What Makes the Best OTF Knife? A Guide

In World War II, a knife designed for paratroopers changed the sharps game as we know it.

An OTF knife in 1942 could have meant the difference between life and an untimely death. Cutting yourself from your parachute cord in case of an off-course emergency. These vital tools gave paratroopers incredible variability; second of course only to the will of its user.

The sliding out-the-front, or “OTF” knife, is a one of a kind single or double action knife. Widely sought after, the OTF knife has endless variables. This isn’t your grandpa’s collectible knife. In fact, if your grandpa does have an OTF, he’s probably bad to the bone.

We’re talking about the knife John Wick uses to protect the world from bad guys. The knife that the military in all areas of service carried around as a token of appreciation and remembrance. The knife that your grandmother used to cut you down from the tree your buddies tied you around.

What is an OTF knife?

With an automatically deployed blade, this knife is ready to go in a matter of minutes. But what makes the best OTF knife?

The Basics

OTF knives grew famous in the 1950s when they appeared in films with fight scenes – even Bruce Lee’s jaw would drop. Through the years, OTF knives would ebb and flow in their popularity.

The journey to find the perfect OTF knife starts with trial and error. Which OTF knife is going to pick you? How will you catalog the tender moments the two of you share together?

From the thumb slide to the finish and compactibility, a well-engineered knife is *chefs kiss* a big deal. You can tell a lot by the structure of a knife. You can hear its secrets, test its limits, and sense the true craftsmanship that went into its creation.

Every knife is so unique that its weight, functionality, and balance are huge factors in picking the one that suits you best. Most knives are forged from steel. High-end OTF knives may use a metal of higher quality.

Take Japanese steel for instance. Traditionally, knives made by Japanese industry workers use high-carbon steel. This material is able to take its sharpness to the next level. The duration, strength, and sharpness of the Japanese steel made knives are paramount.

Many OTF knives are made from 440 stainless steel. This material is tough but ranks high for affordability. Both incredible features to take into consideration.

Plus, being easy on your wallet? That’s a dad-approved deal.

The best thing about connecting to a product, service, or passion is the ability to shop small-batch if you’re able to. A good knife passes the test by being consistent through humidity, being thrown with high impact, and surviving extreme heat cycles.

Many outdoor enthusiasts use OTF knives as their preferred tool when camping, hunting, or out in the field. Its malleability is unparalleled.

Maintenance

A clean knife is a good knife, and a good knife keeps you ready for anything. A dirty, unmaintained OTF knife is unpredictable, and can even be dangerous.

When it comes to caring for your knife baby, understand that consistent care is key. Set an alarm in your google calendar, write it on a sticky note, plaster it on your fridge. Keeping a knife as perfect as the moment you bought it requires discipline.

Think of your knife like a Mercedes Benz 300 SL, circa 1957. She needs to stay well oiled, washed, waxed, and gutted. No crumbs from the kiddos in the back. No leftover ice cream receipts, just completely and unabashedly pristine.

Keeping up with anything of value instills the pride and confidence needed to own your product authentically. It’s kind of like coming home to a clean room and a made bed. There’s something about reachable order that strikes a harmonious chord in our brains.

Plus, a well-kept knife will prove its reliability over and over again. If you struggle to take care of important tools in your proverbial toolbox (and real toolbox) but you want an OTF knife- this could be a great introduction to maintenance application skills.

There are many different aspects to maintaining and cleaning your knife, keeping its sharpness, and caring for its shell. And while there’s plenty to agree and disagree on, these are the unbiased basics:

  • Gather up your tools, a towel, and a light lubricant.
  • Dislodge your blade by unscrewing the screws that keep the handle intact
  • Separate individual components
  • Remove the blade completely
  • Clean every part (WD-40 is a classic assist)
  • Reassemble and you’re all set!

Maintenance is a core piece of the human experience. When we highlight maintenance into the tangible resources we need to survive, it translates seamlessly. An OTF knife will serve you as well as you serve it.

Practicality

When you’re camping with the kids, when you’re working on a new building site or working in the garage, you can guarantee OTF knives have earned their place in the necessity of daily living

The practicality of the OTF knife is in the hands of its wielder. Whether by gravity, spring-actioned, or manually pulled, OTF knives have a place in the everyday experience of the busy bee.  

The swift out-the-front blade action gives groups like paramedics the chance to act quickly without having to think twice. Whether they’re cutting tough leather off of a hurt fireman or slicing a rope that’s cutting off your circulation- OTF knives show up with value and unmatched functionality.

Acting quickly in a dangerous scenario could also be the responsibility of a civilian passerby. We hear stories about local heroes cutting seatbelts off of a person suffering in a car accident. These are real-life crisis scenarios that an OTF knife carrier may end up in.

Every day or emergency preparedness is key. It’s what separates the spectators from the do-ers. And you can guarantee that a do-er is grateful to show up for those moments to help someone in need.

OTF knives continue to prove that they hold a special place in the world today.

Safety First

When using an OTF knife, it’s imperative to be mindful of safe practices. Step 1 of course being opening the knife with the blade facing away from you. Step 1.5 is being mindful when closing your knife.

Putting space between you and your knife is non-negotiable. If you are not a safe distance away from your knife, you could end up harming yourself or someone else. This is the most preventative thing a knife owner should be aware of.

If your homie wants to take a peek at your new blade. Inform them of your safety practices, especially if they’re a newbie. You can be too cool for school, but safety is the hindsight of the fool.

Knife injuries are the single most avoidable injury, yet they cause the most disabling injuries than any other hand tool.

Putting space between you and your knife is non-negotiable. If you are not a safe distance away from your knife, you could end up harming yourself or someone else. This is the most preventative thing a knife owner should be aware of.

If your homie wants to take a peek at your new blade. Inform them of your safety practices, especially if they’re a newbie. You can be too cool for school, but safety is the hindsight of the fool.

While manufacturers and industry moguls everywhere are putting their best foot forward in the name of safety, it is your responsibility to keep your knife handling in check.

If you don’t trust someone with your knife, you can hold firm boundaries with them about it. A boundary held could prevent someone from severely disabling themself or someone else.

There are plenty of resources available on how to properly handle your knives. Don’t sleep on the chance to be better, smarter, and safer.

Best OTF Knife for You

The real truth is that the best OTF knife is the knife that feels best in your hands. With so many variables between digits, palms, and knife structure- there can only be one best OTF knife per human.

When you’re out fishing, hunting, or working in the garage, you can guarantee OTF knives have earned their place in the necessity of daily living.

OTF knives are the proven ergonomic dream knife. To find out which OTF knife for your needs, connect with us. We’re just around the virtual corner.

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