From Italian switchblades to tactical folding knives, the automatic knife has always been considered one of the most iconic knife types. Most automatic knives have a spring mechanism to draw up the blade with incredible precision.
If you’re a newcomer in the world of knives or you’re thinking of adding an automatic knife to your existing collection, the following account may be helpful in your decision-making process.
Knowing the difference
When deciding about the right style of automatic knife for you, the first step is knowing the difference between an OTS or OTF. There are a few important considerations to bear in mind when choosing.
By definition, an OTF knife is the type of automatic knife where the blade deploys out the front of the handle, whereas, with an OTS knife, it deploys out the side.
This might seem like an insignificant variation, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Your choice of the right knife depends on what you deem would be the best fitting for you and your preferences and the tasks you plan to perform. Therefore, all knife characteristics are worth considering regardless of their initial appearance.
The price tag
It’s an interesting fact that the price tag is not of any major importance in this case, because today, knives are ranging from $50 up to hundreds of dollars for a piece. Currently, the situation is such that manufacturers are producing more OTS models so the market is flooded with them giving you a much bigger selection. Also, they are more familiar with side-opening designs, so if you’re dead set on choosing OTF automatic knives, you’ll need to look a bit deeper and longer.
Among the primary factors in your decision-making process is the tactile feel of a knife, whether it’s a fixed blade or folder. This is something you can’t experience by reading on the Net. Rather, you need to check out the models yourself at your local retail stores or knife shows. Until you have the knife in your hand, you won’t know if it feels right.
When it comes to knife use, OTS is better suited as a utility knife whereas the OTF model is the best fit for defence. That’s why it’s important for you to know how you’re going to use your automatic knife.
If it’s going to be your utility knife, go with the OTS model. For self-defence, an OTF automatic knife will engage the blade faster, as there is no manoeuvring necessary to remove the fingers from the blade opening and readjust your grip, as it is required when using an OTS model.
The safety aspect
Some automatic knife models have safety features to prevent the blade from opening when stored in your bag or the pocket, or while you’re in the process of drawing it and engaging the blade. In reality, it does take a few seconds to switch an automatic blade into the active position, but this is a feature worth having when you consider how things can easily go wrong.
Materials and construction
When it comes to automatic knives, the quality of their make is everything. The better their design and assembly, the longer their duration and the better their performance will be. When considering the type of automatic knife you want to buy, it’s important to consider how hard you use your knives and what your expectations are from their performance. Also, bear in mind the law as these knives are not legal in all states!
If you handle your knives gently, you may prefer the models with softer blade steel – they are easier to sharpen and typically have a painted/anodized handle. If you go hard on your knives, a sturdier blade with the better edge retention and a rugged handle would be a better option.
Similar to manual folding knives, automatic knives can have handles made from metal, polymers, and composites, and come with practically every blade steel out there. You need to figure out how you plan to use the knife, then pick the best materials your budget can get you.
Honestly, there is the right answer when choosing an automatic knife. Neither OTF nor OTS isn’t inherently good or bad. As with all choices, the right answer lies in your needs and preferences, and your plans for using the knives. Buying an automatic knife is an exciting business so take into consideration the facts listed here and choose the knife that will make you happy!
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