10 Safety Suggestions for OTF Knives
OTF knives are amazing gadgets that combine complex engineering, eminently
practical design, and a wow factor that makes people sit up and take notice.
Common everyday carry tasks, camping or survival work, and even some light-
hearted whittling are all possible with a high-quality OTF blade. However, it’s easy
to forget that OTF knives are weapons first and foremost — as is every type of knife.
Failing to respect any sort of blade is the proverbial recipe for disaster.
In this article, we will detail several OTF-specific safety tips you should always
follow, as well as a number of general knife-safety guidelines that apply to any sort
of cutting implement
OTF Knife Safety Guidelines
One of the reasons why OTF knives deserve special safety consideration is that they
function so differently from “ordinary” knives. They aren’t simple fixed blades or
folding knives with a nail mark for slow opening. No, OTF knives deploy fast and
hard, which is part of their appeal. Still, that wow factor means you can’t handle
them in the same way you would other cutting implements.
Let’s detail some safety practices that you should keep in mind when using an OTF
#1: Get a Feel for the Sensitivity of Your OTF’s Deploy Switch
Different OTF knives have deployment switches with varying degrees of sensitivity.
Before you begin seriously using your knife, you should safely test it to ensure that
you won’t accidentally deploy it. Yes, OTFs have certain safeguards (more on that in
the next section). But you can still injure yourself if you accidentally send the blade
#2: Keep the Front of Your OTF Clear of Obstruction
Keeping objects and body parts clear of the front of an OTF knife is a no-brainer,
although perhaps not for the reason you think. As we’ve detailed in a prior article,
having anything pressed to the front of an OTF will engage its safety, causing it to
simply not deploy. That’s the best-case scenario. If you happen to have flesh an
inch or so in front of where the blade deploys, then you stand a good chance of
#3: Develop Safe Holding Habits
It doubtlessly sounds strange to speak of having proper form when holding an OTF
knife, but it’s surprisingly easy to grip it in an unsafe manner. Should your fingers
lap over the front of the handle, you run the risk of failing to implement the
previous section. Before you begin to carry your blade, practice carefully holding it
until it becomes habitual.
#4: Carry Your OTF Knife in a Safe Way
Smith & Wesson carries a line of hammer-shrouded revolvers that cover the finger-
like metallic projection with a high metal baffle. The design is supposed to keep a
concealed firearm from catching on clothes, yet even if a revolver hammer did snag
on, say, a pocket, it wouldn’t face the same issue as an OTF knife: accidental
deployment. Take into consideration whether or not any pocket or pouch into which
you’ve placed an OTF knife could cause it to snag and open unexpectedly.
#5: Clean and Lubricate Your OTF Knife Regularly
Safe usage of a knife requires that it works consistently; you have to know what’s
going to happen when you use it to avoid potential injury. That’s why we
recommend regularly cleaning and lubricating your OTF knife. Over time, the
internal mechanisms of all automatic knives tend to get dirty, which can lead to
poor action, misfiring, or simply not deploying at all. Regularly disassembling,
cleaning, and then lubricating the internal workings with an oil-based lubricant will
keep an OTF knife working as intended
#6: Always Deploy Your OTF’s Blade Prior to Disassembly
There’s one big caveat that we like to offer when we discuss cleaning an OTF knife:
Always make sure to deploy the blade before beginning disassembly. Remember
that there’s a spring inside, and if it remains pressed back when you start taking the
handle apart, it could discharge without warning. That may do nothing more than
startle you — or it may send the loose blade shooting out, turning it into an
impromptu projectile. That’s something none of us want
General Knife Safety Guidelines
While OTF knives are unique, the same everyday safety guidelines that apply to
other knives remain applicable. Following you’ll find a few — but by no means all! —
tips that you should seek to follow when using your OTF knife.
#7: Ensure Your Blade Remains Sharp
In a bygone era, parents gave their children dull knives with the thought that they’d
be less likely to cut themselves. It’s exactly the opposite, though. Avoiding injury is
all about maintaining control, and dull knives are incredibly difficult to handle.
They’re slippery and require added force, which means you’re far more likely to hurt
yourself than when using a sharp edge.
#8: Clean Your Blade After Every Use
Dirty blades stain and rust if not quickly cleaned. The unsightliness alone makes
cleaning your knife worthwhile. Then there’s the fact that dirt and grime can cause
infection in the case of an injury. Cuts happen, so make sure that a lack of hygiene
doesn’t harm your health.
#9: Practice Proper Cutting Technique
negatively. For instance, it makes sense to keep your fingers far away from a
you wouldn’t want to attempt to whittle with a butcher knife. Likewise, you should
never cut toward yourself
#10: Do Not Pry, Lever, Chop, Run With, or Use a Knife in a Way It Isn’t Intended
Knives are designed to be used in very specific ways. Employing them as though
they were pry bars, axes, or the kind of batons you’d pass from person to person in
track and field is simply unwise. Hold your body still when using a knife and only
employ it using controlled slicing motions.