6 Major Knife Blade Shapes

Mar 12th 2019

Knives come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles and not every knife is suitable for every task. For example, a karambit spring assisted pocket knife has a different function than a fixed blade sheepsfoot knife.

Below, we’ll have a look at the most popular blade shapes, as well as a brief list of the more unique traits of each.

   1. Clip Point

A clip point blade is one of the most common shapes you’ll see, particularly on older pocket knives. It has a straight spine, then near the tip it dips to meet the tip, looking like a portion of the metal was scooped out. The Bowie knife is an excellent example.

The clip gives the knife a fine, sharp point that’s great for detail work, piercing, and slicing. However, the tip is fine and can break easier under pressure.

   2. Drop Point

The drop point has a spine that curves slightly down to meet the tip. This shape usually has a wide blade, and a thicker tip than a clip point. The wide belly makes cutting and slicing easier, but with the thicker tip, it’s more difficult to pierce items, too.

One of the most popular shapes on the market today, a drop point is easy to find for sale as both a folding and fixed blade knife.

   3. Tanto

The tanto originated in Japan and was specifically designed for combat against armored opponents. It has a straight edge that angles sharply up to meet the spine. The blade itself tapers very little, so there’s a lot of steel behind the point, giving the tanto one of the strongest tips.

It has very little belly, so it doesn’t slice very well or cut. What it was designed for is to punch through armor, and slash at an opponent. Some knife makers have made modifications to the tanto shape to make it more appealing to those who want it as an everyday carry.

   4. Karambit 

The karambit came from Southeast Asia, and inspiration for it came from a tiger’s claw. This knife forms an inverted C shape and has one or two finger safety loops on the handle. While it was originally used for agriculture, it has since been turned to combat, and you can even find a spring assisted pocket knife for sale.

This knife is used for slashing and piercing and has no belly at all, so it’s not good for slicing. For combat, the karambit is usually held in a reverse grip.

   5. Spear Point

A spear point has both sides curving together symmetrically, and the point is in line with the center of the handle. They can be single or double-edged, though a double edge is usually only seen in either fixed blade or automatic knives.

The spear point is strong, very sharp if double-edged, and easy to control. Some styles don’t have much of a belly, so slicing can be difficult, depending on the exact shape.

   6. Sheepsfoot

The sheepsfoot has a straight edge and spine that curves downward to meet the sharp edge. There is no tip whatsoever, nor does the knife resemble a sheep’s hoof. The name is derived from its original use for trimming hooves.

This shape makes for an excellent kitchen knife, and is best at cutting and slicing.

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