What Is A Switchblade Knife Used For?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 03/16/21 •  8 min read

We are all aware of the switchblade knives, but maybe you know it with a different name.

The switchblade knives are available with a lot of different names such as an automatic knife, pushbutton knife, ejector knife, spring knife, Springer, flick knife, or flick blade, etc.

so in this article, you are going to read amazing details about switchblade knives.

The definition

In these ones, you can fold the blade of the knife in a handle and the blade automatically comes out when you push the button or lever or switch.

A switchblade knife is a type of knife with a folding or sliding blade contained in the handle that extends automatically with the help of spring when you activate a button, lever, or switch on the handle or bolster.

Most switchblade designs incorporate a locking blade, in which the blade is locked against closure when the blade extends to the fully opened position.

You can unlock it with a mechanism that allows the blade to be folded and locked in a closed position.

The history

According to historical data, the switchblades date from the mid-18th century, and their origin is Europe.

Later, in the 19th century, some industries of France created these ones with both automatic as well as manual functions.

The structure and appearance were similar to the modern knives and had picklock-type mechanisms, ivory handles, and other decorative features.

Industrialization took place in 1865 after the American Civil war.

The first American automatic switchblade knife is called the Korn Patent Knife.

The prominent use began in 1954 when the US young male delinquents started using foldable knives as the crime tool.

The tabloid press and the US newspapers published this news becoming the crime and harassment tools.

In the same year of 1954, the US government passed several bills in which it announced that the authorities had created legal laws against the use of them.

These efforts bore fruit and the people soon stopped the use of the knives.

This wave of legal restrictions changes the whole environment and people feel discouraged to use these ones.

However, with time, the perception about these blades changed and they got immense popularity in various fields of life such as the Emergency Medical field, Law and Enforcement, Military, and many other professions.

Side-opening switchblades

These ones have an activation button on the side.

Apparently, they look like manual knives that do not have any automatic setting for the opening of the blade.

However, the fact is there is always a button present at the side, that triggers the springs as soon as it is pressed.

These ones are extremely safe to use, as they have the special setting of the activation button that gets locked when you push unintentionally.

This is a safety mechanism that immediately recognizes the random pushes of the button.

These ones are durable and inexpensive, so you can easily buy them at the lowest price possible.

One drawback is that the user may lose the grip while pushing the button of the knife and the grip of the handle loses.

Moreover, the blades do not come up with variations because they have to get inside the handle and are made according to the structure of the handle.

Double action out of the front knives (OTF)

This is the type of switchblade knife in which the blade of the knife comes out from the front of the handle and you can use your thumb stud to extend or retract the knife by forwarding or backward it.

Let’s understand it in simple words.

The word “double-action” refers to the double functionality of them.

On one side, they act as pocket knives if you do not push the handle using the button and push it up directly using your fingers.

Now you can understand that it has manual functionality as well that makes it act like a pocket knife.

On the other hand, it serves as the purely automatic switchblade knife when you use your thumb to bush the handle.

And the handle comes back when you push the handle again.

There are various advantages of the double-action knives that make them popular among people, especially the younger generation.

The spring remains “at rest” whenever the knife is fully closed or fully opened.

Due to the complicated mechanisms, people keep these ones with them for various purposes, like cutting or slicing things.

Here it is worth mentioning that these ones are expensive because of the complex functionality in such a small setup.

Signal action OTF knives

As we know that the double action knives have a double feature.

You can not only extend them automatically but they can also be retracted automatically with the same thumb push.

In single-action OTF knives, a thumb push can automatically extend the blade, but you will then need to manually retract it.

These ones are stronger than the doable action knives because the spring exerts a greater force on the blade.

The single-action OTF has a structure that clearly reveals that these are similar to the offensive weapons that are designed and optimized for thrusting and not for cutting.

In various parts of Europe, there are a lot of legal restrictions and prohibitions associated with the use of switchblade knives.

Some countries do have notable exceptions in their laws and people can take these ones with them under certain circumstances.

In the UK, they are most commonly termed flick knives and people are strictly prohibited to carry them.

The level of legal restrictions is very high in Britain.

Current UK laws have serious punishments for the people who carry these ones without any good reason or legal permissions.

However, the laws of the US are quite flexible in this regard and allow you to carry the switchblade knives as long as they are spring-assisted or assisted-opening knives.

Keep in mind that these ones are slightly different from the common switchblade knives, because, in spring-assisted knives, you need to open the blade of the knife manually.

All the other switchblade knives are illegal to import from abroad.

Moreover, you are also not allowed to buy them.

On the other side, some countries like China, Italy, and Taiwan are producing these ones in bulk quantities and supplying them to the cottage industry and other family-oriented businesses.

Here is the list of countries that are still producing the automatic knives for military and emergency purposes: Argentina, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the U.S.A.

What are the switchblade knives used for?

As we know that we can use these ones for cutting purposes, but their automatic functionality has changed the way people think about them.

Now various legal and medical authorities are making use to treat the patients and deal with the criminals.

The structure and function make them a dangerous tool for regular usage because people can use them to threaten others.

Another common usage of the legal spring-assisted knives is observed among the Fishermen who use these ones to provide themselves with ease of use while tending their nets from snags.

It helps them to minimize the net damage and ultimately protects them against financial losses.

After world war ll, some European countries especially Italy realized that these ones can turn out to be very useful for the soldiers so they started manufacturing them for military purposes.

In this journey, Italy created various Italian Stiletto switchblades with variations.

Some of the variations of the Italian switchblades include dagger, flat grind, kisser, etc.

The handles were made using high-quality wood, buffalo, or stag horns.

From these details of their manufacturing, you can realize that these ones were extremely strong and kept on evolving with technology.

Final verdict

Now you have learned all about switchblade knives, you may want to buy them.

We recommend you to go for the custom ones whose design and structure are exactly according to the personal demands of the people.

The fact is,

With time, things are getting changed and more and more switchblade knives with stunning features are being introduced in the market.

However, you should know why you are buying the switchblade knife and what are the level legal restrictions for these ones in your country.

You can check the level of flexibility if you want to buy these ones for medical or industrial purposes.

Once you can give satisfactory answers to all these questions, you can confidently go for their purchase.

By the way, have you ever used switchblade knives?

Do you enjoy using its advanced features?

Do a quick comment right now and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.