Story by Joshua Swanagon, Photos by Jim Cooper (SharpByCoop Photography)
What if beauty was the beast?
Over the years – due in large part to the surge in the prepper lifestyle – “tactical” has become a hot button marketing term. Many companies come out with black versions of their product, call it tactical and add a slight markup. I am not necessarily saying that there is anything wrong with that, after all we live in the land of opportunity. I am just saying that in many cases, buyer beware.
But what does make something legitimately tactical? Obviously, it is a real thing, or there would not be a word for it.
According to one of the definitions provided on TheFreeDictionary.com, tactical is “Designed or implemented so as to gain a temporary limited advantage.” In essence, something that is tactical is meant to provide an advantage of some kind, on a limited basis. Although we scoff at the idea of a tactical toothbrush, it did provide an advantage to the maker of that product.
When it comes to knives and gear however, in certain circumstances they do offer a tactical advantage. Not because they are black or just have a bunch of pockets and zippers. But because they are well thought out when considering their end use and are built solid and ready to withstand serious hard use. Which is typically why, whenever I get a product that is labeled or sold as “tactical” I am especially hard on it.
I have been known to stab tactical knives through the trunk lids of cars – and other very hard tests – to ensure that they will hold up under any kind of serious use that may confront them, when in the hands of our men and women in the military or high level law enforcement.
With all of that said, there is no reason that a tactical knife cannot be aesthetically pleasing in every way and still perform like an absolute brute when the time comes. The knives below are perfect examples of absolute beauty’s, that are all beast when it matters most.
Model: Raven UtilityBlade Material: 410ss/1095 San MaiBlade Length: 5.5 inchesOverall Length: 11 inches Handle Material: Black linen MicartaBolster/Guard Material: Integral cut black linen Micarta bolster & JiggingWebsite: http://www.McIntyreKnives.comInstagram: @mcintyreknives
Model: Tux FighterBlade Material: 416ss/1095 San MaiBlade Length: 8 inchesOverall Length: 13.5 inchesHandle Material: Carbon FiberBolster/Guard Material: Mild steelWebsite: https://www.FreehillBlades.comFacebook: @FreehillBladesInstagram: @FreehillBlades
Model: DaggerBlade Material: CPM 3VBlade Length: 14 inchesOverall Length: 22 inchesHandle Material: G10 Bolster/Guard Material: IntegralWebsite: www.CarothersKnives.comFacebook: @CarothersKnivesInstagram: @CarothersPerformance
Model: FixedBlade Material: WootzBlade Length: 7.5 inchesOverall Length: 12 inchesHandle Material: Black WoodBolster/Guard Material: Nickle SilverFacebook: @Mace-Knives-485257134827510Instagram: @MaceVitale
Model: Snakebite KerambitBlade Material: 80crv2Blade Length: 1.75 inchesOverall Length: 5.75 inchesHandle Material: Thuya burl with bronze pinsInstagram: @GrumpyCrowForge
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Joshua Swanagon has studied survival in both urban and wilderness environments in Colorado and Michigan for most of his life, while also adding experience in harsher terrains abroad. He utilizes his experience and years of diverse martial arts and combatives training and real world application as a self-defense/combatives instructor, published freelance writer and Field Editor for various magazines in the fields of knives, survival, self-defense and tactical subject matters. Joshua also brings with him his years of experience as Editor of, and Subject Matter Expert for Knives Illustrated Magazine.
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