otf knives

OTF Knife Buyers Guide


OTF knives are excellent in that they incorporate blade working with a shake factor that will cause you to have a great feeling each time you work with them. Numerous brands have designed OTF knives with a variety of handles, edges, and lengths. There is no particular standard for choosing the best OTF knife as it’d depend on your taste.

Some people buy an OTF Blade simply for chasing and outdoor purposes while others wish to have the blade for reinforcement or self-protection. 

Before going ahead to purchase an OTF blade, you should remember that most choices are collapsing blades or particular switchblades that require an extension of the cutting edge to its greatest length before a cut can happen. 

What is an OTF Knife?

OTF means ‘‘out the front’’. This kind of knife can also be referred to as a telescoping or sliding knife. Just like other pocket knives, they are made for personal utility and are very handy. However, there is a distinction between them, most especially based on how they open.

OTF Knife: Understand Your Use Case

OTF knives are specifically used for things folding knives or switchblades are used for. Rather than possess just one edge, most OTF knives are double-sided, which in turn makes them very useful for combat or tactical purposes. It can also serve hunting purposes.

Note that OTF knives are not to be relied upon when made to serve as a manual cutting device. This is because they possess several parts and are more likely to break compared to similar folding knives. However, OTF knives are usually deployed as a ‘’cool’’ or defensive tool rather than regular survival knives.

Single-action OTF Vs. Double-action OTF

There are two major types of OTF knives with respect to the method of deployment, this involves their mode of operation. The knife blade is activated when the lever is pressed.

You can select between the dual-action or single-action OTF. 

A dual-action OTF operates by projecting and retracting the blade after being utilized. Most people root for the double-action OTF knife; it is important to note that it is more expensive, susceptible to malfunction, and difficult to manufacture compared to the single-action OTF knife. However, it is easier to control and manage compared to the single-action OTF knife.

OTF Knife Blade Size Considerations

The choice of the blade size should depend on the objective of the job. Usually, OTF knives with large blade sizes are utilized for heavy-duty and other outdoor jobs whereas those with a small blade are suitable for everyday chores. It is however pertinent to be cognizant to the laws in your country or state regarding legal permissible blade lengths and sizes.

Edge Types

The majority of OTF knives possess either a partially jagged or straight edge. You could still find a saw-like blade used for cutting ropes. A straight edge OTF knife is perfect for hunting because it cuts cleanly. A partially jagged blade provides you the flexibility of both a serrated and straight knife.


The straight edge OTF knives are ideal for kitchen utensils and knives in general. It is a smart choice for gathering and hunting activities as it possesses a sharp edge that cuts easily, quickly and cleanly.

Fully Serrated

The performance of this edge type is better than OTF knives with straight edges. When a fibrous material is cut, its rugged edge usually leaves a rough cut behind.

The jagged edges of this kind of OTF knife are also durable compared to those with straight edges, but they are very difficult to sharpen when they go blunt. The good news here is that new sharpening devices have been made available today to make sharpening jagged edges much easier.

Partially Serrated

The partially serrated OTF knife incorporates the benefits of both the fully serrated and straight-edged OTF knife.

Blade Shapes

Drop Point

This pattern is very common amongst hunting knives. It can perfectly handle butchering works like carving, skinning, and cutting. It has a classic design with a lot of conservative value.

Clip Point

This infamous design features a blunt edge that usually runs to the midpoint of the blade. It is very easy to control and it comes with a huge cutting edge.

Dagger Point

This is a dual-edged knife that has a single needle-pointed tip. It is very effective when utilized for thrusting or stabbing soft targets. It is often deployed for close battles.


This kind of knife makes use of a famous angular shape. It possesses two edges that are straight and joined. This design is very rugged because the blade retains its full rigidity and width which extends to the tip. It is perfect for stabbing through tough materials.

Spear Point

This OTF knife has its edge at the central point of the blade. It possesses a dual-edge that provides lethal performance, especially at the tip when the knife is thrown. It is often deployed for combat purposes as it gives the user easy control over it.

Deployment Pattern

Automatic Mechanism

The blades of OTF knives are usually deployed straight from the handle. The dual action OTF knives come with a dual-action mechanism that utilizes a swift-action spring system. This spring automatically retracts and deploys the blade.

Single Action Spring Mechanism

The retraction process has to be achieved manually with this type of OTF knife. Due to the spring’s nature, the lever is reloaded using the handle.

Handle Control

Buy OTF knives that perfectly fit your hands. Aluminum material is mostly used for constructing most of these OTF knives and you’ll notice that they are always grooved to avoid slipping during use. When you seek a firm grip on tougher jobs, you can, therefore, look for a handle that is coated with rubber.


In this aspect, we are discussing the locking operation. The locking liner firmly holds the knife in position after uncovering it. On the other hand, the lock back knife possesses a locking operation that runs to the rear side of the blade. This technique usually allows you to hoot the blade at the lock’s back after it is opened.

Steel Properties

The characteristics of the steel used for OTF knives include hardness, resistance to corrosion, toughness, and edge retention. Below are the different grades of steel.


These corrosion-resistant OTF blades are manufactured in Asia and are invaluable. They are fragile and they also need day-to-day sharpening to retain its sharp property. 

Examples: 7CR13MOV, 420, and 440 OTF steel blades.


This grade of OTF steel blade has a higher content of chromium and this makes it more costly than the former. The knife’s steel does not require much maintenance like the grade C OTF steel blade because it has a more powerful edge holding capacity.

What makes this kind of knife highly sought after is its great level of performance and immense value it offers thereby making it awesome for day-to-day use. 

Examples: 8CR13MOV, AUS8, AUS6, and 40C steel.


The Grade A stainless steel blades are manufactured in Japan and USA and come with a price premium because of the high level of chromium content. Vanadium is usually incorporated during the steel production just to provide additional retention, sharpness and edge resistance to corrosion. 

Examples: VG-10, CPM 154, and S30V.

OTF Knife Blade Material

OTF knives make use of stainless steel blades, but the toughness of the steel is what distinguishes it. Producers decide the quantity of chromium and carbon used in manufacturing the knife. An OTF knife that is less chromium is less durable than the one with more. Good-quality OTF knives are usually costlier than low-grade or middle-range knives.


In practice, we always look for affordable OTF knives. In as much as we are rooting out for a very cost-friendly knife, we shouldn’t settle for the best when searching for knives to buy. Also, it is not advisable to purchase cheap knives when doing your first buy. If you want to be economical, look for an excellent and high-quality OTF knife that is within your budget, even if you have to pay a little more cash, it is best rather than having a cheap knife with inferior quality.

Related Questions

Are OTF knives durable? The durability and reliability of an OTF knife is very important. You should select an OTF knife that is made of strong materials like aluminum, stainless steel, and metal that can withstand adverse conditions for daily use.

How do OTF automatic knives work? Automatic OTF knives are of two types, namely: The Single Action OTF knife and The Double Action OTF knife. The single-action OTF deploys automatically but must be raised manually why the double action OTF retracts and operates with a multifunction spring design and button.

How do I protect my knife from misfiring and getting dull? You need to sharpen your knife using an electrical powered sharpener or better still, send it to a professional, or make use of the sharpening stone. It is also pertinent to store your knife in a cool and dry place to prevent it from corroding. 

Will sharpening my knife cancel the warranty? Improper sharpening might cancel your OTF knife warranty. In most scenarios, careless sharpening will destroy the blade of the knife and can cause the knife to malfunction. It will be good for you to read the company’s warranty policy so as to be aware of the cost-benefit analysis.

The blade of my OTF knife is not discharging, what is the reason? It is possible that its deploying system is also being obstructed. All you need to do is to get a lubricant and put on it to work. Be sure you store the knife properly by keeping it in the rightful position.

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