Picking your first knife can be a daunting task. So many options, blade styles, types of steel, etc. It can seem endless at times. But today we're going to explore knives at its most basic forms. Hopefully, by the time you are done reading this, you will have a good and solid idea of the type of knife and want and have an excellent starting point to be able to get the perfect knife for your needs.
When looking at knives, there are a few types that dominate the market place. We will explore all of these and explain the basic differences.
The types of knives are as follows.
- Out The Front Knives ( or commonly known as OTF Knives)
- Automatic Knives
- Folding Knives
- Fixed Blade Knives
- Balisong Knives
OTF Knives are a fun type of knife to own. The blade itself shoots out the front when you slide a button or some form of release tab most commonly found on the side. Microtech is one of the most common brands and most reliable in the industry and realm of OTF knives. This knife can excel in concealability and speed.
Important things to note about this style of knives. First, there are many states banning the use of this knife and if caught, you're in a serious amount of legal trouble. So make sure you look at your local and state laws before deciding to carry this style of knives. I have around 10 of these knives, and out of all the types of knives, I would say these are the least reliable. Internally the blade rests on a spring type mechanism that pushes the blade out. I have had many failures and instances where the blade bumped off the track or spring and had to be reset. Every brand I have owned I've experienced this with.
While this knife is fantastic to have in the collection, I would not recommend as a daily carry for reliability, due to the legal issues across the states with this, it just isn't worth it to me. But if you are an avid knife collector, it is an excellent type of knife to add to the collection.
This type of knife is a ubiquitous knife in every day carry. This type of knife is a durable design. Usually made of materials like aluminum, G10, or steel, they are designed to take a beating. Another benefit to this type of knife is that you don't have to touch the blade in most cases. To release the blade on most automatic knives, you click a button that fires the blade out. It is a smooth action and makes it easier, so you don't have to adjust your grip as often. They also make great self-defense knives. This style is pretty reliable and allows it to be used quickly and effectively.
One note to mention this type of knife. While they are legal in most areas, make sure you check with your local and state laws and agencies to make sure. In some instances and cases, these can have some legality issues in certain places.
My favorite type of knife and most preferred. This is probably the most common type of pocket knife out in the market today and for a good reason.
The folding type of knife is a no-frills type of knife. Straightforward, minimal parts, and is by far the most reliable out there when it comes to pocket knives.
The choices out there are abundant, you can get folding knives that are smoother than most or any automatics out there, and holding the ultimate durability factor. The servicing and cleaning of a folding knife are easy. The level of quality of the folding style knife vastly varies. There are cheap ones out there and top of the line ones as well. These type suites anyone at any budget. Most of your serious knife collectors and EDC people will sport this style of knife in their pockets. I have a few Chris Reeves and Strider knives I carry daily and prefer. While these two brands are on the top end of price, you can find many such as Spyderco, Benchmade, etc. that fit the bill just fine at a more tolerable price point, and are considered one of the most reliable knife brands out there.
Fixed Blade Knives
The fixed blade knife is the workhorse of the group. This type of knives don't have a moving blade and have minimal components or parts. This makes to be the most reliable, durable, and sturdy type of knives out of all the knife styles mentioned in this article. Most commonly used as field knives or hunting knives, this type of knife is an excellent option. Most of your fixed blade knives are of a durable steel blade, scales ranging greatly but generally made from wood, micarta, g10. This knife is the workhorse and is phenomenal when durability and sheer size is one of your main priorities.
With this in mind, you can find some small fixed blades out there, but most are going to be relatively too big to carry or at least uncomfortable and very noticeable on your body. My fixed blades are primarily used for hunting. Some of my favorite brands in this realm are Chris Reeves, Uparmored Knives, and Benchmade.
Lastly, we are onto the balisong knife type. This is probably the least common of all discussed here: a very unique knife and interesting knife type. The Balisong is a very friendly one-handed opening and closing type of knife.
Generally, with a nice long handle and blade profile, this type of knife is an excellent slicer.
Make sure you take caution with this knife, as it is easy to knick yourself with it when first learning how to use it. In terms of carrying, it is not one I would personally recommend as a carry knife for everyday use. But, it is a wonderful type of knife to add to the collection!
There you have it, folks! Hopefully, this type of overview is helpful when you are learning what kind of knife you want to be carrying.
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-EDC Crate Team