Blackhawk Tatang Review
So let’ just make this clear from the start. This is a combat knife, pure and simple. It’s difficult for me to test it in that respect as I’m not from a military background, but as a knife enthusiast I’ve handled many knives and strait out of the box you can see this isn’t for doing some bushcraft or cutting some steaks in the kitchen(not that you wouldn’t look badass doing so). As a general blade it’s pretty much pointless as it has a very specific design that isn’t tailored to general outdoor use. I think however, that this is an excellent knife for something like a bug out bag as it will definitely perform many of the tasks one might encounter in an urban survival situation. Being able to hack through steel wire and carve up some wood shavings for a fire, all while wearing a pair of gloves can definitely been seen as a worth while blade. I think its even a good collectors piece. It certainly has some features which pull the eye towards it, while still being fully functional and fairly inexpensive.
The blade is a sizeable piece of steel (the pictures just don’t do it justice) and it’s double edged. The main blade features a flat grind which allows this rather thick blade to taper into a very fine cutting and slicing edge. I don’t have access to things like kevlar or ballistic vests to test, but I have slashed at some 2×4’s and heavy duty sandbags and it does hold its edge well and delivers an effective cut. The main blade also features about 1.5 inches of serrations which easily cut through paracord. Other than swords and a few daggers I don’t really go for double edged blades due to finding them pointless for my needs. True, I don’t need knives for combat purposes, but it’s not like I cant find a use for them. Besides the ability to cut with reverse slashes and also combining with the front edge to make a very effective penetrating tip the way the blade grinds work allows for some heavier use. I confess I’m not sure if a sharpened version of this is a swedge or if its a false edge (As I said, I usually avoid this sort of blade so my terminology may be wrong). As the flat grind on the main blade ends about 15mm before the swedge/false edge/insert correct term here begins you get a much wider angle for the secondary edge. This essentially makes it tougher and allows you to say hammer away at some steel wire if it happens to block your path. This sort of thing allows you to make short work of a bad obstacle without compromising the edge of your main blade.
The handle is the only real problem for me with this knife. I think overall this entire knife was designed for a gloved hand and indeed I have worn some combat style gloves and wielded this blade and the handle feels completely different. The oversized finger choil and small handle seem to suit a thicker pair of gloves and it has an hourglass sort of shape to it which forces you to hold it in a particular spot. For people with large hands this may not be a problem, but it’s just not right for me. Besides this I’m not a fan of handles that ‘tell’ you how to hold them as it limits you although its slightly different for combat blades. for combat purposes though you do need to have specific grip styles that this shape lends itself towards and as you don’t use this like a general knife, for say chopping wood or hacking branches from your path, it makes sense to form a more secure grip.
The sheath is a molded plastic which, like the knife, is pretty big. It doesn’t come with a belt loop, but some brackets for attaching to something like a combat vest and I do really like its locking mechanism. It’s a sort of button that’s part of the sheath which allows you to safely store your blade upside-down without it ever coming loose while also making it very easy to get at. This is another feature that works well with some combat gloves as its big enough to press while wearing them. Besides this there was also a nylon sheath in the box that does have a belt loop and a conventional button fastener to secure the blade. It’s nice that they have provided a secondary option although I would have preferred an attachment for the plastic sheath rather than a separate one all-together.
Well I really don’t know what to think of this knife. It’s not in any way like you expect based on the pictures on the Blackhawk website as they make it look like a small(ish) blade, but it’s actually enormous. Overall compared to some general combat style blades I have used I think this has some good features and is quite inexpensive in comparison. It’s definitely a well designed combat blade, but its just not great as a general purpose blade, which isn’t to say that its bad but, it’s purpose is clear and well defined. It is completely reliant (in my opinion) on wearing some decent gloves, which is more likely found on special forces personnel rather than civvies, and even the push button release on the sheath is well designed for this also. So it’s a 100% combat focused blade, which does take it out of my realm of knowledge but, I can say that it feels well designed from a knife users perspective. It’s good quality and feels good in the (gloved) hand. The blade has held up to some extensive beatings although granted I have needed to sharpen it a few times due to going a bit harder on it than I usually would with a general blade. Overall I am very impressed with this blade and it’s just a shame that I’ll never be able to use it to its full potential.
Check out the Blackhawk Tatang and other Blackhawk goods here.