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

CRKT Spring Assist Knives

Columbia River Knife & Tools (CRKT) is based in Tualatin, Oregon. It was founded by Paul Gilespie and Rod Bremer. Gilespie and Bremer both developed their expertise in the knife manufacturing field while working for Kershaw Knives. They left Kershaw to found CRKT in 1994 with Pete Kershaw’s support and best wishes. CRKT truly took off and assured its future with the introduction of their KISS (Keep it Super Simple) knife in the 1998 Shot Show. The KISS knife, a small folder designed by Ed Halligan, was sold out within the first opening of days the Shot Show. They sold 4-5 times the products original production numbers and had to triple their production efforts to keep up with the demand.

The company produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners and carrying systems. CRKT has collaborated with many well-know custom knife makes: Ken Onion, Harold “Kit” Carson, Allen Elishewitz, Greg Lightfoot, Michael Walker and the Graham Brothers to name a few. Though based in the USA many of their products are produced overseas in China and Taiwan. CRKT products are covered by exceptional warranties.

If you’re looking for a good budget knife, a CRKT knife is a great choice.  For its price range, a CRKT knife is definitely a knife not to overlook! Might I recommend a few CRKT spring assist knives. Note: All these knives retail between $69.99 and $99.99. You can find great deals on  CRKT knives and more at

My Tighe

CRKT My Tighe Knife @ BladeHQ.comThe CRKT My Tighe is an affordable production knife of the popular Brian Tighe custom frame-lock folder. It has an uniqe blade that features asymmetrical spine facets, high-hollow grind and deep belly with re-curve. A frame-lock folder, this knife features a removable black Teflon-plated pocket/gear clip. The My Tighe knives have the OutBurst™ assisted opening mechanism, which instantly springs the blade fully open after you have opened the blade 30 degrees; and dual ramped thumb studs allow the My Tighe to be quickly opened with either hand.

Lift Off 2

CRKT Lift Off 2 Knife @ BladeHQ.comThe CRKT Lift Off 2 knife is for those who want a bit of style and shine in their personal carry. The Lift Off 2 features an InterFrame build with stainless steel liners, one locking, with textured black Zytel scales.The AUS 8 stainless steel blade is a satin finished modified drop point design with a notched and swedged top edge and a high hollow grind. You can choose from a plain blade or a partial serrated blade.

The Lift Off 2 utilizes CRKT’s OutBurst assisted opening with their patent pending Fire Safe mechanism. When closed, the blade is safely locked by the Fire Safe pin. It cannot be opened until the safety button on the end of the thumb stud is firmly depressed and the thumb stud is nudged outward. Just press and nudge for instant lift off. Caution: When closing the knife, always press firmly to fully close the blade, and be sure the Fire Safe pin locks into place securely with an audible “click”.

Fire Spark

CRKT Fire Spark Black Knife @

The CRKT Fire Spark is a heavy-duty tactical folder built for law enforcement and military professionals, although it also makes a fine general-purpose sport and work folder for those who want to carry a larger knife.The Fire Spark combines CRKT’s OutBurst® assisted opening with their Fire Safe™ mechanism for reliable, safe and solid performance. The blade is locked by the Fire Safe pin and locks firmly open via the InterFrame build with a stainless steel liner lock.  The Fire Spark features a CNC machined 6061 aluminum handle with a G-10 scales and four finger grooves for superior grip. The blade on the Fire Spark is a modified spear point design with a razor sharp edge, high hollow grind and swedged top edge. The Fire Spark includes a 3-way reversible pocket clip for ambidextrous use.

Finally to maintain lockup in high-stress situations CRKT added the LAWKS® safety, which effectively converts the folder into a virtual fixed blade when the LAWKS lever is pressed forward.

Ignitor T

CRKT Ignitor T @ BladeHQ.comThe CRKT Ignitor is a value-priced spring assist folder that features the Outburst assisted opening mechanism and Fire Safe. The Ignitor T 6860 features a dark gray titanium nitride coated 8Cr14MoV stainless steel blade with high hollow grinds and Veff serrations (You can get a plain blade instead). The handle is comprised of textured black G10 scales over a strong InterFrame with stainless steel liners. The pocket clip is set for right hand tip-up carry.

CRKT offer sleek style, affordability and quality for the price. A great buy for those looking to spend under $100.

The video below shows you how to open your CRKT knife with their Fire Safe mechanism.

Meyerco Spring Assist Knives

When people are out looking for spring assisted knives, they usually go straight to brands like Zero Tolerance and Kershaw. Yes, they may be some of the best knives out there. However, there is an underdog that is frequently overlooked. That underdog is Meyerco. There are a lot of unique designs that they come out with made by some well known knife designers.

 One of the many great features of several of their spring assisted knives is the opening mechanism used in several of their models. I am referring to the AOK that Blackie Collins designed. For those who don’t know, Blackie Collins created the first spring assisted knife in 1995. 

The AOK is a leaf-spring design that lies in line with the blade. I did that to allow the knife to be made as thin as possible because all you need is whatever thickness is necessary on the side to give you a handle. ~Blackie Collins

When you are out shopping for a new spring assisted knife, I would suggest stopping to take a look at what Meyerco has to offer.

 Let’s take a look at some of the Meyerco knives I wholeheartedly recommend. First up, we have the Meyerco Antara Knife:

Meyerco Antara  Knife Spring Assisted Opening (3.5" Satin Plain)

Overall Length: 8″
Blade Length: 3.5″
Cutting Edge: 3.4″
Blade Steel: 8CR13MOV
Closed Length: 4.625″
Handle Material: G-10/Canvas Micarta
Locking Type: Liner Lock
Weight: 4.6 oz.
Made in China


    This is an amazing knife with great ergonomics and a pretty unique modified sheepsfoot style blade. The blade is made from 8CR13MOV steel which is really easy to sharpen up and work with. The handles are made of micarta with G10 bolsters. It has a pretty solid lock-up with for a liner lock knife. Also, the best thing about this knife is that you can pick it up for less than $50.

 If you are looking for something a bit more tactical, they have options for that too. Here is a perfect example of a good tactical knife from Meyerco. It’s the Meyerco Maxx-Q Knife:

Meyerco Maxx-Q Knife Tactical Spring Assisted Opener (3.375" Black Plain)

Overall Length: 8″
Blade Length: 3.375″
Blade Steel: AUS-8
Cutting Edge: Plain
Handle Material: G-10
Locking Type: Liner lock
Pocket Clip: Tip-Down
Weight: 4.2 oz.
Made in China

 The Maxx-Q is a Darrel Ralph designed knife with great action and a powerful spring. From the G10 handles to the Bowie style blade, holding this knife will put a grin on your face. The G10 offers a very comfortable grip on the handle so you don’t have to worry about it jumping out of your hands. They decided to use AUS-8 on the blade. AUS-8 is another steel that is really easy to work with. With the flipper on the spine, it makes this knife really easy to operate with one hand. This is another great knife for under $50.

Last, lets take a look at my personal favorite Meyerco knife. It’s the Meyerco Randall King Tsavo:

Meyerco Randall King Tsavo Spring Assisted Knife (3" Black Plain)

Overall Length: 7.35
Blade Length: 3.05
Closed: 4.25″
Handle Thickness: 0.50″
Weight: 3.2 oz.

 The Tsavo is a Randall King design that features his unique Lion’s Claw blade. The blade has two separate grind angles on AUS-8 steel. This knife comes razor sharp out of the box. This knife has aluminum handles with the RKK Global insert. On the spine of the blade, there is some really aggressive jimping that provide some nice thumb traction. Also, you won’t find another knife that locks up this tight for under $50.

 Quite simply, Meyerco has some pretty unique blades to offer at a great price. You won’t have to worry about poor workmanship due to their well-known designers. Next time you are in the market at buying a spring assisted knife, don’t overlook Meyerco.

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.


Benchmade Barrage 581

            Benchmade has added a new addtion to their collection of knives. The new version of the Barrage 581 recently came out this year, 2011. At first glance it appears to be a well rounded knife. The handle features G10 and aluminum with M390 super steel. The handle is also very thick and has a soft, smooth texture to it, which helps give you tighter more firm grip.

            The bolsters near the handle are very durable and is made of aluminum. It seems to be covered with a protective or decorative oxide which helps to avoid any scratches or scuffs from something rubbing on. The blade features a plain edge and a satin finish. Just by looking at it you wouldn’t know the spring would be strong. But actually this spring assisted models combine speed and strength with just one attempt of opening it. 

            The Barrage has a safety on the back that can either lock up when the blade is open or closed. Personally I do not recommend this kind of lock because it has a rugged feel to it. Moving it up and down after every use makes your finger sore after. This knife also comes with a reversible tip-up pocket clip for easy carry. The blade between the polished liners is small but does not rub against anything and has an even smooth lock up and no blade play.

Benchmade Specifications:
Overall Length: 8.35″
Blade Length: 3.60″
Blade Thickness: 0.121″
Blade Material: M390 Super Steel
Blade Hardness: 60-62HRC
Blade Style: Drop-Point; Ambidextrous Thumb-Studs
Closed Length: 4.75″
Handle Thickness: 0.65″ Weight: 5.20 oz.
Clip: Reversible Tip-Up Clip
Lock Mechanism: AXIS-ASSIST Lock
Made in USA

Top 3 Spring Assist Knives

Top 3 Spring Assist Knives

Benchmade 913 Nitrous Stryker

If we are doing a list of “top knives” in any category Benchmade is sure to be in there somewhere. I am not a huge fan of Benchmade automatics of any type but I think they actually got their spring assist knives right. They have several assisted knives in their quiver: 340 Aphid, 470 Emissary, 580 Barrage, 790 Subrosa, 890 Torrent and the Nitrous Stryker.

Pros: This knife is fast. The first thing you’ll notice when you take out the Nitrous Stryker is the speed at which it fires. It beats any Benchmade auto of any type, hands down. It’s also smooth, which you would expect from any Benchmade. Besides the “at-home” feeling in the hand, my
favorite thing about this knife is the spring mechanism itself. The expectation with powerful spring-loaded knives these days is that you need to update your life insurance policy before you attempt to close them. This knife is as easy to close as it is to open. The ease is due to a rotating cylinder on the top of the leaf spring. I have a hard time really liking a lot of Benchmade knives, contrary to popular belief. This knife however, is up there with the greats.

Cons: There aren’t many cons to speak of and they are pretty subjective at that. There is no option for any other type of carry (clip) except right handed, tip-up. It can still be fired lefty but the clip is going to be on top. The blade is D2 tool steel which is going to be more brittle and less
stainless than the alternatives. That being said, D2 does have good edge retention, but for me the bad outweighs the good.

Kershaw Leek

Could there be a more quintessential spring assisted knife company? Kershaw is king when it comes to assisted openers, and for good reason. The Leek specifically has a long reputation as a great EDC (every day carry) knife.

Pros: This knife is as well suited on the farm as at church. The ultra slim design allows for minimal intrusion while carrying and yet still possesses a comfortable grip when in use. It utilizes a flipper and a thumb-stud deployment for quick firing. The frame lock is a solid and smooth option for repetitive tasks. The Leek also comes in a plethora of colors, blade types and materials to suit any need and aesthetic.

Cons: As with the Stryker, the Leek only has one option for carry (tip-down/right handed). Though this knife is certainly at home in a variety of situations the blade is a little thin and narrow for heavy-duty tasks (check out the Kershaw Shallot for a bigger alternative). The only other problem with the Leek would be that you cannot easily adjust the pivot screw for cleaning or tension preferences.

Zero Tolerance 300 Series

Zero Tolerance knives live up to their namesake. The 300 Series specifically packs a lot of heat and what else would you expect? The 300 Series has models that incorporate Strider Knives ingenuity to make them all the better if you prefer. The quandary of if there is a spring-assisted knife that can take heavy abuse is over.

Pros: This knife is ready for anything you throw at it. The thick, leaf-shaped blade is ready to be put to work. The S30V blade steel will ensure the best of toughness and edge-retention. The flipper makes firing the knife quick and the strong spring puts all worries to rest. It comes in great options for Strider model or standard G10. The clip is moveable for any of the four carrying combinations. This is about the most comfortable knife to use due to precision milling and a secure frame lock (optional Strider locking mechanism).

Cons: This knife is big and really lacks the tactile ability for detail oriented tasks. The thumb studs are basically non-functional because of the flipper swinging into your hand. Also, at a price tag of $200.00+ for the Strider version it gets a little hefty on the wallet.

Levi Jackson
Chief of Conversions and Knife Repair

Gerber Covert Review

 If money is a little tight and you’re on a budget or if you’re into knife fighting or law enforcement then the Gerber Covert is my top recommendation. It’s one of the more afforable qualily models you can get. The Covert  retails for about $90 but you can find them online in the $50 range.  

The Covert is a great assisted opening option.  A few of key points: The Covert  is definitely a tactical fighting knife and primarily marketed toward Military and Law enforcement  The handles are G10 and the knife is very comfortable to hold (personally I don’t feel that it feels like a knife fighting grip).  The action is great and the 440A blade gets any job done with ease. The serration on the blade is almost an inch an a half.  The blade is nearly 3.75 inches long (this could be a problem with regard to carry in some states).  

A little break down on the Gerber Covert stats:

Overall Length: 8.75″  
Blade Length: 3.75″ 
Blade Steel: 440A
Handle Material: G-10
Weight: 5.0 oz.  (it is heavier than most knives of comparable size because of the G10 handle).

As I previously mentioned this knife is focused towards the military and law enforcement.  Personally I enjoy Filipino Martial Arts and I’m  into knife combat training and I finnd that the Gerber Covert is a perfect fit. While I can’t necessarily recommend this knife as an EDC I can vouch for it’s overall quality and ruggedness.  The only gripe I have is that the knife is right side tip down carry only and I’m not accustomed to this. I like knives to have a little more flexibility where the carry clip is concerned.   Overall its a handsome piece.