Single-Action vs. Double-Action Knives

Out-the-front knives are one of the most popular options for knife enthusiasts and it isn’t hard to see why. There are few things more soothing than the sound and feel of deploying an OTF knife. The satisfying click-clack as the blade extends can be mesmerizing.


But more importantly, OTF knives are great for a variety of situations, from opening packages to self-defense, making them great EDC tools. The easy, spring-loaded action for deploying the blade on an OTF knife means it can be used one-handed and will be there when you need it.


In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the difference between the two main types of OTF knives, and which one you should get, depending on your situation.



Two Types of OTF Knives


When it comes to OTF knives, there are two main types of mechanisms for opening and closing them: single-action and double-action.


Single-action OTF knives, also known as manual knives, are opened and closed manually using a thumb stud, thumb hole, or flipper. These types of knives are typically considered to be more traditional and rely on the user to manually open and close the blade.


Double-action knives, on the other hand, are opened and closed using a button or switch. Also known as automatic OTF knives or dual-action OTF knives, these are typically considered to be more modern and convenient, as they can be opened and closed with just the push of a button.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Each


One of the main advantages of single-action knives is that they are typically more reliable. Since there are fewer moving parts, there is less of a chance for something to break or malfunction. This makes them a great choice for outdoorsmen, hunters, and survivalists who need a knife that they can rely on in the field.


Another advantage of single-action knives is that they are often less expensive than double-action knives. This is because they have fewer moving parts and are typically made with less expensive materials. As a result, they’re easier to maintain. They also tend to have a more classic appearance.


On the other hand, double-action OTF knives are often considered to be more convenient. They can be opened and closed with one hand, which is useful for people who need to use their other hand for other tasks. Additionally, double-action knives are often faster to open and close than single-action knives, which can be useful in emergency situations. They also tend to have a more sleek and modern appearance, which some people prefer.


One of the main disadvantages of double-action knives is that they are typically less reliable than single-action knives. They have more moving parts, which means that there is a greater chance for something to break or malfunction. Additionally, double-action knives are often more expensive than single-action knives due to the additional moving parts and materials.


The Right Knife for the Job 


Whether you choose a single-action or double-action knife comes down to how you plan to use it, as well as your preferences for safety, convenience, and appearance. For outdoor use and survival situations, a double-action knife may be preferable due to its one-handed operation and quick deployment. For casual use, a single-action knife may be sufficient and is arguably safer and more durable.


There are other features that can differentiate OTF knives. For example, the A3 Delta comes with a handy keychain loop that can hook onto your backpack, making it a good option for those camping or hiking trips. For self-defense, on the other hand, you may consider the Humvee. Ultimately, the choice depends on your particular needs and preferences. Feel free to check out our catalog of dual-action OTF knives here.