Pocket Knife Blade Shapes
As you continue your research into your next pocket knife, one other decision you will need to make is the blade shape. If you are choosing a multi-blade knife, many of the knives will offer different blade shapes on a single knife. Each shape is designed to be used in specific situations and not all blades work in every situation. Try to get a knife that is going to meet your specific requirements. Let’s look at the different blades that are available.
The Clip Point
The feature that stands out on this type of blade is its concave cut-out shape on the back of the knife right at the tip. The purpose behind this design is to make the tip sharper while also lowering it to provide a little more control. It’s one of the most popular blade shape and one of better all-around shapes.
Advantages of the Clip Point
- Sharp, controllable tip
- Lots of “belly” (cutting edge) for slicing
- Tip is good for piercing
Disadvantages of the Clip Point
- Tip is not very strong and narrow
The Drop Point
The Drop point is another good all-purpose shape and is the other popular shape found on knives. The back of the knife is straight until you get near the tip where it then slopes down to meet with the bottom in a sharp point. This gives the knife lots of control, while retaining more strength than you would have with the Clip point. The belly of the knife has a large surface area for slicing. The point isn’t as sharp as the clip point design but they do really well as a skinning knife.
Advantages of the Drop Point
- Sharp tip that is strong and controllable
- Large cutting area on the belly for slicing
Disadvantages of the Drop Point
- Not as sharp as the Clip Point
- Not a very good piercer
The Tanto Point
The Tanto point is a style that was popularized in Japan. The blade is most useful in a fighting application, for thrusting, stabbing and slicing. The back of the knife is typically fairly straight while keeping a rather think spine until it gets close to the point. There the tip meets a straight edge that has a flat grind. The design enables the knife to have an extremely strong tip, which is useful if you need to pierce through heavy materials. The shape will often not have a belly or a hollow grind along the straight edge. There are many different variations on this design available. Keep in mind that although it’s not known for having a belly, it still cuts in most situations just fine. It’s just not a everyday carry type of blade for most people.
Advantages of the Tanto Point
- Excellent for piercing or stabbing through hard materials
- Very strong point
Disadvantages of the Tanto Point
- Point is hard to control
- Very little to no belly for slicing
The Sheepsfoot Point
The primary purpose for this design is slicing and chopping. As result there is essentially no point on the knife. The back of the knife is straight until it curves down to meet the belly. The cutting edge of the knife is straight to provide a large cutting area. This style of blade is used often by emergency personnel or in any other situation where you want to avoid stabbing or injuring someone inadvertently. The solid back of the knife provides a stable surface for applying additional pressure when chopping or cutting without injuring yourself.
Advantages of the Sheepsfoot
- Lots of control
- No point to prevent accidental stabbing
- Very effective at slicing with a clean cut
Disadvantages of the Sheepsfoot
- No sharp point
The Needle Point (Dagger)
This design is made for a specific purpose, and that is stabbing and piercing soft targets. It’s primarily used in self-defense situations, usually in close combat situations. The blade is sharpened on both sides of the blade in order to allow the knife to cut and penetrate very easily. The blade usually is designed so that it tapers off with straight lines to the point. However, there are some variations available that add a little curve to the design. But the knife is not very strong and can break against hard surfaces fairly easily.
Advantages of the Needle Point
- Sharp point and thin blade makes it the best piercing design
Disadvantages of the Needle Point
- No belly for slicing
- Very weak in other applications and can break easily
The Spear Point
The Spear point design is similar to the drop point, with the difference being that the point will be located in the middle of the blade. This design is very easy to control and the point is very strong. In many cases both sides of the blade will be sharpened, which ends up with a sharp tip. In other applications the back of the blade will be left unsharpened. Typically this style of design will be used on throwing knives.
Advantages of the Spear Point
- Very strong point
- Easily controlled
- If the blade is double edged, then it has a sharp point
Disadvantages of the Spear Point
- Small cutting edge for slicing
The Trailing Point
The Trailing point blade will have a point that either curves up higher than or as high as the back of the blade. This blade is primarily used for skinning and also found on filet knives. The curve of the blade provides a large belly for slicing. Depending on the height of the tip, it could be used as a piercing blade, but most of the time it’s not.
Advantages of the Trailing Point
- Large area on the belly for skinning or slicing
- The high tip will be out of the way
Disadvantages of the Trailing Point
- The tip is fairly weak
The Gut Hook
This is a special application blade, primarily used by hunters. The blade has a hook cut into the spine of the blade near the tip of the knife. A hunter would place this hook into a small slice on the underbelly of an animal and then pull the blade like you would a zipper. This opens up the belly of the animal without slicing into the muscle. Its primary application is in field dressing.
Advantages of the Gut Hook
- Great for field dressing game
- Has a large belly used for slicing
Disadvantages of the Gut Hook
- Very difficult to sharpen the “hook”
The Pen Blade
This small sized blade is often found on smaller pocket knives and utility knives. It’s similar in design to a spear point, with both a dull and sharp side on the blade. The original purpose to this design was to sharpen quills to make writing pens, thus that’s how it received its name. Not very sharp but comes in handy at times.
Advantages of the Pen Blade
- Small and multipurpose
Disadvantages of the Pen Blade
Small in size and not typically very sharp