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Spring Assisted Knives: Why it is Legal and How to Buy the Right One
Spring assisted knives, also known as assisted-opening knives, are special types of folding knives wherein an internal mechanism is being used to fully open the blade. With this tool, you are required to partially open the blade at around 30 to 45 percent before the torsion spring shall operate to fully open the blade.
Spring assisted knives have many uses, including cutting tangled seatbelts to save lives after a car accident. Many skydivers have saved their lives when they use this tool to cut parachute lines. Such knives are also useful to handicapped people because they can be opened quickly using one hand. Unlike automatic knives that have law restrictions, it is very much legal to buy and bring assisted-opening knives.
History of Spring Assisted Knives
In 1971, American knife maker Blackie Collins designed various kinds of survival knives for Smith and Wesson. Then in 1995, he designed the first ever spring assisted knife. It was called "Strut-and-Cut" because it was based on the strut of his motorcycle. Three years later, a similar concept was developed three years by American knife maker named Ken Onion. He became the Premier Knife Designer for Kershaw Knives, after he invented the "SpeedSafe" assisted opening mechanism for the company’s knife products.
How to Use Spring Assisted Knives
As mentioned earlier, when a spring assisted knife is in the closed position you need to open the blade on a certain angle and the spring will do the rest. There are two ways your hand can do that.
Flipper – Also called the lever, this flipper is located at the back of the assisted-opening knife. It is incorporated in the blade and extends beyond from the back of the knife if it is closed.
Thumb Stud – Just like the flipper, you should apply a small push on it to partially open the knife. Then, a mechanism along with the spring will move quickly to rotate the blade and open it fully.
In either method, you really do not need to apply too much pressure especially on the blade. To close the knife, simply unlock the blade and push the liner lock outward toward the handle. Then, close the blade with your index finger.
Switchblades vs Spring Assisted Knives
A lot of people are confused with automatic knives (or switchblades) and spring assisted knives. This is because both of them have either a spring or a torsion bar needed to open the blade. Both knives can be easily opened with one hand only. On the other hand, their main difference is how the spring opens the blade.
A switchblade has a push button that has somehow a similar principle with that of the stud in an assisted-opening knife. However, this button allows the blade to be in the fully-open position from the fully-closed position. This is the main reason why it is called automatic, and also why it is illegal in some countries.
As of 2013, there are there are 28 US states that allow anyone to own automatic knives. However, some of them consider it illegal to carry one while other has limitations especially when it comes to blade length. You should therefore know the laws on your place if you plan to buy one.
On the other hand, spring assisted knives are legal in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. In the US, it was California State Senator Betty Karnette of the 27th District who authored the bill to legalize spring assisted knives, also known as Bill SB 274. According to Senator Karnette, such knives are very useful to hunters, fishermen, EMT personnel, and firefighters especially that the tool can be opened using one hand.
How to Choose the Right Spring Assisted Knife
Choosing the right spring assisted knife for you mainly depends on how you plan to use it. Besides buying those only with high-quality handle and sharp blades, here are two other important factors you need to consider before buying one.
The full opening of the blade of a spring assisted knife should be fast after you trigger the stud with your thumb. Cheaper knives may have slower speed in opening the blade. Some of them may easily loosen, causing the blade to wiggle back and forth. In some cases, you can loosen the screw to make the blade open faster. But of course, a good knife should not need adjustments anymore.
When your spring assisted knife is closed and is inside your pocket, it should remain close unless you push the stud. The knife should also not close accidentally if it is fully open. Both situations depend mainly on the spring and lock mechanism. Check its quality and make sure that there is no abrasion or scratch.
If you have already bought one, be a responsible owner. Make sure that you use your knife for the right purpose. If you are planning to buy one, check our own collection of affordable spring assisted knives.