Automatic knives, also known as switchblades or flick knives are those that have a blade tucked inside the handle. The blade is then deployed through a special release mechanism usually in the form of a button, spring or a switch.
Although certain automatic knives are illegal in some parts of the world (Including the US), these laws are mostly outdated. In fact, switchblade knives have multiple benefits and are a great addition to any knife lover's collection. Undeniably, switchblades are badass, but they're also very practical, safe and useful for numerous purposes.
However, not all automatic knives are the same. In fact, there are several different types of automatic knives depending on the blade deployment and release mechanism. So here are the different types you'll be able to find on the market.
- Side-Opening Automatic Knives
These knives very much resemble the traditional, manually operated folding knives. They're called side-opening because the blade comes out from one side of the handle. The only difference between the old-school folding knives and side-opening automatic knives is that they actually have a spring mechanism that deploys the blade.
This type is very safe because they usually feature some kind of a safety mechanism that blocks the activation button. They are also super durable and usually cheaper than OTF knives, but they are not as practical. Since they open on the side, you can't grip the handle comfortably before deploying the blade.
- Out-the-Front (OTF) Knives
Although slightly more expensive than side-opening knives, OTF knives are definitely more popular. Instead of springing out from the side of the handle, in OTF knives, the blade jumps up from the tip of the handle.
While side-opening knives can have blades that are sharp only on one side due to their mechanism, OTF knives can feature much more versatile blades that are sharp on both sides. And, another cool thing about OTF knives is that they often feature such a release mechanism that can also be used to return the blade back into the handle.
That's why when it comes to the release mechanism, OTF automatic knives are also divided into single action OTF and double action OTF.
- Single Action OTF – These knives feature a release mechanism that only extends the blade. You can't use the same button to retract the blade. Instead, you will have to do it manually. Single action OTF often feature much stronger springs that open more rapidly than double action OTF.
- Double Action OTF – As their name suggests, these automatic knives have a mechanism that can both extend and retract the blade. Usually, they feature a thumb stud that extends the blade when pushed forward and pulls the blade back when pushed backward. They are more practical and much safer than single action OTF since they are unlikely to open accidentally.
When it comes to choosing the ideal automatic knife, it all boils down to your preferences. But it's important to learn the main differences so you know what you're buying.
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