Carrying a pocket knife is an old tradition. From small pen knives to Swiss Army knives to the more modern tactical folder, there is a carry knife for all occasions. Tactical folding knives typically have a single blade 2 to 4 inches in length, and a clip on the back to attach to a belt or pant pocket. The blade is commonly made from 440 or AUS carbon steel with one of several types of point: clip, spear or Tanto.
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Choosing quality steel
There are several grades of 440 carbon steel. Higher carbon content results in a higher 440 rating. 440C carbon steel has between .95 per cent and 1.20 per cent carbon content. The high carbon content helps the blade retain its edge during use. Less expensive knives contain either 440A or 440B carbon steel. AUS is another type of steel commonly used for knives.
Choose the point
The three most common knife points are clip, spear and Tanto. Clip point blades are concave along the top toward the blade. On some knives this ridge is also sharp. Spear-point blades are convex toward the point giving it more of a spear-tip look. Tanto blades are styled after Japanese samurai sword tips. The blade does not have a true point like a clip or spear point. Instead the point has a boxy shape. The forward side has its own edge.
Each manufacturer adds its own flair to the knives it sells. Some will have a partially serrated blade, others will be spring assisted. Almost all of them have a locking mechanism to prevent the blade from accidentally closing during use. Handles will be made of assorted materials. Steel, aluminium and plastic are used.
Major tactical folding knife manufacturers
There are many makers of these knives. Some of them are made in China and others made in the United States. Columbia River Knife and Tool, SOG, Spyderco, Kershaw and Benchmade all make and sell tactical folding knives. Prices range from a few dollars to several hundred. The best of these contain 440C. The majority however contain 440B or AUS-8 or an equivalent.
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