tanto vs. western tanto

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by cp14272, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. cp14272


    Sep 24, 2009
    Actually I prefer Drop Point blades, since they are usually better as utillity knives.

    The only advantage of a Tanto Blade is in my opinine, that the tip is stronger and that it is better for fighting.

    But where is the diffrence between a Tanto Blade and a "Western Tanto Blade"?

    A Western Tanto Blade should be easier to produce. So I am sure if the Western Tanto would be better in a combat, the Japanese, who had much more experience by using blades in war, would have found out.

    Is there any practical reason for a Western Tanto Blade or is it all about the design?
  2. harkamus


    Apr 23, 2007
    I believe the premise for the Western tanto was to produce a blade with a stronger tip due to the geometry. A traditional tanto has more of a drop point tip. The closest production knife I can think of with a traditional tanto is the CS Hissatsu.
  3. SIFU1A


    May 12, 2001
    imho the only plus to a tanto would be, possibly, maybe, its stabbing ability, and even thats debatable, it certainly isnt in most folks opinion the best fighting style knife, which is probably a bowie style blade.

    i also dont think the japanese know any more about fighting with knives than a lot of other countries, after all before the advent of firearms swords were the top of the line fighting implement so imho a lot of cultures/countries know a thing or 2 about fighting with a blade.

    the western tanto does indeed have more of a drop kind of tip vs the 2 angled american tanto, the american tanto is supposedly easier to grind due to most of them are chisel ground vs "V" ground,

    IIRC the spyderco lum fixed blade and folders were more traditional tanto blades. but the american style have always been more popular, like the EKI CQC7. why? i dont have a clue, maybe because more models were available in the american style?

    also i edc'd a EKI SOCFK CG tanto for over a yr and it did fine for me for utility, all i ever need is a sharp edge and it certainly supplied that.
  4. Planterz

    Planterz Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    A traditional tanto bears very little resemblance to the Americanized tanto.

    I personally think the Americanized tanto concept is 99% bunk. The straight edges might be easier to sharpen, and if the front portion is straight, you can use it to scrape flat surfaces, but that's about it.

    Want a tip for penetrating? Make it stabbier.

    Want a stronger tip? Grind it thicker.

    Bob Lum took the traditional tanto shape and gave it a stronger tip. Cold Steel then bastardized it into the Americanized tanto shape, like their iconic Recon or Magnum tanto fixed blades.

    I personally think that reason that the Americanized tanto is so prevalent is a combination of 2 things:

    Cold Steel's marketing and "Proof" videos,


    The (largely incorrect) portrayal of ninjas in cinema, particularly their chisel-tipped "ninja-to" swords.

    If you can stab it through a car hood, and the ninjas used them, it must be good, right?:rolleyes:
  5. nff


    Sep 22, 2009
    you mean this

  6. tsiloics


    Feb 4, 2006
    Solutions sometimes have a way of finding problems to go with them, so it's certainly possible to find uses for the geometric tanto. In my small experience, these uses tend to center around the primary point, the fact that there is a secondary point and the fact that there is a secondary cutting edge. All of that said, I definitely think a traditional tanto profile is more generally useful than a geometric tanto, and a drop point is more generally useful than either.

    I guess one other thing is that some people probably find geometric tantos easier to sharpen than bellied profiles.
  7. Col. Cornelius

    Col. Cornelius

    May 20, 2009
    As many have mentioned above, I personally can't see any advantage of the geometric tanto blade shape. To me, it makes no sense.

    I prefer a drop point for most uses. A bowie clip point is my second choice.
  8. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    The Tanto is a Jinto, war, blade. They are meant for battle.
  9. nff


    Sep 22, 2009
    or committing suicide (sempuku)
  10. C.S. Graves

    C.S. Graves

    Jun 13, 2006
    Tell that to the smatchet crowd! :D
  11. SShepherd


    Nov 23, 2003
    uhhem..the tanto was not widely used in battle, hence why most have no guard (tsuba). _and yes, some have guards-but the majority do not.

    I've seen 2 tanto that were actually ment for battlefield use, and the spine was nearly 1/2" thick, making whats sold as a "tanto" today look like a toy.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2009
  12. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    The Tanto IS a Jinto blade, wether it was used in battle much or not.
  13. SShepherd


    Nov 23, 2003
  14. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    You win! :D
  15. SShepherd


    Nov 23, 2003
    no winning, just wanna make sure we're all on the same page:)
  16. Nebulae


    Aug 24, 2009
    Personally I hate tantos seems to me that the sharp angle in the blad will be doing most of the cutting, and therfore get dull more quickly, and after enough sharpenings it rounds out anyway
  17. WongKonPow


    Sep 13, 2008
    I have a drop point hunter made by Ontario and used to have a Cold Steel Kobun. They were almost the same blade width and when I compared the two tips, because of the curve and up swept blade shape, the tip on the drop point hunter actually had more steel near it than the Kobun tanto. Stronger tip? Not with less steel around it.
    In my opinion, the western tanto is just for looks.
  18. SIFU1A


    May 12, 2001
    smatchets are good for sure but imho a really large bowie thats made right, like one of several of the custom ones ( who's 'smiths names i forget) used in cutting competions would be awfully hard to beat.

    of course what do i know i'm no knife fighter, i have only "heard" what is "supposedly" "good" lol, but ya would think good slashing ability would be a plus, along with plenty of reach, a good secure handle, and some stabbing ability to boot, a bowie fills all that fairly well imho.

    and either the bowie or the smatchett would fill the bill better than most any tanto's i've seen, western or traditional.
  19. 3Guardsmen


    Mar 16, 2005
    God Bless you, Planterz!:thumbup::D That made my day!! If that doesn't end up in somebody's sig line, I'll be shocked!

    That was quite good as well, though it is Seppuku, not Sempuku, you meant!!:D

  20. Lycosa


    Aug 24, 2007
    Thanks 3G. All folks have to do is read the history of the Tanto, which is technically a short sword. Source: The Samurai Sword, by John Yumoto.

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