The Logical Argument for Practical Every Day Carry of Automatic Knives
Yes, they are legal and you know you want one!


Sure, tactical folders have come a long way and improved greatly over the last 20 some years. Modern tactical folders are fast opening with one hand with many having an assisted opening action. However, none have the cool factor of a well-made automatic knife, especially an out the front (OTF) automatic. OTF auto knives have that X-factor, are super cool, and have the appearance and features that make people crave ownership. Besides just being awesome, OTF automatic knives have many practical uses. After checking state and local laws, you may be surprised to find these knives are legal. In fact, in most areas of the United States people can own and use automatic knives legally and without any restrictions.

There are several types of automatic knife actions. The OTF automatic knife is shaped in a way that the entire blade is concealed in the handle. This differs in appearance from a folding style knife in that no portion of the blade’s spine is visible when the knife is closed. OTF knives will have a slot on the front end of the handle where the blade will deploy outward and retract back into the handle. Usually, OTF knives will have a button on either the flat or top side of the handle that is slid forward to deploy the knife’s blade and slid back to retract it. This type is called a “double action” because the blade deploys and retracts automatically by simply sliding the button. This way, the knife can be opened and closed safely with one hand. Where other types of automatic knives open by flipping the blade out sideways, the way an assisted opening folder opens, double action OTF automatic knives have an easily recognizable style and distinct appearance differentiating them from popular assisted opening folding knives.

Of course, OTF knives are really awesome but are they useful for everyday life? Yes, the OTF automatic has many characteristics that make it an ideal EDC pocket or utility knife. My first introduction to automatic knives was during military service. Our battalion’s support platoon used automatic knives during resupply operations because it was much easier to handle an automatic knife with one hand while rigging up sling loads. I often used a small sheath knife for work where I need to draw and re-sheathe the knife one handed. After nearly stabbing myself in the side a few times, I knew there had to be a better tool available. Folding knives reduce the risk of self-inflicted injury while re-sheathing but are difficult and unsafe to close one handed. Enter the ultimate solution: a high quality double action automatic OTF knife. This knife allows me to use and retract the blade instantly, safely, and with one hand. Kept in an open top belt sheath, this knife has been the answer to all my issues. I can use the blade quickly and retract it quickly for re-sheathing, all without taking a chance of cutting my hand or stabbing myself in the side.

So, OTF automatic knives have been proven great utility tools for work and everyday use but what are the legal issues associated with ownership? Knife laws vary from state to state. The best place to get current information is on your states website directly from your states legal code. Law enforcement officers are a great resource to field questions but remember that peace officers are not attorneys. If the state’s laws are too complicated to decipher a quick internet search and read on kniferights.org and knifeup.com will yield some valuable and sometimes surprising information. It goes without saying any legal information found on the internet should be verified. Another point to consider is many states or localities have very vague knife laws. For instance, in Ohio any knife is legal to own and carry visibly and openly. Also in Ohio, almost any knife can get a person in serious legal trouble if concealed, even when carried typically in a front pants pocket. Like any weapon or tool, a responsible owner will follow all local laws and not have any problems.

If a check of local laws allow ownership, OTF automatic knives are great to own. They are an enjoyable conversation starter. People will ooh and awe and be intrigued by your OTF knife, usually having several questions about it. Aside from the grace and attractiveness of the knife, it has many practical applications. If a person needs a knife that can be opened and closed safely and easily with one hand, the OTF automatic is hard to beat. Unlike trying to close a side folding knife one handed, the risk of the user cutting his or her hand while closing an OTF automatic is eliminated. At first glance, the greater safety provided to the user seems counter intuitive but the safe aspect of the OTF automatic knife is most important reason I own one.

For many years, affordable OTF automatic knives were of very inferior quality. OTF automatic knives of decent quality were cost prohibitive. The market really needed a high quality OTF knife that was durable enough for daily use and still affordable. Now, Hogue makes a truly magnificent double action OTF automatic knife that is durable and suitable for daily use. The fit and finish on Hogue knives are excellent. Handling the knife instantly illuminates the quality and craftsmanship put in each knife Hogue produces. The knives were designed by former Recon Marine Allen Elishewitz and made in America on Hogue’s own production lines by Hogue trained and master toolmakers. These premium quality knives not subcontracted to other facilities. They feature hard coat anodized aluminum frames and cpm154 steel blades. Although heirloom quality, these knives are not collector’s pieces. They are made to be used, practical, affordable, and desirable. At Family Centered Prepping, our testing and experience with Hogue’s OTF knives has been overwhelmingly positive. These knives do not disappoint. The action is strong and reliable. The knives are hand honed at Hogue and are the sharpest out of the box knives we have ever received. When considering cost, value, and performance, the clear winner in OTF knives is Hogue. If you are the type of person who is picky, likes quality, and is willing to spend a little extra for something that will only need to be purchased once, this is the knife.

Hogue OTF automatic knives can be purchased here from Family Centered Prepping except where prohibited by law.