Automatic and Assisted Open Knives: Practical or Tactical?

Automatic and Assisted Open Knives: Practical or Tactical?

Posted by American Edge on May 26th 2020

The debate has gone on for some time. Which style is best: automatic or assisted knives? While some say automatic knives are mostly for show, others prefer the style over any other for their efficiency.

When choosing a blade, remember that certain knives are illegal in certain areas of the country. The specific rules will vary from state to state–sometimes even city to city. Familiarize yourself with the laws in your area before making your choice.

What’s the Difference?

Depending on how they are regulated, automatic knives might fall under a few different categories. The basics of an automatic knife is one that opens with the push of a button. They might swing the blade out of the side of the handle or push the blade out the front.

An assisted (or spring-assisted) knife opens only after the knife is slightly pushed open using force. This does not qualify as an automatic blade because instead of pushing a button, you push on the blade to open it. You can see how it works here.

Which Style is Best?

There is no true “better” style over another; it’s all a matter of the use of the knife and personal preference. For example, some knife owners believe the more moving parts there are, the more options for those parts to break and ruin the equipment. These owners typically go for the K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, stupid) principle.

There might be a bit of an advantage for automatic knives in the speed that they open. Also, users will often not need to adjust their grip once the blade is opened. Automatic knives are assumed to be safer to open as well, since you do not need to use any effort to draw out the blade.

In the end, the choice comes down to a user’s personal preference. Should the law allow carry and use of automatic knives in your area and your uses fit the functions, the choice is yours. You can always find a range of automatic and assisted knives (as well as manual folder and fixed blades) on