Why do people love tanto?

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dark2023
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Why do people love tanto?

Postby dark2023 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:39 pm

The tanto blade seems horribly inefficient for any sort of stabbing type action, which is mildly ironic to me as it is often seen in many tactical self-defense oriented knives.

The blades shape towards the front requires more force to penetrate than most any other type of knife point, so much so that the opposite shape (wharnecleffe/sheeps foot) is used for just such a purpose, to limit penetration.

I recently ground a broken tip of an old throwing knife to a tanto shape. I was very much regretful of that decision once I found it was a number of times more difficult to stick than any of the others, due to it's tip.

So the question stands, why is it such a popular shape?
Does it have special uses that might make it favorable in either a self-defense or work type roll?
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ILikeStilettos
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby ILikeStilettos » Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:54 pm

Well, I think Johnny Depp is a wonderful actor but he was too campy in the role. The original Jay Silverheels was much better, with his taciturn manner.

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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Bill DeShivs » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:16 pm

"Supposedly" the tanto blade was designed as an armor-piercing blade.
People like what they are told to like. Most don't know or care enough to research things, so when fads happen they just follow along.
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dark2023
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby dark2023 » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:19 pm

Well, I think Johnny Depp is a wonderful actor but he was too campy in the role. The original Jay Silverheels was much better, with his taciturn manner.

nice, I guess the topic could have been a bit confusing purely by the name.

"Supposedly" the tanto blade was designed as an armor-piercing blade.
People like what they are told to like. Most don't know or care enough to research things, so when fads happen they just follow along.

So then you would agree it's not a very useful or efficient blade shape for actual use?
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Bill DeShivs
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Bill DeShivs » Sat Apr 11, 2015 11:35 pm

I have 500+ knives. Not one of them is a "tanto."
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Viking45
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Viking45 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 4:16 am

Not a tanto fan but if the blade grind is equal on both sides it is the epitome of piercing and slashing.
The concept is to have as much steel at the tip as possible.

Sharpening is one reason the tanto grind is not my first choice.
The first Cold Steel folders in the 80's were American made and some were offered in tanto blade,kind of regret not buying one back then.

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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Fishtail Picklock » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:29 pm

I'd take a Blackie Collins ATS 34 steel blade in a Colonial Knife auto, but it sports a tanto (either serrated or non-serrated) blade. This is the primary reason I chose the Model 735.
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Bill DeShivs » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:50 pm

The Colonial "tanto" blade was designed because they wanted a longer blade on that series. The tanto blade is the only design that would work with that particular handle. I know this because I was consulted before Blackie.
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Fishtail Picklock » Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:41 pm

Bill DeShivs wrote:The Colonial "tanto" blade was designed because they wanted a longer blade on that series. The tanto blade is the only design that would work with that particular handle. I know this because I was consulted before Blackie.


Thanks, Bill.
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby andy17 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 11:21 pm

nice, I guess the topic could have been a bit confusing purely by the name.


Well, not unless you had called the knife a "Tonto"!

The tanto blade seems horribly inefficient for any sort of stabbing type action …


I'm not a fan of the shape myself, but how often do people stab things? The lack of a good belly for slicing seems to me more of a problem for general use. The tanto seemed to be the "in" shape a good 10 or more years ago, and I remember people then claiming it made for a much stronger point. Isn't it also the shape that Japanese katanas have? Maybe that had something to do with its popularity.

I've never tried to stab anything with the one tanto I have, but just from looking at the geometry I don't see why it would require more force to penetrate than other knives. You clearly know from experience, so why do you think that's the case?
Last edited by andy17 on Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dark2023
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby dark2023 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 6:02 pm

I've never tried to stab anything with the one tanto I have, but just from looking at the geometry I don't see why it would require more force to penetrate than other knives. you clearly know from experience, so why do you think that's the case?


Well there are 2 possible issues I see, the first being that the tip is not in line with the center of your hand, as it would be in a dagger style or drop point type blade, secondly the large downward edge seems to divert kinetic energy away from the point, even sometimes causing needless drag across the tip which may cause the blade to want to angel upwards.

hat I can tell you is that my tanto throwing knife hits with the tip nearly as often as all my more traditional models, and with similar force, yet sticks maybe 1/6 as often. It is just as sharp and flies in much the same way, the only difference is the tip.
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john
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby john » Wed Apr 22, 2015 10:45 am

When I read the title of this thread I immediately thought tanto sells great knives Mikovs are awesome, plus he's really good guy and then I read the first paragraph.

Some think the blade looks threatening. I have no use for it. I also read that it was originally designed to pierce armor. I believe the knife was invented in the 20th century not when men were wearing suits of armor. I doubt you can get this to penetrate Kevlar.
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Viking45
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby Viking45 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 5:21 am

Some good replies here but we have to realize that many ancient sword and knife styles were designed to defeat the enemies defenses such as armor and or heavy clothing.
We tend to think of metal when we hear the term "armor" but for hundreds of years leather and other natural materials were used as protection.
The Roman Gladius was a mean slasher/hacker but was designed for thrusting and penetration. Javelins could and did kill but were mainly used to disable shields.
A big sharp stick in your shield made it impossible to use so they threw it down leaving themselves open to sword attack.

The ancient Ethiopians used a "Shotel" that was almost "sickle" like and was designed to get around the enemies shield.

We tend to think of the Japanese swords when we think of the "tanto" style blade but the ancient Chinese had a straight "tanto" style sword as early as 2 or 300 BC.
This design is intended to penetrate.

As for practical use? I have been a knife enthusiast for over 40 years and never came across a situation where I thought "boy,I could sure use a tanto blade right about now.
It is really a matter preference and taste.

Roman Gladius- Probably just a cheaply made sword but you get the idea.

Roman_Gladius.jpg
Roman_Gladius.jpg (79.84 KiB) Viewed 4846 times


Ethiopian Shotel-

Shotel.jpg
Shotel.jpg (92.28 KiB) Viewed 4846 times

gravknife
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Re: Why do people love tanto?

Postby gravknife » Fri Dec 25, 2015 7:55 pm

I collect ww2 samurai swords ,the tanto is just a name for a blade shorter than 12 inches,then wakazashi,then katana. It has many shapes and most are deadly, ubo zukuri being one,i know what you mean about the shape on some especially the obtuse angle ,commonly used on short knives nowadays,the Japanese used that point in the Heian period 986A.D on long straight swords used on horse back,until the famous curvature was adopted.
I believe this point to be the worse ,as tanto were used for hara kiri (suicide) and the sharper the point the better!Armour piercing blades were often very thin and tempered on the point to pierce the iron plates used on their armour.
I think people get sucked in by the romance of the japanese swordworld and think it looks cool.


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