While the tactical knife is part of the modern arsenal, it is now an everyday companion for many civilians. They are a very popular tool and can be found everywhere, whether you look in the military personnel, law enforcement officers, knife enthusiasts, in the house of a hunter, or in the care of a knife collector. It can be used as self-defense, hunting, camping, survival, utility, or rescue gear.
At first glance, they appear to be indestructible. However, whether it be neglecting to care for your knife, using it for things it wasn’t designed for, or even leaving it alone for too long, there are a plethora of things that can damage your best tactical knife.
In order to ensure that you care for your knife properly, you must understand what can damage tactical knives and why refusing to care for them can be dangerous.
If you have any questions or need information about tactical knives, check out this article – All About Tactical Knife
Overview of Things That Can Damage Tactical Knives
The main reasons why we unconsciously ruin our tactical knives are as follows –
- Leaving Unused
- Cutting on A Hard Surface
- Regular Abuse
- Abusing the Tip
- Using As A Hammer
- Heavy Batoning
- Improper Sharpening
- Not Maintaining
- Improperly Storing
1. Leaving Unused
This first point may sound a bit strange, but leaving your tactical knife unused for long periods of time can damage it. One would think that not using your knife would keep it in pristine condition and would prevent the blade from being dull, but this is actually not the case.
Rust happens at a molecular level, whether we notice it or not. The steel in your tactical knife blade reacts with the moisture in the air and rust forms. This rust, even if it is not visible, can make your tactical knife dull. Of course, if left alone your blade will dull much more slowly than if you used it every day.
However, if you do not sharpen and hone your knife regularly, rust could spread and compromise the integrity of your blade. Therefore, leaving your tactical knife unused is actually not the best way to care for it.
2. Cutting on A Hard Surface
Another way you can damage your tactical knife is by cutting it on a hard surface. Especially if you buy a high-quality steel knife, it can seem as though you could cut on any surface and your knife would be fine, but this isn’t the case.
Using your knife on surfaces such as stone, concrete, brick, steel, glass, or even hard plastic can dull the blade in as few as nine to twelve strokes. This happens because the materials you are cutting may not be suitable for the blade thickness and steel of your blade or may be harder than the blade. Even if this isn’t true for your knife, constant use on hard surfaces can erode the blade.
Instead of using the surfaces mentioned above, try cutting on wood or in very poor condition on the ground. The fibers will allow the blade of your tactical knife to pass through and then will come back together. Your knife won’t dull as quickly, and the wood surface will remain resilient and should last for a while.
3. Regular Abuse
It is commonly known that tactical knives have a variety of uses. The main uses, obviously, are combat, self-defense, and indoor/outdoor utility. However, there are many other uses for tactical knives as well.
Some are equipped with a straight edge or serrated edge, or partially serrated edge to cut hard as well as flexible materials easily. Also, some other types of tactical knives (Dagger, Karambit, Bayonet, Boot, Neck, Stiletto, and Ballistic Knives) are specifically designed for self-defense and sports activities. However, tactical knives are not intended for regular abuse that may cause them damage.
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If you regularly abuse a daily carry tactical folding knife or tactical fixed blade knife with chopping, batting, or throwing, it may bend or break, chip the blade, or go beyond repair rendering the knife completely unusable.
Some are very strong, and others are designed to be thrown. It is extremely important to know what your knife was designed to do when you use it. If you do not know or do not understand the purpose of your knife, you may end up abusing it regularly, which, as one might suspect, can lead to serious damage to your blade.
The following paragraphs explain several of the most common ways tactical knives are abused. This knowledge can help you use your knife the way it was intended to be used, allowing it to last and stay in good condition for a long time.
Tactical knives are versatile in design and intention of use. Many are survival based and crafted to withhold various activities and demands. But every knife is designed to accomplish some specific task and using the knife outside of these specific tasks means damaging it.
For example, if you have a screw that needs to be tightened, do not use a tactical knife; use a screwdriver. In this situation, the chance of damage to the tip is high, making use of the knife difficult or almost impossible. Most tactical knives are intended to slice, cut, and/or stab. In contrast, they are not meant to be used for prying, as a screwdriver, or hammer to an extent.
Tactical hunting knives are sharp and specially designed for skinning and scoring an animal. If you were to use a hunting knife to chop wood, it would be extensively damaged. The blade would become dull and potentially bent or chipped.
Tactical bushcraft knives or heavy use tactical survival knives or tactical camping knives are perfect for woodwork but would not be easy to maneuver while skinning an animal.
Likewise, if you are a civilian and need to carry a hand-to-hand combat knife daily for the safety of your life or property, you can buy a tactical self-defense knife instead of a tactical bowie knife, hunting knife, or any heavy-use knife.
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The size and sharpness of a tactical knife can warrant specific uses, but misuse of a tactical knife can extensively damage and ruin your knife.
5. Abusing the Tip
The weakest point of any tactical knife is at the tip of the blade. Abuse of the tip of your blade could lead to ruining the whole knife.
One common example of abusing the tip of your tactical knife is using it as a screwdriver. Often, people don’t want to take the time to find a proper screwdriver, and instead try to use their knife. However, screwdrivers are strong and are designed to withstand pressure. Blade tips are not. Therefore, using the tip of your knife could bend or even break it.
Another example of misusing your knife tip is using it as a chisel. Your knife is thin and elegant, designed to cut things, not to force things apart. If you use it as a chisel, you may face the same consequences as using it as a screwdriver, which is bending or breaking your blade.
Instead of trying to use your knife to do these tasks, take the time to find the proper tool. If you take care of the tip of your knife, the rest of your blade will likely stay in good condition.
In addition, many times some people throw a common tactical knife at a target for various reasons and the tip of the knife can break very easily. Similarly, the tip can break when a knife falls out of the sheath or hand and hits a surface while carrying or using it carelessly, so we should always be careful in these cases.
Another way we often damage our tactical knives is by dropping them. Some tactical knives are designed to be thrown. However, many are not. Throwing knives are balanced in the middle and are symmetrical. In addition, most throwing knives are only sharp on the tip. This helps prevent injury to the person throwing them.
Most tactical knives, on the other hand, are balanced only on one end and are not symmetrical. They are heat treated harder than a throwing knife, allowing them to hold an edge, but increasing the chance that they will be broken if thrown.
Tactical knives also not only have an edge but are very sharp. If you tried to throw a tactical knife as opposed to a throwing knife, it is far more likely that you will injure yourself. Instead of throwing your tactical knife, which is likely to hurt both you and your blade, try buying throwing knives and having fun with those.
7. Using As A Hammer
Using a tactical knife that is not full tang as a hammer can seriously damage it. A full tang knife is a knife with a blade that fully extends through the handle.
Some full tang knives have an extended tang that is visible in the handle, while others have a tang that is hidden. Regardless, a full tang knife is weightier, more balanced, and stronger than a partial tang knife. Hammering with a full tang or extended tang will not damage the knife as much.
However, it is far more likely to damage a partial tang knife through hammering. This kind of knife is not designed to withstand such force and therefore is very likely to break if you use it in this way.
Instead of trying to hammer with your tactical knife unless absolutely necessary, take the time to find a hammer. Use the right tool for the right purpose, and reap the benefits of having a healthy blade.
8. Heavy Batoning
Heavy batoning can also damage your tactical knife. Heavy batoning is splitting 4-8 inches thick wood using a mallet to hit the spine of a knife in order to drive it through. Heavy batoning is most often used with a full tang knife that has a thick spine.
As you can imagine, using a thinner blade or a partial tang blade or serrated or partially serrated blade, or a weak knife in this practice could break it. Before practicing heavy batoning, make sure that your knife is designed to do so. If not, you risk breaking your knife blade and injuring yourself.
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9. Improper Sharpening
Regularly sharpening your knife is a great way to prevent rust and to care for your blade. However, improperly doing so can damage your knife and waste your time.
Using a machine sharpener sounds easy and efficient, but it is actually a bad way to treat your blade. Machine sharpening is extremely abrasive and removes far more steel than necessary. It also heats up your blade, damaging the structure of the steel, and in the end, you don’t achieve a very fine edge. Instead of using a machine, try using a whetstone or stone sharpening system for your smooth blades.
Sharpen your knife at the correct angle. If your angle is too high, your edge won’t be as sharp. If it is too low, sharpening will take longer. While sharpening, maintain a constant angle to avoid a curved, dull edge.
If your tactical knife is serrated, do not use a whetstone to sharpen it. Instead, use a ceramic honing rod. The usefulness of serrated knives is heavily reliant on the integrity of the teeth. If the teeth are not treated well, the knife will not work well. Therefore, use your ceramic honing rod to sharpen each tooth of your tactical knife.
If you sharpen your tactical knife well, it may stay in great condition and last for years to come.
10. Not Maintaining
A top rated tactical folding knife requires more care than a fixed blade tactical knife, and not caring for your folding knife can have consequences.
The first way you need to care for your folding knife is by sharpening it. Neglecting to sharpen your folding knife can have the same drawbacks as neglecting to sharpen your fixed blade knife. Your blade can rust and become dull.
Another way to care for your folding knives is by keeping them clean. Inevitably, grime and debris will collect on your knife and could get stuck inside. Neglecting to clear away this grime could result in difficulty opening, closing, or locking your knife properly, making it dangerous to anyone trying to use it. In order to prevent this, clean, wash, and dry your knife regularly and correctly.
Another way you can prevent your knife from failing to open, close, or lock is by keeping it lubricated. Regular cleaning and oiling of the opening mechanism and the locking mechanism are essential to enable easy one-handed opening and closing of folding knives. This allows your manual and spring assisted tactical folding knife to continue working smoothly.
Finally, keep your knife tight. As you continue to use your knife, screws may come loose. Failure to tighten them could result in the blade slipping and breaking or harming you. Regularly check the screws in your folding knife to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Remember, the four steps to caring for your folding tactical knife are to sharpen it, clean it, lubricate it, and tighten it. Regularly completing these steps will keep your knife safe to use.
11. Improperly Storing
Improperly storing your tactical knife is one of the worst ways you could treat it. Tactical knives, as mentioned above, require constant care. Improperly storing your knife, especially for long periods of time, can seriously damage both the hilt and the blade.
Never store your knife long-term in its sheath. The chemicals used to tan the leather in the sheath can react with the moisture in the air, causing the blade to corrode.
Leaving your knife in an environment that is too wet can cause the blade to rust extremely quickly. If you can’t store your knife outside of its sheath in open, dry air, try storing it in a plastic bag with good quality desiccant to prevent rusting.
Don’t leave your tactical knife in high temperatures or in direct sunlight. Ultraviolet light bleaches the color out of any decorative stones on the hilt and causes oxidation to the wood on the handle, while high temperatures bake the protective oils out of the handle and weaken adhesive bonds.
Finally, don’t leave your knife outside, even if you live in a dry environment. If the environment is too dry, the leather and wood on your knife can crack, especially if it is wetted and then air-dried over and over again.
Proper storage of your tactical knife dramatically decreases the chances of the damages listed above from happening.
In conclusion, caring for your tactical knife is incredibly important, whether it be knowing what to avoid, how to sharpen your knife, knowing what your specific knife is used for, or understanding how to care for different kinds of blades.
Being a knife owner is not as easy as it seems and requires learning many knife care techniques. Tactical knives require constant maintenance and care, and improper use of your tactical knife can not only lead to your knife breaking but can also put you and those around you in danger.
In order to be a responsible knife owner, one must know how to care for their blade. Not only must one know how to care for it, but they must also put their knowledge into practice. Owning a tactical knife can be fun and, if you learn how to care for it, it will last you a long time.