Nothing says “competence” quite like being the one on a camping trip who has the right OTF knife for every obstacle. You’re the one who gets it done.
Your friends may fumble and break their fingernails as they struggle to pull out their dull Swiss Army Knife blade. Fortunately, you save them the pain; your switchblade is out and ready in seconds.
You can cut fishing line in one smooth motion, open boxes in the blink of an eye, and whittle kindling to start a fire. When worst comes to worst, you’re the one with the strongest defense against sharks and bears and the one who can catch food.
Every camping trip needs a switchblade hero. If you’re looking at buying a new switchblade, you’re investing in a handy tool. In case you haven’t decided which kind to buy, here’s why you should consider an Out-The-Front (OTF) knife.
How Are OTF Knives Different?
If you’re considering a switchblade (also called an automatic knife), you want to know the options so you can pick the best. Here’s a brief guide to the switchblade categories:
The term switchblade refers to any knife with a blade that extends automatically from its handle when you activate its spring mechanism by pressing a button, lever, or switch on the handle.
When you press the button, the blade will either fold-out (similar to a standard pocketknife) or slide straight out (like a box cutter).
What’s the difference between switchblades, automatic knives, and spring-assisted knives? Automatic knives are another name for switchblades, but sometimes people mistakenly use these terms to describe spring-assisted knives. Spring-assisted/assisted-opening knives require pressure to open, so they aren’t fully automatic.
Double Action vs. Single Action Switchblades
When retracting the blade on a “single-action” switchblade, you’ll have to compress the spring and manually push the blade back in, like most other foldable knives.
When retracting the blade on a “double-action” switchblade, you’ll push the button, and the knife will retract the blade on its own.
Side-Opening Knife vs. OTF Knife
A side-opening knife opens more like a traditional pocket knife. It’s like your typical folding pocket knife, but automatic.
An out-the-front (OTF) knife blade comes out from the tip of the handle – kind of like a hybrid between a pocket knife and a jacked-up box cutter.
What’s the Best Switchblade?
Finding the right kind of switchblade for you will depend on your budget and general knife preferences. If you want to learn more, you might want to look at more pros and cons of the switchblade types.
To buy the switchblade with the most benefits, we recommend the double-action OTF knife. Here are the basic reasons:
- Since the blade slides out from the end, you can hold the grip better and more safely than a side-opening blade.
- Due to their front sliding design, OTF knives usually come with double-edged blades.
- A double-action OTF switchblade is easier to use while doing tasks. You can retract the blade more quickly, and you can do it one-handed.
The double-action OTF knife is one of the most versatile knives out there. Choosing a single action can be more budget-friendly, and you’re still going to end up with a great knife. Let’s look at the ways the OTF knife design can benefit you.
Benefit #1: Cool Factor
Picture this: you’re out hiking in the woods, and you stop to have a snack. You pull out some beef jerky in one hand and an OTF knife in the other. With the push of a button, you’re ready to cut a piece of that jerky off to share with your friend.
Pretty big flex right there.
OTF knives are often knife enthusiast’s first choice to show off as a conversation piece. The design is simply impressive, and the history of switchblades is fascinating. The Italian Stiletto is particularly renowned for its craftsmanship and history.
The OTF knife was designed to be a more practical version of earlier automatic knives. Its design makes it easy to use with one hand in even tight spaces, safely.
The sheer coolness of OTF knives makes them popular with film directors. You’ll see OTF knives in films like The Dark Knight Rises, Men In Black, John Wick, The Gemini Man, Bullet to the Head, Olympus Has Fallen, and many more.
You’ll even see an OTF knife in Despicable Me. The main character Gru sometimes walks the line between a loveable goof and the world’s greatest supervillain. Yet when he takes out the OTF, there’s no doubt he knows what he’s doing, and he becomes a total badass.
Benefit #2: Fast-Acting In Life-Saving Predicaments
You never know when accidents are going to happen. OTF knives can give you more peace of mind because they can get you out of life-threatening situations.
If you go swimming, diving, or spearfishing, you could get tangled. If you’re stuck on ropes, a net, or on a rock, time is precious. When you’re panicked or losing oxygen, regular tasks are more difficult. You might not have the time or mental clarity to operate your pocketknife.
Even if one of your hands or arms is stuck, you can use an OTF knife with your free hand. With a push of a button, the blade is ready for action. You can cut away clothing or ropes to free yourself in less time than it would take for you to open a regular pocket knife.
Benefit #3: Self-Defense
If you ever need to use a weapon to defend yourself, an OTF knife is a great option. If you come face-to-face with a dangerous animal, you waste no time opening the blade. Using the knife one-handed means you can save yourself even if one of your hands is trapped.
If you have to take your knife out against a human attacker, the appearance alone of the OTF knife can be an added benefit. The way the blade flicks out may be enough to intimidate your attacker so that they leave without you ever having to use it.
Benefit #4: First-Aid
It’s always good to bring a first-aid kit when you go hiking or camping. An OTF knife can also help you in various medical situations.
With an OTF knife, you can remove splinters with the blade tip. You can also cut pieces of fabric to insert in your shoes to cover up blisters.
If something drastic happens and you’re bleeding severely, you can use an OTF knife to cut fabric quickly to wrap around your wound. Decreasing blood loss is the first step you want to take.
It’s not pleasant to think about, but sometimes severe wounds need to be cauterized and sterilized. OTF knife blades are made of high-quality steel. Since the knife opens at the front, it’s easy to hold the handle to heat the blade over a fire.
Benefit #5: Easier Hunting and Fishing
Every hunter knows the value of a good knife. OTF knives are especially adept at skinning and cutting meat. If you’re out camping and hunting, the OTF knife will be the one knife you need for camping conveniences and hunting tasks.
Double-action OTF knives provide an extra advantage. The double-edged blade can aid in flaying and cutting difficult parts off the wild game.
Double-action OTF knives are also an excellent choice for fishing knives. You can open and close them with one hand with minimal effort. This is advantageous when you have to hold onto a fishing pole, a net, or the fish itself.
You can also use the knife to untangle the fishing line, bleed a fish, and remove hooks. The maneuverability of the OTF blade can help you safely remove a hook from a fish, harming it as little as possible if you want to release it.
Benefit #6: They Prepare You to Be Unprepared
It’s never a fun moment to realize that you’ve forgotten something when you’re miles away from civilization. OTF knives are so versatile that they can often stand-in for whatever you didn’t pack. You can open cans with them, cut off branches, and cut food for cooking.
If you forget tent stakes, you can cut wood to the size you need. If you forget rope, you can cut thin branches or thick weeds to weave together to replace it.
OTP knives are compact, easy to carry, and practical. You might even elect to leave more things at home and pack light.
You can use the tip of the blade for tasks that require finesse. Perhaps you need to untangle something or carve fine grooves into the wood to make a trap. OTP blades have the precision and strength to perform both delicate tasks and rugged ones.
There are some situations you might not be prepared for. Your car could break down unexpectedly in a remote location in the winter. You can cut wood with an OTF knife to build a fire or cut out material from your seats to use as insulation.
OTF: One True Friend
If you’re looking for a new knife, finding a quality OTF knife for sale could change your game. Besides looking cool and making you seem really capable, it’s one of the most resourceful tools you can have. With an OTF knife, you can have confidence knowing you’re prepared for the unexpected.