OTF Knife Manufacturers

If you’re in the market for an OTF knife (out the front knife) there are actually a lot of options to choose from these days. Many manufacturers make a wide range of OTF knives that are both well designed and durably constructed. Additionally there are quite a few lower end models available to choose from. While we don’t necessarily endorse these lower quality alternative that can be a great way to decide if you’re truly interested in an OTF knife and can help you decide what OTF qualities (i.e. button location, size, blade shape) you’re actually interested in. Below you will find a list of manufacturers who currently produce OTF knives. This list is in no way comprehensive. In addition to production knives and low end mass production models many custom makers product excellent OTF knives which are not included in this reference.

Microtech Knives : Many knife aficionados immediatly register that “Microtech” and “OTF Knife” as synonymous! Microtech has been making OTF knives since the early 1990′s and they are excellent at it. Very few companies can produce such an array of knife models and maintain such consistently high quality levels. Microtech offers both single action automatic and double action automatic OTF knives. The depth of their product offering is unmatched and each model comes in a nearly infinite number of color and blade variations. People have voiced criticism about Microtech’s customer care, but working with a good dealer will allow you to bypass any unnecessary hassles.

Popular single action OTF Microtech Models: Microtech Halo

Popular double action Microtech Models: Microtech Ultratech, Microtech Scarab, Microtech Troodon, Microtech Daytona and many others!

Benchmade Knives : Few knife companies have a following like Benchmade. But few companies offer the broad selection coupled with exceptional quality that Benchmade does. Benchmade has been making knives since the 80′s and their dedication to innovation is unmatched. They have recently introduced a few OTF models with great action and exciting styling. Benchmade is also the Parent company of H&K Knives which also has their own OTF model. Benchmade’s customer service is second to none and they stand behind every product they sell.

Popular double action Benchmade Models: Benchmade Infidel series.

Popular double action H&K  Models: H&K Tumult series.

Protech Knives : Protech is a knife company with a decidedly Italian influence. But much like fine Italian products Protech’s offerings are elegant and superbly crafted. Protech is well known for its side opening automatic and manual knives (they also offer some fixed blades) but, like Benchmade, they are a relatively newcomer to the OTF market. Their customer service is superb as is their commitment to innovation. People who own Protech knives almost never own just one.

Popular single action Protech Models: Protech Tantilla, Protech Dark Angel.

Piranha Knives : Piranha is a company that has been around for the last ten years or so (“new” by many standards) but they have proven time and again that they are committed to first class design and manufacturing. Precision CNC knives with exceptional fit and finish have made Piranha a very popular company. One of their initial offerings was a double action OTF knife which remains popular to this day. Custom service it top notch, if you can get a hold of them (they currently have no website, add as it may seem).

Popular double action Piranha Models: Piranha Excalibur

Paragon Knives (AKA Asheville Steel) : Although the company is now under new ownership Paragon knives remains committed to quality designs and construction. They have retained some of their popular OTF models and continue to product them to this day, although the quality is better and there are far more design options.

Popular single action Paragon Models: Paragon Para-X (also called the Paragon ATKO)

 

Smith & Wesson Knives : Smith & Wesson are, of course, best known for their precision fire arms. However, they have given license to some companies to produce knives under their name. These knives are usually imported, but have high quality components and strict quality control. Among some of the licensed Smith & Wesson knife products is a unique series of OTF spring assisted knives. Inexpensive and good quality products like these make Smith & Wesson knives hard to resist.

Popular single action Smith & Wesson Models: Smith & Wesson OTF Knives

Schrade Knives : The old Schrade is gone and the name has now been bought new a new company committed to produce affordable reliable knives. Most of the Schrade product line is imported but most are high quality with a low price point. Like Smith & Wesson, Schrade offers a series of unique spring assisted OTF knives.

Popular single action Schrade  Models: Schrade OTF Knives

 

Lower End OTF Knives : These types of knives (both single and double action) are plentiful but definitely not built like the name brand offerings. Most are without a warranty and are not designed for hard use or longevity. They are a good way to determine what OTF knife characteristics (i.e. button placement, handle style, mechanism, blade shape, etc) you might like in a nicer knife.

Lightning OTF : Lightning OTF knives are double action and open and close automatically. The Lightning knives are manufactured to a fairly high level of quality, given their price. They generally work well, are fine for light duty tasks and last for a reasonable amount of time. Many color are vailable (black, grey, red, tan, etc) and most have the option for silver or black blades.

 

 

Titan OTF : Titan OTF knives are double action knives and open and close automatically. They are similar in build quality to the Lightning OTF knives but are stylistically different. They work well for light tasks and can last for a considerable time if they are well treated. Many color options are available for the Titan knives and the blades are generally dagger style with some in silver or black.

 

 

Shadowtech OTF : A lower end OTF knife. These knives are functional, but very lightweight. They don’t last too long, but at their price point it’s hard to be surprised when they fail. Still, they will give you a great idea of what it would be like to own their more expensive inspirations (such as the Microtech Ultratech series).

 

 

Concord & Minion OTF : Concord OTF and Minion OTF knives are a good choice if you want a reliable lower end OTF knife. The action on the Concord and Minion is reliable and consistent but the mechanisms can be fairly fragile. They are often though of as collectibles.

 

 

 

Arrow OTF: This is a reasonable quality economy single action OTF knife. The action and lockup are both very good for the price. Although the knife has a recessed firing button many people are concerned with the knife’s lack of safety. However, it is a good working example of a single action OTF (such as the Paragon Para-X series).

 

 

Guardfather OTF Spike : Although this isn’t a knife, the single action OTF spike is very popular having been seen in TV series such as Fox’s 24. The spikes are well made, faily inexpensive and have a multitude of uses. In addition to beeing a defense weapon, spikes can be used to chip at ice, as an examination tool, and even a cookin aid.

Get your knives today at Bladehq before they are all sold out!

About OTF Knives

This is a quick guide that explains the basic functionality and types of OTF Knives (Out The Front Knives).

Question: What is an OTF knife?

Answer: An OTF, or Out The Front knife, is a knife which opens by propelling the blade out of the front of the handle. The blade is generally housed inside the handle (often under tension) and released by pressing a button, lever, of other mechanism. Once released the blade is pushed out the front of the knife handle by a compressed spring or other similar tension device or allowed to deploy through gravity or or by manual manipulation.

Question: Are there other names for OTF knives?

Answer: Yes, sort of. “Out the Front” is the most accurately descriptive name for a knives where the blade deploys out the front (as opposed to opening from the side). Many people still refer to these knives generically as “Angel Blades,” or “Stilettos.”

Question: Are there different kinds of OTF knives?

Answer: There are actually many different versions of OTF knives. Some are automatic, some spring assisted, other depend on gravity and a few must be manually opened. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting models and discuss their operation!

Automatic Single Action OTF

The automatic single action OTF knife is one of the more basic OTF designs. When the blade is retracted it is under constant pressure from a compressed spring in the handle. Once the button is pushed the blade is pushed out and locks into place. To retract the blade the user must press a release button (usually the same as the firing button) and manually retract the blade into the handle where it will lock back into place. Single action OTF knives often have a safety, recessed firing button or sheath to prevent accidental firing.

Many people have the mistaken impression that these knives eject with deadly force. The spring in these knives is designed to open the blade and lock it into place, no more. If you were to accidentally open the knife into your hand you would get cut, but serious injury is actually unlikely.

Some popular models of single action automatic OTF knives: Microtech Halo, Paragon Para-X and the Protech Dark Angel

Have a look at the video below to see a single action automatic knife demo.

Automatic Double Action OTF

The automatic double action OTF knife is an impressive example of engineering. When the blade is retracted it is not under any tension. Instead spring tension is created by sliding a firing button (usually on the front or side of the knife) upward (thus creating tension on an internal spring). Once a certain threshold is achieved the blade is released and the spring tension propels the outward and it locks into place. In the open position the internal spring is also at rest. To close the knife the user slides the firing button downward (again creating spring tension on the internal spring in the opposite direction). Once a certain threshold is achieved the blade is released and the the spring tension pulls the blade inward and it locks into place. No safety is needed on a double action knife because there is no possibility of the blade accidentally deploying.

Many people have the mistaken impression that these knives eject with deadly force. The spring in these knives is designed to open the blade and lock it into place, no more. If you were to accidentally open the knife into your hand you would get cut, but serious injury is actually unlikely. Double action automatic knives open with less force than their singl action counterparts.

Some popular models of double action automatic OTF knives: Microtech Ultratech, Benchmade Infidel, Piranha Excalibur.

Have a look at the video below to see a double action automatic knife demo.

Spring Assisted Single Action OTF

The spring assisted single action OTF knife is a new innovation on an older design. When the blade is retracted it is under constant pressure from a compressed spring in the handle. Once the button attached to the blade is pushed part of the way out  the spring pushes the blade the rest of the way out and it locks into place. To retract the blade the user must press a release button (usually the same as the firing button) and manually retract the blade into the handle where it will lock back into place. Single action OTF knives – even spring assisted models- often have a safety, or sheath to prevent accidental firing. The key difference between an assisted OTF knife and an automatic OTF knife is that the assisted knives must be manually started and the button or lever is part of the blade, not the handle.

As with the other OTF knife designs,  people have the mistaken impression that these knives eject with deadly force. The spring in these knives is designed to open the blade and lock it into place, no more. If you were to accidentally open the knife into your hand you would get cut, but serious injury is actually unlikely.

Some popular models of single action spring assisted OTF knives: Schrade OTF & Smith & Wesson OTF

Have a look at the video below to see a single action spring assisted knife demo.

Gravity Single Action OTF

There is no spring in the gravity OTF knife. The blade is locked into the handle by a lever which creates tension against the blade to hold it in place. When the lever is released and the knife is turned upside down the blade simply falls open. The same lever created tension against the blade to hold it open. This design is very simple and was employs in serveral knives by the Germans.

Some popular models of single action gravity OTF: German Paratrooper Knife.

Manual Single Action OTF

There is no spring in a manual OTF knife. Geneally there is a sliding lever than can be used to push the blade out into place (this system is commonly found on utility knives). Other manual OTF systems push the blade up and out when the handle is opened or acted upon in some mechanical way (this system is commonly found on “paratrooper knives”).

Some popular models of single action spring assisted OTF knives: Paratrooper Knife, Smith & Wesson Powerglide.

 

Other unique OTF models:

There are several OTF models which feature a blade that automatically retracts (as opposed to opening). They operate similarly to the spring assisted single action knives, but in reverse.

Some popular models of automatic retracting OTF knives: Boker Bokermaitc, X-5 Switchback.

 

Question: Who makes the best OTF knives?

Answer: Many companies make exceptional OTF knives including Microtech Knives, Benchmade Knives, Protech Knives, and more. We’ll be compiling a list of manufacturers of OTF knives and popular models in near future. Stay tuned!

Question: How strong are OTF knives?

Answer: The strength of an OTF knife will vary by it’s build quality. More expensive brand name OTF knives have proven their reliability in extreme conditions and are incredibly durable. Because OTF knives have moving parts they are more susceptible to wear than fixed blades (which are universally regarded as the most rugged).

Question: Who invented OTF knives?

Answer: Good question! We’ll do some research and write up an OTF History article!

Question: What kind of care is required for OTF knives?

Answer: The same care of would be required for any knife with moving parts. Periodic cleaning, lubrication, etc. Also, you have to take special care no to exert too much force on the blade via prying. OTF knives are susceptible to breakage if too much force is leveraged against the blade. We’ll be creating  “Care and Maintenance” article in the near future. Stay tuned!

Question: Can I buy an OTF knife?

Answer: Many OTF knives are automatic and therefore have federal laws and possibly state laws that apply to them. We suggest doing more research on owning an automatic knife, as not everyone is eligable. While no federal regulations apply to assisted or manual OTF knives many states still have laws pertaining to these types of knives. Once again, we suggest careful research before you purchase any of these knives. We cannot provide any legal advice regarding the purchase or use of any OTF knife, we are simply an information resource.