Q. What is a Spring Assist Knife?
A Spring Assist knife (or Assisted knife) is not the same as an automatic knife. A Spring Assist does not fall under the definition of a switchblade (Federal Law). The legal definition of a switchblade is “a type of knife with a folding blade that springs out of the grip when a button or lever on the grip/handle is pressed. There are two basic types: side-opening and out-the-front (OTF).”
With spring assisted knives, you apply slight pressure to either the thumb-stud* or the flipper* to open it. Once the blade is opened about ¼ of the way, the spring then takes over and propels the blade the rest of the way. This type of knife uses a spring assisted mechanism behind the blade. This mechanism allows the knife to be a “one handed, fast opening knife.” It’s a great alternative for automatics, which are not available to everyone***
Additionally, there are spring assisted OTF knives. Like side opening spring assisted knives they must have the blade opened ¼ of the way and then the spring takes over and pushes the blade the rest of the way out.
* Thumb-stud: Located on the blade; a nub/screw protruding horizontally out of the blade
** Flipper: Located in the spine of the handle, which is part of the blade itself (base of blade)
*** Please be aware that every county/city may have additional laws, so please check with your local Police Department before getting a Spring Assist knife. (Example: there may be blade restrictions, even for spring assist knives).
by Anna Gardiner