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.

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!