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Glossary of Terms

Don't know the meaning of some of the knife terms on our site? Don't feel bad. We've been making knives for over a hundred years - we oughtta use at least a couple words you've never heard of.

Here are some definitions that might help you out.

  • 1095 Cro-Van Steel

    Easy to sharpen, plain carbon steel used in knife making. Proven to be one of the most popular steels used in KA-BAR knives.

    440A Steel

    A high-carbon stainless steel used in many American production knives.

    Clam Pack

    Clam Pack

    A clear plastic packaging option that allows products to be hung on peg boards for retail merchandising.

    Cryogenic Quenching (CR)

    The process of freezing blades to improve blade performance.

    D2 Steel

    A high-carbon, high-chrome tool steel often used for blanking dies. This steel has excellent edge holding ability but is very difficult to process.

  • Epoxy Powder Coating

    A coating process that protects blades from corrosion and also makes them non-reflective.

    Flat Ground

    A grind that tapers from the top of the blade down to the cutting edge. Also known as a “V” grind.

    Full Tang

    A tang that shows all around the handle of the knife between two pieces of handle material.

    Full-Length Tang

    Extension of the blade steel that runs completely through the handle to the end of the knife.



    An extremely durable material made of woven fiberglass soaked in epoxy resin, then highly compressed and baked.

    Game Hook

    Game Hook

    Also known as a gut hook, this blade shape is best for opening the flesh of game.

    Glass-Filled Nylon

    Material used to make sheaths and handles. Nylon is reinforced with glass particles and other materials to provide strength and durability while still allowing some flexibility.



    Also known as a hilt, is the piece of steel that separates the handle and the blade. Serves to keep the hand from slipping on the blade when cutting. Can be single or double.

    Hollow Ground

    The ground surface of the blade is concave. Used to create a fine cutting edge.


    Thermoplastic resin material used to make handles.  Noted for excellent strength and toughness and superior surface appearance.  Trademark of Ravago Americas LLC.


  • Kraton G® Thermoplastic Elastomer

    Referred to simply as Kraton, is a synthetic rubber that can be molded into knife handles. Provides a non-slip grip. GLS trademark.



    A folding knife that has a lock release on the back of the handle.

  • Micarta®


    A man made material, made by layering resin and cloth. Used to make very fine knife handles. Westinghouse trademark.


    An acronym which stands for National Stock Number, a 13-digit number used to identify an item of material in the supply distribution system of the United States Government.

    Powdered Metal

    Powdered Metal

    A process used to make shaped metal pieces. Fine metal particles are molded under pressure and then fused under high heat. Also known as sintered metal.

  • Rockwell Hardness (HRC)

    An industry scale used for measuring the hardness of blade steel. The higher the reading, the harder the steel. Written as HRC or RC followed by a range of numbers.

    S35VN Steel

    A high end stainless steel known for its edge retention and toughness.


    Also known as a linerlock. A locking mechanism that features a tab cut out of the liner which is used as a stop to lock the blade in an open position. To close, the liner tab is pushed back to its original position

    TPR (Thermosplastic Resin)

    Thermoplastic Resin is used for making handles.  On KA-BAR products like the Kukri #1249 it has a firm but still  "giving" feel.



    A glass-filled nylon material used in making handles for knives. DuPont trademark.