Switchblade Knives

Automatic And Manual Switchblade Knives

Switchblade knives have been around since the early 1800s and despite a sordid history and negative reputation they remain a favorite among collectors. These automatic or pushbutton knives are uniquely designed and were originally made to safely conceal a blade yet have a weapon readily available when needed. Their compact design made them ideal for soldiers, hikers and campers to easily carry on the battlefield or recreational outdoor ventures.

History of the Switchblade Knife

Switchblade KnifeVarious European countries were experimenting with spring loaded bayonets to help with the seemingly endless battles for landownership and kingdom dominions. As the designs became more successful and intricate, traditional cutlery manufacturers and blacksmiths began to produce folding knives with spring operated automatic openings.

Depending on the owner and intended use, these ejector knives could appear very crude and primitive or may have ornate designs and family seals representative of a royal family.

The Italian stiletto switchblade knife design most closely replicates the original miniature bayonet model. It still features the narrow and sharply pointed blade and the ornately designed handle.

The model became very popular after World War II when the victorious soldiers returned to their respective homes with the Italian made souvenirs. As demand increased, cheaper imitations were mass produced and widely distributed around the world.

Many of the originals are still in circulation today and collectors frequently vie for the authentic versions.

Double Action Switchblade Knives

Most switchblades are considered to open ‘out the front’ because the blade protrudes out the front of the knife when activated.

The activation is usually pressure being applied manually to a release trigger which sparks an internal mechanism to release the spring action, causing the blade to propel out the front of the handle.

The term double action refers to the direction of the blade. Once it has been released on a double action switchblade, it can be reactivated again to retract the blade.

Single Action Switchblade Knives

Single action switchblades are also extended ‘out the front’ of the knife, but operate differently than the double action version of the switchblade. The spring post on a single action blade is attached firmly to the base of the blade and is not set up for automatic retraction.

Therefore, when the user releases the blade by pressing the trigger mechanism, the blade is now firmly in the open position. The single action spring load means it cannot retract the blade once it has been released.

The user must then manually retract the blade which can be done by applying pressure on the blunt side of the blade while simultaneously pressing the release trigger or another button that allows the blade to return to the resting position.

List of The Best Switchblade Knives

PreviewNameStar RatingMore Details

Black U.S. MARINES SPRING ASSIST RESCUE POCKET KNIFE CAMO TANTO BLADE WITH GLASS BREAKER4.5 from over 120 reviewsMore details!
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Schrade Viper 3, OTF, Black Handle, Black Blade, Plain3.8 from over 40 reviewsMore details!
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Smith & Wesson CKTACBSD Tactical Serrated Drop Point Knife, Black4.0 from over 430 ReviewsMore details!
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MTECH USA Tactical Folding Knife 4-Inch Closed3.9 from over 290 ReviewsMore details!
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Smith & Wesson SWMP3B Military and Police Knife with MAGIC Assisted Open Tanto Blade, Black4.3 from over 25 ReviewsMore details!
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Tac Force Assisted Opening Rescue Glass Breaker Bright Green Skull Design Hunting Camping Tatical Pocket Knife4.5 from over 30 ReviewsMore details!
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Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife with Speed Safe4.7 from over 900 ReviewsMore details!
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Unlimited Wares Special Force Military Tactical Spring Assisted Folding Pocket Knife with Glass Breaker and Seatbelt Cutter4.4 from over 25 ReviewsMore details!
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Use of Switchblade Knives

Use of the Switchblade KnifeSwitchblades and other automatic knives have been in constant use for many generations and serve a variety of useful purposes.

Like many daggers, knives and bayonets, switchblades were originally created to be tools and weapons. They were tools in the field and in daily life as well. Considering that building materials and tools were very crude in the 18th century, one sharp metal object could be used for quite a few different purposes.

The same knife could be used to skin an animal, cut branches for firewood or carve stone for an idol to display. These daggers, knives and bayonets were also weapons from their origin and with good reason.

Before governments and laws were firmly established, the world lived pretty much under moral law and a matter of conquest and claiming. Men claimed land, territories, armies, food and even women. All that plundering and conquering required at least one formidable weapon, and those that could be concealed and quickly revealed – especially at close range – were the most useful.

As a result of this reputation, some youth began to wield switchblades during typical teenage fights. This threat of violence quickly spread throughout major cities all around the world and governments stepped in to avoid an epidemic. Unfortunately, the news media portrayed an unpleasant and unfavorable image of the switchblade and caused panic in the general population.

When the switchblade knife became a synonymous image with gang activity, local and federal governments stepped in to take action. As a result, many of the automatic knife models have been restricted or outlawed.

You should also check out our articles on hunting & bowie knives.

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