Blade Shape

Reverse Tanto

author image by -
10 min read
Boker Plus Gent-X Titanium - Reverse Tanto Blade

In the vast spectrum of knife designs, the Reverse Tanto blade shape emerges as a compelling option for enthusiasts and everyday users alike. This article aims to delve into the depths of the Reverse Tanto's unique characteristics, its pros and cons, and how it compares with other blade shapes. By the end, you should have a comprehensive understanding of whether this blade shape might be your perfect match for Everyday Carry or other uses.

A Journey Back in Time: The Origin of Reverse Tanto Blade Shape

To truly comprehend the essence of the Reverse Tanto blade shape, we must first voyage back to where it all began. The roots of the Tanto blade design trace back to ancient Japanese short swords, known for their upward-curving tip and consistent spine width, optimized for piercing and slashing purposes.

The original Tanto blade had its moment of metamorphosis in the 1980s when the American knife company, Cold Steel, introduced the American Tanto shape. The American Tanto diverged from the traditional design by featuring a sharp angle rising to the spine, creating two distinct sharpening angles and a minimal belly. This new design was primarily coveted for its tactical and combat applications.

In contrast, the Reverse Tanto, a further evolution of the Tanto design, angles sharply downward towards the blade, rather than upward. This modification imbues the blade with a more prominent belly compared to the American Tanto, enhancing its versatility as an Everyday Carry (EDC) tool.

Key Attributes of the Reverse Tanto Blade

The allure of the Reverse Tanto is not merely its striking aesthetics; its functional characteristics also play a pivotal role. Here’s what sets the Reverse Tanto apart:

Physical Characteristics

The Reverse Tanto blade shape has a distinctive design marked by a long, gradually flat belly and an upward sloping area near the tip, akin to a drop point blade belly. This design culminates in a flat spine that gradually slopes upward from the handle, reaches a peak, and then descends sharply to the tip of the blade in a harsh angle. This gives the blade its sturdy and robust tip, distinguishing it from its American and Japanese Tanto counterparts.

Ideal Use Cases

The Reverse Tanto, with its unique design, proves to be a versatile tool in a variety of scenarios. Its robust tip, reminiscent of a chisel, makes it an excellent choice for piercing through tough materials. Moreover, the blade design incorporates a certain degree of belly, making it suitable for slicing tasks. This two-fold functionality makes it an ideal choice for both tactical operations and everyday carry applications.

Advantages of the Reverse Tanto for EDC

The Reverse Tanto blade shape has several advantages that make it an excellent choice for EDC:

  1. Durability & Longevity: The robust tip design and overall construction make the blade incredibly durable. It can withstand regular use without substantial wear and tear, ensuring longevity.
  2. Versatility: The sturdy tip and the slight belly of the blade make it suitable for a wide range of tasks, from piercing hard materials to slicing through softer ones.
  3. Ease of Maintenance: The Reverse Tanto blade shape, with its simple design, is relatively easy to maintain. Sharpening and cleaning the blade is generally straightforward, contributing to the knife’s overall longevity.

Disadvantages of the Reverse Tanto for EDC

Despite its numerous advantages, the Reverse Tanto blade shape has a few limitations:

  1. Limited Belly: Although the Reverse Tanto has more of a belly than a standard Tanto, it’s less than other popular EDC blade shapes like the drop point or spear point. This may restrict its slicing capabilities to some extent.
  2. Potential Tip Weakness: Some manufacturers may skimp on the steel mass at the tip, which could compromise the blade’s piercing abilities. Therefore, it’s crucial to purchase your knife from a reputed brand.
Bergschneid Outdoor Knife
An outdoor folding knife with an reverse tanto blade (from Bergschneid)

Reverse Tanto vs. Related Blade Shapes

A comprehensive understanding of the Reverse Tanto blade shape would be incomplete without comparing it to other related blade shapes. Here are comparisons with two common blade shapes: the American Tanto and the Drop Point.

Reverse Tanto vs. American Tanto

The American Tanto is known for its sharp angle rising to the spine, creating a blade primarily designed for tactical and combat use. On the other hand, the Reverse Tanto angles sharply down to the blade, making it more practical for everyday use due to its added belly. While both designs boast a strong tip, the Reverse Tanto’s larger belly enables it to perform slicing tasks more effectively than the American Tanto.

Reverse Tanto vs. Drop Point

Drop Point blades are popular due to their large belly and robust tip, making them versatile for a variety of tasks. However, the tip of a Reverse Tanto, especially in its Osborne iteration, is generally more robust thanks to its pronounced triangular form. While the Drop Point excels in slicing tasks, the Reverse Tanto outperforms it in piercing tasks due to its stronger tip.

Expert Opinions and User Experiences

The Reverse Tanto blade shape has been lauded by knife experts for its unique design and versatility. Knife enthusiasts appreciate the sharp aesthetics of the Reverse Tanto and its robust construction. Users have noted its exceptional performance in piercing tasks and appreciate the added belly for slicing applications. The overall consensus among users is that the Reverse Tanto is an excellent choice for an EDC knife due to its combination of strength, versatility, and aesthetic appeal.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the Reverse Tanto blade shape offers a unique combination of aesthetics and functionality. Its robust tip and slight belly make it an excellent choice for a variety of tasks, from piercing to slicing. While it may have a few limitations, its advantages far outweigh them, making it an excellent choice for EDC. Whether you’re a seasoned knife enthusiast or just starting your collection, the Reverse Tanto blade shape is worth considering.