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 Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades

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NE450No2

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Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Monday, March 05, 2012 9:26 PM ( #1 )
OK Gents, as you can tell from my post count, I am new here on this Froum, and I am not trying to start a Hatfield and McCoy style fued. However since Colt Steel makes the same  general type of knives with Tanto and Clip point/Bowie style blades, I have the following questions.
 
Assuming the same size/weight, etc. knife which blade design is better for:
 
Fighting. And why?
 
General purpose use, which will include the possibility of defense. And why.
 
And for a third question, say you were going to carry a Voyager for EDC [Every Day Carry, and use], would you pick the Tanto, or the Clip Point?
 
Remember this is a friendly discussion...
 
 
I will state up front I have handled several Tanto pointed Cold Steel knives, but I have never cut anything with them.
I will also state that I am a believer in a Clip Point/Bowie style blade, as that is what I have used most often with the drop point style the second most used.
freelance

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Monday, March 05, 2012 9:53 PM ( #2 )

Most knives that I own, including most of my cold steel knives, are either clip/bowie point or drop/spear point. 

I have an older 3" tanto voyager. I also have the new 4" voyagers in tanto point and the vaquero style blade. 

Because the thick spine extends almost to the end of the blade, the tanto has the most durable tip for piercing. It also makes a deep cut due to the intersection of the two cutting faces. In my opinion, it is most suited for fighting, although it will work adequately as a utility blade. 

Although I was initially skeptical about it, I carry my Vaquero (Nogales Point?) all the time and have found it to be a great utility knife. It is a great slicer. The tip is thin, but still strong enough to pierce if necessary.


Last but not least- the Clip Point...In my opinion, it is the best of both worlds (utility and fighting). It is durable and suited for both slicing and piercing. If I had to carry only one blade type, I would make it a Clip point.



<message edited by freelance on Monday, March 05, 2012 10:32 PM>
Wraith Blade

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Monday, March 05, 2012 9:56 PM ( #3 )
For fighting: Depends on what you trained with and what styles you prefer.
Tanto has better snap cuts and Bowie has great back cuts.  Tanto tip is generally stronger for stabbing penetration.  Tie

For general purpose: Bowie/Clip point has better curved blade for slicing and other utilitarian duties.

For EDC: What do you use your EDC for?  Bowie/clip point again has utility use advantage, but if you don't use a knife on a regular basis, tanto will work too.  I carry both in X2 and Lg Tanto Voyager.
Magius

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 2:20 AM ( #4 )
Wraith Blade


For fighting: Depends on what you trained with and what styles you prefer.
Tanto has better snap cuts and Bowie has great back cuts.  Tanto tip is generally stronger for stabbing penetration.  Tie

For general purpose: Bowie/Clip point has better curved blade for slicing and other utilitarian duties.

For EDC: What do you use your EDC for?  Bowie/clip point again has utility use advantage, but if you don't use a knife on a regular basis, tanto will work too.  I carry both in X2 and Lg Tanto Voyager.


A good summary, Wraith.
In regards to general purpose I would add,that the new Voyager Tanto's also have a nice swell for slicing. If you need a small tip for delicate tasks the clip point works better. If you have to pierce tough material regularly the Tanto is better suited for that task.

Also, since clip point folders don't have a sharpened swedge for obvious reasons the back cut is somewhat diminished.
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mike65

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 3:57 AM ( #5 )
For pure fighting/combat knife either tanto point because it is devastating in snap cut or dagger style because of the advantage of having a double sharp blade. For general/camping use, imho, nothing beat a bowie point. For skinning a drop point is very good and is good ( but not the best) also in large survival knives. Spear point is good for SD knives and is more conventional than tanto point so is easier to resharpen.That's my opinion!
fox

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 5:08 PM ( #6 )
Basic run down that some people will disagree with

For fighting and self defense I would say tanto all the way.  Especially if you are talking a folding knife.
     The reason is structure of the blade and method of fighting.  They are great for draw cuts, stab amazingly well, stronger than a dagger and only a slight drop off in penetration (if any).  It most shines through in the snap cut though.  The snap cut is so fast and so effective, especially with this point that it is just about one of the best go to techniques.



For general use, including possible self defense, I would say the bowie.  
     The reason is again structure.  The larger belly and swoop of the blade allows for more variety of tasks.  It also chops more allowing more mass and weight to be forward.  Some people will say that the bowie is a fighting blade.  I would disagree.  I'm among those who argue Jim Bowie wanted a knife to fight with but also to do everything including being a frontiersman.  This means his blade must be able to do everything to keep him alive every wilderness and hard use chore.

     If the back edge of a bowie is sharpened it does allow the advantage of a back cut when fighting.  IMHO this does not exceed the advantage of the snap cut or the extra strength of the tanto in tactical situation.  It is also impractical to sharpen the back edge of a folding knife negating this.

     The biggest advantage for a bowie as an EDC hard use knife is it's ability as a skinning tool.  Skinning with a tanto is very very impractical.  Skinning with a bowie is practical.


Just to add a backing to Freelance I LOVE my vaquero.  One of the best blade designs ever.  Works amazingly for both self defense and every day chores.  Snap cuts almost as well as a tanto, draw cuts better than a bowie, fine tip for telicate work, two sectioned blade for good control of different tasks.  The only thing you really lose is the chopping of a bowie.


hope this helps. Best yet get one of each blade style, carry them all then you have whatever you need.  Dedicate the tanto to self defense, the bowie to hard tasks and the vaquero to being a serrated edge for what a serrated edge is good for.


In short - fighting / tactical = tanto
              - EDC, hard use, do everything tool = bowie.



"The difference is the woods is the only place I can see a clear path".                                                                   Malcolm Reynalds
calinb

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:39 PM ( #7 )
Fortunately, most of us don't live in an environment that's conducive to determining the optimum self-defense and fighting knife! That's why I've studied Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre's book, "The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse." Ferfal writes extensively about knives, knife fighting, and testing knives. He cites knowledge gained through both personal experience and anecdotal familiarity with violence-ridden, post-collapse Argentina. Ferfal lives in an environment full of lessons and practical experience and he's convinced me that the immensely popular tanto folders may not be the worst folders for self defense, but they are not the best either. I'm amazed at how few fully serrated, deep-bellied S-blades are available when there's a mind-numbing number of tanto blades on the market! Ferfal's book and blog contain different data, but here's some motivation to look for something other than a folding tanto: http://ferfal.blogspot..../knives-for-defense.html Accordingly, I just replaced my US and nicely-made Kershaw Ken Onion Blur folding tanto with a serrated Voyager Vaquero for EDC. I got the large model but now wish I'd ordered the XL, because there's still plenty of room in my pocket! I also wish the Voyager had the thumb plate of Rajah II (or I wish the Rajah II had the Nogales point and serrations) but I guess you can't get everything you want without going custom. (Amazing considering the mind-numbing plethora of knives on the market!) Hmmmm, maybe the Rajah II could be customized. The stock Rajah would be okay, but it's going to be better at chopping than the Vaquero whereas the Vaquero is going to be better at slashing and stabbing. Serrations are going to help the Vaquero get through heavy leather and the sinuous tough stuff like tendons and ligaments. I'm a big game hunter and do all my own butchering. I know!
calinb

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Saturday, March 17, 2012 11:06 PM ( #8 )
I don't know much about knives yet but the other thing I'll miss in my previous EDC folder is the open assist. I think a PD knife should, ideally, have it. You may already be on the ground. injured, or in some kind of compromised or constrained position when you need to deploy your knife. With my old EDC, if I could get one hand on it, I could likely open it--even if pinned down with only enough room to barely move my thumb! Again, I'm amazed that I've searched high and low on the market and can't find my ideal EDC knife for PD. CS comes the closest with the Voyager Vaquero, however.
Wraith Blade

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Saturday, March 17, 2012 11:13 PM ( #9 )
Welcome to the forum and I agree.
It's what you know and how you use your blade that should be the basis for what makes the best defensive and utility blade. 

I also like the curved blade style of the Rajahs and Spartans and I agree that serrations are great for butchering tough parts. 
I personally consider serated blades are more for utility than for SD and S curve blades are vicious for cutting and slashing, but every blade has it's advantage and weakness IMHO.

Nicknife

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Saturday, March 17, 2012 11:19 PM ( #10 )
Clip point for me.
calinb

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 12:28 AM ( #11 )
Thanks for the welcome, Wraith Blade! I was attracted to this thread for my first posts, because it contained the sorts of questions and discussion that I've been thinking about myself, but I forgot to vote and hope I didn't get off-topic too much. ;) Clip point or even Nogales (for effective slashing and stabbing/penetration) is my vote! I agree--I also find the value of serrations to be tougher to assess than than the blade style and they probably reduce versatility.
Saralach

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:02 AM ( #12 )
I'm going with a bowie/clip style because that's what I'm used to, as well as it being serrated. The scalloped serrations of the 2002 night force and pro lite are a lot stronger and, IMO, cut a lot better than the tiny teeth. You generally won't run into problems with stabbing unless your opponent has metal armor on.
On spring assists, personally I'd never carry one. I'm sure they're useful in a pinch situation, but all CS thumb stud knives can be snapped open from the pocket, given a little practice. Place the longer part of the thumb stud on the same side as the clip and the nub toward you. It takes more practice with the new voyagers, but I can do it reliably with a lawman or recon 1.
"Mastery is the final form of madness." - Saralach
calinb

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 2:36 PM ( #13 )
>all CS thumb stud knives can be snapped open from the pocket, given a little practice. 
Thanks, Saralach! It looks easy with the thumb plate models but, as you say, the Voyager series seem iffy.

-Cal


fox

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:00 PM ( #14 )
On the serrated vs non-serrated issue I'm a huge fan of CS serrations.  Serrations are a purpose built item.  When used for what they were designed for they work very well.  When you try to use them beyond there purpose you have problems.  Most people who don't like them either have tried to use them for the wrong purpose, don't like the difficulty (or impossibility of resharpening) or are grumpy with the lack of diversity.  The thing is again that you are talking about a purpose built tool.  It's like being angry with a hammer because it won't chop down a tree.
     Really the best thing to do is have two blades.  I carry one serrated for the things that deserve a serrated task and a straight edge for the things that need a straight edge task.  Don't get angry with a serrated knife for doing what it's supposed to do.  Likewise don't force a straight edge to be serrated.  Use a dog metaphor.  don't expect a bull dog to run as fast as a grey hound and don't expect a grey hound to be as strong as a bull dog.  They are different things excellent at doing different jobs.  

"The difference is the woods is the only place I can see a clear path".                                                                   Malcolm Reynalds
dlyn454

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:02 PM ( #15 )
I won a Master Tanto a couple  years ago in the blind auction, and frankly was a little disappointed that was the knife I won.   As an outdoorsman I liked drop points and Bowies.   It was a fine knife though--so I gave it a chance.   At first my impression was that it was only for self defense.  But I took it on my next deer hunt and was really impressed.  Butchered the deer almost exclusively with it.  It CAN be done---but as Fox stated above--for skinning its far from the best. 
Still-- I am a convert. 

As I see it, the tanto is a great compact fighting knife with a really strong point for stabbing.   I also tested it against same size daggers and Bowies in ease of penetration and it won hands down.   The tip is also stronger than a Bowie--more able to withstand abuse.

However, as others have said, for general purpose I think the Bowie wins.  Whether or not Jim Bowie intended it for general purpose (I too think he did) -- But regardless of his intent, what made it popular among men who needed to survive alone with minimal gear, was its versatility.  

You specified 'of the same size' and that is fine and valid to consider---but I think as you move up in size the Bowie advantage increases.  Much is made today of the clip point --with good reason---but that is not all that makes a Bowie.   Old Bowies 'back in the day' varied a good deal--What they had in common was a long wide blade with a good point and a guard.  These features are as much what makes a Bowie as the clip. 

So---I think if I need a knife for urban use and defense, I am fine with a Tanto.   If I am heading into the bush, I would rather have a Bowie.
 
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:
fox

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:05 PM ( #16 )
Agreed Dlyn.  Well said.  the increase in advantage as size increased with the bowie is VERY valid.  Until it gets too large, unweildy or tries to become a short sword teh increase in advantage and size is excellent.  It's why the 9+ inch bowie blades are so popular.
"The difference is the woods is the only place I can see a clear path".                                                                   Malcolm Reynalds
dlyn454

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 6:58 PM ( #17 )
Right with you Fox.   I lusted for the Natchez and after months playing with it,  I'm glad I got it.  Its really cool and now I have a maximum Bowie.   But---I still prefer the Laredo.  The Natchez to me crosses that line into becomming a short sword.   Nuthin' wrong with short swords !   I love short swords !  But--a short sword isn't a knife.  As a KNIFE the Laredo wins.

I do like 6 inch blades though.  My companions for many years were a 6 inch Puma White Hunter and a 6 inch Puma Bowie. One for hunting and the other for defense.  Probably just due to that familiarity, 6 inches just feels so very right to me.  And that 6 inch Master Tanto feels just as right in my hands as those old Pumas.
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:
calinb

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Sunday, March 18, 2012 8:34 PM ( #18 )
This is the knife I really want, but with a fully serrated edge:

http://home.comcast.net/~calinb/custom_rajah.gif

Or even better, with a bit more of an up-turned Nogales clip point, but I wouldn't want to sacrifice any of the 6" blade length of the Rajah II to get the shape in a customization of it.  It would be the best PD knife ever, I think, with serrations for slashing through a heavy leather jacket and thick clothing, a big S-belly for power, a point for stabbing penetration, a thumb plate for fast pocket deployment, and large size for reach and intimidation.               

Are you listening, Lynn?

jzmtl

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:58 PM ( #19 )
I bought a CS tanto fixed blade and really don't care for it. I don't go around snap cut other people and I suspect neither will most of you, even if you are in a situation require use of your knife.

The thicker tip of tanto is irrelevant, since other style of grinds can be made with tip of similar thickness if the maker choose so.
Saralach

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 2:25 PM ( #20 )
Calinb, take a look at the vaquero knives. The shape is just what you're wanting. And, like I said, you can get them to snap open with practice.
"Mastery is the final form of madness." - Saralach
mike65

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 3:18 PM ( #21 )
IMHO for self defence nothing beat a tanto point because make a permanent wound channel bigger than any other point configuration and can be used either for snap cut or as a dagger. Drop point is a general use point: doesn't excell in nothing but can do all . It is better for skinner than SD knife, I have few drop point knives and are all skinner. Bowies or clip point are excellent for slashing strokes, very good in SD role and everything need to be cut seriously. Nogales point ( a CS exclusive?) are good for SD but excell in cutting ropes. Wharncliff point  are good for emergency knife when is important to cut what is above and not what is down like trouser or pullover.
Equipment

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 3:35 PM ( #22 )
IMO the vaquero is the ultimate in folders but then again who the heck am I. That being said the clip point is the "typical" american style and has been working and defending for ages. I owned a 5" old style votager and never felt that its blade shape was lacking. I also had a buddy who had a vaquero grande that I considered the ultimate arm of death. With those fine serrations, the "s" curve blade and 6" of good old CS steel.......I'm sure that it would end all arguments without a question. The worst part of choosing CS as your go to knife shop is that they're like potato chips, you can't stop at just one! Which ever you choose will serve you well. Enjoy!!!!
ausdigr

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Re:Tanto vs Clip Point/Bowie style blades - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 4:02 PM ( #23 )
Drop point or spear point for the most useful and varied realistic applications.
sometimes things just are not what they seem.

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