The majority of tactical knives are a product of two different applications. Tactical knives generally have specific designs and a special function dedicated to accomplishing a specific task. For the purposes of this article, the term “tactical” will refer to actions or a means that involve situations that are immediate or short term in their duration in order to complete or achieve a specific task.
Tactical knives are used by a wide variety of military, police and law enforcement, correctional and emergency rescue personnel for numerous situations. This has led to the use of many tactical style knives by hikers, hunters and others spending significant amounts of time in outdoor settings. Many tactical knives have practical uses and applications that can also serve the non-professional user as well. Although it is nearly impossible to cover all the various types of tactical knives, we can look at a few of the types of knives that are usually considered tactical in their purpose.
Types of Tactical Knives
1. Boot Knives - This type of knife is usually designed to be carried inside of a boot and its main purpose is to conceal the knife. They may be attached by means of a clip or a strap.
2. Neck Knives - This type of knife is designed to be carried on a cord or necklace around your neck and can offer you an alternative to carrying a more traditional folding style knife in your pocket. It also offers concealment as well.
3. Pack Knives - This type of knife is usually designed to be attached to a pack or LBE for easy access. These are generally knives which may be too large or cumbersome for pocket or belt carry. They usually include attachment loops or lashing holes to facilitate this process and may include an accessory pouch.
4. Belt Knives - This type of knife is usually designed to be carried in a horizontal or a vertical position, depending upon the level of concealment that is desired.
5. Throwing Knives - This type of knife is designed to be thrown. There are numerous throwing techniques and styles and all require a great deal of skill.
6. Dive Knives - This type of knife has more of a more practical than tactical use and is primarily considered a tool for use by divers when working underwater. They do offer a practical choice where corrosion or exposure to wet conditions may be a concern.
7. Rescue Knives - This type of knife is generally designed with the ability to enhance rescue operations and normally include functions for cutting seat belts, breaking glass or cutting wire.
8. Combo Sets - These are usually a set of knives that include both a folding knife and a fixed blade knife that are carried on the same sheath or may be a number of the same type of blade (i.e., throwing knives).
Tactical knives can come in many different configurations depending upon the task that you require it to accomplish. They are available in numerous blade configurations that may include a spear point (i.e., daggers and boot knives), a drop point blade or a combination blade that includes a partially serrated edge. The blades may also come in a mirror finish, a satin finish or have a black coating on the blade. They can also be found in different types and grades of steel (i.e., AUS8, 440 stainless) and in varying degrees of thickness depending upon your planned use. The type of steel in your tactical knife will also determine its ability to maintain an edge, be easily sharpened and be corrosion resistant. Blade lengths will vary greatly depending upon whether or not your tactical knife is a folder or a fixed blade.
The handles may be made of high quality aircraft aluminum or other lightweight but rugged materials such as G10 or Zytel or may be more traditional materials such as stacked leather (i.e., Ka-Bar USMC) or a rubberized handle material. The handles may also include a pommel that can be used to break glass or to hammer objects and may or may not have a lanyard hole. Some also come with only the fixed tang which is then wrapped with paracord to create a handle grip.
Most of the handles are designed to handle extreme weather conditions and give you a firm and secure grip while keeping weight to a minimum.
Tactical knives may also come with either a nylon sheath or a Kydex style “hard” sheath. The quality of the sheaths often depends upon the quality of the tactical knife being used. Most dive knives come with rubberized attachment straps and polypropylene cases to make them as water-proof as possible. Sheaths may also include accessory pouches that allow you to carry additional items such as a sharpener, fire starter or multi-tool.
There is a wide variety of tactical-style knives on the market. When deciding which tactical knife will be the best for you to use, it will serve you well to consider all the available options and try to get a tactical knife that will meet as many of the possible uses you may require to get the job done.
Staying above the water line!