It seems to go in cycles. Every year or two someone either writes the magazine or starts a thread on a popular cutlery web forum questioning the term “tactical” as applied to knives. For reasons I don’t fully understand, many of them seem to take this issue very personally.
After quoting the Webster’s dictionary definition of “tactical,” they almost always hostilely assert, “It’s just a marketing scheme to sell knives!” To a certain extent, they are probably right, but what product isn’t given a name the sellers hope will lure customers? Maybe in the good old days of the Soviet Union you could have gotten away with just calling something “Auto, M2011-2 Door-Mid Size,” but it has never worked that way in the free world. If you want your product to stand out from the pack you first have to give it a name that makes potential customers take a second look. Choice is what makes our world go around even if some of the products are a bit overhyped from time to time.
Study the modern knife industry; you will quickly realize that there are very few new models introduced that are directed solely at hunters or fishermen. Innovative non-locking “slip-joint” pocketknives are even rarer yet. On the other hand, there is also a limited market for out-and-out “fighting knives” as, even in the military, hand-to-hand combat is way down the list of common uses for a blade. This is equally true of “martial arts knives,” as only a small minority of users actually go through any kind of special training with their blades. A few years ago there was a movement to try to make one-hand-opening folders more politically correct by calling them “sport/utility” knives. Needless to say, that was less than a stroke of marketing genius.