When it comes to knives, consumers have many options to choose from depending on the style of knife they are interested in. The same can be said for OTF knives. OTF, or Out-the-Front knives, are popular knives for camping and hunting as well as for self-defense or as a backup knife to keep handy. And, as with many kinds of knives, users will want to consider blade length, handles, and blade types when making a selection.
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Check out our list below for a summary of our results. If you are interested, check our detailed summary in the article below.
Best OTF Knife Under $100
- Viper Tec Grey Ghost OTF
- Wood Series Double Action Out The Front Knife
- Blade City Morpho Scale OTF
- Viper Tec Black Phantom
- Smith & Wesson OTF Assisted Knife
Best OTF Knife Under $50
- Viper Tec Tactical OTF Pen
- The Culprit OTF Stilettos
- The Vulture OTF
- Flashbang Double Action Out The Front Knife
- Guard Father Spike Automatic OTF Icepick
What is OTF Knife?
The OTF Knife, which stands for “Out of the Front” knife, is a folding knife with a blade hidden inside the handle. OTF only refers to the mechanical operation of the blade, where it slips parallel to the handle. When you’re in a tight space, having this knife on hand is beneficial because the blade deploys straight to the front rather than to the side.
OTF knives have been around since the 1900s but remain popular since they are safe to carry around and can protect the person with just a single push of the button.
There are three types of OTF knives in the market: single-action, double or dual-action, and manual. Single-action OTF knives utilize a spring mechanism to open the blade, which must then be manually closed. Double-action OTF knives make use of a spring mechanism to open and close the blade. Lastly, there are manual OFT knives without a spring mechanism. They use a sliding button to open and close the blade.
Another type is called a gravity knife, which operates without the use of a mechanical system. The blade is deployed by simply pointing it to the ground and pressing the release button. The blade is drawn out by gravity, which explains its name. OTF switchblade and gravity knives are restricted offensive weapons. They are also known as white weapons.
Things to Look for When Buying an OTF Knife
There is no such thing as the best OTF knife. What may be the best option for some may not be the best choice for you. Purchasing your own OTF knife depends on your personal preference. With the number of available OTF knives in the market, choosing the right one can be a great challenge.
It will be easier if you understand the things that should be considered when purchasing. Listed below are some of them.
When purchasing an OTF knife, the blade is the most important feature to consider. Other features won’t matter if the blade is made of substandard materials. The most popular materials are stainless steel and carbon steel.
Determine what you’ll be using the OTF knife for. For outdoor use and other heavy-duty tasks, larger blades are recommended. Smaller blades, on the other hand, are better suited for daily use. Some states have laws governing the size of blades allowed for possession.
There are three types of edges that you can choose from: straight, fully serrated, and partially serrated. The standard for knives and cutlery is the Straight Edge blade. It is ideal for hunting. It cuts clean and it is also easy to sharpen.
A fully Serrated blade on the other hand is advantageous when cutting fibrous materials such as ropes. It leaves a ragged cut because of its aggressive edge. Its sharpness lasts longer than a straight edge, but it is much more difficult to sharpen once it has become dull.
Lastly, the Partially Serrated blade offers advantages from both straight and fully serrated edges. It is ideal when used for general purposes.
There are four blade shapes to consider; the tanto, drop point, clip point, and spear point. The Tanto has an angular shape and is very strong because of the spine that maintains its full width. The Drop Point pattern is characterized by a convex shape and is found on a variety of knives but is most commonly found on hunting blades.
Clip Point is the most popular blade shape. A concave or straight cutout towards the tip distinguishes it. Lastly, the Spear Point has a symmetrical grind with the tip that is located at the center.
A double-action mechanism allows you to deploy and retract the blade automatically, while a single-action requires you to pull the blade manually.
How the OTF Knife Works
The blade of an OTF knife is concealed on the handle until the switch is triggered. Its mechanism is based on a spring that lies on the metal plate inside the handle. At the end of the blade is a disc that acts as a smooth guide out of the handle. The blade is held in place by hidden latches at the bottom and top of the handle when it is deployed or retracted. It serves as a lock within the handle, preventing the blade from moving. The blade has notches that work with the small latches to keep it in place.
The thumb slide is attached to the metal plate, which is then attached to a spring. As you push the thumb slide, the entire metal plate moves, pushing the latches out of the way and allowing the spring to contract, propelling the blade out of the front. The latches would then lock the blade in place, preventing it from going back in.
Fun Outdoor Quiz
When you pull the thumb slide in the opposite direction, the same process occurs. The plate then moves backwards, stretching the spring, and the latches retract the blade in the same way as mentioned earlier.
Best OTF Knife Under 100
Finding the best knife may be a challenge and if you are on a budget, listed below are OTF knives under $100.
Viper Tec Grey Ghost OTF
The Viper Tec Grey Ghost OTF is a powerful and durable knife that is built for hard use. The blade is made of 440c stainless steel and the handle is made of zinc alloy, making it a tough and reliable knife that will stand up to anything you can throw at it.
This knife is perfect for those with ambidextrous ambitions. It can be used by right and left-hand users, making it a versatile option for anyone. The grey ghost is also a sleek and stylish knife that will make a great addition to any collection.
The Viper Tec Grey Ghost OTF comes equipped with a glass breaker pommel that can be used to puncture through almost any material. With this tool at your disposal, you’ll never have to worry about being trapped in a car or building again.
Wood Series Double Action Out The Front Knife
What’s the point of having a knife if it can’t get the job done? With a 3.9 inch damascus etched 440c Stainless Steel blade, this knife is as sharp as they come. The aggressive tanto edge is perfect for slicing through tough materials, making this knife an essential tool for anyone who likes to be prepared for anything.
The Wood Series OTF has a handle that is patterned for non-slip handling in any environment, so you can grip it and rip it without worry. Whether you’re dealing with treacherous conditions or just want the comfort of knowing your knife won’t slip, this is the perfect option for you.
While the main purpose of a knife is to cut through things, the Out The Front Knife also features a glass breaker pommel. In the event that you’re ever trapped in a car or building with broken glass, this could be the difference between life and death.
Blade City Morpho Scale OTF
The custom inserted, heavy duty aluminum zinc alloy handles make this knife durable and long-lasting. They’re also comfortable to grip, so you can use it for extended periods of time without experiencing any hand fatigue.
Each blade at Blade City is 3.5″ and custom-designed to provide the customer with a powerful and precise tanto blade. With a focus on quality and customer satisfaction, the team at Blade City guarantees that each purchase will be worth your while. With a Lifetime Warranty, you can be confident that your investment is protected.
Viper Tec Black Phantom
Viper Tec’s Black Phantom OTF packs a powerful punch with its 3.9″ 440c Stainless Steel blade. You can choose between a tanto or half serrated blade to suit your needs, and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that you’re carrying one of the sharpest knives around.
Deploy your blade quickly and easily with the Viper Tec Black Phantom OTF. This ambidextrous sliding button makes it easy to deploy your blade with either hand, making it a great option for both left- and right-handed users. With a simple push of the button, you can have your blade ready to go in no time.
Whether you’re sweating from a long day of work or your hands are shaking from adrenaline, their patented non-slip grip will keep your knife securely in your hand. With the Viper Tec Black Phantom OTF, you’ll never have to worry about dropping your knife again.
Smith & Wesson OTF Assisted Knife
The Smith & Wesson OTF Assisted Knife has a 3.5″ black finish double edge stainless spear point blade that can handle any tough task. The knife is also easy to carry with you, thanks to its compact size.
The knife features a tan aluminum handle for a sleek look and smooth operation. The safety lock and sliding assist knob provide extra security and peace of mind, making this knife the perfect choice for any outdoorsman or hunter.
Best OTF Knife Under 50
If you are on a tight budget and opt to go for a cheaper but reliable OTF knife, here’s a list for you to check.
Viper Tec Tactical OTF Pen
The Viper Tec Tactical OTF Pen is a dual-purpose tool that can be used as both a knife and a pen. This makes it the perfect tool for everyday carry, as it can help you with everything from opening boxes to writing notes.
The Viper Tec Tactical OTF Pen is designed with a safety feature to prevent accidental discharge if kids are playing with the pen. This makes it a great choice for parents who want a child-safe option for their tactical needs.
The Culprit OTF Stilettos
The 9″ Italian Stiletto OTF model features a 3.5″ satin finished single edge blade and nylon fiber handle. This knife is incredibly easy to use with its front loaded thumb slide that smoothly fires and retracts the blade. You’ll be able to handle any tough cutting task with ease, making difficult cuts seem like nothing at all.
No matter which way you like to hold your knife, the Stiletto OTF has you covered with four unique handle designs. From the simple and sleek all-black carbon fibre look, there’s a style for everyone. Plus, each one comes with a durable pocket clip for easy carrying.
The Vulture OTF
If you’re looking for a knife that can stand up to some serious abuse, the Vulture OTF knife is the one for you. With a 3.5″ custom blue double edged blade and heavy duty aluminum zinc alloy handles, this knife is built to last. Every OTF Knife comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
Flashbang Double Action Out The Front Knife
This blade is not only pretty to look at, but it’s also extremely sharp. The full rainbow 440c stainless steel blade is 3.9″ long and can easily slice through whatever you’re cutting.
The Flashbang Double Action Out The Front Knife has a textured handle that provides a slip-resistant grip in any environment. Whether you’re dealing with wet conditions or just need extra security, this knife will give you the confidence to handle any situation.
Guard Father Spike Automatic OTF Icepick
Although not a otf knife, the Guard Father Spike Automatic OTF Icepick is too good to pass on. This unique ice pick can double as a glass breaker and defense tool, making it perfect for any situation. Whether you’re looking to add to your collection or find the perfect gift, Guard Father Spike Automatic OTF Icepick is sure to impress.
Is OTF Knife Legal?
Before purchasing an OTF knife, you must first learn about the existing laws in your state. Because OTFs are easy to hide, they have the potential to cause injury. The “Federal Switchblade Act”, passed by the United States Congress in 1958, governs the importation of switchblades into the country as well as cross-border sales. The possession of OTF knives, as well as any appropriate legislation, is up to each state. As a result, the laws are not uniform. Switchblades are legal to own and carry in most states; however, some states completely ban them, while others have stricter requirements and implementing rules.
Some states permit the possession of an OTF knife but do not allow the sale. The use of mail to purchase OTF knives from another state is prohibited by Federal Law, but you can still go to a state where selling is legal to purchase the item.
The general rule with OTFs is that if you intend to use them for legal purposes such as hunting and defense, then you don’t have to worry about anything. The laws aim to address the violence and crimes attributed to OTFs since they are easy to conceal and can be deadly. Montana is a “libertarian” state with strict gun laws. It banned switchblades in the entire state. Having state-imposed laws on OTFs are understandable because citizens’ safety is the top priority.
Are OTF Knives Good for Self-Defense?
OTF knives are very safe to use provided that the user is also careful. Automatic knives are easy to control since they have a steady grip shape that prevents slipping. Using an OTF knife as a self-defense weapon is a good option when you find yourself in the middle of a dangerous situation.
The knife is perfect for close encounters since it is compact, sharp, and lightweight. An automatic knife is superior in every way with its sharpness that cannot be matched by other knives. With its small size, it can fit in your pocket or purse, making you ready anytime for a worst-case scenario.
Are OTF Knives Worth It?
OTF knives are not just attractive to look at but also very practical. It offers a wide variety of use making it ideal for any situation. In constructing OTF knives, reliability and durability are carefully considered since they must withstand frequent use and harsh conditions.
Because of this, strong materials are used in making these knives such as stainless steel and aluminum.
Considering OTF knives’ strength, durability, and usability, purchasing it is not a waste of money and opting for an expensive one is worth the amount.
It is a good companion in any situation making it a great investment after all.
How to Oil an OTF Knife?
OTF knives require continuous maintenance due to their mechanism that relies on the spring, and some people idly fire it even when not necessary. Overuse, as well as frequent exposure to dust and dirt, make it vulnerable to damage, which in turn affects the mechanism of the knife. This may result to misfire or not firing at all. And in emergencies, the blade may not deploy when you need it to, putting your life at stake.
Learning how to clean your knife properly is very important.
- Blow compressed air into the opening of the knife. This will get rid of any lint. If you use the knife to cut tapes, use rubbing alcohol to clean the tape residue.
- Put rem oil in the knife’s opening. You may spray it onto the blade and allow it to run down. Check if all of the parts are lubricated by deploying and retracting the knife several times.
- Lightly blow the excess oil out of the knife with compressed air.
It is important to keep the knife lubricated. But, keep in mind that too much lubrication can trigger dust and dirt buildup and result to malfunction.
Featured Image Source: Belcobla @ Flickr