Switchblades are a great EDC (Every Day Carry) piece of equipment to have as they are robust, quick to deploy and very practical. Switchblades are also known as automatic knives and OTF (Out-the-Front) knives. Unlike your typical folding knives that require a manual approach, switchblades can be propelled into action by activating the switch which in turn activates the spring that ejects the blade. Switchblades also host the blade in the grip handle/enclosure but may differ in opening mechanism and blade propulsion.
4 MAIN types of switchblades:
The knife blade ejects out of the side of the handle, similar to a regular folding knife but with a spring release. The blade tip is limited to only one side just like any regular knife. Most, if not all, side-opening knives are opened by pressing the button-release mechanism.
With OTF knives, the blade ejects right out of the front or ‘tip’ of the handle. A major difference can be seen in the blade type as the blade is a ‘spear point’ edge and is sharp on both sides. It is important to note that not all OTF blades are ‘spear point’ and some may be more resembling of a side-opening blade. OTF knives can accommodate both a press release or slide switch action that ejects the blade into its fully locked position. The mechanism release is usually found on the main flat body of the knife grip or or the side so that it is practical and comfortable to be rapidly deployed by the thumb. Proper handling is extremely important so as to avoid any injury.
As the name suggests, single action switchblades have a mechanism that can only perform a single action. In this case, the mechanism releases the blade and propels it into place. The blade however cannot be closed or ‘retracted’ back into its case by the same mechanism but rather must be manually pushed back in. The knife itself is thus composed of lesser parts and carries a cheaper price tag.
The double action is an upgrade to the single action switchblade giving you the ability and convenience to open and close your knife at the press of a button. These knives are safer to use due to not having to retract the blade back inside manually. This type of switchblade is a firm favorite among EDC’ers (Every Day Carriers) and professionals such as Military and EMT personnel that require rapid deployment and reliable efficiency.
Switchblades are becoming more and more popular within the knife community. Whilst not being the number one choice of tool for hard-survival activities such as hunting or hiking (where a fixed blade hunting knife would be better suited) it is definitely wise to clip one to your belt or backpack as a sidekick.
Legality: Switchblades remain controversial and rules and regulations differ between states due to being branded as “dangerous weapons.” Please make sure to check your State’s laws regarding open and closed carry to ensure you remain within the arms of the law.