AUTOMATIC KNIFE BUYERS GUIDE
Welcome to the ultimate automatic knife buying guide! This buyers guide will walk through the necessities of automatic knives, from the best automatic knife examples and styles to what to look for and laws.
To prevent any confusion, keep in mind that a switchblade and automatic knife are the same. If you see these words interchanged throughout the guide, no need for head scratching.
Top 6 Automatic Knives
While there are two styles of automatics (see later section), this buying guide will focus on side opening automatics.
The Boker Kalashnikov is an extremely popular knife at Blade HQ. There are distinctive styles of the Kalashnikov with many color options. The pictured tanto style features an AUS-8 stainless steel blade with a copper finish and aluminum handle. If you’re looking for all the Kalashnikov in a smaller package, enter Mini Kalashnikov. Learn More >
Gerber 06 Auto
The Gerber 06 Auto is built for tactical uses and has a great history with the US military. Gerber automatic knives are known for their durability, toughness, and many uses. The oversized firing button and safety on the 06 auto make it a great knife for use with gloves. Learn More >
The Kershaw Launch series is a popular line of automatic knives. The pictured Launch 4 has a blade that is just 1.90”, making it California legal. The action on this knife is faster than Usain Bolt in a 1-yard dash. Yeah, it’s quick. Learn More >
Benchmade CLA Automatic
The Benchmade CLA Automatic is a high-quality auto. This knife is very lightweight but strong. People love the comfort it brings in the hand and the deep carry pocket clip for concealment. The quality of each Benchmade automatic is real. Learn More >
Smith & Wesson Extreme OPS
The Extreme Ops line consists of dual action automatic conversions. Most of these knives open with a semi-covert firing button. Each knife in this series is excellent quality at a great price. Learn More >
Buck 110 Automatic
The Buck 110 is one of the most famous traditional knives in the knife industry. It has carried on its image for decades as a hard working knife that is great for any heavy cutting task. Although it was generally a manual folder, the 110 can now be found in an auto option. Learn More >
Automatic Knife Styles
There are two styles of automatic knives to choose from.
Side Opening Automatic Knives
A side opening automatic does just that. The blade opens from the side of the handle when the release is pressed. These types of switchblades have a spring or torsion bar inside that propels the blade open.
OTF Automatic Knives
Out the Front (OTF) automatic knives have a blade that exits out the front of the handle. These switchblades are spring loaded and can be found in both double action (blade automatically opens and closes) and single action (blade automatically opens but requires manual retraction).
What to look for in an Automatic Knife
Keep the following in mind when searching for your new snappy-opening friend.
Types of Automatic Releases
Size is important in switchblades because some states restrict them if the blade is over a certain length.
Switchblades come in many shapes and sizes. You can even find some Italian Stilettos that are close to 20” in length! Now that’s a knife.
If you want a compact carry option, go for a 2-3” blade. If you’re looking for a more tactical blade that will do a lot of cutting, a larger blade would be the better option. Maybe you live in an area that allows any automatic and a 7” blade is in your wheelhouse. Point is, you do you.
What’s a good buyers guide without steel types? Let’s get our feet wet without diving in too deep. Like other knives, automatics are made with a wide variety of materials. Factors that influence blade steel quality:
Popular types of steel in switchblades:
Make no mistake, this is not the end-all, be-all list to steel types. It is just a start to steels many automatic knives contain. It is now up to you to decide what kind of price and steel will make the best automatic knife for you.
Best Selling Switchblade Brands
Automatic Knife Laws
Now, for a word of caution to cap off this buying guide.
So, you’ve read every word of this switchblade knife buying guide and now you want one of your very own? We don’t blame you, but first keep reading.
Because of their quick blade deployment, automatics/switchblades are illegal or restricted in many parts of the United States. Some of the laws date back to the rich Hollywood portrayal of urban street violence of the 1950’s. Some states are lenient, some are not.
It is important to remember to look up the automatic knife/switchblade laws for your state and area.
This buyers guide is meant to be informative and give some popular examples and brands of switchblades. Keep in mind there are many different types, as well as different laws around the country.
If automatic knives are legal where you live, look at these things when buying:
There are a ton of automatic knives out there. The trick is finding the best one for you and your needs.