Everything You Need to Know about Tantos

Everything You Need to Know about Tantos

Unlike many knives today, tantos were made for a specific purpose, one which they are very good at: penetrating armor or other tough materials in a tactical situation. In an effort to keep them up to date, designs have been modified so that instead of only fixed blades, you can now find a tactical tanto spring assisted pocket knife.

History of the Tanto

The tanto was a Japanese short sword that first surfaced around 800 AD. Used by the samurai for dealing with armored opponents, the knives took a more fanciful turn during peacetime. When war began again, the tantos were once more made in practical designs.

Primary Features

Originally, tantos had a straight edge that curved up to the tip, while the spine was completely straight. While the edge is still relatively straight, Cold Steel created the American tanto, where the edge turns up at a sharp angle, creating two edges.

Unlike most knives, the spine doesn’t taper as it reaches the tip, rather, a quality tanto will have the same width the entire length of the blade. This gives the tanto a particularly strong tip.


They have an extremely strong, chisel-like tip, designed for puncturing material such as armor. This also makes the tip strong enough to pry things open or use for lighter levering tasks.

The Japanese’s skill in blade design is apparent, even with the Americanization of the knife. Who else could create a knife that can perforate a car hood multiple times and still work?

Tantos are easier to sharpen in the field than some other knives. For those who run the risk of being in the field without supplies, the tanto knife could be a lifesaver.


While we just said that sharpening is easier, that’s in the field. When trying to put a proper edge back on it with a sharpening stone, the two edges can be difficult to deal with. Fortunately, there are some techniques being shared to make this simpler.
The straight edge means that this knife isn’t very good as an everyday carry. It has more limited functions than a drop point. This

knife has a specific purpose that it fulfills very well, and skinning game isn’t one of them.
Retaining all the benefits of a traditional tanto, like the strong tip, the spring assisted tanto fits comfortably in your pocket, ready for whatever you need.

If you do decide to buy a tactical tanto spring assisted pocket knife and intend it as a survival style knife, check the reputation of the knife maker first. You need to know that the blade is properly made, with a thick spine, and that the open and locking mechanisms can keep up with your needs.

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