Feb 20, 2018

[Ongoing] Tactical Knives Discussion

On Massdrop, there are beginners who are just starting out and experts who really know their stuff. Wherever you find yourself on the spectrum, you should always be able to find answers to your questions within the community.
TACTICAL KNIVES There’s a tactical knife for every occasion. Some come with screwdrivers, some come with glassbreakers, and others come with a little of everything. Whether you need a knife for everyday use or emergencies, you can usually rely on a tactical blade.
ASK QUESTIONS Want to know the difference between various grip types? Or what kind of steel is best for which task? Maybe you just want to learn a bit more about the history or development of these utilitarian blades? The best way to find the answers to your questions is to ask the community. There are members who are experts in pretty much every area you can imagine, and they can help you go from beginner to pro.
Ask your questions by posting in the discussion below.
GIVE ANSWERS Many of you in the community know a lot about tactical knives and have great information to share. We encourage you to help out anyone who has questions!

Want to start your own discussion? Click here: www.massdrop.com/blades/talk/new

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Any Tacticool knife must have blood grooves or you loose 5 tactical points automatically. It's in the rulebook. Some guy told me at the last Pokemon match.
Agreed - they add lightness and either divert blood from getting on your hands and making the knife slippery or direct the blood into the knife for demonic consumption depending on your use-case. Must have.
Tactical operations off to a rough start this morning. Had to DIY mod my coffee. Sarcasm levels are particularly high this delightful Thursday at 5:30am.
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Need some fullers on the blade for the bloo... I mean coffee to run out on.
The coffee lid mod is the #1 reason I keep my knife tips sharp. : ) The tip of the knife is easy to round off while sharpening.
Although lots of knives seem to beg for a label like "tactical", the concept itself turns out to be just marketing.
As far as I can tell, actual soldiers, even special forces, mainly use knives for utility jobs, just like you and I, and they usually use the same multitools and plain folders. Even the legendary Fairbairn–Sykes dagger - surely the most "tactical" knife ever - apparently got its tip snapped off too often from opening food cans. And anyway, unlike the romantic ideal, carriers of those knives hated getting into the rare situations where they needed to use them - it was a dark part of their lives even if they lived to have nightmares about it.
What about OTF autos, that are sold only to "military and LEO" in many areas? As far as I can tell, they aren't really much more than a novelty.
Since soldiers and police aren't doing a lot of stabbing in the line of duty, perhaps the real tactical knife would be a cheap, medium size kitchen knife. That seems to be the most common weapon for actual stabbings.
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Think ya know a guy. 😂
if you want an affordable over built knife I would recommend working with Zero Tolerance, a brother company to Kershaw. They are the higher end and over built side of their product spectrum. Although higher end and quality products they are still reasonably affordable from 150-200 range. Maybe Massdrop can make a Product with then even more affordable
ZT makes some cool knives, but a lot of them have a pretty high scare factor. That's kinda typical of the Tac Knife idea anyway, looking imposing and dangerous.
Exactly, it's Scare Tactic(als)s
Tactical, in my eyes, is synonymous with being overbuilt and with ugly blade coatings. Rescue knives are a bit in between that, and if I'm going the direction of overbuilt I'd head toward something like a Hinderer (The Eklipse is quite nice outside of the idiotic proprietary pivot screw). Their bent is toward first responders and thus they have some features outside of a standard EDC knife.

Blade steel on a tactical knife should account for conditions not exactly conducive to frequent cleanings and heavy maintenance. The aforementioned coatings help with that, but in the steel itself you're looking at rust resistance as a higher factor than edge retention. You're also looking for a softer steel that will take an edge more easily (something you can run through a field sharpener). D2 and VG-10 are great for Tac knives for this reason.

On something that will have dirt, grime, and potentially blood and viscera on it, you absolutely want to a pair of PB washers. Bearings won't hold a decent action with too much crap in the pivot. I'm personally not a fan of assists but if you are, you can skimp on the washers (teflon will work fine).

Opening mechanisms can vary and are primarily at the users preference. An exception to this would be something like the Emerson Wave. It's designed to hook on the pocket as you're pulling it out, causing it to instantly deploy on the draw. I've personally found little use for it myself, a nice flipper tab is just as useful.

Others have mentioned the angle on the edge can be a bit more wide as it's not about slicing cleanly for long distances. The types of cutting tasks associated to Tac knives do not translate well to light use EDC (my use is light in that I use it primarily for opening boxes and letters). Tac knives are designed typically around cutting cord, being used as offensive/defensive weapons, or for quick cuts in rescue situations (such as cutting seat belts). Tac knives are one of the few places where a serrated edge can actually be useful.

The blade shape should come to a point. You wouldn't expect to find a Tac knife with a sheepsfoot. Typically they fall into standard drop point or spear point. Swedges are nice. No one needs a fuller or speed holes. As mentioned with the overbuilt quality, most have thicker blade-stock than would be found on the average EDC knife.

I personally think adding tools to a knife (with the exception of a tasteful glass breaker) is pointless. Lets let multitools be multitools and knives be knives.

As far as grip, textured G-10 is fine for the job. It's easy to clean, durable, and (if the texture is done right) extremely grippy. Keep in mind you might be using gloves when handling a Tac knife so make sure the ergonomics work for you with and without gloved hands.

In Summation:
- Coated Blades (for rust resistance)
- VG-10 or D2
- PB washers (Teflon are alright with an assist on the action)
- Any opening mechanism
- Wider angle on the blade edge
- Drop or Spear point
- Thicker blade-stock
To me, the word tactical in the category, means that it is a specific purpose built knife (as opposed to multi function tools/knives or EDC) where the purpose typically have a military or police purpose.

Military tactical would have an easy to maintain steel, where toughness is more important than hardness. I'd expect an edge of 25-30 deg for strength rather than cutting prowess. I'd expect the blade to come to a fine point with a swedge to increase penetration. Possibly even a sharp false edge part way along the swedge for even more penetration power. I would expect a tactical knife to be slightly overbuilt, but not so much that it becomes clumsy. I would expect that the COG of a military knife to be somewhere in the handle as to suggest thrusting instead of slashing. And I wouldn't be surprised to see a partially serrated edge.

A tactical police/rescue knife, I would expect similar functions, but possibly a harder steel since you are unlikely to use the knife for actual fighting. I would expect the tactical police knife to not have a sharp point for stabbing, but a slightly stronger point, like a reverse tanto etc. I wouldn't be surprised to see a belt cutter (gut hook) and a glass breaker on the knife. A partially serrated edge may well be helpful here as well. I'd expect it to be over built to withstand years of hard use.

Id expect all tactical folders to be operated with gloves on. A tactical blade should have a reasonably grippy texture to it so it isn't slippery even when wet. A fixed tactical blade should come with molle compatible sheath (or similar) attachment options.

If your tactical knife comes with a compass, hydrodipped patterns, super advanced and expensive steel that you need a jig sharpener system to maintain, slick carbon fibre scales and a blade the size of a machete with a style that would impress your local Nazgul or Klingon, it is probably not a tactical knife. It is probably a tacticool safe queen for the mantelpiece.
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I'd be on for an Extrema Ratio drop for sure. I too, like pies.
Mmmmmm.... Pies... 🤤
"beginners who are just starting out"...... don't fall for the marketing term "Tactical knife".
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Or was this specifically directed at pocket knives with other functions like mentioned? I dunno, it is a weird thing to describe. Tactical knives sounds like karambits and daggers.
Fair enough. We will take that feedback to heart. Would still like your thoughts on these types of knives as well as other topics we could raise within the Blades Community. Anything you guys think would make sense?
Grayman Satu. The Satu is a extremely overbuilt robust folder. It seems to fit the term tactical very well.
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