The drop point is the most common blade shape, and for good reason. The drop point is simple, visually pleasing, and practical. You will be hard pressed to find a more useful all round blade shape.
Here is a picture of the Benchmade Bugout. It features a classic drop point blade:
What is a Drop Point Knife
A drop point blade features a spine that slopes from the handle of the knife to the tip of the blade. It drops down from the handle to the point, or tip of the blade, hence “drop point”. There are many variations on the drop point. Here’s my ESEE Zancudo with a slowly sloping drop point, that drops to the point where it’s almost a spear point:
Contrast the drop point with a clip point. The spine of a clip point, or trailing point knife, curves back away from the handle. The spine of the drop point always drops down. Another way to look at it is the spine of a clip point is concave, while the spine of a drop point is convex. Are we confused yet? Better to illustrate this with a photo:
What is a Drop Point Knife Used For?
Drop point knives are versatile, and are used for a variety of tasks.
First of all, they are great for Every Day Carry (EDC) knives. Many great daily carry blades come in a drop point configuration. It’s a popular choice because it’s simple and visually pleasing, but also highly functional. Drop point knives come with a good tip for detail work, some belly for tasks that benefit from a knife with belly (mostly food preparation and crunching cuts), and a good amount of straight cutting edge, which is ideal for slicing.
Drop points are also a little less aggressive looking than something like a clip point, wharncliffe, or tanto blade. It’s a traditional knife shape that many people associate with utility.
Drop point knives are also popular for tactical knives. Most good tactical knives double as utility blades, so no surprises there. The fine tip of a drop point is excellent for thrust cuts, and if you get one with an adequately sized blade, it can be a great “martial blade”.
Drop point knives are also popular in camp and survival knives. Once again, that’s because they are such a versatile blade shape, with a good tip, belly, and plenty of edge. They are great for wood work, chopping, and general utility work.
Finally, drop point knives can be a good choice for a hunting knife. Generally you want a knife with a good amount of belly for a hunting knife, and the drop point delivers that. It doesn’t provide as much belly as a clip point, but it’s pretty good. Certainly a lot more belly than a tanto. Also, the tip is not as prominent, which makes it ideal for skinning, and for disemboweling quarry without puncturing their organs.
Drop Point vs. Tanto Point Blades
As I alluded to in the earlier section, tanto and drop point knives are very different. Both feature strong and capable tips, but the tanto blade has little to no belly, while the drop point features a good amount of belly.
Both are good blade shapes, and your choice will depend on your preference. Tanto blades can be great for things like cutting out coupons, and other thin objects on flat surfaces. On the flip side, you will never be able to “rock” the blade back and forth on a tanto like you will with a drop point. This will make a task like mincing garlic much harder with a tanto.
Generally speaking, a tanto blade is going to have a stronger tip, so if you are looking for the blade shape with better tip strength, generally speaking a tanto will be better. In some cases tantos can be slightly better at slicing. That’s because the pressure is applied uniformly along the edge. With the curved edge of a drop point, the pressure will vary depending on where you are at in the cut. For most people I don’t think it will be a discernible difference, but it’s another point to consider.
Best Drop Point Knives
Picking out the best drop point knives is no easy task. That’s because we have a ton of them to choose from, and your intended use will also define what is best for your needs. I’ll use this section to highlight some of my favorite knives featuring drop point blades. I’ll cover a couple different knife styles.
The Griptilian is easily one of the most iconic drop point knives. It’s a great blade that can fit into a number of roles. The large Griptilian can be used as a tactical knife, and the mini can be used as a smaller urban EDC knife. If you have the coin, the G10 version is super nice. I have both the G10 and the original FRN handled version and enjoy them both.
Here is a picture of my full size G-10 Griptilian and my FRN Mini Griptilian:
Honestly, any of ESEE’s standard series of knives is a great example of a drop point. I chose the ESEE-3 because it’s a versatile knife, but ESEE makes bigger and smaller blades depending on your needs, so take your pick. These are tough-as-nails knives made in the USA from 1095 high carbon steel, and they come with an excellent no questions asked fully transferable warranty. The ESEE-3 is considered a survival knife, a small camp knife, or an outdoor utility knife.
Cold Steel American Lawman
I’m a big fan of the Cold Steel American Lawman. Cold Steel is known for making over the top knives, and what I like about the American Lawman is how it flies below the radar, thanks in large part to the simple drop point shape. It gives the American Lawman a utilitarian vibe. Adding to the workmanlike manner of the American Lawman is the generous G-10 handle and tough Tri-Ad lock. Great knife.
Hinderer Knives XM-18
Here’s something a little more expensive: the Hinderer XM-18. These are a lot of fun. Beautifully made in the USA, customizable and offered in a wide variety of handle colors and blade shapes, but the classic has always been the drop point. The XM-18 is part of the “Holy Trinity” of high end folders, which includes the Chris Reeve Sebenza, and the Strider SnG. Interestingly enough, all 3 of these knives come with drop point blades. Coincidence? I think not.
How about a good Gentleman’s folder? Actually, a lot of Gents folders come with a drop point. Hard to get more gentlemanly than a drop point. After a fair amount of consideration I settled on the Fantoni Dweller. Great little drop point, and it’s probably my favorite Gents folder.
Lets throw in a Cali Legal Automatic. I like the Protech Runt. Grayson reviewed the Runt back in 2015, and it’s a knife with classic charm, and Cali Legal practicality. The blade is 154CM stainless steel. The handle is anodized aluminum. It’s a great little knife.
Drop Point Knives – Final Thoughts
Well, there you go. Everything I know about drop point knives, and a collection of some of the best ones in my collection. What do you think? Did I leave something out? Feel free to let me know in the comments section below. Cheers.