Friday, January 14, 2011

Do I Really Need an Assisted Opening/Automatic Knife?

If you guys are anything like me, you like to play with gadgets, especially if the gadgets that I am referring to are folding knives. You would probably agree with me that assisted opening and automatic knives are just plain cool. *Snap* Your blade opened just that easily. It's enticing and fun to show off, but is it necessary? Is an assisted opening/automatic knife really better than a quality manual opening knife?

Is an assisted opening knife, such as this Kershaw Leek,
really necessary?
Let's look at the qualities, both good and bad, of an assisted/auto knife. First off, they are really fast to open. That's their main selling point. It also adds to their "cool factor". Other than that, they're pretty much a basic knife, in terms of their function.

Moving on to the not so good qualities of assisted/auto knives. I'll start by mentioning the price. The price of an assisted opening/automatic knife is going to be higher, and in my cases significantly higher, than their manual-opening counterparts. Now this isn't true in all cases, as there are manual-opening knives that are more expensive than autos, but all things being the same, the added complexity of an assisted/auto knife makes it inherently more expensive.

Going hand in hand with the added complexity of the assisted/auto knife is their proclivity to getting their mechanism gummed up and even breaking altogether. Let's face it, the more parts you have in a mechanism, the more parts there are to break, and Murphy tends to make things break at the worst possible times. I own many knives and, really, the only ones that have given me any problems were the assisted/auto knives.

The Kershaw Blitz/Nerve opens as fast as any auto knife.
One particular example is a Kershaw Scallion that I own and have used for many years. After using it to cut open something very sticky, it no longer snapped open. Basically, the assisted opening feature no longer worked. When I took it apart to clean it, the spring mechanism inside ended up snapping, forcing me to send it back to Kershaw. Of course, they fixed it right away, but that's beside the point. If the internal mechanism had not been as complex, I may not have needed to take it apart and I surely would have been able to do so without damaging anything.

The Drifter by CRKT, is a fast-opening, lightweight folding knife.
So, what does an assisted/auto knife have that a quality manual opening knife doesn't? Well, not much in my opinion. The only benefit of an assisted/auto knife, other than the "cool factor", is it's ease of opening. However nowadays, there are manual-opening knives that open just as quickly as an assisted/auto knife. A knife such as the Kershaw Blitz/Nerve or the CRKT Drifter, open just as fast as any other folding knife that I have ever used. I won't even mention the Emerson Wave feature available on many knives. (Look for a later blog post on these)

In my opinion, assisted/auto knives can be very cool, but you can get the same performance out of a manual opening knife at a fraction of the cost. I would say that you are in no way at a disadvantage if you have a quality manual opening knife. Actually, when it comes to maintenance, I would say that you have the advantage.


  1. Actually, these knives are designed for useful works like cutting or in some cases for self-defense, but most of the people use in illegal works so govt.has to ban in some particular areas.
    Automatic Knives

  2. Well, lot of things to be known from here about folding knives, opening/automatic knife, manual opening knife. If you want to know something more about these knives please have a look here.

  3. WOW!! Really Nice!!
    Thank you Sir, I am also a big fan in collection of knives and having a website of my own. Link is:-