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What Really Makes a Tactical Knife Tactical and What Are They Actually Used For?

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best tactical knives

The term "tactical" has become a buzz word of sorts over the course of the last decade, as interest in law enforcement, military, and wildness survival practices has continued to increase (thank you reality television). However, just because the word "tactical" precedes a piece of gear, such as a knife or tomahawk axe, doesn't mean it's suited for tactical purposes.


In fact, some of the meanest, most aggressive-looking tactical knives for sale aren't tactical at all. They're merely decorated for use in cosplay or as a collector item. Were these used in the same ways the best tactical knives were, they would fall apart. Literally.

The best tactical knives and tactical tomahawks are used by skilled law enforcement, military, and outdoor enthusiasts to execute several tasks, not for recreating popular video game and graphic novel characters (no shade meant, cosplayers). While many people are familiar with combat tomahawks and knives being used as weapons, both pieces of tactical gear are multipurpose tools, and used for a variety of purposes, such as breaching urban search and rescue operations.

The four main factors that make the best tactical knives tactical are design, purpose, material and ergonomics.

Tactical knives serve different purposes and are specifically designed for certain tasks. You wouldn't use a butter knife to cut your sirloin steak, would you? The same goes for tactical knives. For example, a Navy SEAL would use a different knife in an emergency rescue operation than a private investigator would for breaching. Tactical knives can be used as utility, entry, and cutting tools among other purposes. It's all contingent upon the nature of operation.

Tactical knives are also ergonomically designed for both forward and reverse grips, allowing the user to have a firm, comfortable grip while the blade is under stress. Often times, tactical knives can be custom made, not mass produced, to ensure a seamless grip. This is where materials come into play. A tactical knife will last several lifetimes, as opposed to one Comic Con visit.

When in doubt, do your homework. Consider the purpose of the knife, including the materials. If a knife "looks" cool but is cheap and made of flimsy materials, it's probably not worth the hype.

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