Automatic knives are designed to be easy, convenient, and more than a little badass. These next-level folders and sliders deploy lightning-fast with a single push of a button or switch to reveal glorious blades that have thus far remained hidden.
There’s a glut of automatic knives out there. But you wouldn’t know for sure which model is best for your application not unless you do a little research. So, in my top eleven selections, I have considered all the important features that define the best automatic knife.
Gerber Auto 06 Automatic Knife is my top pick. This model provides sturdiness and premium quality. It has a rugged drop point blade shape that will tackle most cutting jobs with ease. The oversized push-button allows for blazing fast blade deployments and the safety slider adds security.
If you are looking for an automatic knife that is designed for everyday carry, look no further than the Gerber Auto.
The Auto 06 comes equipped with an armored grip, which is great because it is made up of electroformed scales that provide a great feel and a bold look. The anodized aluminum handle is perfect for pocket carry because the smooth stonewash finish will not ruin your pants.
It features a 3.625-inch CPM-S30V stainless steel blade that has an exceptionally refined grain that gives the Auto 06 uniform wear and strength. The blade is available in either stonewash finish or black oxide. The spear point blade style provides a sharp and strong tip and it is super easy to sharpen.
You’ve got a one-hand automatic opening with an ergonomic safety lock and a front-loaded firing button that is incredibly fast.
But here is the thing guys, the spear point style offers a small cutting edge that may not be ideal for survival situations.
Built on decades of experience, the Gerber Auto 06 is the perfect cutting tool for everyday carry.
Overall Rating: 4.9
The Godson from Pro-Tech comes with a stiletto style blade with modern precision and Italian inspiration for lefties.
The Godson comes equipped with a nice needlepoint blade with a very aggressive tip for piercing. The flat grind is easy to sharpen and maintain. The 154CM blade steel has above-average edge retention. You’ve got a DLC black finish that does a good job of improving corrosion-resistance.
You’ve got a solid black aluminum handle, which is great because it is lightweight, strong, feels sturdier, and has decent corrosion resistance. The smooth finish on the handle will not cause any damages to your pocket.
The Godson is completely configured for left-handed users with its push-button automatic opening system.
What I don’t like about the Godson, however, is the small cutting edge, which may not be a great choice for tougher applications.
The Godson can be a good addition to your collection, but it is also built to perform, especially for piercing.
Overall Rating: 4.9
If you have been looking for a tactical automatic that comes with a contemporary rework of the Italian stiletto design, then look no further than the Piranha Bodyguard.
This 7.7-inch long knife has the attractive traditional look of the Italian stiletto. It has a spear point blade design that stabs and pierces effortlessly. The small belly of the Bodyguard is perfect for cutting and slicing objects.
The CPM-S30V blade steel is rust-resistant and the flat grind is super easy to sharpen. The hardness of 60-61 RC gives you superior toughness for most cutting jobs.
The aluminum handle of the Bodyguard is anodized, which is great because it features extra protection and added strength. It is properly textured for a strong, non-slip, and secure grip. You’ve got a push-button on the front of the handle that fires hard and fast for quick deployment.
But here is the thing, the flat grind is not very effective when cutting thinner materials.
The Bodyguard from Piranha fires hard and locks up solid. It also offers a safe and secure grip for superior cutting and slicing.
Overall Rating: 4.9
This pint-sized performer has an industrial, sleek design that looks cooler. The small blade is pretty handy when opening boxes and packages.
This small masterpiece features a CPM-154 blade steel, which is great because this material has a superior distribution of carbides. The pint-sized blade has great toughness, wear resistance, corrosion resistance as well as excellent edge retention. The needle-point tip is perfect for stabbing and piercing.
What is truly amazing about this knife is the aluminum handle design that is lightweight, strong, and easy to wheel.
The Launch 4 CA Legal opens effortlessly with a push of a button. The button is recessed to effectively help prevent accidental blade deployment. The automatic opening mechanism is ambidextrous and all a left-handed user has to do is press the lock button with an index finger to deploy.
What I don’t like is the fact that the uses of the pint-sized blade are limited.
If a small blade automatic is what you are looking for, then the Kershaw Launch 4 is the real deal.
Overall Rating: 4.8
With great craftsmanship and high-quality materials, the Boker Kalashnikov will let you tackle your unexpected moments, thanks to its super-fast deployment.
Made from AUS-8 steel, the Kalashnikov has improved hardness and corrosion resistance. So, it can effectively withstand any tough situations pretty easily. With a 3.25-inch blade length, 3-inch cutting edge, and 0.12-inch blade thickness, this knife is equipped for a variety of cutting jobs.
What truly makes the Kalashnikov special is the slim and ergonomically textured aluminum handle that offers a solid firm grip during cutting. With a simple push of a button, you can easily release the blade at a moment’s notice.
It comes with a deep carry pocket clip, which is great because it ensures the knife sits deeper into your pocket.
But the thing is, the dagger style of the knife may not be a great option for slashing and may not be useful in survival situations.
The Boker Kalashnikov is built to perform in most cutting jobs with its dagger-style blade and contoured handle with jimping.
Overall Rating: 4.8
Gerber automatic knives are known for superior strength, versatility, and durability and that is exactly what you get with the Auto Covert.
This spring-loaded auto-release model deploys at the touch of a button, which is exactly what you need during survival, target shooting, and emergencies.
It comes with a stunning CPM-S30V blade, which is good because the steel is strong, has uniform wear, and is highly corrosion-resistant. The blade is available in black oxide coated and stoned washed finishes for enhanced aesthetic appeal. The spear point style is super strong and ideal for piercing.
It comes equipped with a plunge lock that is super strong, fast, and extremely easy to use. You’ve got an ergonomic safety switch that prevents accidental deployments.
What I don’t like about the Auto Covert is the fact that some models may come with a very stiff safety lock.
The Auto Covert is a great choice for a knife collection, but it is well-equipped with all the important features you want in an automatic knife.
Overall Rating: 4.8
Inspired by the unique appearance of the classic Italian stilettos, the Launch 12 from Kershaw is a great choice for a knife collection.
What makes the Launch 12 incredible is the push-button automatic action that snaps the blade open in less than a few seconds. The push-button is recessed on the handle to help prevent accidental deployments when carrying the knife in your pocket.
The handle of the Launch 12 is made of lightweight aluminum scales with a gray anodized finish and a carbon fiber front insert. The scales are uniquely grooved for sure gripping. The pocket clip carry is reversible, allowing you to carry it in either the left or right pocket.
What I don’t like about the Launch 12 is the flat grind that tends to lose sharpness quickly.
The Launch 12 is a great choice for a knife collection. It also doubles as an everyday carry, but you may have to sharpen the blade frequently.
Overall Rating: 4.8
The Buck 110 is an automatic knife that comes with great craftsmanship that will allow you to tackle almost any survival situation.
The Buck 110 Auto has a fantastic automatic action that does a great job of springing that classic clip point blade into action.
The tip is thinner at the spine, sharp, and controllable, which is great because it allows for quicker stabbing and piercing with reduced dragging. The 420 stainless steel blade is exceptionally rust and corrosion-resistant. The hollow grind is great for slicing food and skinning a game.
The eye-catching handle features genuine ebony and heavy-duty brass bolsters. The ebony offers an ergonomic fit and a very comfortable, non-slip grip.
What I don’t like about the Buck 110 Auto is the lack of grooves on the handle and it also comes with a slightly high price tag.
The automatic Lockback design of the Buck 110 Auto is completely ambidextrous, making this model a highly versatile choice for survival.
Overall Rating: 4.7
With its integrated backspacer and machined handle, the Galyean Launch 7 boasts a distinct industrial look and superior performance.
The Galyean Launch 7 sports a rugged yet low-profile solid grip for easy handling and maneuverability.
It comes with a rugged blade profile. The CPM-154 blade steel is easy to sharpen and has superior corrosion-resistance and edge retention. The clip point is thinner at the back, sharper, and easily controllable for stabbing and piercing.
This auto knife comes with a high-performing automatic action that allows for quick and efficient one-handed push-button blade deployment. You also get a reversible pocket clip carry that is highly ambidextrous.
What I don’t like is the flat grind, which tends to lose sharpens rather quickly.
The Galyean Launch 7 has an exceptional one-handed push-button deployment, which makes this model a great choice for most situations.
Overall Rating: 4.7
If you are looking for the most quintessential EDC automatic everyday carry, look no further than the Osborne 9400 from Benchmade.
The Osborne 9400 features a coil spring mechanism that is operated by an automatic push-button lock. Something that I truly appreciate about this model is the incredibly smooth slide safety that does a great job of preventing unintentional deployment.
The CPM-S30V blade steel is strong and has good corrosion resistance. You’ve got a reverse tanto blade, which is an amazing option for tactical applications and everyday carry. The satin finish on the blade helps improve corrosion resistance. Not to mention that the flat grind with a plain edge is super easy to sharpen.
But here is the thing, the knife isn’t MOLLE compatible, doesn’t have a lanyard hole, and doesn’t come with a sheath.
Although it doesn’t come with a lanyard hole and a sheath, the Osborne 9400 from Benchmade has the features you need for tactical applications.
Overall Rating: 4.7
The Stubby Strike boasts the most ergonomic handle design and a legal blade that is less than two inches in length.
The Stubby Strike is super compact, but it is equipped with a highly ergonomic handle that provides you with extra girth for strong gripping power. The handle is thick and heavily contoured for non-slip performance.
This model has a California legal-size blade length that does not exceed two inches. The blade is made of D2 steel, which is good because this material has high wear-resistance and decent corrosion-resistance. The drop point style is sharp for precision work and has a large belly that is perfect for slicing.
What I don’t like about the Stubby Strike is the flat grind that doesn’t hold an edge pretty well.
The Stubby Strike is an incredibly compact and highly functional automatic knife that is easy to deploy and wheel.
Overall Rating: 4.7
Here are the most important things to consider when looking for an automatic knife:
Before you even think about buying an automatic knife, you must first consider how you will use the knife.
“Tactical” refers to a specific category of automatic knives that are uniquely and innovatively designed for combat or military. Tactical automatic knives feature a unique construction that makes them multipurpose and highly versatile. A tactical knife is defined by the following:
An everyday carry automatic knife would be something you can use on a daily basis. An EDC model is usually lightweight, compact, durable, and highly versatile.
This type of automatic folder has all the important features you need without being too long or too bulky in your pocket. With a low-carry clip and a minimal profile, an EDC design is easy to carry and conceal. This type of automatic folders may or may not have a very aggressive blade profile, but they certainly have non-slip grippy handles.
There are two main ways automatic knives work, side opening and out-the-front automatic knives.
Automatic knives with a side opening mechanism deploy like traditional folding knives (from the side of the handle). But the blade is attached to a spring, which is released when the push button is pressed. Side opening switchblades are usually integrated with a safety feature that prevents the blade from being deployed accidentally and also stops the blade from closing when opened. Models that don’t have a safety feature are normally equipped with a recessed push button.
Out-the-front or OTF automatic knives have a blade that deploys from the front. There are two main types of OTF switchblades, which include the following.
Out-the-front switchblades with a single action mechanism have fewer parts and are less expensive. With a single-action design, only the blade deployment is automatic but you have to manually retract the blade into the handle. The push-button (for automatic out-the-front deployment) is normally located in parallel with the blade, while the slider for retracting the blade is located on the side of the handle.
Out-the-front switchblades with a double-action mechanism have more parts but they are much easier to use compared to single action. You’ve got one ergonomically designed slider that automatically deploys the blade when you push forward and retracts the blade when you pull backward. The slider can be located in parallel with the blade or on the side of the handle, depending on the manufacturer.
Although automatic knives use a similar mechanism, most brands add proprietary features to their products to make them unique. The following are the most popular brands you can buy from.
With decades of dedication and innovation, Gerber has proven to be one of the best brands in the production of automatic knives.
The company is mainly focused on innovation, quality, and reliability. It has specialized in the production of both tactical and EDC automatic folders and out-the-front designs. The company’s attention to detail is impeccable with impressive blade profiles and handle designs. Gerber also provides a limited lifetime warranty for original buyers in North America and a twenty-five-year limited warranty for original buyers outside North America.
This family-owned knife brand has mastered the art of modern automatic knife manufacturing. Each Pro-Tech automatic folder and OTF is a blend of advanced craftsmanship and premium quality materials. Knives from this brand feature the latest technologies in the industry, including laser cutting, wire EDM, and CNC machining. The brand offers a reliable limited lifetime warranty to the original buyer.
This brand is well-known for producing the best EDC automatic knives in the industry. Models from this brand have the fastest, wickedest automatic opening mechanisms. They have a push-button opening mechanism that doubles as a piston lock for holding the blade in the open position.
This company has the best reputation for manufacturing automatic knives that are fast and convenient. Boker’s lineup includes both tactical and EDC automatic folders and OTFs. Tactical models from this brand come equipped with the most rugged blade profiles that will take a beating. Handles are ergonomically designed to provide a strong, non-slip grip.
The shape of the blade matters a lot when looking for the best automatic knife. It is the shape that determines how well you can use the knife. The following are the most popular shapes you can consider.
This refers to the symmetrical blade shape. The point of this blade is usually in the middle. Spearpoint automatic knives are popular for piercing jobs and are most commonly suitable for self-defense, close combat, and military.
They are also perfect for deep concealment backup blades. The main attribute of a spear point design is that the top and bottom halves of the blade are symmetrical. They both drop from the handle end and meet to create a narrow point that is outstanding for piercing and stabbing. On modern automatic knives, the spine or top side of the blade may or may not be sharpened. If it is sharpened, then it is considered to be a double-edged blade. Double-edged blades are considered illegal in many places.
Automatic folders with a clip point blade have a part of the spine clipped off. Clip point blades come in all shapes and sizes and they are also great for piercing. They usually have a larger, rounded belly or a tanto edge that can make them more versatile for utility cutting jobs.
Automatic knives with a drop point blade are among the most popular styles of automatic folders today and with good reason. Drop point blades do just about everything well.
The two main characteristics of a drop point automatic knife are that the unsharpened back of the blade or the spine curves gradually to the tip. The sharpened edge usually has a large belly that gradually curves up to meet the spine at the tip. This geometry makes for a broad and tough tip that can stand up to almost anything. But it may not be ideal for piercing. The lower tip of a drop point is easy to control, making it a favorite choice for hunters. The large belly increases the blade’s ability to slice.
Japanese in origin, a traditional tanto point blade has two straight edges and two points. Automatic knives with a tanto blade are popular with tactical, combat, and emergency rescue.
This popularity is due in part to the rugged primary point and the convenient secondary point where the tip and primary edge grinds of the blades come together. The two points make emergency piercing and cutting through tough and hard materials safer and easier. The secondary point offers excellent leverage and slicing power for flat-cutting jobs.
Another amazing blade shape that is becoming popular among automatic knife makers is the hawkbill point. This blade shape is characterized by a claw-like shape and a concave cutting edge. The curved belly is ideal for slicing and cutting. This blade style is a popular choice for modern-day first responders. The hawkbill style allows you to easily grab materials without the risk of stabbing yourself in the process.
The quality and durability of the construction of an automatic knife are determined by the materials used. The blade must be made of high-quality materials that can resist rust and corrosion. The most popular blade steels in the automatic knife industry are:
CPM-S30V is the most popular blade steel you will find on most automatic designs. This material provides the best combination of corrosion resistance, edge retention, and durability. The CPM process gives an automatic knife blade superior toughness and dimensional stability. This blade steel can tackle the toughest jobs and harshest environments.
This is an upgraded form of 440C with added molybdenum. It has a much higher hardness of around fifty-eight to sixty-one depending on how it is heat-treated. This is amazingly well-rounded steel with great corrosion resistance. It is not difficult to sharpen and holds an edge pretty well.
As far as chemical composition is concerned, CPM-154 and 154CM are almost the same. However, CPM-154 is powdered steel. The crucible particle metallurgy (CPM) gives this blade steel better toughness and edge retention compared to 154CM. This material also has great wear resistance and is extremely easy to sharpen.
Japanese in origin, this blade steel has an almost similar chemical composition as 440 but it is enriched with vanadium for improved hardness. This material can take a beating because it is quite forging. It also has great rust and corrosion resistance.
This is part of a tool steel category called high-carbon high-chromium steel. D2 continues to be a standard of performance among all blade steels. This material is tougher than 440C and more wear-resistant than carbon steel. It is a great all-around option when looking for good quality automatic knives. But the high levels of chromium make D2 have mild corrosion-resisting qualities. Knives made from this material are fairly easy to sharpen.
For this roundup, the winner is Gerber Auto 06 Automatic Knife. This knife speaks for itself out of the box. Unlike the competition, the Auto 06 is sturdy, has great quality materials, features one of the most ergonomic handle designs in the industry, and is packed with added convenience and safety features.
Gerber’s innovativeness, attention to detail, and premium quality materials are all featured in this knife. The CPM-S30V blade steel is engineered to provide the best combination of corrosion resistance, durability, and edge retention. The drop point has a sharp point that is perfect for precision work and has a large belly suitable for slicing.
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