Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cold Steel Mini-Tac Tanto & Kiridashi


I continue the quest to find small fixed knives for offhand carry. A solid choice for offhand carry is the Mini-Tac line from Cold Steel. Of these four knives, I own two. The Tanto and the Kiridashi. Both are lightweight and constructed from AUS8 steel and feature excellent textured G10 handles. The handles are honestly the best feature of this series. They are what is known as a subhilt. Subhilts do not fully lock the index finger like the ring on a LaGriff style, but still provide considerable extra security. It is difficult to get a hand disengaged from a subhilt. This is a bonus in safety that cannot be understated. Even the slipperiest conditions, you will not have to be concerned with your hand riding up to the blade or the knife slipping out of your hand to hit your foot.

The Kiridashi's blade style is very similar to a box cutter. It is after all a version of an ancient utility blade style from Japan. Its deadly easy to sharp its straight edge, but being AUS8 be very mindful of your tip. Its easy to bend. However, its sharp enough to easily slice open any sort of meat you might have to deal with.


The Tanto is about 1/2 an inch longer, and seems a lot more sturdy. I carry this a lot offhand in my pocket. I also like the straight spine and the fine jimping. The AUS8 sharpens well enough, too. Unfortunately, I have quickly realized that I am not a fan of the Americanize tanto style. The true tanto style is a pretty conventional curve instead of the less useful angular double point. Curves are much better slicers and slashers. Tantos are good stabbers, even with the American style and in stainless steel. I do have faith in its ability to penetrate.


Both come with metal chains and cheap plastic neck sheaths that cover the subhilt. A poor design. The subhilt adds too much in drawing to be so covered. Also, they do not come with belt clips. To carry them, I use something I've taken to calling 'carbiner carry' which is a cheap way to get some better use out of simple neck knife sheaths.

For less than $40 each, these are a solid buy. A good choice for offhand carry or just plain EDC that won't break the bank. Check out the others in the mini-tac line. A fat beavertail blade and a skinner. I wish Cold Steel would do a spear point version or at least give the tanto a traditional curve.

7 comments:

Rob Robideau said...

As far as a fixed blade for edc, I haven't seen much better than the Kabar TDI LE Knife(Small)

Here is a link to my review with pics:
http://www.personalarmament.com/2010/12/kabar-tdi-law-enforcement-knife-review.html

Roadkill said...

Those are solid defensive and edc blades, Rob. I will get a hold of one eventually. I'm actually working on getting dealership status from Kabar. They also have decent carry options that too many small fixed blades lack. Thanks for reading!

Dan said...

RK, excellent review. These looks very solid. I love the sub hilt design, awesome for self defense and it gives you so much control. I might have to pick one of these up. I'm not a huge fan of the American tanto either, although I just picked up one with just such a blade shape... hey if it's sharp I guess it ain't that bad. Def seeing where you are coming from though.

Anonymous said...

Mini tac kiridashi - so small and does all the jobs done so smooth.Gotta love it so far but I'm concerned bout' the thin tip breaking at some point in the future tho

Roadkill said...

Actually, the tip on mine has already bent and thus it is retired from carry.

Gordon Gaines said...

I just got one for Christmas, I like the blade a lot better than I do my Becker Necker but the thin blade and point have me worried about using the Kiridashi for a light cutter bushcraft knife.

Roadkill said...

Gordon, you might consider a Meyerco Wharning. If you can find a used one or wait until they release the updated version this year. Mine has been one the most functional cutters I've ever owned. Steel is barely suitable, but works well enough with the good design.