What's the strongest around? Tac11, Strider, or ?

Mar 2, 2000
Hi, all. I'm looking for a "superman" knife. I'd like it to be a utility/fighter style knife. Two examples of nearly unbreakable knifes are Tac11, and Strider. Are there others? (Mad Dog, maybe). What's your choice? What's the Strongest? Let me know. Thanks.

EdRozen-On the cutting edge of finding out what the cutting edge is....
I would think that if any of Jerry Busse's styles appealed to your eye they should definitely be considered in this discussion.

Semper Fi
Everything I've heard here on the forums suggest that they have the wrong shape and balance for a fighter; So, no, I'm not really interested in a Busse. Thanks.
Don't get me wrong, I don't need the "perfect" fighter as far as balance and shape goes, but I find that I prefer this type of blade.

[This message has been edited by edrozen (edited 05-03-2000).]
The reason that people are saying that Busse's do not make good fighters is mainly that they are MD fans and the argument vs Busse in the utility area is not even close because of the huge difference in strength/toughness and cutting ability. The argument for fighters is hardly a direct win for MD either as Busse Combat blades will cut better because of a more acute edge profile and not all Busse Combat blades are blade heavy nor are all Mad Dog blades neutral balanced. Nor are all fighting systems based on similar blade types. Busse Combat also has a custom shop so you can get whatever balance and grip style you want.

That being said in terms of raw strength Strider is very hard to beat, simply because of the amount of steel in the blades. Take the WB for example, is is 1/4" with a low sabre grind and a very thick point. I did some work last week using the tips of several knives popping wood out of 2x8 plank. At 2.0 cm penetration into the wood I broke the point off a Steel Eagle and the Busse Basic flexed almost parallel to the board before breaking the wood out. The Strider WB easily popped the wood out with no bending I could see.

The full INFI blades are significantly stronger than the M-INFI ones from what I can see in comparing a Basic and a Battle Mistress and I will repeat this with the Battle Mistress later. An interesting comparision would be a small INFI blade like the Badger Attack vs the WB vs TAC-11 etc .

If I was seriously looking for a good fighting blade and didn't see what I wanted in the production area, I would go for a custom maker like Hossom or Schott and explain to them what I wanted in terms of handling characteristics which would be determined by whatever style of fighting you are skilled in. Gurkha's use large khukuris that make the Battle Mistress look like a machete, not all fighting styles use ultra-thin neutral blades.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 05-03-2000).]
Would you consider anything from the Mission Knife & Tool camp? I own one of their MPKs, but my needs are more weighted toward the utility function and less toward the fighter capabilities. For most of what you've described though, their MPT might fit the bill nicely. It sports a very ergonomic looking handle and has a sleeker profile with less belly than my MPK. I know their Beta titanium doesn't have the edge holding ability of ATS-34 or BG-42 due to its lower tensile strength and RC value, but I can tell you from my experience that it takes a hair shaving edge rather easily and holds it fairly well in a majority of cutting chores.
And if you can get past the edge retention issue, the remaining characteristics of Beta Ti have a fairly impressive upside.

Lightweight- I believe a steel blade of comparable dimensions weighs approx 50% more. This makes the knife extremely quick in your hand which is obviously a benefit in the fighting mode. Of course the light weight works against you in the chopping mode.

Corrosion resistant- In all but certain extreme chemical environments, I believe you can essentially consider Beta Ti to be corrosion proof.

Toughness- Hopefully someone like Cliff will correct me if I'm wrong here, but it's my understanding that what Beta Ti lacks in tensile strength it makes up for in toughness. I would think this would be of benefit particularly where dynamic stresses are encountered.

I should probably note that Mission also makes a version of this knife out of A2 steel. I believe both Mike Turber and Cliff Stamp have reviewed the steel version of the MPK with fairly positive results. I would love to see Cliff do some testing on one of the titanium blades inasmuch as destructive testing is Cliff's forte and I think that might be the type scenario where Beta Ti would shine.

Finally, I think Cliff's final point is worth considering especially if you have time on your side. A custom blade made to your specifications out of CPM-3V by one of the aforementioned makers would probably be a tough combination to beat. Good luck. Let us know how the search turns out.

Semper Fi
Cliff, the steel eagle must be different that the TOPs Anaconda that I saw at the Vegas Gun show. The Anaconda had it's full thickness by the 2 cm point and I would think it would be near impossible to break it 2 cm in since the wood would give before the metal.
Edrosen, the Busse steel heart II is just as tactical as the Tac 11 and easily as tough, not to mention it having a longer blade. The tac 11 is a little on the short side as for length but appears to be hefty.

It is hard to get both fast handling and tough in one package, but I think the steel heart sure comes closer than the tac 11. Strider is fine, but do those knives come with real handles instead of cord wrapped handles. For the high price that those knives go for I would expect micarta or G-10 or something else.

What about TOP's, livesay, BK&T? Or are they not tactical enough.

Look into Lightfoots predator blade and Carsons U-2, I think they may fill the bill for tactical and tough.
What is BK&T? And yes, Strider knives do come w/ Micarta handles. Have I thought about the other knives you mentioned, yes. But I want a real "hardcore" "tough-as-hell" kind of fighter. It doesn't have to be pretty either. I was really kind of leaning toward the TAC 11, because you can get it with the Ti coating that will protect it forever. I also read that you can use it all day without blistering. But now that Busse's got the new handles, it makes me think about it also. And I've heard a lot about how tough Striders are. Well, I'm still as undecided as ever
and even more so, now that Cliff has informed that Busse makes pretty decent fighters after all.
And I already have a TOPS Steel Eagle 7" blade, and I love it to death; but I was under the impression that these weren't part of the elite "supertough" knives.

[This message has been edited by edrozen (edited 05-03-2000).]
BK&T stands for Becker Knife and Tool which is a working line of knives that was recently resurrected by Camillus.

I'd say the only reason your TOPs Steel Eagle doesn't meet the current definition of elite "supertough" knives is because it's made of 1095 steel. This is a very fine high carbon steel, the same that KaBar uses I believe, but it's very common, not expensive and has been around for a long time. I think it's safe to say that, when properly heat treated, there are a significant number of other steels that can outperform it in basically all categories. Thus, it's possible to make a very good knife out of 1095 (and I imagine the TOPs is one). But you've clearly stated that you don't want a very good knife, you want the best, and so, if you are searching for the absolute ne plus ultra in terms of performance, you must look elsewhere.

I'll also point out that in your first post you wanted the "strongest", and in your most recent post you're looking for the "toughest". I'm not trying to be a stickler, but it's important to realize that these are not the same thing. In fact, you have to give up one to get the other. Many steels can be made to excel at one or the other, but it's rare to encounter a steel that excels at both. It's for this reason that we've so strongly recommend looking at the INFI blades of the Busse line and the CPM 3V steel that several custom makers now offer. These truly are "elite" steels which employ alternative manufacturing processes allowing them to achieve abnormally high levels of performance in both categories.

Cliff, if you would be so kind to enlighten us again, are there any steel knives currently produced that can match the toughness of an MK&T Beta Ti blade?

Semper Fi
Edrozen, The TOP's Anaconda is supposed to be the toughest knife in their lineup and it definitelly looks the part.

Good to hear that Strider makes them with good grips. I did not see them on their web site.

Edrozen, you may want to read the MD thread in reference to coatings. The Ti coating WILL NOT protect the knife forever. At most it will slow down corrosion and help against abrassion for a while. There are two types of coatings with that name. One is Birdsongs Black-Ti coating which is extremely corrosion resistant as long as it does not get scratched off, which is easy to do since it does not offer much hardness. the other coating is the same Ti coating that is offered on the Timberline specwar which is very hard and is said to Rockwell out to over 90. This is interesting since if I remember correctly, the Rockwell C scale does not go that high. In any case, assuming they are correct, this will hinder abrassion, but corrosion will eventually work it's way underneath and begin the rusting process without your knowledge since you cannot see the bare finish. Hard Chrome Bonding is much better than the Ti coating. It is not as hard(Rc 70-78), but will not chip or flake off as easily since it is bonded to the metal. Yet HC will eventually allow moisture to get through and cause corrosion unseen and unhindered; if not through the porosity of the coating, then through the edge which is not coated after some hard use.

A clear coating would be a great idea if someone came up with it, but no one has yet.
Ergonomically, the Tac11 does not look very confortable at least not any more than the busse. The Busse has already proven it's capabilities and strength. In my book the Busse is tougher until someone proves to me that it is not the case. I know several people who have seriously abused the busse knives with no failures. I do not know even one person, who owns a Tac11, even though there has been a few articles in the knife mags, in the last couple of years on this knife.

"real hard core, tough as hell king of fighter" The busse steel heart may not be as mean looking as the Tac11, but it is slightly longer has a better edge profile and cannot be beaten as far as strength is concerned.

BK&T is Becker Knife and Tool line that Camillus is comming out with. these look to be very tough and cost effective.
As for Mission, the strength of their Ti blades is very low as compared to the blade steels being discussed here, as well as it is much softer meaning it will indent readily. They do have an advantage in regards to toughness/ductility but as to what effect this would make I don't really know. Cobalt has one.

Cobalt, the Steel Eagle's point broke below the 2.0 cm mark, that was just the depth it was in the wood. The greatest strain point as you know is much lower. I have the break point recorded, it is just not on me. I'll post it up later. As for the profile. It is actually thicker than the original it came with because I broke it off before and had reground it. While the profile might be thick, 1095 is a very weak steel compared to the stainless and tool steels being used in high end blades. As for the Strider blades they can come with G10 grips if you want. Strider though strongly recommends the cord for security reasons.

Bronco made a very critical point when he noted that strength and toughness are very different. When you increase one you generall decrease the other.

Ed, could the TAC-11 handle the wood popping? I don't know. It has a strong steel and geometry so I would expect it to, but I have not used it. The maker is email active so you might want to drop him a line.

If I'm not mistaken, The Strider knives come with cord wrap or G-10 handles, as standard. Are Micarta handles offered as a custom option?
For edrozen and Cobalt,
Re. coatings,
Cobalt, you have a good description of some of the coatings avialible on knives, but I can clear up a little confusion. THe Birdsong coating, is BLACK-T[T for teflon]. It is a Thermally cured[baked on] resin/teflon coating. Very corrosion resistant, but you correctly state, not as hard as some others. Practically speaking, BLACK-T and Benchmade's BT2 are somewhat similiar.

BLACK-Ti[for Titanium, is a PVD[partical vapor deposition]coating involving depositing a VERY thin layer of Titanium particle on the surface of the steel. This is a VERY involved process, and very controllable. It is also very hard, approx 90 Rc. You see the 'gold' color version of this coating on various machine tools and drill bits applied to increase tool life. It does ad some corrosion resistance, but admittidley, not as good as BLACK-T[teflon]. But it is ALOT more wear resistant. It also has the advantage of being very thin[approx 4 microns], so that it doesn't screw with tolerances in folders the way some of the piant type coatings can. I have had NO experience with corrosion undetected under BLACK-Ti. Yes, I have rusted BLACK-Ti coated blades, but it is VERY easy to spot. Bottom line on BLACK-Ti, its BLACK, it offers added corrosion, which with some of the higher performance steels is a good thing, while being as abrasion resistant as possible.

Wew, more than I thought I was gonna say

Hope this helps!

Stay Sharp!
Will Fennell
Camillus Cutlery

Cliff and Will, thanks for the expert clarification. Cliff, maybe the next time there's an opening in your testing schedule (around the summer of 2004 I'd figure
) you could put one of these Beta Ti blades through the ringer and give us some idea how its performance stacks up against your better steel blades.

Semper Fi
Will, I agree with what you state. However, I'm pretty sure that those Gold colored Bucks weren't using the Ti coating. They contracted a small company in SoCal to do the coating. This coating they were also using for machine parts as you correctly stated the Black-Ti coating was. Rc was also in the 90 range.

By the way, the HC bonding process done by a few different places does not change the tolerances much either, Since it bonds at the microscopic level with the steel.
It's worth taking a look at Barry Dawson and Ted Frizzell. They make some very tough fighting knives.
Would someone mind clearing up why Strider recommends the cord handle for security reasons? The only thing I can think of is that possibly G10 will allow you leave fingerprints and the cord will not. Also, I got G10 and Micarta mixed up with the Striders. Sorry.
Security just means the grip will be more stable. The cord on the Striders does make a very secure grip. With a clean grip I can do full power stabs with no hand movement at all on the cord. Strider says the same is possible even when your grip is compromised with blood or whatever, I have not tried this yet.

Strider's cordwrap is NOT a normal wrap, it is very unique. You should check out their site:


On another note, I have a model WP that had a cord wrap, but I am finishing putting a Micarta handle on it. The reason has nothing to do with grip security, I just like Micarta and like the looks of the handle better.

My knife is 8" OAL with a 3.5" blade and is .25" thick. It is THE toughest utillity blade I have ever seen. Strider makes TOUGH utillity knives...UTILLITY. Sure I would use my knife in self defense in a pinch...I would also use a pen in a pinch.

That's my opinion.


Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?

I hope that after I die, people will say of me: "That guy sure owed me a lot of money."