Custom Out The Front Knives


OTF (out the front) knives are one of the biggest inventions that the knife industry has seen. It seems that everyone is trying to get their hands on at least one. If you like to have a little more character to your knife collection then have I got something for you! As some of you may know, OTF knives aren’t as common as your manual folders, side autos and spring assists. They are a lot of fun. I can sit for hours just opening and closing my OTF.

Today we are going to look at some of the custom OTF knives out there. The bulk of the OTF knives come from Microtech. There are several other brands out there that people seem to just overlook.

Let’s look at some of the custom OTFs Microtech has graced us with:

The Microtech Custom Makora with Diamond Plate and Blued Damascus

Microtech Custom Makora OTF Knife Diamond Plate Full

Microtech Custom Makora OTF Knife Diamond Plate BladeMicrotech Custom Makora OTF Knife Diamond Plate Handle

The Makora is a double action knife with a titanium fire button. This knife comes with a beautiful blued Damascas blade. It is double edged and the handles are diamond plate inserts with 6061 T6 aircraft aluminum handles making it super lightweight. All of the hardware is a satin finish. The glass breaker is pretty unique on these also. You can find the Microtech dagger emblem on the pocket clip. This is a must have if you are collecting Microtech knives.

The Microtech Custom Splash Halo V Knife 

Microtech Custom Splash Halo V Knife OTF (4.6" Polished Plain) Blue/Silver

 Microtech Custom Splash Halo V Knife OTF (4.6" Polished Plain) Blue/Silver HandleMicrotech Custom Splash Halo V Knife OTF (4.6" Polished Plain) Blue/Silver Retract

This Custom Halo V features a black, blue and silver “Splash” finished handle from Anolaze that is beautiful and truly unique. The blade has a high polished finish, which has been personally ground by Anthony Marfione. The hardware is satin finished. The knife closes via an aluminum retracting handle at the bottom of the knife that has manufacture date (03/2011) and Marfione Dagger. A khaki Maxpedition pouch is included with this Halo V. At almost 11″ the Halo V is a big knife with a big blade. To ensure the best blade/handle ratio the tips on these knives come right up to the top of the handle (don’t drag your finger across the blade’s exit point). The action on these is fast, they hit hard, and the lock-up is excellent.

Let’s take a break from Microtech knives and go to something that is often overlooked.

The Custom Alex Shunnarah A.R.S. OTF Knife:

Custom Alex Shunnarah A.R.S. OTF Knife Automatic Tanto (3.5" Damascus)

Custom Alex Shunnarah A.R.S. OTF Knife Automatic Tanto (3.5" Damascus) Handle

This is one of 18 knives total made that is guaranteed to turn some heads! The tanto blade is a stainless Damascus blade made by the one and only Chad Nichols. He has some of the most beautiful Damascus designs ever. The handle is made out of 416 stainless steel with abalone inlays. Also, the push button is abalone. The A.R.S. is known to be a very thin OTF coming in at only 3/8 inch thick. The body of the handle is made out of an awesome jewel finish. This is a knife that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on.

Now let’s take a look at something that isn’t as popular as Microtech, but is more common than ARS.

The Benchmade Gold Class Infidel OTF:

Benchmade Gold Class Infidel OTF Automatic Knife 3300-81 # 10

Benchmade Gold Class Infidel OTF Automatic Knife 3300-81 # 10 BackBenchmade Gold Class Infidel OTF Automatic Knife 3300-81 # 10 Side

Benchmade knives have yet to disappoint me or even let me down. I can’t get enough of the knives they are putting out now days. I digress. We have here an acid etched damasteel Damascus blade. The handle is black coated with 6061 T6 aircraft aluminum that makes the knife super light to carry-the only carrying that should be done with this knife is right to you display case! All of the hardware and the liners are heat colored. There were only 50 of these; and Gold Class Benchmade items are the hardest to get your hands on out of all their classes.

When it comes to custom knives, it is all about having something unique. Saving the most unique for last:

The Microtech Custom Venom

Microtech Custom Venom D/A OTF Knife Carbon Fiber (Mirror Double Edge)

Microtech Custom Venom D/A OTF Knife Carbon Fiber (Mirror Double Edge) SmallMicrotech Custom Venom D/A OTF Knife Carbon Fiber (Mirror Double Edge) Large

Here is something you don’t see very often. This is what happens when you get an OTF where the blade is much larger than the handle. The first picture shows the blade retracted and then fired out. However, to rectify the situation, Microtech made a sheath for it so you don’t have to worry about poking yourself. Most glass breakers are sharp, but this one surpasses the rest. The glass breaker is almost as point as the knife! When this knife is in the open position, it comes in at over 12 inches long. The bottom of the handle is 6061 T6 aluminum and the top is carbon fiber. The D2 steel on this comes razor sharp, right out of the box.

These custom knives aren’t really easy to come by. If you ever do come across a custom OTF, I suggest grabbing it and locking it up. If you keep it for a while, who knows? Maybe the value will shoot up even more.

Best OTF Knife by Price

If you are looking to purchase an out-the-front automatic knife, you can find models in every price range. OTF automatic knives range from the inexpensive to quite expensive. With OTF knives you will generally get what you pay for, but you can still find a great selection for under $100. In our opinion:

Best OTF Knife Under $40

One of the best OTF knives you can find for under $40 is the Schrade Viper OTF Knife. This is our top selling version of this knife: The Schrade Viper Tanto OTF Automatic Knife which you can also get the serrated version (right picture). The Schrade Viper is made in China with stainless steel and no blade play. Both knives function great for the price but its all up to your preference which one will be YOUR knife. These are OTF knives that have great action and reliability and they will not disappoint.


Best OTF Knife From $40 To $60

In the $40 to $60 price range you can find some great OTF knives by the AKC knife company. The AKC Tactical Minion is a good double action automatic that retails for around $50. This is one of the smallest OTF knives on the market. It is a great choice if you are looking for something small and lightweight. Their blades rarely come off track or lock up. These knives from AKC function just like knives that are much more expensive. The Tactical Minion has a fast out-the-front action that puts all other knives in its price range to shame.

AKC Tactical Minion Automatic D/A OTF Knife (2.38" Black Plain)

AKC Tactical Minion


Best OTF Knife Under $100

If you are looking for a knife that is more than $60 but is still under $100, I recommend the Tactical Concord by AKC. These amazing automatic knives range from $70 to $80 dollars depending on the style. There are dozens of blade and handle styles to choose from. They all have quick and reliable out-the-front action. The AKC Black Tactical Concord has a sleek design and a fast release that makes it a great choice for an OTF knife that is under $100. Other AKC OTF knives available on the Grindworx and Bladehq.

Black Tactical Concord 8" D/A OTF Double Edge (Black Dagger)

AKC Tactical Concord


Best OTF Knife From$100 to $250

In the $100 to $200 dollar range you can find some very high quality OTF knives. One of the best automatic knife companies out there is Benchmade. They make high quality out-the-side and out-the-front automatics. The best OTF under $200 dollars is the H&K Benchmade Tumult. This knife is popular because of its great design and its affordable price. The Tumult includes an ambidextrous sliding button that makes extending and retracting the blade easy and convenient. The blade on the Tumult uses DLC finished steel for durability and blade strength. If you are looking for a high quality knife that won’t break the bank, the H&K Benchmade Tumult is the perfect choice. Check out more OTF knives in this price range at Bladehq.

H&K Benchmade Tumult OTF Automatic Knife (Black PLN) 14800BK

H&K Benchmade Tumult


Best OTF Knife From $250 to $300

If you are comfortable with spending more than $250 dollars, you can select from the best OTF knives on the market. The most respected name in OTF automatic market is Microtech. Their knives run anywhere from $250 up to several thousand dollars. Their award winning design and construction make them the most trusted OTF brand in the knife business. One of their more affordable and popular knives is the Microtech Ultratech. These amazing knives retail at around $225 dollars. The Ultratech has the impressive OTF action that Microtech is known for and a sliding ambidextrous button for easy dual action blade release and retraction. This OTF automatic allows you to experience the OTF quality of Microtech without the extreme sticker shock.

Microtech Ultratech OTF Knife Tactical D/E Dagger (3.4" Black Plain) 122-1T

Microtech Ultratech


Best OTF Knife $300 & Beyond

If price is not an issue you should consider the biggest and baddest OTF out there, the Microtech Halo 5. This is an enormous powerful knife with an incredible 4.6 inch blade. The biggest difference in the Halo 5 model from other models is the size. When fully extended it is almost 11 inches long. There is a recessed firing button that springs the blade into place with impressive force. This is the only knife I have used that has a serious kick to it. The blade is retracted with a black retracting handle on the bottom of the blade that you just pull to bring the blade back into closed position. Remember the Halo 5 retails at around $500 dollars. So it is not for anyone of the faint of heart. But you will always get your moneys worth with Microtech.

Microtech Halo 5 V OTF Automatic Tanto Edge Knife (Tactical PLN) 150-1T

Microtech Halo 5


As you get into the $500 plus price range, the price has less to do with the quality of the knife and more to do with the rarity or collectibility of the knife. There are rare uniquely designed OTF’s that can be priced as high $2000 but this does not mean they function any better than a $300 dollar knife. These knives are more of a collectible piece of art than a functional everyday tool. Whichever knife you choose to buy should fit your specific needs and budget. There are great OTF knives in every price range. If you stick with trusted OTF brands like Benchmade and Microtech, you will never have any problems. Check out our available options for OTF knives at BladeHq.

Editors Note: Published May 2012. Updated August 2017.