what is the best tanto bladed production folder?

Mar 20, 2000
The subject says it all...I really would like a nice tactical folder with a tanto blade and am not sure what to get..now I'd love a lightfoot magnum 458 but that is a little out of my price range so I'm looking for a production folder...I've seen tantos
by microtech, benchmade, emerson, crkt, cold steel, sog, and spyderco...there are pro's and cons to all of them, but I wondered what those of you out there who like tanto blades use. My preferences in a blade would be a plain edge 3 to 4 inches in length..handle material is not real important, although something like g-10 or micarta would be preferred i guess.. i definately am a fan of tip up carry for the pocket clip. if anyone can give me any recommendations I would greatly appreciate it.

  • ch
I am really not a tanto fan and not a big fan of a chisel grind.

I do have a new Benchmade Mini Stryker which is a tanto and is not chisel ground. The blade shape is a little non traditional even for an American tanto The blade has a lot more point than most tangos, which I guess means a point that is a little less strong that the standard shape. If a super strong point is the main reason for a tanto the Stryker may be a solution out looking for a problem. None the less I am well pleased with the knife and find the blade shape useful.

The blade on my Mini Stryker automatic is just a hair under 3". I would guess that a full size Stryker is right about 4".

The Spyderco Lum is by far the dressiest production tanto in the bunch, and one of the few (if any others) that has a hamaguri grind, which will give a very strong tip, along with a nice thin belly edge. Ti handle gives strength and size without excessive weight. A great performer, and very elegant.

I've never been pleased with chisel grinds. The Benchmade Stryker is a great modified tanto, with a super blade-to-handle ratio, and a wonderful action.

AKTI Member #A000832

"Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, the bear eats you."
i,too,am not a big fan of the chisel grind. i purchased a stryker because of this.i absolutely love it.very tight lock.stays sharp with minimal maintenance.also, appreciate bm offering models for lefties.
Spydie Lum.

I like, not love, the titanium scales. I would, however, like to see different scale materials, possibly micarta...
Sorry, but yer all wrong.

It absolutely has to be the Speed-Tech Synergy.


- AKTI Member ID# A000322
Whoops! Forgot about the SpeedTech! It's definitely the best production tanto around. If you're willing to spend the extra $$, that's the way to go. Otherwise, the Lum is nothing to sneeze at.

AKTI Member #A000832

"Sometimes you eat the bear, and sometimes, the bear eats you."
I have to give my vote for the Lum. It has a very functional blade shape and the knife is just gorgeous! I do kind of wish the scales were bead blasted because its finish does scratch rather easily. The only thing wrong with the Lum is its clip placement. Too much hadle hangs out the pocket for my taste.
I would also like to say that for anybody who wants a really solid tanto on a budget, to get a Cold Steel Voyager. The 3" and 4" tantos are really well made and come ultra sharp out of the box. The 5" is much too big to be practical to me and is also very stiff.
I love my Lum as well. Can't go wrong with one if you can get it. However, I just had an SOG Vision delivered this morning and it is sweet. Titanium handle and symmetrically ground (possibly hollow?) ATS-34, modified tanto blade. Absolutely beautiful and extremely smooth. An excellent knife for the money.
High end - CRK tanto Sebenza (if you can find one)

Mid priced - Own both the regular and mini Strykers. Love them. Both are very smooth and light and have served me well.

It's only a mistake if you fail to learn from it!
Synergy, Sebenza (if you can find a tanto), DA-Socom (awesome!). And take a look at the new Buck Strider. There's a good review in the Buck forum. Seems to be one serious tank-like knife. I also like the Emerson Spec-War and CQC7-B.
My vote is for the Chris Reeve tanto large Sebenza. I absolutely love mine. Very functional blade design. Much more usable than my cqc-7. There are only 400, but I think that there are still a few available if you look. I just got mine 2 weeks ago. Try this link: http://www.nicacutlery.org/

I'll tell you my experiences with the ones I've owned and used.

1. Emerson CQC7 Production Model: This is a tough knife and I used it for the better part of a year. I had two problems. 1) The left hand made strip cutting awkwards and 2) On one occasion, I dropped the knife on concrete and the tip broke. (Emerson replaced the knife free of charge) I really like the CQC7, though and think it's a good all around knife.

2. Microtech Large Socom w/ tanto blade: The Socom is, in my opinion, the best of the production folders. The quality of fit and finish is first rate and the handle design is comfortable. What I really like about the Socom is that the handle has machining for placement of your index and thumb, acting as a sort of guard.

3. Emerson Specwar: This knife seems to not really get much attention compared to the CQC7 or Commander, but I think the handle design is really secure. Again, I had some problems with the left hand grind.

4. GT Knives Button Lock: The quality of this knife was very good as well. The lock mechanism was easy to operate and was very strong. Again, I liked the ergonomics of the handle. My only problem was that the clip is rather stiff and large.

5. REKAT Pioneer II: This is the folder I am carrying and using now. I think it is a sleeper when it comes to the smaller, tactical folder market. The handle design is good. The lock is strong. My only complaint is the method of clip attachment. The pivot pin screw is used to hold the clip in conjunction with a portion of the clip in a divot in the G-10 scale. When the blade pivot loosens, the clip starts to move around. I wish REKAT would redisgn the clip to be attached with 2-3 screws to the liner. This would make a stronger and more secure clip attachment.

My opinions on the American tanto blade. It is my favorite, Aesthetic-wise. The chisel-ground tanto with good edge geometry probably has the best penetrating point of all blade designs. However, for utility chores, I think the flat-grind clip-point or drop point makes a better all-around knife. For a self-defense or martial-arts blade, I like the American tanto the best.
Microtech HALO III
Microtech D/A SOCOM Tanto
Microtech Min-Socom Tanto for more compactness and lighter weight

Or cheaper:
BM Auto Stryker
BM Mini Auto-Stryker for more compactness and lighter weight.

Both BMs are bigger and jeavier than their MT competitors, and MT has the reputation for quality.

I have an MT Mini-SOCOM Tanto, a BM Auto Stryker, and a BM Mini-Auto-Stryker on the way. But as much as I like MT, I can't justify their price for a D/A side opener and would rather get the HALOIII, which is exactly what I did. And I LOVE it!

I think the MT HALO III is the BEST tanto style auto on the market, and it's an OTF to boot. But I also like the BM Auto-Stryker.

You really should handle them all before you buy. That will make your mind up for you better than anything.

If you want a majorly beefy tanto, go with the Buck Strider.
If you want ecomony (but quality too) Kershaw has a decent tanto. Cold steel tantos are good too.
The CRTK Kisses are excellent knives.
Emerson CQC7 is excellent.......
So is the Striker.
You've got a lot of choice for quality tantos.

Tell us what your price range is, and that will help us a lot.

[This message has been edited by edrozen (edited 04-30-2000).]
I really like my BM 910 BT Stryker. Two of the requisite characteristics I was looking for in a folding-knife were compactness and light weight. I wanted a folder with a clip that I could take with me on long runs through the countryside. The Stryker is just small enough that I can clip it inside my running shorts and forget it's there. The thinness really helps with this. Also, with the BT finish, I don't worry about it rusting from exposure to sweat. I also really dig the fact that it has titanium liners. Ergonomics are killer as well.
Also, I used to own a Cold Steel XL Tanto Voyager. I would not recommend this knife. It was solid, but it was very cumbersome and the ergonomics...well, they suck. The ergonomics tended to facilitate a perpendicular wrist-blade orientation, whereas a lot of the better designers allow a more angled orientation (like on the Stryker), which allows you to get your wrist behind the blade, more like a punch dagger. The zytel handle was pretty slippery too. It was sharp as the dickens though. Which just made the poor ergonomics and slippery handle all the more scary.
I'm happy with my large CS Voyager tanto. Opens slicker than any folder I own (I also have the large clip), takes a scary edge. Locks up solid.