First off, welcome to AssistedOpeningKnives.com! We’re glad you found us and we hope we can provide some helpful information for you about assisted knives. We’re big fans and we’ll post about what’s cool & new, what’s hot and what’s not. We’re not going to pretend that we don’t have an agenda (we do- we operate several online stores), but we are committed to spring assisted knives. That should be obvious!
We recommend you take a look at out “About Assisted Knives” page. It contains information on the following topics:
- What is an assisted opening knife?
- How do assisted knives work?
- Who makes assisted opening knives?
- How much to they cost?
- Are assisted knives the same as switchblades?
- Are there legality issues with assisted knives?
- Where can I find assisted knives for sale?
What is an assisted opening knife?
An assisted opening knife is a type of knife that opens automatically when the blade is pushed slighty (assisted) from it’s resting position. The pushing can be accomplished by force against a thumb-stud or a flipper (a small protruding portion of the blade on the backside of the knife) Once the blade has been pushed an internal mechanism in the knife finishes opening the blade.
Other names sometimes used for assisted opening knives are: spring assisted knife, assist knife, torsion assist knife, alternative automatics, and semi automatic. Various companies also give spring assisted technology their own names such as Forward Action Spring Technology, A/O Knife, Quick Release, Quick Draw, Outburst, SpeedSafe, Blade Launcher, ASAP technology and others.
How do assisted knives work?
Generally assisted knives employ a spring or torsion bar to create the force necessary to open the blade. In the closed position the knife has a bias toward that closed position and does not open on its own. This bias must be overcome by pushing the blade part way open (via the thumb stud or flipper). Once the bias toward the closed position is overcome the knife’s internal mechanism (the spring or torsion rod) will finish opening the blade.
There are numerous mechanisms to accomplish this assisted opening. Some knives use a coil spring that unwinds and opens the blade. Some knives have a bar that pushes the blade open. Other knives use portions of the liner as a spring. These mechanisms all have strengths and weaknesses. Some open quickly but as difficult to deploy. Other knives are open more smoothly but are slow. As with any complex mechanical device the more moving parts present the higher the likelihood of failure. But hey- assisted knives are so fun that should be the last thing on your mind!
Who makes assisted opening knives?
There are hundreds of assisted opening knife varieties. Most major knife manufacturers have spring assisted knife models. Additionally there are dozens of companies outside the USA that manufacture high quality and low quality models that are imported and are widely available. The bottom line: You can find assisted opening knives for sale nearly anywhere!
Some companies that manufacture assisted knives are:
- Benchmade: Stryker, Subrosa, Barrage, Aphid, Torrent, Rukus, Apparition, etc.
- Harley Davidson (Benchmade): Stryker series
- H&K (Benchmade): Blitz Series
- Buck: Paradigm, Impulse, Tempest, Rush, etc
- Camillus: Wildfire, Sizzle, Blaze, etc
- CRKT: Lift Off, Ignitor, Notorious, The Natural, Horus, Rave, My Tigh, Triumph, Koji Hara Ichi, Full Throttle, etc
- Gerber: Statesman, Slate, AO F.A.S.T. 3.0, Gerber 06, Covert, Presto, Answer, Vallotton, etc
- Kershaw: Leek, Chive, Volt, Talon, Clash, Centofante, Blue, Avalanche, Cylone, Shallot, etc
- Sog: Aegis, Trident, Bi-Polar, Meridian, Twitch, Flash series, etc
Other companies such as Ontario, Meyerco, Timberline, Volcan Knives, Schrade (Taylor Cutlery), Smith & Wesson (Taylor Cutlery), Randall King and Zero Tolerance also have production assisted opening models.
And we certainly can’t forgot talented custom knife makers who produce spring assisted models! Pat Crawford, Darrel Ralph, Ken Onion and many others make outstanding one of a kind or semi-production models that have to be seen to be believed.
As previously mentioned imported spring assited models abound! They can be readily found online, at gun shows and flea markets, and even at your local Wal-mart. Some imported models are exceptional in quality and other will give you a few days of fun.
How much to they cost?
Assisted knives can vary in price from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars to thousands. At the bottom of this section we’ll point you in the direction of some companies where you can purchase assisted opening knives.
Price is almost always relative to quality. At the bottom of the offerings you’ll find inexpensive models that cost as little as two dollars. Typically these have plastic or cast metal handles, low grade steel and don’t come with any kind of warranty. That’s not to say they aren’t fun. Even the most inexpensive assisted knife can be a blast to play with. For no name imported knives expect to pay anywhere between $2 and $20.
Imported models from name brand manufacturers such as Taylor Cutlery or Camillus are typically a step up in quality. They generally have a warranty. Composite and cast handles are still the norm, but steel quality is usually much better. For name brand imported knives expect to pay anywhere between $20 and $60.
USA made models by companies like Benchmade, Protech or Buck are generally exceptional knives. They have high quality handles (often made from milled aluminum) and premium blades (such as S30-V). They carry lifetime warranties and are almost always defect free. For USA name brand spring assisted knife expect to pay anywhere between $70-$200.
Custom makers usually produce their knives within the USA. The hand made aspect is appealing to collectors and the custom knives often have beautiful embellishments. Customization comes with a price! Custom assisted knives can range anywhere from $300 to thousands or more, depending on the maker.
Are assited knives the same as switchblades?
No, not exactly. The definition of what is and what is not a switchblade can be pretty murky. The only real guidelines we have are from the outdated 1958 Federal Swithblade Act. It defines a switchblade as:
a) any knife which has a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in or attached to the handle of the knife, sometimes known as a “flick knife” or “flick gun”; or
(b) any knife which has a blade which is released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other device, sometimes known as a “gravity knife”,
So, a button that releases the blade automatically constitutes a knife as a switchblade. Additionally there is a difficult to understand definition of a “gravity knife.” However, these definitions are not applicable to an assisted opening knife. Why? Simply because the potion of the knife you push to release the blade is part of the blade; it’s not located on the handle of the knife. For real? Yes, for real. There are dozens of assisted opening knives that are as fast, if not faster, to open as any push button automatic knife. However, because of this technicality spring assisted knives are not legally defined as switchblades.
Are there legality issues with assisted knives?
Not really. And the best part- assisted opening knives have their own legal definition and are specifically exempt from the 1958 Federal switchblade act*. That means you can buy, sell, ship, carry, use and play with spring assisted knives on a Federal level. States still have the power to restrict them, but most don’t. In fact, most simply misapply the switchblade laws already in place to assisted opening knives. Legal cases abound. But as a general rule assisted opening knives are legal in most areas.
* Sec. 562 . Section 4 of the Act entitled `An Act to prohibit the introduction, or manufacture for introduction, into interstate commerce of switchblade knives, and for other purposes’ (commonly known as the Federal Switchblade Act) (15 U.S.C. 1244) is amended–
(1) by striking `or’ at the end of paragraph (3);
(2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (4) and inserting `; or’ and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
(5) a knife that contains a spring, detent, or other mechanism designed to create a bias toward closure of the blade and that requires exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist, or arm to overcome the bias toward closure to assist in opening the knife.’.
Where can I find assisted knives for sale?
As previously mentioned, assisted knives can be purchased (legally) neearly everywhere. For convinience we’d recommend any local sporting goods store or Wal-Mart.
If you want to shop online we’d suggest you give our companies a shot:
For cost and imported assisted opening knives models we have a website called BladePlay (www.bladeplay.com) We carry hundreds of no-name imported models as well as the brand name imported knives. BladePlay offers free shipping on every item.
But no matter where you shop, make sure the company you choose has a good reputation, the product you want and after the sale service.
We hope you’ve found the information here on AssistedOpeningKnives.com helpful and informative. If there’s something you’d like us to add please feel free to post a comment and we’ll be happy to update the site if we’re able. If you choose to purchase an assisted knife use is carefully, have fun and enjoy it! Assisted opening knives are perfect for the casual collector, the outdoor enthusiast, sportsman, fishermen and anyone who needs a an easy to open knife.