The word ‘Practical’ is, in my opinion, a word too trivialized in modern society. Too often do I hear this word used as a synonym for ‘lazy’, or ‘easy’. For example, when a parent refers to taking their kids portable video game with them on a trip as a ‘practical’ solution to keeping the noise down in the car. Or when using a roofing hatchet to drive in a nail is ‘more practical’ than getting up to get the hammer that’s all of fifteen feet away.
I’m sure you can come up with a half dozen other examples in your head of situations like these. And this is why I seldom use this word anymore without ample explanation. It’s also why, when I do use it, I really mean it not just as a simple statement, but with a touch of reverence. It is with great joy that I can humbly state that I not only found the Tactical Tanto by CAS Hanwei aesthetically pleasing, but quite practical.
This is the last piece in the Tactical line, all of them designed by Mr. Paul Chen. I have used both the Tactical Katana and Wakizashi, and was eagerly awaiting my Tanto to arrive. As expected, it’s style and construction were equal to it’s larger cousins. What struck me though, was it’s immense practicality. As with all of the pieces in this line, the 11 inch blade is constructed out of 5160 High-Carbon spring steel, and is plasma coated for good corrosion resistance. The full tang style gives a stronger design and is a modernization to the traditional Tanto. The modernizations continue with the Kraton handle and checkered pattern. This provides a great gripping surface, even in foul weather situations. The total handle length of 4 3/4 inches easily accommodated my ham-fists, and made for an overall length of the piece of just under 17 inches. Just like the larger weapons, the Tanto come with a para-cord lanyard at the end of the handle. Para-cord also adorns the fiberglass scabbard, which also includes a water drain hole at the tip; another very practical feature. The fiberglass scabbard adds little weight to this piece, coming in at around 13 ½ ounces.
A quick side note here; CAS Hanwei is now offering MOLLE attachments for not only the Tanto, but the full line of Tactical products. I didn’t have one at the time of this article, but I strongly recommend them for anyone who might be interested.
So with Tanto in hand (actually, secured through my belt on my back), off I went to my cabin. I don’t know about the area of the world you are, but here in Western PA, we take our hunting seasons pretty seriously. Growing up nearer to a city, my daughters only get one day off for the first day of buck season. Growing up more rural as I did, I recall having a hoard of spinsterish substitute teachers during high school, assuming I was there myself. This wasn’t just for the love of the sport, the main reason was for the meat that a large deer can bring. The coal country of PA, like many other places in the US, was prone to work stoppages, lay-offs and strikes. And back then, as in the rough economic times of today, a good side of meat that you could get inexpensively wasn’t just smart, it was practical. My friends and I may not be underground earning our pay as our fathers did, but our camp still gets good use right after Thanksgiving, and it’s my job as host to make sure things are as good as I can make them. So off I went to do a bit of tinkering, a touch of puttering, and some old fashioned hard work to set things in order. Let me tell you, this Tanto got a hard workout that weekend, and was ready for more. As always, I didn’t modify the edge at all before putting it through the paces, and as with everything I’ve gotten from CAS Hanwei, I had nothing to fear. Whether I was stripping wire or carving notches into wood, the Tactical Tanto kept going strong. The blade width was ample enough to allow me to push my thumb while doing the fine work on wood, and strong enough to tackle shaving kindling down for starters. Even when I was whittling and struck a long forgotten and grown in nail, it took the punishment with a little nick – a testimony to 5160 steel and its durability. After a long day of chores, I gave it a quick dunk in the pool (in ground and spring fed). Sliding it back into the scabbard, I gave it a quick whip to spin out any excess water. For a split second, I imagined the scabbard flying off the blade, whirling into the undergrowth, never to be seen again. I was delighted that, even wet, the friction fit on the piece held true.
So in my opinion, while it’s fun to have the day-glow colored serrated arm-choppers for the zombie apocalypse, I’m more proud of my pieces that are practical. The Tactical Tanto will have a place in my pack, where ever I go, both for its style and practicality. Heck, I think it should be renamed the ‘Practical, Tactical Tanto’, but either way I love it!
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