OTF (Out-the-Front) knives have been steadily gaining popularity among knife enthusiasts for their mechanical prowess and practicality they provide. Also known as ‘switchblades’ and ‘automatic’ knives, they can become operational in a matter of seconds.
Here, we are going to look at some of the best OTF knives money can buy. Reliable switchblades should be sharp, robust and resilient. They fire out smoothly from a firm handle. Of course wear and tear occurs as with every tool depending on the type of use and frequency i.e. if used for hunting, the knife will take more damage than simply box cutting.
OTF knives are looked upon more sternly in the eye of the law. So it is imperative that you check your State laws and regulations with regard to possession and carrying of switchblades. They are considered more dangerous due to being heavily promoted and seen as a ‘gang weapon’ in the media and having the blade completely concealed.
Best Budget OTF: Atomic Defender Medium Dagger Black OTF Automatic Knife - Satin Plain 8.25"
The ‘Atomic Defender’ is the perfect starter knife for the new and avid enthusiast. It boasts a sleek and stealthy black body equipped with glass breaker for emergencies and belt clip to always be hands distance away. The body or handle if you will is rubberized and provides a firm and strong grip. It has a double action side switch making it easy to open and close with the flick of your thumb. The Defender deploys a stainless steel ‘arrow head’ blade with a satin finished double sided plain edge.
Bang Around The Bush Without Breaking Your Bank: Tekto Kenetik
The Tekto Kenetik is the bushman’s favorite go-to switchblade. It is one of the smallest and most elegant knives around. Standing at just 3.9” inches when closed makes it the perfect pocket tool. It has a sleek and easy-to-grip rectangular body carved from aircraft grade alloy with an attached carabiner making it easy to clip to your keychain or belt loop. It contains a double action side switch making it the perfect for rapid deployment. The Kenetik has a 2.0” inch 440 stainless steel tanto blade.
Best Single Action OTF: Smith & Wesson Spring Assisted Finger Actuator Spear Point
The Smith & Wesson single action OTF looks like a member of the special forces. Its black sleek body hides away a nightly black AUS-8 steel blade. The blade boasts a plain edge on one side whilst having a plain/serrated on the other finished off with a ‘spear point.’ Retracting the blade is done manually by pulling the lever (right next to the switch) that pushes the blade back inside. The knife is packed with a glass breaker and pocket clip that make it a great multi-practical tool.
Best Double Action OTF: Tekto Mirage
The Tekto Mirage is the ultimate shank and most intuitive pro-grade of switchblades. The grip sports a sleek and petite look that makes it very discrete. It contains a rubberized centre on both sides to provide a firm and strong grip with the slide switch just above making it extremely easy to operate. The zinc alu alloy grip is furnished off with a digital woodland print. The ‘Mirage’ features a damascus-style steel blade with impeccable etchings. The blade is your typical top of the line 400 stainless steel sporting a dual side plain/serrated edge combo with a spear point finish. The blade deploys instantly when the slide switch is pushed. To retract the blade just use the switch and the blade vanishes. Additional features include a hip clip and glass breaker which are great for easy carrying and emergency use.
Overall length: 8.75”
Blade length: 3.50”
Blade material: AUS-8
As OTF knives are growing in popularity so is their increased presence on the market with more and more designs and products available for sale. With so many choices on offer it can sometimes be hard to choose the right one, especially since they differ in styles and mechanisms. It’s best to decide the purpose they will serve and then choose the best one to suit your needs.
* Always remember to check your State laws before purchasing.