If you are in search of a cutting tool that allows you to stab through tough things, then it is the Tanto knife that you are looking for. Japan is well known for making knives that serve great purposes in daily life. The Tanto knife is also originated in Japan. The overall look of the Tanto knife is like a sword that is short compared to the usual length.

What makes the Tanto knife capable of piercing through tough things is the unique blade that is very pointed and sharp with a length of about 12 inches. Japanese used the Tanto knife for combat during battles and even today the Tanto knife is in use. The Americans remodelled the Tanto knife which is known as American Tanto Knife currently.

There are more interesting facts that you can get to know about in the overview that we included below. Furthermore, there are more uses of the Tanto knife that you will be very intrigued to know about. To help you with choosing the best Tanto knife we also included a buying guide. Some FAQs might arise in your curious minds we tried our best to include some of them. Have a look at the further details of the very versatile Tanto knife.

Overview of Tanto Knives:

The Tanto knife was originated between the late 8th and 12th centuries while the Heian era ruled throughout Japan. Soldiers called the Samurai used the Tanto knife as a killing weapon that is used for survival and combat as well. The blade of the Tanto knife is well known to possess a lot of strength and power making it ferocious.

The technique that was used for forging the Tanto knife is called the hira zukuri in Japan. But later on, Americans also added came up with a modern Tanto that is inspired by the traditional pattern of the Japanese version of the Tanto knife.

Let’s dive into further details of the design of the Tanto knife. So, the blade of the Tanto knife has a flat grind that works for piercing through tough materials. The tip of the blade consists of a thick amount of metal that ensures the blade can pierce its way through tough material without breaking because of strong impact.

What makes the Tanto blade unique is the front edge is the one that is sharpened and it is designed to meet the rear edge that is not sharpened to form a sharp angle instead of a curve. As the tip of the knife is fierce for combat purposes, the knife cannot be used for slicing purposes so it is not an ideal everyday carry knife. But that doesn’t make the Tanto knife any less valuable than other knives you have known till now.

The modern version of the Tanto knife consists of a blade that ranges in length between 6 to 12 inches. Furthermore, the modern design has two bevels, where one of them is straight and long, while the other one is vertical and short. You will get the modern ones both double-edged or single-edged.

How to Choose the Best Tanto Knife?

Now, it is time for you to get yourself a Tanto knife if you want to purchase one to use or to simply add it to the collection of your knives if you are a knife enthusiast. We have prepared a buying guide and listed down details regarding some important facts that you need to pay heed to, for purchasing the best Tanto knife for yourself.

  • Piercing capability: The main job of the Tanto blade is to pierce through tough things. So, the piercing capability of the Tanto blade is the main aspect that you need to check when you purchase a Tanto knife. You need to check the blade has a flat grind and also a high point in its structure to make sure it has the piercing capability.


You will notice a thickness in the tip of the blade that makes the knife capable of getting through tough material without breaking or getting deformed in shape. The blade will remain just the way it is because it should be able to take impact while puncturing through materials.

  • Durability: The durability of the blade depends on the making of the tip and the type of metal that has been used. The tip of the blade is like a chisel and the perfect Tanto knife will have more quantity of metal present there compared to the rest of the body of the blade. If the knife has enough durability you get to use it with freedom and without worrying about the blade snapping allowing you full control to work with precision.
  • Quality of pommel: The pommel is like a knob that is present at the end of the handle of the Tanto knife. It is an important part of the knife as it absorbs the shock and impact that occurs because of striking, slashing or piercing. The construction of the pommel is done using steel and is also composed of other materials to make it strong for the endurance of impact.

Type of tanto blades:

As the heritage of the tanto knife passed down many generations. People added changes to the blade of tanto knife that you have unique features. We have listed down some well-known tanto blades.

  • Katakiriha: A blade that has only one side sharpened and the style is asymmetrical but is similar to the structure of a chisel.
  • Kubikiri: This blade has a slight curve that can be easily spotted with an unsharpened point.
  • Shinogi: Single-edged short blade.
  • Shobu: Just like Shinogi, Shobu also has a similar design with an edge that has a slight curve to it and there is a long cutting edge.
  • Hira: This type of Tanto blade is very well known and commonly used. The blade has a triangular cross-section and there is no flat spot present.
  • Kanmuri-Otoshi: a blade that has a long and wide groove from the rear part of the blade that goes up till half of the blade’s part.
  • Unokubi: This blade is just like kanmuri-otoshi but the rear of the blade is thin at the middle portion but has a tip that has required metal thickness.
  • Moroha: Blade with a dual-edge with diamond cross-section.


  1. Why did samurai carry a tanto?

Ans: The samurai used to carry the tanto knife because they believed that the knife contained warrior spirit.

  1. What is a tanto knife good for?

Ans: The tanto knife is not only good but best for piercing hard things because of the blade that has a flat grind with a thick tip that can get through tough materials.

  1. What makes a knife a tanto?

Ans: The unique tip at the end of the blade makes a knife a tanto. You can easily spot a tanto knife because the end has an angular structure and there is no curving belly present.

  1. Is tanto good for EDC?

Ans: If you think practically about the tanto knife it is not very convenient enough to carry along with you every day because of its size. You would want a knife that is the size of a pocket knife to move around. However, some people do carry the tanto knife along with them in areas where they might have to face animal attacks.

Common Uses of Tanto knife:

The common uses of the tanto knife are as follows:

  • You can use the knife for self-defence and even in martial arts.
  • The unique tip of the knife allows you to pierce and penetrate through tough materials.
  • The knife can be used for cutting ropes or pipes.
  • If you use the knife carefully you can use it for cutting foot items like meat.

Where to buy Tanto Knives:


To sum up, the tanto knife is for both the old and new eras because of the unique blade that makes it stand out amongst all the other knives that you have known. The tip of the knife is like a chisel shape that makes it capable of stabbing hard objects without breaking because of how intelligently it is made by adding a noticeable amount of metal at the tip.

Both the modern and traditional tanto knives can help you accomplish a lot of uses practically. To help you select the best tanto knife for yourself we included a buying guide with important features that you need to look for.

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