There is a vast variety of knives available to purchase on the market ranging from everyday carry knives to tactical knives, and everything in-between. Just as the knives vary, the blades that make up these knives vary also. Listed below are different blade styles that we see on most knives on the market today. Each has their own purpose, their own strengths, and their own weaknesses. No one is perfect in every way, but it can be perfect for the job you need it for. Take a look and see what is available.
A clip point blade is one of the more popular blade shapes used today. What defines a clip point is the back edge of the knife runs straight from the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. Then the angle bends and continues to the point of the knife. This “cut-out” area can be straight or curved, and is referred to as the “clip.” Some advantages of the clip point are its sharp controllable point, it is good for piercing, and there is plenty of cutting edge for slicing. One disadvantage of the clip point is that the point is narrow and weaker than other blade styles. In the end though it is a great blade to have, especially if you will be doing a lot of slicing.
Knife Examples: Kershaw Launch 5, Spyderco Para-Military 2.
The dagger blade is double-edged and is best used for stabbing or thrusting. It has two sharp edges which allows the knife cut in on both sides. Dagger blades are mainly used in self-defense, close combat situations. However, it is not the strongest of blades and can break against hard surfaces. An advantage of the dagger blade style is that it is thin and has a sharp point which provides a piercing ability. Some disadvantages of the dagger is that its tip is fragile, and there is no real “belly” on the blade for slicing.
A needle point blade (also known as a dagger) is also a double-edged blade used for stabbing or thrusting as well as a stiletto blade.
Knife Examples: Piranha Mini-Guard, Microtech Ultratech.
The drop point is an all-purpose blade that is able to stand up to anything that it comes across. Its blade is one of the most popular blade shapes in use today. The unsharpened edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner. The large edge for cutting makes it perfect for slicing. Another advantage that the drop point has is its tip. The point on the blade is sharp and is thicker than other styles, thus allowing for a stronger tip. The point is also great when it comes to controlling the blade. Accuracy is key, especially when it comes to fine tune cutting. The drop point is an all-around good blade to have on a knife and is popular on knives because of the controllable point and large slicing area.
Knife Examples: Benchmade Stryker, Zero Tolerance Sinkevich.
A gut hook blade is a special type of blade in which part of the spine has a sharpened semi-circle created into it. It is most often used by hunters and fishermen for field dressing. The “hook” in the spine is placed in a small cut in the underside of the animal and pulled like a zipper. The small hook opens the abdomen of the animal without slicing into the muscle, possibly affecting the quality of the meat.
Some people do not feel that having a gut hook is important/necessary for many reasons; safety being among those reasons. Traditionally, gut hooks are featured on the back of the plain edge blade. This has a possibility to cause all sorts of problems when being used. If anything, the gut hook provides another tool to carry with you while out in the wild.
Knife Examples: SOG Revolver 2.0 Hunt, Bear & Son Guthook Knife.
Recurved blades offer a great cutting leverage when it comes to draw cuts. Another benefit of a recurve is that it lengthens the cutting edge longer than the actual length of the blade. The design also gives the edge multiple angles to work with. Recurves excel at slicing, whether it’s for food prep or cutting rope. Slicing isn’t the only cutting task that can benefit from a recurve’s contour. Other cuts, such as chopping and slashing, are best done with the use of a recurve blade. That is why you will find recurves on blades used for clearing vegetation, large choppers, and even certain defensive blades.
There are a couple of disadvantages to a recurve edge. Sharpening the blade involves a different technique when compared to sharpening more conventional blades such as a drop point. It can be difficult, and will be frustrating at first. If you are more accustomed to a traditional blade style, the recurve may take a while to adjust to. The ways these blades cut are quite different.
Knife Examples: Benchmade 67 Bali-Song, Boker Exclusive Recurve Tanto Kalashnikov 74.
In comparison with a sharp plain edge, such as that on a clip point, serrations tend to do well in cutting hard material. Whether it be thick rope, hard plastics, bones, or any other fibrous material, a serrated blade is capable of cutting through it. Serrated cutting is done by a few key factors. When beginning to cut, the tiny points on all the serrations touch the object being cut. This allows for a more centralized pressure on the cut. After applying this pressure, the dozens of little serrations act like hooks. Each pull at the material until it is cut deep. The penetrating points and scallops greatly assist in cutting with their low-edge, sharp angle. Many question the usage of a serrated blade. They ask if it is even worth it to have as a tool when they have a sharp plain edge. However, it is difficult to ever really know when you will be needing a serrated blade, especially in the wild. But it is essential to be prepared for whenever that situation arises. Ultimately, with this blade, you will be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws your way.
Knife Examples: SOG Revolver 2.0 Hunt, Spyderco Delica 4.
A sheepsfoot blade has a straight front edge and a dull back spine that curves down to meet the straight edge. The main purpose of a sheepsfoot is for cutting and slicing where a point is not wanted or needed. A sheepsfoot blade is excellent because of its strength without any weak points. Also the cutting edge is entirely flat, making it easier to sharpen. Great for chopping but lacks a sharp point. The blade has a design which makes it look and perform in a tough and durable way. Plus, there are not that many sheepsfoot blades out on the market; making it more unique. The mild upsweep of the sheepsfoot blade makes for an awesome cutter.
Knife Examples: Benchmade Griptilian, SOG Snarl.
A spear point blade is similar to a needle-point blade in that is good for piercing. However, its point is stronger and it contains a small “belly” that can be used for slicing. The belly is relatively small when compared to drop point and clip point blades. A spear point is symmetrically pointed with a tip that is in line with the center of the blade. These types of blades can be either single-edged or double-edged. The most popular form of the spear point knife usually comes with a double-edged design.
A common use for the spear point blade is for throwing knives, but be careful of what kind of knife you’ll be throwing. The lowered point on the spear point is easy to control and is useful for fine tip work. A spear point knife is a great choice for those looking for a good balance between piercing and slicing ability. In the end, it is a great mix design that is highly functional. Simply put, the distinct advantages of the spear point include its strong point, its sharp point (especially when double edged), and its ability to be easily controlled and maneuvered. A disadvantage of the spear point is its smaller cutting edge for slicing. Having this type of blade makes the knife a better tactical tool because of its controlled cutting and stabbing abilities.
Knife Examples: Benchmade Mini Infidel, TOPS Knives Exclusive BlackOut Wild Pig Hunter.
The tanto blade has a somewhat chisel-like point that is thick towards the point (being close to the spine) and is thus quite strong. The tanto knife was inspired by ancient Japanese swords. The Westernized tanto is often straight but may also be gently curved. This style of blade became popular during the ‘80s shortly after the blade was created and introduced. The tanto does not have a typical belly (such as that on a drop point), which is sacrificed in exchange for a stronger tip. Its design makes it great for push cuts, rather than slicing, and piercing tougher materials because of its tip’s strength.
Knife Examples: Benchmade Stryker, Gerber Propel.
Hope this list can help you find the knife you are looking for. Each blade style has their own strengths and weaknesses. They will all perform well for what they are intended to do. Once you have your blade style decided, it’s time to move onto what type of handle material and blade steel you will get. You can find the perfect knife that is right for you.