Schrade Tactical Tantos


Schrade F12 (Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
(Pictured, Schrade SCHF12 / Photograph by Keith Sipmann)

Schrade is stepping it up…

If you’re a fan of knives, you’ve undoubtedly heard of, or owned, a Schrade knife at one point or another. Schrade, which is now a Taylor Brand owned company, has been manufacturing and distributing knives since the early 1900’s. Schrade recently released a new line of interesting black-stonewashed blades for 2014, and I can honestly say that these are some of my favorite entry level (meaning reasonably priced) blades out on the market. If you want to learn more about the company, visit this link.

Tactical Tanto (described for those that don’t know)

Okay, before we get into the review, some of you may not know exactly what a Tanto blade is. “Tactical Tanto” is a term that is thrown around a lot online and/or by knife manufacturers; but what exactly is a Tanto blade and what is it used for really? You’ve probably seen them marketed as “survival blades” or “fighting knives”; so whats the real deal?

Historically, the Tanto blade design originated in Japan during the Heian period (between 794 to 1185 A.D.). A Tanto is a traditional Japanese short knife, dagger or sword that is usually less than 12 inches in length. The blades spine has an upward sweep, and the blade belly follows that sweep. The edge rises up, to create a slashing surface for facing armored opponents. It was designed primarily as a stabbing weapon, but the edge can be used for slashing as well.

The blade design that many people refer to today when discussing the Tanto, was actually designed for the armor piercing duties of the Samurai and they were called the Yoroidōshi. Not all Tanto were designed for this purpose however. There are roughly 12 Japanese Tanto types, so it’s not accurate to lump all like-styled blades into one category like this. Schrade’s Tanto design, pictured in this photo is not a traditional Tanto design; it’s a modern, American interpretation of the original Tanto. Okay, enough history and back to the review now.

(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
(Pictured, Schrade SCHF15 / Photograph by Keith Sipmann)

Schrade SCHF12 & SCHF15 Overview:

These modified tactical Tantos are pretty damn good knives to put it simply. For the price, and for what they are, they are great. The bigger SCHF12 is….well big, heavy (but not too heavy), thick, ergonomic and feels like a quality knife in your hands. As much as I like the look and feel of it, I kept wondering “what the heck would I use this knife for?”. First thing I think of with Tanto blades is self-defense, as typically they aren’t designed for hunting, survival use or bush-craft. As a self-defense blade, this would be a bit on the large (Overall Length: 9.875″) and heavy side for me (Weight: 10.60 oz.), but it would definitely work if its all you had. The blade on this Tanto is greatly exaggerated, but it works and is easier to sharpen than other Tanto styles.

SCHF15 (Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
(Pictured, Schrade SCHF15 / Photograph by Keith Sipmann)

The SCHF15 (pictured above) is an excellent all around EDC fixed blade. I’ve been carrying it for the past month now (everyday) and it’s really grown on me. I normally carry a folder (SOG Trident) as an EDC/defensive back-up blade, but I have since switched to the F15 fixed blade for testing. It’s not super-small (Overall Length: 7.875″) or super-lightweight (Weight: 6.00 oz.), but in my opinion, it’s the perfect size for EDC and it’s a fixed blade. Like the F12, the F15 comes with a decent Kydex sheath with good retention to keep the knife in place; which made it easy to wear as an EDC blade. Being in Arizona, I prefer Kydex to leather or nylon fabric sheaths, so Schrade scored extra points there in my book.

Blade:

Both the F12 and F15 are made from 8CR13MOV steel, which is a Chinese high-end budget steel that is comparable in composition, performance and function to Japanese AUS-8 or 440C steel. The use of this steel keeps the costs low, but still provides a decent quality blade for the price. All in all, 8CR13MOV is a very capable and well rounded steel that can be sharpened easily, but it will lose that sharp edge faster than a higher end steel blade would. Other companies like Spyderco and Kershaw also use 8CR13MOV in their blades, mainly in their folders. So far, in my testing, I’ve been very happy with the edges of both knives.

SCHF15 (Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
(Pictured, Schrade SCHF15 / Photograph by Keith Sipmann)

Grip / Handle:

Both knives come with G10 handles, that have machine textured grooves that provided a very aggressive grip, yet it’s still comfortable enough for light to medium periods of extended use. Bottom line here is, you really have to like aggressive G10 patterned handles, otherwise this may be a deal breaker for you. I personally prefer a very rough, stippled or scalloped surface for better handling of my blades, but others may find it too much. If you plan on using either knife for extended periods of time, you may want to use leather gloves as eventually your skin will give way to the aggressively textured G10. The F15 has some thick jimping on the back of the blade, but the F12 does not.

(Photograph by Keith Sipmann)
(Pictured, Schrade SCHF12 / Photograph by Keith Sipmann)


Purpose and Practicality:

With any Tanto, its hard to say with certainty what their purpose is. Everyone seems to have a different opinion about them. My take is, to use them for self-defense. History shows us they were designed for “battle” or “fighting”, but perhaps modern times have changed and evolved the design a bit to cover more functional areas. Personally, I prefer a Tanto blade for EDC as I carry a knife to serve as a back-up to my firearm. It’s serves in a defensive (or offensive) purpose in my case. Someone who carries a knife for bush-craft, may prefer a drop-point or spear tip design. To each their own.

One thing that has bothered many purchasers and reviewers of these knives, is the lack of an actual name for these knives. Calling a blade a code like “SCHF12” is a little odd and makes it harder to market. Spyderco, SOG and other big name brands all “name” their knives; I’d recommend Schrade do that as well if they want people to remember their products.

Conclusion and Overall Rating:

Schrade has really stepped up their game with this new line of Tantos. Both the F12 and F15 are great blades overall that can hang with many of the higher priced knives on the market. I’d recommend either knife to someone who already has higher-end knives, but is afraid to carry them and use them due to their hefty price, etc. These are true working knives, not “sheath queens”. They are made to be used and abused, and they can take the punishment. Either of these Schrade knives will handle whatever you throw at them (within reason of course) without breaking your piggy bank.

[Rating: 1 through 5 Stars] = Overall Rating:  

Schrade Fixed Blade SCHF12 Knife Specs:

  • Overall Length: 9.875″
  • Blade Length: 4.875″
  • Cutting Edge: 4.75″
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Style: Tanto Blade
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Edge Type: Plain Handle
  • Length: 5.00″
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Weight: 10.60 oz.
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Knife Type: Fixed Blade
  • Brand: Schrade
  • Model: SCHF12
  • Best Use: Tactical
  • Price: $40-70

 Schrade Fixed Blade SCHF15 Knife Specs:

  • Overall Length: 7.875″
  • Blade Length: 3.375″
  • Cutting Edge: 3.50″
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Style: Tanto Blade
  • Grind: Flat Blade
  • Finish: Black
  • Edge Type: Plain Handle
  • Length: 4.50″ Handle
  • Material: G-10
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Weight: 6.00 oz.
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Knife Type: Fixed Blade
  • Brand: Schrade
  • Model: SCHF15
  • Best Use: Tactical
  • Price: $30-50

© 2014 The Ballistic Blog

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s