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Knife Anatomy 101: What is a Knife’s Tang?

S&W Extreme Ops Knife

You see it in the descriptions of many types of fixed blade knives: full tang, half tang, rat-tail tang,yet what is a knife’s tang? The tang of a knife is the projecting shank, prong, fang, or tongue that connects the blade with the handle. There are many different types of tang, depending on the style of the knife and the construction of the handle.

Full Tang

The term full tang means that the knife/sword is one solid piece and the 2 handle pieces are pinned on to the blade, one on each side. This is the strongest of the tang types. Half tang knives go the length of the knife handle, but only half the width of it. Full Tang

Push Tang This is a partial tang that is pushed into and secured to the handle with glue or epoxy. They usually come in full and half push- half only going into half of the handle, while full being pushed in the full length of the handle. Push Tang

Rat Tail Tang In a rat tail tang, the tang narrows as it goes through the handle and is either threaded at the end or is welded to a piece of threaded rod. A bolt or threaded pommel secures the blade to the handle. Rat Tail Tang

Encapsulated Tang This tang is smaller than the handle. The handle is fitted or molded around the tang. Encapsulated Tang

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Comments (19)

  1. What do you call it if the handle is simply moulded out of the same piece of metal as the blade, with no handle pieces attached? Does that still fall into the category of Full Tang?

  2. Pingback: Best Skinning Knife – A Buyer’s Guide - Sharpened Knife
  3. can you please send me a sticker or two i really like the site it helps alot thanks and happy holidays

    Myles Thomson
    237 Strabane apt 202
    Windsor Ontario Canada
    n8y 2w6

  4. Was looking for a new knife to buy when I came upon this page. Not to many people know what the Tang of a knife is and how important it is when looking for a good camping/survival knife along with the importance of choosing carbon or stainless steel for your needs. This is by far one of the best description I’ve seen.

  5. I always wondered “tang” means. It was explained perfectly, and even had illustrations. Wikipedia gave me a mental vision, but this was even better. Thanks!

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