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Your Tactical Knife in Action: How to Carry and Handle Your OTF Knife

otf knife

Looking for proper ways to protect yourself?

If so, you’re making the right decision. Texas has a higher violent crime rate than the national average. However, carrying an OTF knife means adhering to associated laws.

So, how do you carry your knife in public?

With this guide, we’ll teach you how to carry and handle your OTF knife. Read on and avoid getting violations.

Know the Right Blade Length

Texas amended its knife laws to eliminate some unnecessary restrictions. Old laws considered the knife’s shape, style, and opening mechanisms. Now, a knife’s legality depends on its blade length alone.

Texas’s interpretation of the blade length is the “flat-edged part of the knife.” It includes both the sharpened and remaining flat-edged parts until the handle. In this state, your maximum knife length is 5.5 inches.

Before carrying your OTF knife in public, consider its length. Avoid using less than 1/8-inch increments when measuring the blade. Round it down to the next whole 1/8 increment.

To be on the safe side, avoid going for the maximum length. It ensures your knife adheres to the law by a wide margin. It makes it easier to conceal regardless of the event.

Know the Restricted Locations

Texas’s laws consider a 5.5-inch knife a “location restricted knife.” This means various places prohibit possession of this weapon. It’s illegal to possess this weapon with mal intent or recklessness in these areas.


This includes school premises and areas where educational activities happen. You can’t carry a restricted knife inside a passenger vehicle owned by the school. Whether it’s a private or public school, it’s illegal to carry a blade in these areas.

The only time you can do this is to adhere to the school’s written regulations. You may also overlook this if the school gave you a written authorization letter.

Polling Areas

You can’t carry knives on polling area premises during election days. This is also true during early voting periods.

Government Courts

This also encompasses the offices the court uses for any purpose. You may also get an exception if the court gives you an authorization letter.

Execution Areas

You can’t go within 1,000 feet of an execution area. This applies on days where the law delivers the death sentence to a convicted criminal. However, you only get convicted when the court notified you about the execution.

Airport and Race Tracks

You can’t carry a location-restricted knife inside an airport’s secured area. As for racetracks, the law forbids you to carry them on their premises.

Businesses Dealing With Alcoholic Beverages

If a business gets 51% or more of its income from selling or serving alcoholic beverages, carrying a knife is a no-go. The Alcoholic Beverage Code states that this is worse if the establishment allows patrons to drink on their premises.


It’s illegal to carry a switchblade in hospitals and nursing facilities. Exemptions apply when the medical institution administration writes an authorization letter. The laws also apply to mental institutions.

Other Areas

Carrying a location-restricted knife to the following locations is punishable by law:

  • Correctional facilities
  • Religious worship areas
  • Amusement parks

It means you can’t carry a knife, whether it’s a church, synagogue, or mosque.

Know the Statewide Preemption Laws

Texas’s preemption laws allow municipalities to opt-out of regulations related to knives. It includes transferring, carrying, wearing, or possessing the weapon. It applies to parades, public meetings, or political rallies.

Municipalities may also adopt laws to require everyone to arm themselves. This applies as long as it’s for a lawful purpose. Examples of these include personal or national defense and enforcing the law.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, municipalities can also regulate knife use. It’s likely to happen during riots, insurrections, or natural disasters. If the municipality believes that it protects public safety, it will impose these preemption laws.

So, what does this mean for you?

It means you must do your research about your municipal laws. Stay updated to ensure your OTF knife isn’t illegal. Look at our guide to owning a butterfly knife for more knife law-related information.

Practice Safety While Carrying the Best OTF Knife

OTF knives are great for protecting yourself. It’s because you can open the knife with a swift movement using a single hand. If you choose to carry an OTF knife, prioritize safety above all.

Here are some things you must do.

Try Different Release Switches

It’s always better to try various OTF knives before settling for the best OTF knife. Focus on their sliding mechanisms. Some knives are more sensitive and need more thumb pressure to release the knife.

As a general guideline, you must get a higher pressure knife. You may need to exert more force for it to open. This helps you avoid accidental injuries because the knife opened from slight pressure.

Practice Hand Positioning

You must be aware of how your hand holds the knife after releasing the blade. It’s especially when you have a small knife handle or large hands. If you have both, parts of your fingers can go past the handle.

Adjust your hand to ensure that your hand is below the end of the handle. It ensures the blade will slide out without injuring you. Practice this to know the best way to defend yourself during emergencies.

Consider Your Carrying Method

You must think about the best way to carry your knife. If you end use a knife with a sensitive switch, mitigate accidental releases. Use a coat pocket reserved for the weapon to solve this issue.

With a dedicated case, even a sensitive switch won’t come into contact with other items in your pocket. It eliminates the risk of opening the knife by accident. It also makes your everyday tasks safe and comfortable.

Maintain Your Knife

OTF knives’ mechanisms can get damaged when you fire and retract them for no reason. Without proper maintenance, the knife’s spring mechanism deteriorates. It causes the knife to misfire or worse.

Here are some things you must do to expand your knife’s lifespan.

Open the Blade

When cleaning the knife, you must open the blade first. It releases the tension to prevent unexpected releases. It’s especially when you plan to dismantle the handle to clean the knife’s interior parts.

Use downward strokes when cleaning the blade. Wipe across the blade’s shorter axis. It’s from the thicker spine to the sharp edge.

Wiping from the hilt to the point means swiping your hand along the blade’s sharper edge. It causes you to cut yourself since it’s sharp enough to cut through the cloth.

Remove Dirt and Grime

Dust, dirt, and grime will accumulate the more you carry your knife. Worse, sweat and pocket lint will clog your OTF knife’s mechanisms. It’s why you must do some thorough cleaning.

Disassemble your knife to do this. Open the blade, unscrew the handle covers to expose the mechanisms within. Be careful and perform a partial disassembly to prevent voiding the warranty.

Use cotton swabs with some alcohol to clean both blade and mechanisms. Avoid water since it can make the blade rusty. It’s especially when you bought an uncoated knife.

Get Rid of Rust Spots

To avoid rust, buy a high-quality knife. Ensure it has a coated blade to maximize your investment. However, when the knife gets rust spots, remove them with a light abrasive or use WD-40 if the rust is more stubborn.

Blade coating helps resist corrosion, but it won’t stop rusting. It’s why you must add a light oil coating to the blade after cleaning. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away.

Sharpen the Blade

This is the most obvious step in knife maintenance. However, it isn’t as simple as using a whetstone without purpose. You must sharpen it according to three factors:

  • The knife’s quality
  • Frequency of use
  • What you cut

It’s good practice to learn the proper way to use a whetstone. It takes some skill to maintain the edge’s specific angle using your bare hands. Otherwise, invest in a guide rod system to keep the knife’s functional edge.

Never Use the Knife for Prying

Some people are reckless enough to use their OTF knife as a crowbar. The truth is that regardless of their sturdiness, knives aren’t for prying things. To extend its lifespan, use it for its intended purpose: cutting.

Get an OTF Knife Today

Owning an OTF knife is a great responsibility. It’s crucial to know the knife laws and other safety tips to ensure you’re abiding by the law. Maintain your blade well to ensure it remains sharp and effective.

Are you looking for better OTF knives in Texas? If so, contact us today to get some recommendations.

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