea what you'd call that blade style, but it's great for general utility.
    "Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power." - Yoshimi Ishikawa

  6. #5
    Distinguished Member Array Camjr's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
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    I have to agree with Tourist's post above regarding the Loveless drop point. My Beretta Loveless fixed blade drop point is a great blade with a strong spine and perfect balance for everything I need it for.

    Learn and Live!

  7. #6
    VIP Member (Retired Staff) Array P95Carry's Avatar
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    South West PA
    Just a couple of very diverse specimens.

    The first is another knife with a very ''big belly'' tip - which is also very heavy. It is not pristine - and that is because of its mileage!! Bought approx 1968, for IIRC something like $40 new.

    The sheath is third one and home-made. This knife has been carried and used more than you might imagine. It is a great ''hacker'' and has brought down a good number of small trees. The serrated back cuts bone and joints with ease. Not a stabber at all but - keeps a superb edge and so very ''slash-worthy''! For me - still a keeper.

    This is my every day pocket folder - and has a tip which is about ideal. This maintains a scary sharpness - including the point. I would not like to face a combatant holding one of these!

    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!." - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  8. #7
    Former Member Array The Tourist's Avatar
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    Nice post. You covered the gaps.

    My intent was simply to point out the directions of the point and bevel.

    That is, up, down, straight ahead and left, right or one sided.

    But to show the diversity et al, why didn't anyone mention the Malay Kriss? I think that we have a cornicopia of great looking and functioning hardware.

    We briefly mentioned Bob Loveless. It is important to realize that when he was defining blade geometry and the use of stainless (primarily 154-CM), it was the early 1970's. His designs continue. So much so that many companies now produce his stuff under license.

    And look at our alloys! If you thought BG-42 and VG-10 were a miracle, here comes CPM-S30V.

    And you know, even the lesser stars are not bad. Not much is made from S60V (CPM-440V) and ATS-55, but they'd outlive me. My wife has a Boa, and I cannot remember when I last sharpened it. It's more than a year, perhaps two.

    One night I dreamt about CPM-Sc1000VC. (I used to dream about girls)

    It's a magic stainless, titanium and cobalt steel that is poured into a knife shape and never needs sharpening. Paul Bos handed me the first knife.

    "Looks like you're out of a sharpening job, Gumba," he laughed, "And the blades themselves cost about 17 cents a piece."

    Yikes, an indestructible Strider for less than a six pack of beer. I really must watch the pepperoni after midnight...

  9. #8
    Lead Moderator
    Array rocky's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    I use drop point blades mostly, but for my kayaking adventures I use a modified chisel point. Safer if I am using the knife while in the water or upside down/under water. I like to use a diverse selection of knives depending on my travels.

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