Key Differences Between a Drop Point Knife and a Clip Point Knife

Picking out the right knife for you is more than just the aesthetics. Each part of the knife design plays a role in how the blade functions and how you can effectively use that knife, especially in SHTF scenarios.

Blade shapes, such as drop point and clip point, all have advantages and disadvantages. Some blades are made for a specific purpose, such as skinning animals. So, what’s the difference between a drop point knife and a clip point knife?

Before we look at the differences between these two blade shapes, let’s break each one down to learn more about the design and function.

Why Do Blade Shapes Matter?

Blade shapes matter just as much as the material used to craft the blade. Each knife shape is crafted for specific tasks in mind. You shouldn’t pick up a knife and assume it can perform all of the functions that you want.

Some knives are made with hunters in mind, while others are designed to be used in camp for tasks and chopping. You might want a knife that’s crafted for self-defense.

For example, the Tanto blade is the go-to shape for the military and law enforcement personnel.

While it might not seem like a big deal to use a knife for the wrong purpose, you do risk destroying your blade. If you want to use a knife for chopping but pick an edge that is more suited to skin an animal, you risk damaging and chipping the blade, rendering it useless later when you need it. If you try to cut the rope with a knife not suited for that task, you will find your job is much harder than anticipated.

Clip Point Knives

The most popular blade shape today is a clip point, so you might be familiar with the shape even without knowing its name. The back edge of the knife is unsharpened, and runs straight into the handle, stopping about halfway up the knife.

Then, the blade turns and runs to the point of the knife. It looks like the front point of the knife was clipped off, hence the name clip point.

Depending on the design, this area is called the “cut out,” and it can be either straight or curved. Clip point blades are most commonly used for pocket knives and fixed blade knives, such as the Bowie knives. Jim Bowie made this style of blades famous. That’s why it can be seen in movies like Rambo.

Clip point knives are relatively versatile. They can be used for general camp chores as well as field dressing and skinning. If you want an all-around good knife, you can’t go wrong if you purchase a clip point.

However, due to the slim and sharp point design, clip point tips break easier than drop points. While it lacks in strength, the controllability and precision make up for that shortcoming.

  • Very sharp blade
  • Great for piercing
  • Can be used for slicing due to the cutting edge
  • The point is weak.
  • Not as ideal for skinning.

Drop Point Knives

Drop point knives are considered an all-purpose knife, loved by all knife users, but it’s mostly a hunting knife. It features an unsharpened back edge of the blade that runs straight down to the handle. Drop points are a favorite hunting knife because it has a controllable point. You avoid hitting internal organs and slicing the belly area.

Most people consider drop points a specialized hunting knife. The design makes it great for field dressing and skinning animals. Since the point isn’t defined, you can use the entire blade for skinning, which makes the process faster and reduces the risk of damaging the meat.

Some experts recommend that you don’t use drop points for camp-related activities such as cutting twigs or brush. Other hunters say that, due to the design, some drop points are great for these activities. If you want to use your knife for batoning to split wood or for cutting twigs, make sure you consider the strength of the material used to craft the blade. Be sure it’s up for the task.

  • Strong, controllable point
  • Large cutting area for slicing
  • Point isn’t as sharp as a clip point.
  • Not as suitable for piercing.

The Differences Between a Drop Point and Clip Point Knife

Now that you understand each type of knife let’s examine the differences. Knowing how each blade differs help you make the right choice.


A clip point knife looks like a part of the blade was cut out on end, creating a sharp point. A drop point knife has a long, straight design that most people associate with knives.


Perhaps the essential difference between a drop point and a clip point knife is what they can be used for outdoors. In general, a drop point knife is considered a hunting knife, so it can be used for field dressing and skinning an animal. Hunters shouldn’t pick a drop point to cut rope or twigs or to perform any camping related task.

On the other hand, a clip point is an all-purpose type knife. While it can be used for skinning and field dressing, it also can be used for camp-related tasks. If you need to cut some rope, your clip point has your back.


Both knives have a beautiful look, but most hunters do prefer the aesthetic value of the clip point knife  


Both blades have excellent accuracy, but it depends on the task at hand. Due to the design, a clip point is more suited for piercing. A drop point, due to the long straight length of the blade, makes skinning and field dressing much more manageable with fewer mistakes.

How to Pick the Right Knife for You

Both styles offer pros and cons, but to pick the right blade for you, think about the tasks you plan to use it. Having more than one knife is fine. To be sure you don’t damage blades, it’s a wise idea to have more than one knife to have the right one for the task at hand.

So, if you want an all-purpose knife that can do a bit of everything, pick the drop point knife. If you’re looking for a piercing and sharp knife, go for the clip point knife. Both are exceptional knives that receive high marks from hunters and campers alike, and both are great to add to your everyday carry arsenal.

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