Automatic knives, valid for use?

Bob A

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I came late to automatic knives, only gor my first one 2 years ago.

However, I'd been in a serious search for a folding knife that could be operated with one hand, probably going back 50 years or more. Switchblades were of course out of the question back then, and were also usually pieces of trash.

I went from trying to flick open a Buck 110 - difficult, usually impossible, and still needed 2 hands to close - to various newer developments, the Paul (Poehlmann) axial lock, the A G Russell One-Hand knife, and others, none of which filled the bill.

Then Benchmade brought out its series of Axis lock knives, and the world changed. I have multiple iterations of some of these knives, and they are perfection itself. My favorites are the ones with their Osborne-designed "reverse tanto" style blades, which have some weight toward the tip, making them exceptionally easy to flip open.

While I've subsequently enjoyed owning a dozen or so automatics, only the "out the front" styles are truly one-hand operators. They being still stupidly illegal in may places, my EDC usually remains a Benchmade Axis - I prefer the Contego for carry, but of course B has ceased making them.

At any rate, I can open an axis lock knife as rapidly as I can deploy an automatic. Just the same, the autos are wonderful toys, and I've been carrying one around lately despite myself, and enjoying its use. Truth be told, most of them seem to be safe queens; I buy them "used" for a significant discount from collectors, who seldom actually carry them.
 

Monocrom

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1980s, maybe even the 1970s, had a couple of little gadgets that could be attached to the spine of a Buck 110 or Gerber Folding Sportsman II (and similar brass & wood affairs). There was the Flick-it that basically gave you a ramp that stuck up from the spine to push against for one-handed opening. Though it was a drift, friction fit onto the spine of the blade.

Then my personal favorite, the One-Armed Bandit. Still available today on Etsy but no longer goes by that name. A brass thumb-stud that you'd fit on top of the blade spine. I would sit half-way down. Then there was a very tiny screw that you'd tighten to really get a solid fit onto the blade. Attachment was trial & error since the bandit could be placed anywhere along the spine of the blade. I got lucky when I attached mine. Got the spot on my Buck 110LT just right. Seems made for it. Lucked out and found a thin nylon sheath that fits the knife well. Not for rapid deployment. You have to ride the blade open with your thumb. Definitely not conducive to flicking it open.

By the early 1990s when clip-carried, One-handers made their way to Market; the Flick-it and One Armed Bandit became completely obsolete. But back in the day, a quality leather belt-pouch, a quality knife, and one of those two attachments is what guys relied on for a One-hander.... Both for work, and self-defense.
 

ampdude

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I live in a state where automatic knives are legal to carry. What's the general consensus, are they a viable option or just a gimmick?
I used to have a Microtech Halo V. I honestly don't see the point of them. Plus they can jam up. The best argument for them is that there is no lock to break if you need to get stabby in a self defense situation. I prefer fixed blades myself, and carry assisted opening folders most of the time though. If you know the lock and mostly slash those knives work fine. Just pull out a knife and most muggers will head for the hills. They want an easy target.
 
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Monocrom

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Back in the day, Tekna used to have a neat reverse-automatic knife. Press the button on top of the clip-carried little fixed-blade. A black plastic skeletoized cover would instantly retract back into the body of the knife. Leaving the blade exposed. Great way to get around anti-Automatic knife laws. But apparently the thing was a novelty knife at best. Tekna, the company, is still around. But I suspect likely went belly up many years ago, and perhaps someone just bought the name.
 

tech25

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I have been using my Microtech UMS more often. My favorite aspect when working on projects, is the ability to retract the blade after making a cut (especially while holding other items) making it much safer for me.
Yes, there is more maintenance over a regular folder but I haven't had any real issues to date.
There is also the fidget factor which is awesome.

As far as SD, this is not one of the items that I would use for it.
 

RA40

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Sure all about what one becomes accustomed to. I personally don't care for them since the deployment is far from discreet. My main thing is that depending how the knife is sprung one has to make sure they have a firm grip. OTF are better in that regard yet some have a pretty stiff lever to move. My hands ache with age so actuating some are pretty stiff. I like the old school unassisted liner-frame lock types.

This Cobratec is a scale release, it is decent for what it is.
cobratech-trapper-red-3-comp-January 06, 2024-2024 - Copy.jpg
 

Bob A

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y main thing is that depending how the knife is sprung one has to make sure they have a firm grip. OTF are better in that regard yet some have a pretty stiff lever to move. My hands ache with age so actuating some are pretty stiff. I like the old school unassisted liner-frame lock types.


View attachment 63253
Some here might be interested that Microtech has developed a double-spring activation system that requires significantly less strength to operate. Just got their Cypher II model and it is indeed much easier than the earlier knives.

I should add that Guardian Tactical OTF knives have been much easier to open and close than the Microtech and Heretic knives I have.
 

RA40

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Will take a look. CA has a blade length limit of 2" on auto's which makes it lame. The ones I've played with vary in deployment. Wish they could quiet them down a bit, some like the obvious sound of a knife locking open.
 

Monocrom

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Will take a look. CA has a blade length limit of 2" on auto's which makes it lame. The ones I've played with vary in deployment. Wish they could quiet them down a bit, some like the obvious sound of a knife locking open.
Ironically, better than the BS we face here in NYC.
 

gunnertwo

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I use a BM auto every day, it's a side opener so no issues with clogged lint/fuzz inside. Have several OTF's, mostly MT. Have had issues with them firing reliably over time.

G2
 

rwolfenstein

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Mar 29, 2017
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Granted I carry an automatic knife all the time when I am off the clock, I tend to carry an emerson opener spyderco at work. It works exactly how I want it to and it opens as I pull it out of my pocket. No button to push.
 
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