My Cart

Call us toll free: +1 305-504-7521


How Do Dual Action OTF Knives Work?

How do OTF Knives Work?

How Do Dual OTF Knives Work?


If you are interested in knowing the ins and outs of a dual-action OTF knife, then keep reading. If you just want to know if TacKnives work, then head to our YouTube channel. Spoiler Alert They work, and they work well!

We use them, we love them, but how do these knives work? Dual-action automatic OTF knives have one blade going in and out with the same motion. This is a result of some clever engineering. While not all of us are engineers, it doesn’t mean we are not curious about how the dual-action OTF is made. Let’s cut to it.

What is a Dual-Action OTF knife?

An OTF knife is a knife that has a blade which extends and retracts from an opening at the front of the handle. If you open your OTF knife, and we mean unscrew the screws and dive deep, you will find a long flat “plate” or “slider”. This plate is the length of the handle and sits next to the blade. At each end of this plate, you’ll find a spring that is held under tension. 

Have you ever shot a rubber band at someone? Holding on to one end of the rubber band while pulling back on the other? The movement of the rubber band is similar to that of the dual-action automatic knife. The first job of the plate is to extend the spring, while the slider moves, one end of the spring moves with it. The other end of the spring stays stationary with the blade.

The extension of this spring will release the blade and the blade will spring forward. Just like when you “snap” a rubber band. Only with more technology, math, and measurements. 

Now that you’ve got the basics down, let’s get into how dual-action OTF knives work. 

How Do Dual-Action Knives Work?

When your dual-action automatic OTF is in its closed position, the plate and the switch are connected in the far back position. Neither the switch nor the plate is connected to the blade.

When you push the switch forward, it pushes the plate forward. The forward motion of this plate will extend the spring. This is because there is a rear hook on the spring, that is behind the rear of the blade. The front of the spring is hooked around the plate. 

To refer back to the rubber band analogy, think of these two hook points as your fingers. The forward motion of the switch and plate extends the springs to a point where a locking mechanism, located in the rear of the knife, releases the blade. The blade then shoots “out the front”. Here’s when the blade locks in place, in front of the front-locking pin. The locking pin stops the blade from darting out of the knife.

The knife is out, let’s get it back in.

In the out-position, the spring is no longer extended and the blade and plate are both in forward positions. When you push the switch, which is connected to the plate, it will make the plate slide back, extending the spring.

However, this time, the rear hook is now hooked to the inside of the knife and the front pin is hooked in front of the stop pin on the blade. From here, you reverse the process that shot the blade out and your blade will “snap” back into its handle.

But wait – there’s more. 

How Does The Knife Release The Blade At The Correct Time? 


That’s the second job of the plate. For starters, there are two locking gates on your OTF. One in the front and one in the rear. They both work the same, just on opposite ends of one another. 

The locking gates are spring-controlled pivots that move up and down. These pivots are what keeps the blade locked in an open or closed position. The locking gates will fit into place on a locking shelf that is cut into the blade itself. This will ensure no extra movement in the blade release, as the slider and springs move forward. 

To move the pivots or locking gates, the slider has two distinct angled cuts. Those cuts push down the raised end of the pivot or locking gate, directing those locking gates as to which way to go. The combination of all these movements happening one right after another, is what releases the blade from the knife handle at the correct time. 

The Best OTF Knife from TacKnives

At TacKnives, we know how important it is to choose a knife that will provide you with the durability and efficiency needed for everyday tasks. That’s why we are 100 percent committed to helping you find the best OTF knife that will be the perfect fit for your unique needs.

TacKnives are designed in-house and tested against humidity before undergoing a rigorous strike test and heat tamper test. This ensures that each piece that is purchased is of the best quality.

If you’re searching for the best OTF knife for your everyday use, then make sure you check out our catalog today.

Now that you know more about Dual OTF knives, you can use this knowledge to take apart and clean your OTF knives. Or you can take this to a trivia night at your local bar. The choice is yours. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TacKnives TK PRO

The TacKnives Blog

Actionable advice and the latest industry happenings from the OTFs

Whether you are an enthusiast or a seasoned collector, find out the latest talks, on the latest trends, designs and everything OTFs.