The New H&K Epidemic

It has been a while since we have seen the release of a brand new OTF Automatic Knife. This year Benchmade has released the Epidemic under their Heckler and Koch line. At first glance it kind of looks like a knife put together with legos (I think it’s because of the red button), but after holding this knife I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.


This is a quality Out the Front knife that features a lightning fast open and close action. The blade on the knife is made from D2 steel, which for me is not that big a deal. Some people don’t like D2, for a variety of reasons. The reason I have heard the most is that D2 can be difficult to sharpen. I disagree, it is only difficult to sharpen if you don’t have the right materials. Using D2 on this blade instead of some other “fancy” steel brings the price down on this knife, and for me that is a good thing. I love that the blade shape is spear point. Dagger style blades look the best on OTF knives, but having both edges sharpened just isn’t practical. Having a spear point on the knife gives the best of both worlds.

When I first saw this knife, I worried that the handle wouldn’t be very comfortable. It is made from T-6 aluminum, and sometimes aluminum doesn’t feel comfortable if it isn’t machined correctly. Then again, you don’t really see G-10 or Micarta handles on OTF knives. The jimping on this knife appears aggressive, but I found that there were no hot spots on my hand while I was holding the knife.

The thumb button is flashy. It definitely stands out which some guys will like, and others wont. It’s not the knife for the guys that need something all black. Since I got the knife the red button has grown on me a little bit.

Here are the Specs on the knife :

Overall Length: 8.22″

Blade Length: 3.44″

Closed: 4.78″

Weight: 3.86 oz

Heckler and Koch Epidemic at Blade HQ!

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!