Best Tanto Knife in 2021 (Review & Buying Guide)

(Fact Checked By Luna L. Rusk | Last Updated on July 12, 2021 | As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

A traditional tanto knife is a mini katana sword used by the Japanese Samurai clan. Though the tanto knife we use these days are the American or modernized tanto blades, they are as functional as the traditional ones. You can use these knives for self-defense to vegetable chopping, or whatever you want.

So, if you fancy owning the best tanto knife, we can provide all the assistance you need.

The westernized version of tanto knives has been developed by the company “Cold Steel.” They manufacture some of the best tanto knives like Cold Steel Recon Tanto SK-5, Cold Steel Tanto spike, etc. You can also get Ka-Bar tanto knives or the Gerber prodigy tanto knives if they stand up to your demands.

Here are my top 11 suggestions for the best tactical tanto knives that will help you pick one for yourself.

3 Best Tanto Knife: Comparsion

Editor’s Pick
Spyderco Para 3 Signature Folding Knife
Spyderco Para 3 Signature Folding Knife
  • Brand: Spyderco
  • Blade Materials: Premium CPM S30V particle metallurgy stainless steel
  • Blade Lenth: 2.95-inch
  • Blade Edge: Tanto
  • Blade Shape: V shape
  • Handle Materials: Textured G-10
  • Color: Black 
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty
  • Made: USA
Best Seller
Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife
Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife
  • Brand: Kershaw
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
  • Blade Shape: Tanto Point
  • Blade Edge: V-Grind
  • Blade Length: 3 Inches
  • Color: Black
  • Warranty:Limited Lifetime Warranty
  • Made: USA 
Budget Pick
Mil-Tec German Combat Knife KM2000
Mil-Tec German Combat Knife KM2000
  • Brand: Mil-Tec
  • Blade Material: 440 Steel Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: Glass fiber reinforced Polyamide
  • Blade Shape: Tanto Point
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Length: 7 Inches
  • Color: Black
  • Warranty:-
  • Made: China

The Types of Tactical Tanto Knives You can find

There are mainly two types of tactical knives, folding and fixed blade knives. Let me tell you about these types of tactical knives briefly.

(1) Folding knives

Folding knives or pocket knives are compact, light-weight, and handy. They are obtainable in many forms, sizes, and styles.

The most popular folding knife styles are single-bladed, double-bladed, and Swiss army knife.

(2) Fixed blade knives

Fixed blade knives are durable and can do some heavy-duty tasks. These blades come with a protecting sheath.

There are many categories of fixed blade knives that serve different purposes. Some of the popular fixed blade knives are:

Hunting knives

These knives are best for cleaning, boning, stabbing, and cutting fresh kills. You can also use them as a utility knife to cut rope, net, tree branches when you go camping or hiking.

Gut-hook knives

Gut-hook knives have a larger and razor-sharp blade. It can smoothly open up the cavity of an animal.

Skinning knives

These knives are shorter and sharper. The can be used to skin an animal quickly with accuracy.

What are the best uses of a Tanto knife?

Though a tanto knife is best used as a combat knife, you can get a lot of everyday work done. Let me give you some ideas about how to get the best out of your tanto knife.

Taking care of the fresh-kill

As the tanto knives have a razor-sharp blade and are very handy, you can quickly cut the meat of your fresh kill. It also makes the skinning and cleaning process so easy that you can preserve the meat while it’s still very fresh.

Intense piercing

Every tanto knife is created with a high tanto point, and flat grind, and this particular design allow the tanto blade to pierce through any material. You can use this to do some construction work at the house or take it camping or hiking.


The tanto knives are used as a self-defense weapon since ancient times. The Japanese Samurai soldiers used to keep it with them along with their Samurai swords.

The mini tanto katana knives were their backup to save themselves if anything bad happened to their swords.

In the modern world, westernized tanto knives are being used by the military forces of many countries.

So, most of these knives are military-grade weapons that can effectively protect yourself from any hostile situation.

The tanto knives are mostly frivolous and compact. So, you can carry them wherever you want. And it doesn’t require any training to use a tanto knife if you have some basic self-defense tricks up your sleeves.

These knives serve as excellent self-defense as well as attacking weapons. So, if you are an outdoorsy or a daring person, get a handy-dandy tanto knife.

Everyday Use

Tanto knives are combat weapons, but still, it can do menial household chores with efficiency. You can use them for cleaning, cutting, chopping, and some heavy-duty work like prying. You can even use them to cut coconut!

Some of the tanto knives are forged with soft grade stainless steel. Therefore, they will bend but will not chip or break. So you can use them for digging holes or wood carving.

Despite being hardcore tactical knives, they can be used as excellent utility knives too.

10 Best Tanto Knives

Top 10 Tanto Knife Review

01. Cold Steel Recon 3V

Cold Steel 3V Recon Tanto

This particular tanto knife is our top pick because it has proven its worth in the real battlefields. Soldiers have put their trust on this knife on the active war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq.

The handle of this tanto knife is made with a rubber-like textured material that ensures the maximum grip. It will never ‘accidentally’ slip away from your grip.

This knife has a fastening apparatus that stops the handle from moving on the tang. The handle is beautifully shaped so you can grab it with the utmost comfort.

The blade of this astonishing tanto knife is made of CPM-3V High Carbon steel; therefore, this blade is nearly indestructible.

It can penetrate through any armor without warping. It is one of the best tactical knives you can buy for yourself.

The Cold Steel Recon 3V tanto knife is broadly utilized by law enforcement, chiefly the SWAT team. So, you don’t have to worry a bit before getting this defense tanto knife.


  • Full Tang
  • Textured handle
  • Hard-wearing and highly durable
  • Used by Elite Military forces


  • It takes time to sharpen

02. United Cutlery Honshu long tanto knife

Honshu United Cutlery Tanto Knife and Leather Sheath

This unique tanto knife is at the last of our list, but by no means is it less efficient than any other knife on this listing. Nevertheless, this is a unique and heavy-duty tanto knife, which is highly praised by tanto users.

The length of this tanto knife is around 11 inches. Therefore, if you are into log tanto blades, you are going to love this knife.

The blade is forged from 440-stainless steel, which is one of the highly-dense Carbons. So, the durability and performance of this knife have a superior place.

The over-molded rubberized handle and the oversized crossguard ensure the maximum grip and safe for its user. It has a deep blood groove spanning the entire length of the knife. 

This fixed blade tanto knife is efficient enough for both self-defense and basic knife tasks around the house.


  • Overmolded rubberized handle for superior grip
  • Robust 440-stainless steel blade
  • Blood groove along the entire blade
  • Well-balanced and Razor-sharp blade
  • Very affordable compared to its quality and service


  • The pommel can use some improvements

03. Spyderco para

Spyderco Para 3 CPM S110V Signature Folding Knife with 2.95" Stainless Steel Blade and Midnight Blue G-10 Handle - PlainEdge Grind - C223GPDBL

Spyderco Para 3 is a classic American Tanto combat knife that offers a low-friction cutting experience. If you are rummaging around for an easy to conceal and everyday carry tanto knife, this is one of the best options you have. 

This handy tanto knife is constructed from CPM S30V stainless steel, and it is designed to be edge retention and easy to carry. It is a light-weight, well-balanced, corrosion and wear-resistant knife.

This tanto knife has a drop point tip, and the blade is fully coated with Black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC). This coating ensures the higher efficiency of this knife.

 Additionally, this knife has the easy-to-lock system developed by the Spyderco. It allows opening the blade securely and closing it back with just one hand. 

Spyderco Para 3 is the small version of the Spyderco paramilitary 2 combat knives. It is an excellent self-defense weapon as well as a knife to do everyday errands around the house.


  • Compact and handy
  • Black Diamond-like coated blade
  • Easy to lock and open system
  • Handle design made from G10


  • The tip isn’t quite suitable for heavy-duty piercing

04. Cold Steel Mini

Cold Steel Mini Tac Series Fixed Blade Knife with Sheath, Mini Tac Bowie

This tanto knife by Cold Steel comes with a user-friendly handle that allows the user to cut through both soft and hard materials effortlessly. It is a very compact and low maintenance knife, takes only a few minutes to clean and re-sharpen.

Cold Steel Mini Tac knife’s blade has a very strong and sharp tanto tip that can pierce through harder materials without deforming its shape. The high chromium AUS 8A stainless steel blade is stain-resistant and easy to sharpen than most other Carbon steels.

Forged with Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel, the blade is 3.5 inches long, comparatively longer than any other neck tanto knife.

Despite having a longer blade, it is very light-weight. So, you can carry it around your collar all day long.

 Additionally, the thumb jimping on the spine allows a greater grip on the knife with your thumb. The quality of the thumb jimping of this knife is better than other knives available in the market.

The combination of the thumb jimping and GRIV-Ex handle, and the faux G10 texture ensures the maximum grip and protects you from accidents.

But it is a short knife, so you may need to hold it with little precision. 

This knife is ideal for everyday use, or you can take this to hunt camping or hiking. You can use this to cut meat, peel a mango, or even cut through a coconut shell.

It is a highly durable knife so that you can use it for multiple purposes for a long time. Some users consider it as the best tanto blade folding knife.


  • Easy to clean and re-sharpen.
  • Compact and durable
  • Highly resilient and heavy-duty


  • The sheath needs some improvements
  • A little overweight for a neck tanto knife

05. Mil-Tec German

Mil-Tec German Combat Knife KM2000

The KM2000 is a combat tanto knife used as an official tactical knife by the German Military Forces and NATO supplies. This robust knife is made to do some serious heavy-duty works without breaking a sweat.

This tanto knife’s blade is double-sided and made of 1.4110-stainless steel, and it is coated with Black Kalgard.

Because of this coating, the blade of this knife is anti-reflected. Therefore, it is the best hunting tactical knife you can get for yourself.

The handle and the cross guard of The KM2000 are constructed from reinforced fiberglass polymer.

The crossguard is situated between the blade and the handle to prevent any injury while using the knife. 

Additionally, the cross guard has a ribbon for placing your thumb onto it. This thumb placement allows you to have a good grip while working with this knife.

As this knife is made of solid polyamide, it is quite heavy for a tactical knife. But this is a compromise you have to make if you want to get the best tanto fixed blade knife.


  • Military approved tactical knife
  • Hard-wearing and heavy-duty
  • Textured fiberglass handle for great grip


  • A little heavier as a combat knife for some people

06. Kershaw Brawler

Kershaw Brawler Folding Pocket Knife (1990) with 3” Black-Oxide Finished High-Performance 8Cr13MoV Steel Blade; Black Glass-Filled Nylon Handle Scales with Reversible 4-Position Pocketclip; 3.9 oz

If you are looking for the best folding tanto knife for everyday use, you can get a knife without hesitation. It is forged with corrosion-resistant 8Cr13MoV steel and has a coating of Black Oxide.

The belly of this knife can be efficiently used for slicing, dicing, cutting, and skinning. And the tip of the knife holds the maximum thrusting durability and can cut through anything small with precision. 

The handle of the knife is perfectly curved to fit into its user’s palm. The jimping on the back provides traction so you can have a better grip.

Additionally, when you open the knife to use, the flipper acts as additional protection to save your fingers. 

This folding pocket knife has an excellent lock mechanism that allows it to open and fold without any trouble. It also features a pocket clip to keep it safe in your pockets.


  • Highly durable
  • Easy to sharpen
  • The corrosion-resistant black oxide coating
  • Glass-filled nylon handle


  • You may need to sharpen the blade right before you use it for the first time

07. Ka-bar KA1245

KA1245-BRK Black Tanto

KA1245 BRK tanto knife is one of the most durable and popular combat knives by Ka-Bar. This knife can be used for hunting, self-defense, piercing, or other necessary things around your home. It is a great tactical knife, as well as a utility one.

As it is made of high-quality 1095 Cro-van stainless steel, the blade has a sharp edge that can pierce through harder materials without bending. The blade is 8 inches long, and it is very easy to sharp and clean.

The classic Kraton-G handle is textured, which ensures a great grip on the handle while working with it. It is an overall well-balanced and light-weight knife.

This knife is popular because of its durability. The coating and thickness of the blade and the full tang construction make sure that this hard-wearing knife can serve you for a long time.

You can use this knife for daily use or keep it with you to protect yourself from any attack. No matter where you use it, it will be a reliable weapon to have around.


  • Thick Cro-Van stainless steel blade and full-tang
  • Light-weight and easy to carry around
  • Well-balanced and easy to sharp
  • Highly durable sheath
  • Blade with serration towards the handle
  • Textured non-slip grip


  • The handle is quite light-weight

08. Gerber prodigy

The Gerber prodigy tanto knife is a compact, sleek, and silent military-grade tactical knife. Though it is quite long for a hunting knife, it is easy to use and carry it.

The blade of this knife is made with robust 420HC stainless steel. It can hold onto its shape against any rough uses, and it is easy to re-sharpen this blade.

Additionally, it has a coating of black oxide that makes it corrosion-resistant and hard-wearing.

This full-tang constructed knife has a TacHide grip handle. The TacHide is an artificial rubber-like polymer that is flame-resistant and highly durable.

Moreover, the textured handle is perfectly curved to make you feel comfortable and secure when you hold it.

The prodigy tanto knife comes with a trendy camouflage-patterned sheath attached in your pocket or backpack.  

If you seek an economical yet the best tanto blade knife, this is one of the best options you have.


  • Hard-wearing military-grade combat knife
  • The anti-reflected black oxide coating
  • Flame-resistant TacHide Handle
  • Inexpensive yet highly durable


  • The blade is partially serrated

09. Buck Intrepid

This military-grade tanto knife can act as both attack and self-defense weapon. The creator company of this knife provides a “Forever warranty” by which they mean that this knife is durable. 

The blade of this knife is forged with tough 420HC stainless steel. It is designed to take some serious abuses like prying and hammering.

Though this knife is a combat-ready knife, you can also use this for works like cutting: skinning, cleaning, or chopping.

Instead of a rubber-like handle, this knife has a high-quality textured nylon handle. It also works as efficiently as the rubber ones. 

Besides, it comes with a crossguard to prevent hazardous accidents. But this knife is quite longer than usual tactic knives.

This knife can pierce through some seriously dense and hard materials without losing its form. As 420HC steel is soft grade steel, this knife is likely to bend than breaking.

So, you can do some tasks, like digging and carving, without any worries.


  • The military-grade full-tang tanto blade
  • Textured nylon handle
  • Extremely durable and tough


  • Not compact, hard to conceal because of the length

10. Cold Steel Micro Recon

Cold Steel Micro Recon 1 Tanto Point

If you want to possess the best tanto pocket knife within a tight budget, you should take a look at this knife. It is another masterpiece by Cold Steel, which has started this tanto revolution in the western world.

This micro Reckon 1 is ready to use as soon as you get it out of the box, no sharpening required. You can use this handy knife for hunting, camping, and everyday tasks. 

Made of authentic Japanese AUS8A stainless steel, this micro tanto blade can pierce through and harder material like butter.

They say that some best tanto swords are forged with this material. It is compact, light-weight, easy to conceal, yet able to leave a lethal wound. 

The black Tuff-ex coated tanto blade is hard-wearing and corrosion-resistant. And the Griv-Ex style G10 handle provides superior stability while working with this knife. 

Hunters highly praise this particular tanto knife. Because it cuts through the meats so swiftly that it saves their time and helps them store the meat when it’s still very fresh, also it makes the skinning process trouble-free and quick.

Though this is the smallest tactical knife by Cold Steel, the construction, ergonomics, top-class lock mechanism has turned it into the deadliest tactical knife you can get.


  • Light-weight and easy to conceal
  • Top-quality Japanese stainless steel Tanto blade
  • Heavy-duty yet compact
  • Excellent locking mechanism
  • Not vulnerable to damage or chipping


  • Too sharp for amateurs

Which tanto blades are most durable?

The durability of the tanto blades depends on its material. There are mostly six materials used to forge these combat knives. Let’s take a look at them.

1. 1095 Cro-Van:

This robust stainless steel is high in Carbon and able to keep an edge for a long time. But the drawback of this metal is that it is vulnerable to rust. So a blade forged with this knife needs an extra protective coat.

2. 4116 stainless steel:

You can call this metal a budget-friendly version of stainless steel. This metal contains chromium, which makes it quite rust-resistant. It can keep an edge and stays sharp for a long time.

3. D2 tool steel:

This superior type of steel has a high amount of Carbon, Chromium and a low amount of Molybdenum and Vanadium. The combination of these metals makes this steel highly sturdy and durable. 

Blades forged with this steel are hard-wearing, robust, and able to pierce through materials like butter. It is corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant stainless steel.

4. 440-stainless steel:

It is one of the most expansively utilized metals to forge various knives. It is a high-quality and durable stainless steel with some corrosion-resistant and rust-resistant properties.

5. 420HC stainless steel:

This particular type of stainless steel has highly dense Carbon, which makes it a robust metal to forge knives and swords. It also contains chromium. So, the combination of the highly-dense Carbon and chromium turns this metal into corrosion and wear-resistant metal.

Though the blades made of this metal aren’t easy to sharpen, you can overlook this little flaw because of its excellent hard-wearing service.

6. Damascus:

This metal is a combination of various kinds of steel. The high and low-carbon steels are folded into one to forge a blade that ensures flexibility and durability.

Buyer’s guide: what should you consider before purchasing the best tanto knife?

There are so many tanto knives available these days; things aren’t easier as before. If you do not buy with your eyes open, you may end up with a low-quality cheap tanto knife.

You can’t compromise with a single characteristic of the tanto knife. Otherwise, the outcome will be hazardous.  

If you want to get the best tanto knife, remember these essential things I am about to describe.

Blade of the tanto knife

The most significant part of this knife is the tanto blade. Make sure that your knife has a perfectly forged tanto blade with a thick tip. The material of the blade should be the best quality high in Carbon stainless steel.

Many tanto blade materials are corrosion, rust and wear-resistant. Try to get those blades for a better experience. 

Handle and the cross guard

Most of the handle of the tanto blades are rubber-like material. The handle should be textured to ensure the tightest grip so you can protect yourself from injuries.

A cross guard at the end of the blade can keep you safe from unwanted slipping while using this knife. To ensure your security, always double-check and research about the materials and construction of the handle.

Tips of the blade

A good quality tanto knife has a rigid reinforced tip so that it can stab or pierce slickly on the battlefield.

Other key features to look for while buying the best Japanese tanto knife are:

  • An easy to fold and open the locking mechanism.
  • The pocket clip on the sheath.
  • Partially serrated knife for using your tanto as a utility knife if needed.
  • Light-weight and well-balanced.
  • Easy to carry and conceal.
  • Robust handle material and finger notches.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tanto Knives

When should we choose Tanto blades over the regular ones?

The Tanto knives are specially designed with thicker tips that can repeatedly pierce through sturdy materials. Regular blades will bend or break after a few good piercings. 

So, if you want a highly durable utility knife, which can also be your self-defense weapon, you can choose a tanto blade.

How do I sharpen my Tanto knife?

The sharpening process of a Tanto blade is not different from the other regular knives. Get a good-quality Whetstone, and be careful while sharpening the second edge of the tanto blade.

 If your tanto blade is partially serrated, you should get an angled honing rod.

Which one is the best, folding or fixed tanto knife?

It depends on the preference of the user. A buyer may have some certain expectations while shopping for a combat knife. The one that fulfills the most number of preferences wins the race.

What length is perfect for a tanto blade?

Generally, tanto blades are 6 inches to 11 inches. If you feel comfortable working with long blades, you can go for it. But when it’s about combat knives, most people prefer compact and easy to conceal tanto knives. Just make sure that you are getting a high-quality and durable blade.

How does a reverse tanto blade look like?

A reverse tanto has an angled tip on the top of the spine. It has got a curved edge and some belly.

What is a Full or partial Tang knife?

The tang is the part of the knife that is encased by the handle. Various knives come with different tangs. In Full-tang knives, the blade extends to the handle, and partial tang means the blade ends halfway through the handle.

Final Verdict

The tanto knives have been grabbing a lot of attention lately for their versatility. Therefore, it can be a little difficult to choose the one from these numerous options. But you have got to get the finest one, don’t you?

If you want to get the best tanto knife, follow this guide and pick the one that carries out the most of your demands. A top-quality tanto knife can serve you for a long time; even it will last for a few lines of the next generations.

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