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Are auto OTF knives better self defense weapons than side-opening autos ?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by C0untZer0, May 19, 2017.

  1. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I did I search on THR for OTF and there are a lot of threads on the subject.

    Illinois - of all places - is on the verge of legalizing auto-opening knives.

    I'm not ready to plunk down 400 + dollars for a top of he line OTF auto-opener, (I really want a 9mm X-95), but I am curious about something that I didn't see covered in the threads that I perused about OTFs.

    Is it easier to get an auto-OTF deployed and into action than an side-opening auto?

    I currently carry a Schrade Viper OTF in my left coat pocket and a Kershaw Scrambler in my right coat pocket. On a few occasions while practicing, I've caught the blade of the Scrambler on the sleeve of my coat and stopped it from opening.

    Maybe my coat sleeves are too long or maybe I need more practice, but I was wondering what other people's thoughts were...
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Depends upon the design of the action, but a side opener has more usable blade shape options.
     
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  3. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Do you mean general utility for a wide variety of tasks - besides stabbing or slicing an attacker?
     
  4. Acera

    Acera Member

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    They don't consider OTF knives as auto-opening??


    I think the answer depends on the purpose you are carrying, but it appears that you primarily want one for self defense, correct?


    .
     
  5. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    The distinction is if you're manipulating the blade directly - like with a flipper or stud. If you're just pulling a trigger / pushing a button / lever, and the blade comes out, then Illinois considers that a "Switchblade Knife".

    "any knife, commonly referred to as a switchblade knife, which has a blade that opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife, or a ballistic knife, which is a device that propels a knifelike blade as a projectile by means of a coil spring, elastic material or compressed gas;"

    The Viper has a stud that is connected to the blade, so you're actually pushing the blade forward, the spring kicks in and "assists"

    But ya, are auto OTF knives better self defense weapons than side-opening autos. Specifically, are they easier or quicker to deploy just to stab or slice an assailant
     
  6. Acera

    Acera Member

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    Ok, got ya. I have never seen an OTF that would not fall into the parameters of the law you quote. Gotta look up that Viper.

    For me, I think a fixed blade carried concealed on the belt would be my choice, like many carry their handguns.

    Sorry can't answer your question, I think it is a personal preference and no one solution is absolutely better for everyone than another.


    .
     
  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    An OTF is just another auto opener and are treated as switchblades.

    The particular knife he's talking about has the "button" attached to the blade as described, BUT that distinction might be lost on an LEO and spending the money on proving your point is to be avoided if possible.
     
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  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    As I pointed out, it depends upon the mechanism. Is the button small, is it easily operated under stress or complicated, is the lock complicated, does it require extra effort to get the blade locked out. I wouldn't carry an OTF as a defensive tool because they might be intimidating, but they typically don't have blades that allow for a full range of defensive techniques (slashing/hacking vs. just thrust). They also will stop before locking if anything gets in their way before fully locking into place the same for side swingers, but they don't end up floating back and forth).

    If you're thinking just about defensive tools I rank fixed blades as superior to locking folders and locking folders superior to non locking. OTFs are typically complicated and simplicity leads to greater reliability while complex mechanisms provide more opportunity for failure.

    I find the Hogue to be robust and reliable, so far, but will float the blade like any other OTF when interfered with.
     
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  9. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    So if the blade on an auto OTF doesn't lock out, you'd either have to grab the blade with your other hand and pull it out, or what??? Push the blade all the way back in to reset it?

    The Viper isn't great... but if it fails to lock out, you can just push the thumb stud forward to lock the blade, you don't have a dead trigger... But the idea is to get a blade deployed quickly, so...
     
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep
     
  11. kemikos

    kemikos Member

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    C0unt, I think that's what makes OTF autos less useful for defense than other designs; there are too many things that can go wrong. Besides obstructions during opening, OTF's are particularly susceptible to contaminants (pocket lint especially). They're complex machines with lots of small parts that can break or wear out.

    With a side- or assisted-opener, if the blade doesn't lock out, you simply disregard the spring and open and close it like any other folding knife. An OTF that malfunctions is out of service entirely until repaired.

    Now, don't get the wrong idea; I'm not against OTF's in any way. In fact, as a soon-to-be-slightly-more-free resident of IL, I'm about to pull the trigger on a nice little Ultratech myself; but then I'd never depend on it as a serious defense tool.
     
  12. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a lot of knives <gross understatement> and I have a lot of autos <another gross understatement> and I have handled a lot of OTFs autos <yet again another gross understatement> and I even have several ... a bunch... AND wouldn't carry any of them as a serious defensive tool. The only autos I'd carry as a serious defensive tool would be those with a thumb stud for backup when the spring fails (when, not if). Opening mechanisms will fail eventually and may fail at a critical moment when your life depends upon it.
     
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  13. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    There are some anecdotal posts around the net that claim impeccable service from OTF's in combat. Be that as it may, the real issue is that any two part knife isn't as robust as a fixed blade and because of that, knives like the Benchmade SOCP exist.

    Yet there are reports of that being less than robust. Others have had their fixed blades fail, too. The real issue of self defense is how did you get into a high risk situation which requires you to respond with an edged weapon? There is a lot of scenario description left out, and that leaves a large number of decision points and alternate choices.

    Some would suggest not being there at all.

    Others would suggest that if it's a matter of no choice, and since unarmed combatives are the PRIMARY skill, that answering the question at all indicates not enough training and education exists. Not trying to sound high and mighty, but if it's being asked which is better, then the reality is there's not enough experience and skill level to know better.

    It also implies that getting a new tool will somehow fix the problem, when reality has shown over and over it's not the tool, it's the user. Acquiring weapons doesn't really fix the problem - which is often that others assess us as being of little risk to their ambitions.

    We need to upgrade our physical deportment and social interaction more often than whatever tool we choose. I've learned that "push comes to shove" to either politely deflect an aggressor or tactfully call their bluff. If doing the latter it's done with 100% commitment, intonation, and posture. No, I'm not blading to pull a gun, I'm simply willing to accept that there is some yahoo out there which will require the full on SecDef Mattis treatment. It will get ugly.

    Most bullies are cowards, yes, it's the random whack job you plan for. And if you lose, you lose. It is however very likely that the whackjob won't go much further in life and the sacrifice improves society. Somebody has to do the job.

    Sounds fatalistic but that is the level of commitment you need to stand down those who would impose their will on you. In that perspective, whether you carry a side opening or OTF makes very little difference now, doesn't it? You have to have the skills FIRST, and the commitment completely. Less than that won't cut it, pun intended.

    Now, what knife? Whatever you like that you use as a daily user for the tasks in your job description. Familiarity is far more important than a strange little used blade that is never pulled out. Don't pick exotic, pick something that falls to hand and is comfortable. If holding a sideopener is familiar, it's going to be a better choice than a thumbpushing full gripper regardless. The first is a normal ingrained action, the second is something to thing thru and different. Vice versa.

    Carry whatever you like, knowing and using the knife is more important. Being fully committed when it's necessary is important, too. The tool will not communicate that, only we do.
     
  14. Blade First

    Blade First Member

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    Thanks for the exposition. Let me, however, suggest that you need more research into fixed-blade options before you make such narrow recommendations.

    Ethan Becker has designed and had mfd. a particular, small fixed-blade knife that meets an important criterion: if you try to take it from the wielder, you *will* be wounded, perhaps seriously. Deployment from a Kydex sheath is flawless and swift, no matter from primary/secondary/ambi carry. The incidence of failure of such a fixed-blade design must be near nonexistent ... draw the knife from a scabbard and use it, fore or reverse grip. Period ... point blank, literally.
     
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  15. gillmeister692

    gillmeister692 Member

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  16. gillmeister692

    gillmeister692 Member

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    Have you trained to fight with a knife? If not, I think you'd better take a lesson or two.
     
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  17. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    OTF knives are great novelties, but I would likely not use one in a SD scenario. Even high quality OTF knives like from Benchmade have fragile mechanisms compared to quality side opening knives at similar price points. In a life or death knife fight, I would rather have a fixed blade knife. If not available, I would rather have a folder instead of an OTF knife.
     
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  18. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Its been really difficult for me to find DA auto openers.

    When I peruse an online knife store like BladeHQ - I'll see a picture of an auto-opener with a thumb stud, but when I go to the manufacturers site, the picture is actually for he manual opening version of the knife, and the auto-opener doesn't have a thumb stud.


    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  19. JeffG

    JeffG Member

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    That's been my experience. +1
     
  20. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    From a "like" standpoint, I like that an OTF lets me have the knife more-or-less in a fighting grip, and the push of a button extends the blade, resulting in an instantly-ready-to-use weapon/tool. From a real-world standpoint, I am going to agree with hso, and others, who would rather not trust a totally-auto mechanism to perform its job in a life-or-death scenario.

    I am fortunate to live in Texas, where single-edged* fixed blades up to 5.5" are not even considered "weapons" in the Penal Code, and concealed or open carry makes no legal difference. When Texas legalized auto-opening knives several years ago, it was nice to see, from a freedom point of view, but but did not prompt me to start shopping for auto-opening knives. If concealed fixed-blade knives are illegal in your home state, I recommend working at the legislative level to change that.

    (Actually, as a peace officer, in Texas, 46.15, in the Penal Code, lets me carry virtually any weapon. PD policy, sadly much-influenced by the "court of public opinion," is not quite so clearly blade-friendly, and applies 24/7, so I prefer to carry what is generally legal for private citizens.)

    *Effective September 01 2017, double-edged knives will no longer be illegal in Texas.
     
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