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Tale of the Tang: The Untold Story of Knife Tangs.

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Knives are the weapon of choice for many, but what most people forget is the fact that they need to understand the parts of the knife. You might love to carry a knife to your outdoor adventures, but have you given thought about the parts of a knife? After all, it is the sum of the parts that makes the knife strong, the parts dictate the purpose of the knife.

Whether it is a full tang hunting knife or a push tang knife, you need to pay attention to these little details. The tang is that part of the knife, which impacts the strength of the knife. So, let’s get to know the tang of the knife!


Have you heard about the tang? Well, not the powdered drink with a fruity taste! The tang is an essential part of your knife. A fixed blade knife stands no chance if you have brought the wrong tang to hold it in place.  To help you in selection, here is the “Tale of the Tang: The Untold Story of Tangs”.

What your backbone means to you, is exactly what a tang means for the knife! It is basically what keeps the blade attached to the handle. Without the tang, there would nothing holding the two together. Here are some of the tang types usually seen across all knives:

The Full Tang:

A knife that has a full tang will have the tang along the complete length of the handle. It is a knife that is optimal for survival and lifesaving operations. There are both pros and cons to this kind of knife:


  • Full tangs are considered to be the strongest option among all the tang types. The simple reason is the fact that the entire length of the handle has the most metal, so the blade, when in use is less likely to bend or break off.
  • As the tang extends into the handle and along the full length, the balance point of the knife falls typically towards the middle, giving the knife better balance and leverage.


  • The overall weight of the knife might be a bit more than other tang type knives. If you are procuring your knife from skilled knife makers, then you will be at an advantage, because, many make the tang tapered towards the butt of the handle, to decrease the overall weight of the knife, without hampering its toughness.

Partial Tang:

  • The name is self-explanatory; the tang does not extend the entire length of the knife. This kind of tang is also known as three-quarter tang, half tang and stub tang. The pros and cons include:


  • The modern technique of knife making has improved the strength of the knife, but is still less in comparison to the full tang.
  • This kind of knife is quite light to handle and carry.
  • A partial tang improves the option of using various kinds of material for the handle.


  • Due to the tang not extending into the knife, leverage is reduced immensely.
  • In extreme conditions, this kind of knife is prone to breaking off.

Push Tang

Also known as rabbeted tang, this kind of tang is pushed into a premade slot within the handle and affixed using a strong adhesive. This kind of tang is found in both varieties full and partial. This kind of tang is characteristic of factory knives. The pros and cons are:


  • The price of this kind of knife is lower as the knife need not be finished.


  • This kind of knife is considered to be extremely weak and prone to sliding off the handle after prolonged use.

Extended Tang

The tang continues past the end of the knife’s handle. The pros and cons are:


  • Provides the knife handle added protection and additional features of acting as a tool for hammering tent stakes and much more.


  • It limits the variety of handle material.

Encapsulated tang

In this type, the handle material is moulded around the tang and not pushed on to it, which leads to the following pros and cons:


  • Strength is the biggest advantage of this kind of tang.
  • They offer better control over the use of the knife.


  • Limits the variety of materials used for the handle.

The other types of tangs include hidden tang, stick tang and many more. You need to understand that each tang will have its fair share of pros and cons, but you need to find a reliable and reputed knife maker. They will always have knives that fit your need and will never disappoint you. Find the tang of your choice and complete your tale of the tang!



Published inSelf Defense, Security, & Shooting

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