A Quick Comprehensive Guide to Switchblade Knives

Switchblade Knife or automatic Knife grew popular from movies like Rebel Without a Cause, but they have always been one of the tools carried by military personnel, law enforcement and hunters. The switchblade knife is rather unique, but it’s also recognized as a dangerous weapon, which is many states prohibit the purchase and ownership of a switchblade knife. While some states like Alabama and Florida consider the switchblade knife to be legal, it’s illegal in Hawaii and limited in states like Illinois and Alaska.

In addition there are so many types of automatic knives that it can be difficult to understand what to look for. These are just a few things that define a switchblade knife and what are the top types of switchblades that you can find out there today.


Switchblade Knife Comparison Table

SwitchBlade Name

Blade Length (Inches)
Closed Length (Inches)
Weight (Ounces)

Gerber DMF Modified Clip Point Partially Serrated Folder Knife






Gerber Hinderer Combat Life Saver Knife






Spyderco Native Lightweight






Spyderco Endura 4 Lightweight Combination Edge Knife






Spyderco C91SBK Pacific Salt Knife






SOG Specialty Knives SlimJim XL , Black TiNi






SOG Specialty Knives & Trident Mini Knife






Schrade Viper 4034 Serrated Spear Point Knife






 Included in the Chart:

  • Knife Picture
  • Knife Brand and Name/Model – (Click to View more detail or to Purchase)
  • Blade Length, Closed Length – (in Inches)
  • Weight – (Knife weight in Ounce)
  • Price (in Dollars) – Price could be change due to the discount
  • Rating – The average user rating on Amazon.com. This can be very helpfull in deciding if people are satisfied with their purchase.

Want to see more Switchblade Knives? Click here to see Our Full list Switchblade Knives that I put together

What Makes a Switchblade Knife

Switchblade Knife date back to the 1750s when spring-loaded knives were first being constructed.

Today these knives are mainly used in tactical fighting for military but also make good hunting tools. Ejector knife, Sprenger, Springer, flick knife, pushbutton knife and automatic knife are all the names given to the switchblade knife. This type of knife has a blade that slides or folds into the handle, which can be sprung with a button or switch on the handle. Most switchblade knives today have a locking mechanism.

A campaign in the 1950s started by the U.S. magazine Women’s Home Companiion sought to outlaw switchblade knives. The movement was mildly successful, but the knife is still legal in most states in the U.S. There are all types of automatic knives available today from the side-opening automatic knife to the out the front switchblade knife. There are also butterfly knives, Italian style stilettos, spring assisted knives and military tactical knives.

How to Find a Switchblade Knife that Meets Your Needs

While switchblades can be used as weapons, they have specific jobs and provide a great utility tool for military and law enforcement. Depending on the role of the knife, you may need three or four different types of tactical switchblade knives. For example, switchblades may be used as more of a utility or they may need to be an emergency rescue tool. An undercover officer going into a hostile situation will have different requirements for a switchblade than a fireman who needs it as an entry tool. Many hunters also use switchblades as necessary utility tools.

Top Five Switchblade Knives

There are a few things to consider when buying an automatic knife. A finely crafted switchblade knife will retain its spring no matter how many times it’s opened. Most states have blade length limits, but you can also purchase many switchblade knives online.

In addition to spring quality and aesthetic, many switchblades open differently. Assisted opening knifes open with a little nudge of a thumb, which is why they are mostly illegal. These are the top five choices in design and quality for switchblade knives.

1. Gerber DMF Automatic Knife

Gerber 06 Fast - Tanto switchblade knives

Dual Multi Function or DMF is a military automatic knife from Gerber. The knife has an ambidextrous element that allows for you to press the deployment button from both sides of the knife, which means you can use it in either hand.

The safety switch is on the spine of the handle to make it easier to lock and open. The handle has a curved tanto shape and fits nicely in the hand. The blade is made from steel and reaches 3.5 inches in length. All black and lightweight, the Gerber DMF is known for its sharp blade and toughness.

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2. Spyderco Embassy Automatic Knife

Spyderco Embassy Black Blade switchblade knives

The Spyderco Embassy switchblade is more stylish than the Gerber. With a wharncliffe blade shape made from steel, the release is a recessed button in the handle so that the blade has less of a chance to accidentally open. There’s also a lock button for an added safety measure.

This knife mainly works with right handed individuals, it’s not entirely difficult to reach the release button, and there is a three position pocket clip that can make it easier to maneuver with the Spyderco switchblade.

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3. Masters of Defense Harkins Triton

Harkins Triton Switchblade knives

If you loved Quantum of Solace, you may remember one of James Bond’s foes carrying a rather snazzy switchblade. This blade is known as the Harkins Triton from Masters of Defense. Jeff A. Harkins is known as a master knife maker and designer of many out the front (OTF) style switchblades. The Triton is a dual action OTF, which opens the knife from the top of the handle when you press the release switch. This blade length reaches 3.375 inches and has a spear combo edge shape made from stainless steel.

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4. Piranha Excalibur

Schrade Viper 4034 switchblade knives

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A dual action OTF tactical knife was recently released by Piranha. With a name like Excalibur, you probably expect a longer blade, but the real reason this blade gets its name is from the single hand opening mechanism. You use a slider to release the blade on the handle. Due to its double edge, Piranha also incorporated some of its own namesake in there. The handle is strong and light as it is made from aircraft quality alloy. The blade is made from steel. Piranha also offers different colors like the camo version.

5. Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance switchblade knives

The Zero Tolerance 610ST switchblade is another automatic knife with a tanto shaped blade. It also has one of the longer blade lengths at 3.5 inches. The handle is made from aircraft aluminum with G10 scales. The textured finish really gives a nice shape and aesthetic design to the knife. While the release button is only on one side, it’s a great knife to operate with gloves, and the safety is located right next to the release. Lightweight and easy-to-use, the 610ST is a great choice for its gripping surface and tough blade.

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Final Word

Before buying any switchblade knife, it’s important to look at the laws in your state, which will dictate the blade length and type of switchblade that you can purchase. While browsing through different switchblades, look for steel blades and easy-to-use release buttons with a quality spring. These will make the best knives for whatever you need.


One Response to A Quick Comprehensive Guide to Switchblade Knives

  1. watch the tutorials on youtube.com. just type in the word switchbladeknives, click and find the kind of knife you want to learn about. this will tell you about the good, the bad, and the ugly. normally a good auto knife will run you between $50.00 and on up. you get what you pay for. thks gle.

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