Spring Assisted Vs. Automatic


A common source of confusion for new knife enthusiasts is the difference between a spring assisted knife and a switchblade knife. Even those who are familiar with pocket knives or fixed blade knives often don’t know the difference between a switchblade and an assisted knife. The confusion is easy to understand as in both cases the knife may seem to release from the handle on its own. But when you look more closely at the mechanisms which open each blade, you can quickly see the difference.

The switchblade, or automatic knife, has a button or a lever which releases the blade. The button or lever releases the tension held by a spring inside the knife handle. When the lever or button is pushed, the tension from the spring releases and launches the blade from the handle and into a locked position. Some switchblades release the blade from the side of the handle like a spring assisted or a folding knife, while others release out the front of handle (Out-the-Front or OTF).  There are very strict laws concerning the ownership and carry of automatic knives, and you should always check local regulations before purchasing to avoid problems.

The spring assisted knife, or assisted opening knife, doesn’t rely on a button or lever for opening. Instead, it uses a spring or torsion bar which doesn’t engage until the knife blade has opening momentum from another source. The best source is obviously human power engaging a thumb stud, thumb hole, thumb disc, or flipper, moving the blade forward until the spring or torsion bar engages and moves the blade open the rest of the way.

The simplest way to tell the difference is whether or not there is a button or lever. An assisted opening knife does not have a button or lever. It has some form of initializing action that requires human effort. Your thumb has to push on a flipper, a thumb stud, a thumb disc, or a thumb hole to start moving the blade. If there is a push button or a slide that releases the blade, that makes it an automatic.

Always remember to check your local laws before purchasing or carrying a knife. If you have questions, consult your local law enforcement for clarification.

Anatomy of a Manual / Spring Assisted Folding Knife

Anatomy of a Manual / Assisted knife

Anatomy of a Manual / Spring Assisted Folding Knife Manual knives are legal in most areas, which means they are extremely common. Often, this type of knife is also recognized as a “pocket knife.” Spring assisted knives are roughly the same as manual knives, but they have a spring inside the handle that helps deploy the blade much faster. Spring assisted knives typically have a … Continue reading

Who needs an Assisted Knife?


Spring assisted knives are commonly overlooked! Do you live in an area where automatic knives are illegal? A spring assist is a very good substitute. Are you looking for a knife with a bit more speed and snap to it than a manual folder? Get a spring assisted knife. Now you might find yourself asking, “Why get a glorified folding knife?” Spring assists aren’t a typical manual folder. They have the speed that draws most people to an automatic knife. My favorite thing about a spring assisted knife is that if the spring ever fails or breaks, you still have a thumb stud or a flipper to use it as a manual folder. Spring assisted knives have proven themselves to be very reliable in the ever-changing world of knives.

Some other great features of having a spring assisted knife is that it can be operated with only one hand. Owning one means that you can easily use it when participating in activities that require the constant attention of one of your hands. For those who suffer from arthritis or weak fingers, a spring assisted knife is far easier to open than an automatic knife with a stiff button. 


Today we are going to look at some top of the line spring assisted knives. We will be starting with some great budget assisted knives and work our way up in price.


The Kershaw Oso Sweet 1830:

 Kershaw Oso Sweet Spring Assisted Knife 1830 Open      Kershaw Oso Sweet Spring Assisted Knife 1830 Closed


This was my first spring assisted knife. I couldn’t have been more happy with the quality of this knife. Not only did it feel amazing in my hand, but the speed of the knife was amazing. It features SpeedSafe technology for smooth and quick opening. Kershaw uses this on many of their best-selling knives. The pocket clip can be switched for tip up or tip down carrying. The flipper is really easy and fun to use. You won’t even notice the knife while it is in your pocket. I didn’t understand the name until I held the knife; and it is literally oh so sweet. This knife is a sportsman’s knife. It is great for activities like fishing, hunting and great to take on a hike with you. If this knife doesn’t satisfy you, I don’t know what will.


The Smith & Wesson Black Ops:

Smith & Wesson Black Ops SWBLOP4BS Spring Assisted Knife (3.35" Black Serr)      Smith & Wesson Black Ops SWBLOP4BS Spring Assisted Knife (3.35" Black Serr)


This is the series 4 of the Black Ops and is a part of Smith & Wesson’s M.A.G.I.C. assisted opening knives line. The action on this knife is quick and solid. For a liner lock knife, this knife locks up secure. The pocket clip can be reversed to be a left or right handed carry. There is very comfortable jimping all over this knife. It comes with a safety and a strategically placed lanyard hole. This knife is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The Black Ops is a great every day carry (EDC) knife. It fits well in your pocket and quickly proves its usefulness in day-to-day jobs. It is perfect for someone who doesn’t have the use of one of their hands or who has arthritis.


Moving forward, let’s take a look at something with a few more features.

The Benchmade 580 Barrage:

Benchmade Mini Barrage Knife 580 Spring Assist Open      Benchmade Mini Barrage Knife 580 Spring Assist Closed

I haven’t yet had the pleasure of owning this knife, but I have held and “played” with it several times. It is a very strong and durable knife with a very satisfying spring. You can either open the knife with the thumb stud or by pulling the axis lock down and flicking your wrist. If a safety is a must for you, then that makes this knife even more desirable. It comes with a very solid safety on the spine of the knife. Another nice feature of this knife is the reversible pocket clip. The blade is 154CM stainless steel. However there are several different models of the Barrage. The Barrage is perfect for a hard use knife. Not only that, it is really good for self-defense purposes. This knife wants to be put to work and will more than meet your requirements.

Last but not least…

The Zero Tolerance 0301/0301ST Strider Onion Knife:

Zero Tolerance 0301 Strider Onion Knife Ranger Green (3.75" Tiger Stripe) ZT     Zero Tolerance 0301 Strider Onion Knife Ranger Green (3.75" Tiger Stripe) ZT

Now if you want a high quality hard use knife that looks good, look no further! The ZT 0301 is an amazing knife that will never fail on you. It is co-designed by KAI’s Ken Onion and Strider. They did a really good job on making a very durable knife. The blade is DLC coated so it doesn’t scratch too easy. If it does, some Rem Oil or dish soap will buff it right out (unless it’s a deep scratch). The frame lock ensures a solid lock up with no blade play. This knife was designed to be adjusted with minimal tools. It’s lightweight for the size and considering the materials that are put into this knife. This knife is a good choice for just about any job you can think of. It is definitely on my wish list!

If you have any spring assisted knives that you would like to show off or express your feelings about, feel free to comment on the post.


The Top 6 Assisted Opening Knives

What are the top 6 assisted opening knives? Of course, everyone will have an opinion on which knives are the best of the best. For me, I tried to consider price, quality, and style while I was choosing which were the best. I have a personal bias toward black bladed knives (I just think they look cool, ok?) so most of the time here I have included the black blade versions of knives even when other options are available for those that prefer them.

#6 Kershaw Clash 1605CKT

This knife will moset definitely not clash with your every day carry use.

Despite its low price, the Kershaw Clash definitely gets the job done. Do not underestimate the quality and durability of this knife. The knife opens with a firm push of the flipper you will not hesitate to tackle any task with Clash. The handle gives a comfortable feel while gripping the handle firmly. There are no hot spots in the handle that will wear down your hands over time. The liner lock strongly secures the blade in place; and when retracting the flipper even guards a stray finger when closing one handed.

#5 Meyerco Maxx-Q G-10 Handle

My favorite knife to pack for the quick campout.

I love the feel and style of this blade. Next to the cost, I would say the next thing that catches my attention is the recurve on the mid-section of the blade. That allows a quicker cut with a little less force than most other knives. The handle compared to the blade may look a little longer than it should, but that with the G-10 construction allows for a solid grip in any position.

#4 SOG Trident Tanto TF-7

This is definitely my go to knife to carry for emergency purposes.

You’ve just been in an accident. You car has rolled and you are hanging in the driver seat, unable to release your seatbelt. No worries because you can just reach for your SOG Trident. Without the need to expose the full blade and risk further injury, just slip that strap into the groove in the handle and slit your way free from harm. With tough steel and a light handle it performs great, and will last far beyond the emergency period.

#3 H&K Nitrous Blitz 14460BT 

With Benchmade manufacturing H&K knives you have the quality assurance and production expected from a high performance knife.

If you are willing to spend a little bit more buck for your bang, this is definitely one of the top knives. For simplicity of what a pocket knife should be, this knife hits the nail on the head. The handle has a great lightweight, and comfortable grip. The Benchmade Nitrous spring mechanism works great. It springs open by flipping at the thumb stubs which is comfortable and easy.

#2 Zero Tolerance 0350 Zdp-189

I cannot imagine a job that this knife would not be able to handle.

Now we’re getting into the big boys. The best part of this knife is the extra work that was put into producing a long lasting blade. The blade is a ZDP-189 steel composite, with textured matte black G-10 scales. I find that this knife is the limit of what I would consider an every day carry in my pocket for size and weight.

#1 Zero Tolerance Knives 0300 Strider Onion

The blade has a great shape to handle any position and a nice ergonomic design.

You know why it’s called an “onion?” Because it’ll make you cry. The fat lady has sung. I love the black on black look and feel of this knife. The frame lock allows for a solid lock up and I would not hesitate to really take this knife to its extremes. The flipper on this blade has the best feel and response, and the blade stop/thumb stud is a great option as well.

SOG Assisted Opening Knives @ BladeHQ.com

When it comes to Assisted Opening Knives there are tons of great choices. Most major manufacturers offer some knife models that are assisted opening (i.e. that open automatically once you help the blade out a bit). Right now BladeHQ.com is slashing prices on SOG Knives! Now that SOG knives are more affordable than ever we thought we’d showcase their assisted opening models on our blog. Here’s the rundown on these great knives:

SOG Flash  : The Flash models comes in small and large sizes. The small size is the the Flash I and it has a 2.5″ blade. The large size is the Flash II and it has a a 3.5″ blade. The Flash models are available with varying handle, blade and color configurations.




SOG Aegis : The Agis models comes in small and large sizes. The small size is the the Mini Aegis and it has a 3″ blade. The large size is the Aegis and it has a a 3.5″ blade. The Aegis models are available with varying handle, blade and color configurations.




SOG Blink : The Blink model comes in one size and has a 2.5″ blade. Short & squat the shape is both interesting and practical (despite it’s small size it’s easy to hold). There are two styles available.





SOG Twitch : The Twitch models come in three sizes. The small size is the the Twitch I and it has a 2″ blade. The medium size is the Twitch II and it has a a 2.68″ blade. The large size is the Twitch XL and it has a a 3.25″ blade.  The Twitch models are available with varying handle, blade and color configurations.



SOG BiPolar : The Bipolar model is unique because it has two spring assisted blades. It is available in thee different configurations (with varying blades).





SOG Meridian : The Meridian model comes in one size and has a 3.25″ blade. With it’s G-10 and steel layered frame the Meridian in stylistically unique.  There are three styles available.





SOG Trident : The Tident models comes in small and large sizes. The small size is the the Mini Trident and it has a 3.15″ blade. The large size is the Trident and it has a a 3.75″ blade. The Trident models are available with varying handle, blade and color configurations. The SOG Trident is one of the larger spring assisted knife offerings.



Again, there are many great companies that make spring assisted knives, but our focus today is on SOG’s spring assisted knife offerings. With BladeHQ.com’s new lower SOG price these knives are more affordable than ever.

Posted by SAK, October 28, 2011

Introduction to Kershaw Spring Assisted Knives

Introduction to Kershaw Spring Assisted Knives

In 1974 Kershaw Knife Company was born, and they made an immediate impact by producing affordable, yet high quality knives. At the forefront of this production was their line of spring assisted knives such as the Leek, the Scallion, and the Shallot. These knives were designed with simplicity, durability, convenience and affordability in mind.
With their easy to open blades, these knives have become very useful for many purposes. They are very easy to open, and operate one handed. With most having an ambidextrous thumb stud. Also, they are equipped with Kershaw’s patented Speed Safe technology. This technology is in the torsion bar. Which means when the knife is closed, it helps keep it closed and prevents it from being opened by gravity. However, when it comes to opening the knife, just apply manual pressure to the thumb stud to overcome the torsion bar. Once the blade is out of the handle, the torsion bar engages and opens the blade the remainder of the way at amazing speed. Most of the knives are also equipped with a safety near the tip of the blade so that the knife does not open by mistake. And with their ability to maintain a good edge, it makes them ideal for an everyday utility, or multipurpose knife

Assisted Opening Knives

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?

Other than that bookmark us, sit back and wait for the assisted knife goodness to flow. We’ll probably update AssistedOpeningKnives.com at least once each week, depending on knives products, industry news and so fourth. If there are specific questions you have or information you’re looking for please feel free to leave us a comment! Thanks for visiting.