For those planning to get their hands on their first knife, these are exciting times. There has never been a better time in history to make your debut and enter the world of knives. Never has the market been adorned with such a huge selection of knives with such diverse design elements and characteristics. But the abundance of choice is also what makes buying OTF knives so damn hard, especially for first-time buyers. There’s so much to choose from and prices range from ten bucks to tens of thousands. Even prices of identical knives vary from site to site. How do you decide what’s best for you? That’s why we’re here.
Know Your Purpose. Know The Law
To get the right badass blade that’ll cut for you, you first need to decide its purpose. Will it be going with you camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing? Or you may just want a knife as an EDC (Everyday Carry) item. Once you know your purpose, you can instantly narrow your search. Next, you need to be wary of the local laws. Always make sure to check the knife laws in your state to make sure, you can legally carry the knife of your choice. Not every U.S. state allows carrying a 6’ OTF automatic knife.
OTF Knives For Everyday Carry
OTF knives and folding knives are some of the most popular choices for entree-level buyers. These are your pocket knives and will serve you for most things from slicing fruits, opening boxes, to defending yourself. If you’re looking for a knife to carry on you, then this is the most popular choice. There’s still a lot to choose from. You have knives with:
- Clip-point blades,
- Drop-point blades, and
- Tanto blades
You can choose from any as an entry-level buyer. Pick the one that seems right. Unless you want to multitool like a Swiss Army knife with multiple blades, all you need at this point is a “Single Blade Pocket Knife”.
Know Your Edge
At the end of the day, it’s the blade that cuts. So know the different blade types. There are mainly 3 types - plain edge, serrated, and partly serrated. They all have their roles to play and come with their own pros and cons.
The general consensus is that it’s best for most first time buyers. It’s a long plain edge without any serration and is great for performing push cuts. The long sharp edge allows better control, cleaner cuts, and more accuracy. It’s also the easiest to sharpen. However, it cannot perform a pull cut as it’s missing the saw. Therefore you can’t cut a loaf of bread. Still, it’s great for everyday use and will carry out most cutting tasks efficiently.
This does a great job at sawing through both soft and tough material that requires a pull cut. It gets the higher pressure per area due to the serration. Serrations also tend to be thinner than plain edges which allows them to cut more efficiently. However, they can be clumsy when trying to thinly slice fruits and vegetables.
It’s the best of both worlds with a combo edge - the top half being the plain edge and the lower being the serrated saw. This allows you to do both the pull and push cut. This kind of edge has taken over as the popular choice over a fully serrated edge. However, you might have to adopt a little as it misses a long plain edge. But overall, this is perhaps the best choice for all who are looking for a knife that can perform most tasks.