Clip Point Vs Tanto Point – What’s the Difference?

Clip point vs tanto, what are the differences and similarities?

The clip point blade has a spine with a clipped-off section, whereas the tanto point blade has a flat grind with a high point to create a triangular shape. While the clip point has a better tip for deboning or piercing meat, the tanto point excels at making flat cuts through thick and hard materials.

And those are only a few of the differences you’ll find here! Check out all of this information so you can reach your own conclusion based on facts.

Tanto Point Vs. Clip Point: A Quick Summary

SubjectClip PointTanto Point
ShapeA spine with a clipped off front sectionTriangular shape, created when the unsharpened edge connects with the sharpened edge
UsabilityPrecision Work, Deboning Meat, Piercing Entrails
Cleaning Fish, Skinning Animal
Specific Situations, Tactical, Emergency, Cutting hard materials
SpineCurved Near the TipStraight

5 Key Differences Between Clip Point and Tanto Point

Shape, strength, usability, spine, and sharpening time are the five main differences between tanto point and clip point.  Make sure to check this category thoroughly to figure out which blade style would suit your needs the most.


Shape of Clip Point Blade: A clip point blade has a spine with a clipped-off front section. This shape can vary depending on the knife, with some being straight, like the ESEE 4 Knife, or concave, like the Buck 110 Knife. Clip-point style blades are commonly found in pocket folding knives, bowie knives, and some other variations like the Westward 1YJD8 Utility Knife.

Shape of Tanto Point Blade: Tanto point blades have a flat grind with a high point, creating a triangular shape as a result. From an engineering perspective, a triangular shape is the strongest shape. To achieve that, tanto blades feature unsharpened edges that connect to sharpened edges at an angle instead of the traditional curve.

Commonly, fixed knives and some folding knives feature this type of blade. The Civivi Keen Nadder, Benchmade Tengu Flipper, and CRKT Minimalist Tanto are great examples of that.

Strength of the Blade

The clip point blades are a bit weak. Despite having an outstanding design connecting with the joints, the tip of the clip point is fragile. If you use it for heavy work like skinning large animals or carving, the tip of the blade won’t resist under the pressure.

Tanto point blades are quite strong. A tanto tip blade has a considerable amount of metal near the point, making the point thicker, durable, and stronger. This build allows the tip to absorb the impact and pressure received from stabbing. Plus, a tip this strong allows you to pry with it too. That’s why tanto blades make great tactical knives.


Uses of Clip Point Blade: Clip point blades have a sharp tip for piercing, a belly for slicing, and an extended cutting edge for flat cutting. With a clip point, you can make precision work like a true professional. Use it for deboning meat and cleaning fish with ease.

Uses of Tanto Point Blade: Tanto point blades are great for tactical and emergency applications, but not as practical for everyday tasks. Primarily, you would need a tanto-style blade if you want to stab through hard materials like armor, poke holes, or break down large boxes.


Clip point blades have a spine with a clipped-off section. This particular shape allows you to cut through wrapping or net without damaging whatever is inside. Push the tip through the outer layer, and twist the knife. This technique allows you to remove the wrapping without piercing it.

Tanto blades commonly have a straight spine. This spine design has some limitations, such as making shallow cuts without piercing the content.


A clip point blade is faster to sharpen. This type of blade has a continuous edge, which is easier and faster to sharpen. Plus, you don’t have to be extra careful like you would with a tanto blade.

Sharpening a tanto blade takes more time. When you sharpen a tanto blade, you have to do it for two separate edges instead of just one. It takes more time and more work as well. For example, you have to worry about the sharpening angles and stopping right when you reach the point or slightly before that.

What Is a Reverse Tanto Blade?

The reverse tanto is a type of blade that sharply angles downwards the blade and not upwards the spine. Unlike the American tanto, this blade has a prominent belly. Thus, it’s more suitable as an everyday carry and not just for special occasions like the tanto blade.

What Is the Tanto Blade Designed for?

The tanto point is designed for tactical, military, emergency, and rescue tasks. That’s because the blade has superior cutting power to force its way through tough materials with ease. However, knives with this type of blade don’t have a belly, meaning they’re not good for slicing.

Is a Tanto Blade Good for Self Defense?

A tanto blade has a point strong enough for stabbing into hard materials, but it isn’t a good choice for self-defense. For that purpose, the blade would have to be long and curved. The issue is that a long tanto point with curvature wouldn’t be a practical everyday carry tool.

Can You Skin With a Tanto?

Tanto-style blades are not good for skinning or hunting knives in general. They have a plain edge that doesn’t slice the meat properly. Instead, the tanto tips make an awkward transition that makes slicing a hassle. Therefore, this type of blade will most likely ruin the meat.

A drop point knife would be the perfect alternative for people that skin animals regularly and need good hunting knives. This curved blade allows you to use the whole cutting edge and the tip with excellent control. You can get rid of the skin with careful cutting motions while preserving the meat in perfect condition.

So, Which Is Better Tanto or Clip Point?

Choose a clip point if you care about precision instead of pure strength. This style of blade is useful in the kitchen, the garage, and even outdoors. It’s an excellent tool for deboning the meat, preparing fish, and field dressing.

On the other hand, a tanto point is a true workhorse for stabbing and dealing with heavy work. This is the type of blade to have if you work with thick materials. Additionally, a tanto point can get you out of trouble quickly due to its sheer strength. That’s how you choose between clip point vs tanto point.

Brian Casey
About Brian M. Casey

As a food lover, Brian M. Casey developed a fascination for cooking at an early age. He soon realized that not only the ingredients matter but also the knives and the accessories used to turn those ingredients into a delicious dish. This way, Brian began his journey on the magnificent world of kitchen knives, outdoor knives, knife accessories, and much more. After years of experience with many ups and downs, Brian now wants to share everything he’s learned during his journey as an avid knife collector, a well-seasoned knife maker, and an all-around knives enthusiast.

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