How To Sharpen A Tactical Knife?

How To Sharpen A Tactical Knife?

A sharp knife is a safe knife. If you have a tactical knife, you should make sure it is strong enough for defense. That is why sharpening your knife is just as important as loading a gun.

Don’t skip the following article if you want to know the best way to sharpen your tactical knife! It is all you should know about sharpening a tactical knife. Let’s get started!

What Makes A Tactical Knife

There are two specific features of making a tactical knife.

The first one is the grippy handle. A tactical knife should have a sturdy and grippy handle that makes it easy and convenient for the user to hold. You wouldn’t want your knife to slip out of your hand while fighting.

Another unique feature is the non-reflective finish. In tactical situations, a shiny knife can become your fatal weakness instead of a self-defense weapon. Therefore, tactical knives are often equipped with sandblasted finish or silicon glass finish. 

Read our latest guide about perfect camping knives.

How To Sharpen A Tactical Knife? 

The best method to sharpen knives generally and a tactical knife particularly is using whetstone/ Waterstone. With some easy-to-find tools, you can sharpen your tactical knife in a few steps. Here is the process:

Step 1: Choose The Correct Whetstone

You need to choose a sharpening stone of the correct roughness for your blade condition. The duller and rusty your knife, the coarser the sharpening stone should be.

For example, if your tactical knife is exceptionally dull, a Waterstone with 220 grit is ideal. Meanwhile, if your knife just needs a light sharpening, you should go to 600-1000 grit whetstone.

Step 2: Wet Your Whetstone

You can use some water or cooking oil to wet the whetstone. Apply a thin layer of oil/ water to the whetstone until it penetrates the surface.

You should not skip this step since it will make the sharpening process more accessible. Also, it will minimize unexpected damage to the blade.

Step 3: Find A Suitable Angle

Each knife is designed with a specific edge’s angle. It would be best if you found this natural angle before starting sharpening. If you hold the blade at a higher angle than its edge’s angle, it can damage your knife.

Firstly, lay your tactical knife flat on the Waterstone. Then, raise the blade slowly to meet its edge’s angle.

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Step 4: Start Sharpening

Now, you need to sharpen each side of the blade. Again, use the right amount of force to grind and maintain the correct angle throughout the process.

Since almost all knives are designed with a curve shape, it is essential to adjust the angle to sharpen the entire cutting edge.

Repeat the process with another side of the blade. You can also repeat this step 3-4 times to gain the optimal sharpness.

Related: How To Sharpen Knives In Your Kitchen On A Whetstone

Step 5: Test The Cutting Edge 

You can cut a piece of paper to test the sharpness of your tactical knife. If you can cut it quickly and smoothly, this cutting edge will pass the test.

Step 6: Apply Oil 

After sharpening, you should clean this tactical knife with water to remove the rust on its surface. Next, use a towel to dry the blade. Then, apply a layer of cooking oil to the knife surface to maintain and prevent rust.

Tips For Sharpening Your Fixed-Blade Knife 

For the most effective sharpening, you could apply some tips above:

  • Please don’t use a dry blench stone since it could damage the cutting edge. Instead, wet the surface of the whetstone before starting to have a smooth sharpening.
  • You should wear gloves to protect your hands from being dâmged by the knife.
  • When sharpening, move the blade slowly. This way, you can achieve the sharpness you want.
  • Start with finer grit even if your knife is too dull. It might take a longer time, but you can control the process better.

Common Mistakes While Sharpening A Knife

Sharpening a knife can take just a piece of the whetstone. However, to sharpen knives effectively, technique is the decisive factor. You need to know the common mistakes when sharpening a knife to improve your sharpening technique. Here are some typical examples:

Let The Knife Get Too Dull Before You Start Sharpening

It would be best to keep in mind that when a knife is too dull and rusty, even sharpening will not make it any better. Start sharpening as soon as you feel its sharpness has decreased. On-time sharpening will make it more durable.

In addition, it is an interesting fact that most of the 100% new knives do not have 100% sharpness. Therefore, as soon as you get a new tactical knife, sharpening it right away is not a bad idea.

Use An Inappropriate Tool

What is the primary tool for knife sharpening? It is the whetstone. Before you start, it is essential to know whether your knife needs a coarse grit or finer grit. 

If you have to remove much rust on the surface, a small amount of grit like 80 grit, 120 grit, 200 grip is ideal. However, if you prefer finer grit, high numbers such as 600 grit, 700 grit, 1000 grit are the more suitable.

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Use Too Steep Of An Angle

This mistake happens when you do not know the exact angle of the blade. When sharpening a knife, placing the knife at an angle that is too large or too small will reduce the knife’s sharpness.

It would be best if you also determined the purpose of your knife before sharpening it. For example, if you only need a knife sharp enough for self-defense, you can sharpen the knife to an angle slightly less than the angle of the blade.


Which is the best tactical knife?

There are hundreds upon hundreds of tactical knives on the market. As such, it is hard to say which is the best one. However, I recommend tactical knives from famous brands such as Kershaw, Boker, Cold Steel, etc.

What is a tactical knife used for?

A tactical knife is a versatile tool. You can use it for a wide range of needs and purposes. For example, it can be a kitchen knife cutting everything you need or a tool for camping and hunting. In some cases, a tactical knife can work as a piece of personal protection equipment.

Are tactical knives legal?

They will be legal when you use them for self-defense. However, if you use tactical knives to threaten or attack another person, they may become illegal. For example, you might be put in jaws if you use any weapons not for self-defense purposes.

What makes a pocket knife tactical?

A pocket tactical knife is equipped with some aggressive features serving tactical purposes, such as a thick and durable blade. Also, its grip is designed to fit your hand perfectly.

What is the best knife sharpening method?

Using a Waterstone (or whetstone) is the best way to sharpen all knives, including tactical knives. This method will keep your knife in top condition and prolong its life. In addition, you will find that this method is easy to follow.

Should you wash a knife after sharpening?

Yes, you should. Washing your knife will make it cleaner. Also, it is an excellent way to remove rust from the blade and make it last longer.

What is the last thing to do after sharpening a knife?

After sharpening your knife, you should prevent the rust from forming by cleaning it with water and applying a layer of cooking oil on the blade’s surface.

How often should you sharpen your knife?

The answer depends on how much you use your knife. If you use your knife frequently, you should sharpen it after 3-4 times of usage.