GearPatrol: What a Tanto Blade Is, and Why You Need One

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One look at a gear shop’s knife case will confirm a simple fact as cold and hard as steel: pocket knife blades come in all shapes and sizes. And yet, it’s easy to overlook the fact that even subtly different blade shapes have unique histories behind them and specific uses in front of them. One shape that’s occupying an increasing amount of space in those display cases (and online store pages) is the tanto.

What Is a Tanto Knife?

Tanto knives are easier to spot than nearly any other blade type. They’re characterized by an angular, almost noncontinuous edge made up of two cutting planes instead of the flat or curving belly of most pocket knives. A tanto knife’s edge draws a line out from the handle before making a hard change of direction and running up to the tip. The result? A striking appearance, for one, but also a broad and durable point.

Nothing earthshaking to those who know knives, but I learned a factoid or two. The Listicle portion was interesting.  Before you dismiss the Milwaukee out of hand, I have a liner-lock one that I have been beating on for years. Crap steel, but easy to sharpen and I have abused the tar out of it. Not a waste of $20.

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