Tanto vs Drop Point – How to Pick the Right Tactical Blade

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As every survivalist knows, it’s essential to keep a tactical blade as part of your gear.

You never know when you’ll need to cut yourself out of a sticky situation, or maybe gut an animal for your dinner. And if worse comes to worse, you could might need to use it as a self-defense tool

Survivalists also know that a person is only as strong as their tools. Therefore, buying a random knife is not enough. You need a knife that aligns with your needs.

Tanto and drop point are the most popular knife types on the market. 

This article describes each blade’s uses, and its pros & cons. We also analyze them side by side to see which is the better performer.

Tanto Blade

Even though we call it a blade, the tanto is actually a sword. It was originally used as a stabbing weapon amongst Japanese samurai.

It wasn’t common with commoners, but women sometimes carried it for self-defense. As time went by, the blade was shortened as it gained popularity.

Characteristics

The flat shape and high tip identify a tanto blade. The chiseled end is so sharp that it looks like it will draw blood upon contact. Think about it like a scary-looking miniature sword. 

Apart from looking sharp, the tip is also the strongest part of the tanto. Every other part of the knife leads up to the end, creating the right conditions to be sharp enough to cut through rough materials.

The other reason it’s the most important part is that it contains more metal than any other part. This is advantageous because the tip can absorb high amounts of pressure. 

Unlike other knives, the tanto blade doesn’t curve, but it meets the handle at a sharp angle. As a result, the tanto has a flat shape instead of a belly. 

The tanto has such strong lines that it’s hard to miss. However, the strength doesn’t exactly correlate with its size. It’s usually no bigger than 12 inches and can easily fit into your bag. Also, it has a slim profile that makes it easy to blend in.  

Purpose and Uses

What the tanto lacks in girth, it makes up for in strength. The meeting point between the high point and the grind creates a distinctive triangular shape that makes it very powerful.

Any knife used to stab people in the past can penetrate a lot of things when you’re enjoying the outdoors. 

Feel free to use this knife to poke holes and punch through durable materials (or destabilize your attacker!). 

The tip is so strong that it’s also useful for prying. You can slide the angled end between two points, and it will cut right through. You could also use it to pull things apart, e.g., prying a door hinge or fixing a rugged zip.  

The angled tip is beneficial because proper handling won’t harm the contents, but it will definitely set them free. It’s a handy survival tool for when you’re stuck in trying situations. 

Also, the tanto blade is helpful for slicing. Though not its most vital feature, the tanto blade will pull through for you in a challenging situation.

For example, you can use it to slice down vegetation when looking for a place to sleep or slicing fruit from a tree. It’s always crucial to have a multi-purpose knife in hand when you’re stuck in an extreme survival situation. 

Pros

The most significant benefit of owning a tanto knife lies in its strength. You can use it to break through the toughest of materials because of how strong it is.

The best part? It’s also durable.

The blade is quite tough, and it won’t break after a single use. So you could own one for years without needing a replacement.

Another advantage of owning a tanto blade is how it is made for rough tasks. The blade has two edges that showcase its versatility. You won’t be limited by a single-blade. With a tanto blade, you can use one side for slicing and the other for puncturing.

A tanto is an ideal knife for the outdoors because of how easy it is to sharpen.

You don’t need any fancy equipment to sharpen the blade. You can pick a stone and use that as your sharpening equipment.

Also, without the arduous curve, sharpening it won’t take as much energy from you. Surviving the outdoors means relying on nature, and what better way to depend on nature than using a stone as a sharpener? 

Lastly, some people buy tanto blades because they are aesthetically pleasing.

The blade has a classic style that makes one feel like a true warrior. Taking it out will not only impress your friends, but it will make you feel more experienced. 

Cons

The biggest drawback of buying a tanto is how it can’t perform traditional knife tasks. Since it doesn’t have a curve, it has a less stable structure that is useless in some survival situations. 

For example, you can’t use it to gut an animal or slice fish. It’s too unstructured for that, and it might ruin your whole experience.

Also, you can’t use it to slice up fruits and vegetables. So for some people, the tanto can’t perform when it actually counts. 

Another disadvantage is how it isn’t recommended for beginners.

It’s easy to sharpen, but the process is only simple if you know what you’re doing. Sharpening a tanto requires experience; otherwise you may hurt yourself in the process.

It’s not an ideal knife for a beginner, but it would be excellent for an intermediate or experienced survivalist. 

Drop-point Blade

Drop-point Blade

A drop-point blade is the most popular outdoor knife on the market.

The first knife that probably came into your mind when you started reading this article is called a drop-point blade. It is a popular hunting, hiking, and camping accessory. 

The origins of drop-point knives are unknown, but they quickly gained popularity amongst hunters. They are known as the ideal multi-purpose knives.

They are similar to clip-point blades, but their strength gives them a leg up. 

Characteristics

A drop point has a convex spine that slowly curves back. The spine slowly curves from the handle of the knife to the tip of the blade. Unlike the tanto point, it has a distinct curve that you can spot from meters away.

You can identify a drop-point knife by its long cutting edge. The cutting edge is the part of the knife that runs from the tip to the handle.

The knife is longer than a tanto blade and is better suited for tactical purposes.

The tip of a drop-point is less sharp than a tanto’s. It’s not as cutting edge as other knives e.g. the clip-point, but it is stronger. The easy hold and the stability make it an ideal choice for outdoor activities.

You might not get many oohs and aahs when you take it out, but it will get the job done. 

Purpose and Uses

A drop-point blade makes a great hunting knife. The point is easily controllable, and you can use it to make precise cuts.

Gutting and skinning animals requires as much accuracy as possible, and this is where the drop-point steps in. Also, you’re less likely to have minor accidents that ruin or waste your meat. 

Drop point blades are helpful for slicing. The belly is so large that slicing is a breezy chore.

There is no need to worry about holding the knife correctly (like you would with a tanto blade).

The large belly gives you enough space to slice freely and to do it quickly. You might encounter situations where time is of the essence, and using drop-point blades will save you a bit of time. 

A drop-point blade is valuable because it works well for batoning. Batoning is a wood-cutting method where you use a stick to drive through the knife’s spine, thus cutting through the wood. 

While it may not be the fastest or most convenient way to cut wood, sometimes it’s the best available option. It’s an option that you can choose if you have a drop-point.

The straight back is perfect for leaning against the wood, and it gives you more control. 

Pros

The long cutting edge is useful in challenging situations. While a long edge may not be useful for stabbing and prying, it comes in handy for other activities.

For example, it provides stability for activities such as batoning and skinning. A practical long cutting edge would be more valuable than a beautiful angled edge if it came down to it. 

The sharp tip is precise, and low enough that you have control over it. Having an accurate end is useful for hunting and hiking activities. You could also use it in first-aid situations.

A knife is only as powerful as the hand that holds it. It would be best if the hand that holds it has some semblance of control.

It’s easy for a beginner to use. Anyone can get the hang of this knife because it looks and feels familiar.

Knife enthusiasts can spot the difference from far away, but it’s an excellent knife for a beginner to start with. They are less likely to hurt themselves or others. 

Additionally, It performs so many outdoor tasks that it will be extremely valuable. A drop-point covers pretty much every part of the survivalist lifestyle.

Of course, there are some tasks it cannot fulfill, but it has the bases covered. Whether you’re a beginner or have been in the game for a while, this is a great knife for everyday needs. 

Cons

The main disadvantage of buying a drop-point blade is how blunt the tip is. The tip is so dull that it is pretty useless for stabbing.

This might be an inconvenience if you’re stuck in a self-defense situation. It could also be a burden if you just want to use the knife to poke at something. 

Drop-point blades are not as helpful in slashing either. They can slash through vegetation, but you’d need a bigger drop-point if you’re going to make any real progress.

This is where the double-edged tanto blade beats the drop-point. We suggest that you leave the drop-point behind if you’re going to be in any situation where vegetation is involved. 

It’s hard for us to conclusively decide who wins the tanto vs drop point debate.

Each blade comes with its own pros and cons, and they were both made to serve different purposes. The blade that you pick also depends on your skill level, and the features that you value in a knife. 

For your benefit, we made a table that explains what each blade excels at. 

Purpose/Benefit Blade Type
Stabbing and penetration Tanto
Slicing and Puncturing Rough Material Tanto
Easy to sharpen Tanto
Precision Both Tanto and Drop-point
Ordinary Slicing Drop-point
Skinning Drop-point
Prying Tanto
Stability and Control Drop-point
Batoning Drop-point
Beginner-friendly Drop-point



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