Out-the-front knives (or “OTF” knives) are popular for both their convenience and their style. But there’s more than meets the eye.
Did you know that they’re illegal in some states? Or that there are several different kinds of OTF knives?
An Overview of OTF Knives
OTF knives are knives that feature blades capable of retracting into the handle. In fact, the blade spends most of its time in the handle. The blade is only extended once it’s ready for use.
The benefits of OTF knives include their compact size, which is convenient for storage and concealment. Out-the-front knives are considered a novelty by some people. Others consider them a necessary self-defense tool.
In the following sections, we’ll go over some interesting facts and uses for OTF knives.
1. They’re Convenient During Manual Labor
A solid OTF knife can be a very practical addition to your tool belt. Whether you’re engaged in heavy-duty construction or casual workshop tinkering, you may find yourself with only one free hand.
Keeping an OTF knife clipped to your belt or pocket ensures that you’ll always have a blade within reach. And its single-hand operation means that you won’t have to interrupt your flow by setting anything down. This real-world productivity enhancement is one of the most common and practical uses for OTF knives.
2. OTF Knives Are Legal in Most States
There’s a common belief that OTF knives are illegal. While there are some states with legal restrictions on OTF knives, they’re actually legal in most states.
Of course, if you have one—or plan to get one—it’s a great idea to read the laws of your particular location. Legal restrictions often consider specific factors, including the extension mechanism, the length of knives, and whether it’s concealed.
3. There Are Different Kinds
The category of OTF knives includes several different styles of knives. Some of these are more common than others, while some are more popular for specific reasons such as safety concerns.
Gravity knives are OTF knives that use the force of gravity to assist in their opening. That means they won’t be the fastest to open, but they’ll generally be easier to control than their spring-loaded counterparts.
Spring knives are OTF knives that are propelled by a spring instead of by gravity. This makes them faster to deploy. More legal restrictions exist on these types of knives than on gravity knives, so be sure to know the applicable rules.
An automatic OTF knife falls within one of two categories: single-action and double-action.
Single-action knives can be deployed with the use of a button mechanism. But retracting the blade again is a manual process. In contrast, double-action OTF knives have the additional ability to retract the blade with the same button.
Safety is always a concern. If you’re in the market for an OTF knife, it’s best to find a model that features a safety mode—like an OTF double action safety knife.
4. They’re Historic
Perhaps the most famous OTF knife is the German Kappmesser. This is also known as a drop-knife or paratrooper knife.
The switchblade variant of the OTF knife is also famous. That’s because of their prominent usage among gangs and street-level ruffians in the mid-20th century.
5. They’re Fun
Last but not least, OTF knives are fun to use. Of course, as with any potentially-dangerous object, it’s important to exercise caution and follow safety practices. But as long as you’re respectful of OTF knives and their inherent dangers, and skilled in safe usage, there’s nothing wrong with having fun.
Now You’re on the Cutting Edge
You’re now equipped with some interesting facts about OTF knives. If you plan to get one for yourself, just remember the most important fact of all: knives are dangerous. Always be careful when handling any kind of knife.
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