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"Tactical" Is Not a Purpose of Use and Represents an Undesirable Design Feature

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Oakengroves, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Picksmith


    Sep 4, 2009
    I can't find anything undesireable about a paramilitary 2. The civilian on the other hand seems tactical... I'm inclined to enjoy any knife that is well designed, specialty or otherwise.
  2. mercop


    Mar 26, 2002
    When I first joined the Army as an MP in 91, the first "Tactical" flashlight I had was the old crook neck that ran on 2 D batteries. That was in training. When I got to my duty station, at the suggestion of others I respected I got a long C cell Mag Lite. Why? Because it fit in the same speed ring that I used for my MP night stick. That meant it was easier to carry, I would have a place to "holster" it, and it could be used as an impact weapon. At the time, for my application, that was the ultimate tactical flashlight for me. What I am saying is that now because of the availability of "better" lights, any cop carrying carrying that C cell would get laughed at because it is not the coolest, or the latest and greatest. Would it still work for 99% of your "tactical" lighting needs...yes. Is it still and excellent improvised impact weapon..yes.

    I have found that the more "tactical" things that someone lugs around the less tactical they are with their training and skills. Things cannot be tactical, only their use can be.

    When it comes to knives, the more high speed and expensive a knife is, the less likely it is to every be used "tactically". As far as edged weapons go, the majority of weapons used to cut/stab/kill people were designed as tools, and those use them have little former training. What they do have, that is lacked by many, is intent and commitment to using what is in their hand. - George
  3. tobii3


    Dec 31, 1998

    And 100% accurate, george.
  4. agile_1


    Dec 2, 2012
    10% is probably a huge over estimate. I'd say 1% - maybe.

    "Tactical" is a marketing term. That's all. Nothing to get ones panties wound up about. Now "zombie apocalypse" gear, that's something that starts to get my attention.
  5. smasak


    Jun 19, 2009
    I agree with just about everything you said. I do see some benefits of some "tactical" features for some users. A lot of people do not understand that a knife is for cutting, not prying and other stuff that breaks "regular" knives. I like a knife that is easy to open and close one handed, I like grippy handles, I like solidly built locks on folders. I can do without SS blade coatings, assisted opening, super thick grinds that can't slice and other "tacticool" features.

    My favorite folders are Spyderco's Paramilitary2 and Military models. They do have some "tactical" features, but operate easily and it efficiently. I so appreciate the ability to use the Military with gloves.
  6. gremlin moon

    gremlin moon

    Mar 12, 2013
    I am very new to knives and over the past week or so have become immersed in research in order to start an initial collection. Because of my recent NKP status I have a couple of thoughts on tactical builds and marketing that are still in the "initial impression" phase. The over-built tactical knives seem to be hold-overs from the Rambo/Commando-era. I doubt there is anyone who does not remember first seeing that moment in First Blood when John Rambo took fishing wire out of his survival knife and stitched his own wound, or Billy, the Native American warrior, drawing blood with a slice across his chest as he challenged the Predator; even Mick Dundee walking the streets of NYC when a punk pulls a switchblade on him and he utters that timeless line," That's a knife? THAT's a knife," and he pulls that massive bowie. My point (no-pun intended) is that everyone has good feelings, powerful feelings of defeating the alien, the evil, that which causes us fear, warm memories of movie magic, exciting -- yet safe. How many products have such goodwill surrounding them the moment they hit the market?

    However, once you start doing research the reality sets in. MBC/knife-fighting gurus (for the most part) talk about knife-fighting as a quick path to mutually assured mutilation and death as well as jail and civil lawsuits for both perpetrator and defender alike. It is at this layer that "real" tactical knives exist. These are either weapons of last resort (i.e. the Spyderco Civillian family) or are nimble and have good ergos not just for fighting but can excel at EDC functions. In a lot of cases it seems that they often cross into the realm of art. This layer of "tactical" markets itself as the most thought-out of designs and of premium quality -- and who doesn't want premium quality? I am the target market for this segment -- a new potential enthusiast who wants some workhorse pieces. Then it is inevitable that I will start looking at sprint run launches of smaller EDC's . . . and before you know it I am posting on bladeforums.com and have Youtube subscriptions to X4ACTO, Nutnfancy. . .

    FWIW I am ordering the Spyderco Fred Perrin Street Bowie and a Spyderco Sage (can't decide on 1 or 3). There is lot of great information and opinions on this site -- very appreciated.
  7. jonathan13


    Oct 21, 2012
    Wah wah wah. Knife - a sharpened piece of metal with a Handle used for cutting things. Are you seriously telling me that I can't use a knife to protect myself from getting mugged, robbed, or rapped. Knives are tools but I can't see how they are not weapons. Grow up
  8. NjHart


    Jan 4, 2013
    I don't really have any interest in writing a defense for "tactical" knives, but what somewhat bothers me are the assumptions and labeling of knives because of certain features. First, I don't carry a knife for self defense, offense, fighting, or anything even remotely close to that. In fact, the only person to ever bleed from any knife I've ever carried is me- and that's from being clumsy or careless. If I really felt I needed protection, and it absolutely had to be a knife (which would be really low on my list of choices), I'd probably carry a HALO or some other obnoxiously large automatic.

    What bothers me is an unfair flaw in perception. Someone sees knife (A) with 5mm thick blade stock and aggressive jimping and thinks "Ugh another tacticool knife for a mall ninja," instead of the more accurate and fair "None of those features interest me, I prefer thinner stock for improved slicing and a sleeker more comfortable handle." I fully understand that some people, maybe even most people, don't want a sharpened pry bar with jagged grips, but there is a distinct portion of the population who buys and uses those knives in a completely reasonable and rational way. I've been known to carry a sharpened pry bar from time to time for plenty of reasons that usually all boil down to my knife being my only tool at hand. If anyone has ever worked on a ranch, had to travel away from your usual tools for any purpose, or who just or just occasionally finds themselves in situations requiring tools that you may not have, they probably will admit they have repurposed their knife. If someone feels more confident in the durability of their knife if it has to act as a screwdriver, bottle opener, hammer, pry bar, baton, de facto ax, or miniature shovel because of how its designed why should they be looked down upon for carrying it? I understand that these features have come to more prevalence in the market and not everyone needs or wants them, but there are more than a few knife makers and manufacturers out there and even with my limited knowledge I don't think finding one for any specific purpose you may have is that hard. Let us let everyone best decide what features they like best for themselves.
  9. jonathan13


    Oct 21, 2012
    Also, tactical does not mean modern features like thumb studs g-10 lock etc. a tactical knife is a knife you use to screw people up if you don't have a gun or can't get to your gun. If you live in another country with a gay government than I can see how you will not like tactical knives. And if you don't think you have the right to defend yourself and you live in the u.s. you shouldn't be here. Remember kid when seconds count police are only minutes away!!!
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike

    Aug 30, 2006

    I totally agree.

    Big Mike
  11. mcrow


    Feb 7, 2013
    Personally, I find most tacticals that are made well very useful for EDC. I don't know where this idea that tactical knvies are not practical comes from. Many non-tacticals have similar features to what we label tactical but are not black.

    What is the difference between a CS Recon 1 and say a Buck Vantage?
  12. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    I'd say in your case that's about 100% guaranteed that you couldn't use your knife to make a sandwich, much less prevent a drive-by rapping.

    I think the OP's message is just slightly confused, although I agree with the point I thnk he did a fair job in making. One hand opening, locking, G10, etc are not bad things. Overly thick blades are bad things. I carry a 12 ounce multitool when I need multiple functions in something that folds and fits in my pocket. I keep tools in my truck. This way I don't rely on a thick piece of steel that doesn't cut very well, which also happens to be a short, very hard, and sharp along one edge piece of steel which is also a pretty minimal prybar. And all the other tools I have are not designed to hotspot with millions of tiny teeth and extremely abrasive grips. I haven't had to mod many, but there are a few folders that had to be sanded and ground down to something reasonable. I've never had to do that with a ratchet, impact driver, drill, welding lead, screwdriver, saw, router, or anything else that one is expected to work with for hours at a time. I agree that there is a marketing and design trend for some knives that look cool and barely function, because by and large the modern society barely needs a functioning knife.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2013
  13. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    To me "tactical" = "practical" and represents a line of knives featuring new design features and materials. It is a step away from more traditional lines and has introduced progress in lock designs, blade design and steel alloys, as well as, knife frame design and handle materials. Much of it is not necessarily a step in the right direction; there has been a lot of useless features aimed at mall-ninjas and novice adolesence, but some of the experimentation has been a net gain and has resulted in better, stronger, lighter and more durable knives.

  14. Twindog

    Twindog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2004
    The term "tactical" simply means a knife or a feature of the knife is designed for a relatively specific use. It may or may not have anything to do with combat.

    The pocket clip is a tactical feature because it allows the knife to be found quickly and easily. The thumb studs and Spyder holes are tactical features because they allow the blade to be opened easily with one hand. This is an especially attractive feature when coupled with the pocket clip and when you have only one free hand for a task.

    Tactical may or may not require a thick blade. The Spyderco Civilian has a thin, hawkbill designed for defensive slashing. The Benchmade Onslaught has a very thin, but large blade that is perfect for most EDC uses where a large blade is needed.

    I'd argue that the Gayle Bradley's concealed lock is not a tactical feature because it makes the lock more difficult to open. But if someone is concerned that a liner lock with lock relief is too easy to accidentally open for their particular uses, then the GB's concealed lock would be a tactical feature.

    What we are really lacking is a clear understanding of what a knife's design features are expected to accomplish. The real problem is not that knives are too tactical, but that too many knives are designed mostly for show and looks, with little thought to function.
  15. mcrow


    Feb 7, 2013
    This is basically how I feel. A lot of what shows up in "tactical" knives make it into standard knives.

    Someone please define a "tactical" feature that is seen primarily in "tactical" knives ,other than black paint, that isn't also common in standard folders.
  16. Ken44


    Jun 29, 2005
    I think you may have totally missed the meaning of the original post. He never told anyone they should never use a knife for defence.

    Well said.
  17. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    I think they may have removed the most useful feature of this knife, which was the U shaped blood groove which gave you visual indication of the appropriate depth to stab. Seriously, that was in the advertising.

    I would certainly prefer this over some cheesy lockback with grip tape inserts and an N690Co blade.

  18. theizzardking


    Dec 29, 2012
    so i take this means you guys don't like tanto blades or the "armor piercing tips" .....

    i completely agree with you guys....you know things are fubar'd if you fighting with a knife, i have my CPL for defense and my knife for a edc/survival tool...even in the zombie apocalypse in which these tacitcool guys envision using this stuff in it's still basically useless 90% of the time....
  19. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I think what determines a "tactical knife" is along the same lines of the old phrase "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it." :p
  20. mcrow


    Feb 7, 2013
    Tanto blades work great on zombies.

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