What Is The Function Of An Automatic Or Assisted Opening Knife. What Purpose Does It Serve.

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1. On principle I believe a person should be able to buy a Light Saber (assuming they ever exst)if that's what you want.

I also believe that an auto/assisted opener is just one more moving part to break.  I don't see any practical use for one and it's highly unlikely that I will ever buy one.

My question is "Is there something I'm missing?" "Is there a practical reason to pick an assisted opener over a similar knife that isn't an assisted opener?"

Say for instance a Benchmade Barrage V. A Griptilian.

What advantage does the assisted opener give me?
 
In some designs I see a gain to it. Something like a Buck 110 I can flick open but in a stress situation where I have one hand already tied up I would much rather push the button on their new auto and know I have a blade ready rather than be flipping the 110 around (with a possibly wet hand in the dark).

That is a particular scenario with a particular knife. Yes, can add a thumb stud to a 110 also (done that).

With many of the new designs I agree with the OP that there isn't a lot of gain given the possible parts breakage over time.
 
parts breakage over time...
Are we really talking the same knife design? (Flick open v push-button)
The flick open as designed HERE have the same lock-open as conventional,
but w/ 1-finger initiation. And it fails (if it ever fails), it fails to conventional as well.

Over the years in mountain rescue, I've never had one fail.
 
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What advantage does the assisted opener give me?
My question is "Is there something I'm missing?" "Is there a practical reason to pick an assisted opener over a similar knife that isn't an assisted opener?"
The designers of the AO mechanisms were interested in getting an automatic-like action AND to drive the blade to the locking position every time the knife is opened to ensure it locks open.

Pay particular attention to that second part. "to ensure it locks open" is an important safety function in the circus of locking mechanisms.

Getting an automatic-like action is itself useful from a convenience standpoint, but it is valuable practically with getting a knife open easily and with less fine motor skill required (when the design lays the knife out well).

With any limitation on opening a knife like gloves or arthritis it isn't just very handy to have a mechanism that both helps open the knife and lock it safely in the open position.

The initial designers of AOs, Blackie Collins, Ken Onion, and Butch Vallotton (RIP Butch and Blackie), are friends of mine. I had many discussions about AOs and autos with them.

I've never had an assisted opener fail. And I've had AOs in my pocket longer than probably anyone here since I actually have a Collins Strut 'N Cut and one of Ken's first AOs from the first batch he made. That doesn't mean a cheapy won't fail or break, but any cheap knife won't perform.

BTW, most push button/toggle autos are also easy to open and drive the blade to the locking position. They require less dexterity and fine motor skill to open and get to lock position than other knives. Their convenience and safety were marketing features in advertising before the switchblade ban of the '50s focused on movie criminals.
 
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1. On principle I believe a person should be able to buy a Light Saber (assuming they ever exst)if that's what you want.

I also believe that an auto/assisted opener is just one more moving part to break.  I don't see any practical use for one and it's highly unlikely that I will ever buy one.

My question is "Is there something I'm missing?" "Is there a practical reason to pick an assisted opener over a similar knife that isn't an assisted opener?"

Say for instance a Benchmade Barrage V. A Griptilian.

What advantage does the assisted opener give me?
Yes there is something you are missing: actually using your knife daily. Mine gets used everyday on my job and at home. Being able to open and close quickly with one hand while working from a ladder or holding something with the other hand is a requirement for me. I use the Kershaw Filter and similar knives for this reason. Yes, there is more moving parts, but no, they do not fail any more than any other folding knife, at least not the ones I've used.
 
Say for instance a Benchmade Barrage V. A Griptilian.
In this case I'd have to say there isn't much difference. I have both and I can use either equally well. Geneally speaking I'm neutral on this. Either is fine with me as long as I can open it one handed and some are better designed than others. Flippers, I don't care for them. And I've never had an assisted opening knife fail.

Being able to close it one handed is important to me as well. Some knives that are not assisted opening are quite easy to open. The Spyderco's and others with the hole in the blade are great. But many of them with the locking back are hard to close one handed. It can be done, but not as easily as the Benchmade axis lock.

I have a couple of automatics just because I can, and I do use them. There aren't many options that I really care for. They are the easiest to open, and to close them one handed isn't too hard. But automatics are something I could live without.

For me the blades from Benchmade and Spyderco that use a hole in the blade and the "axis" style lock are the easiest to use. Something like this

bm555s30v_backknife.jpg
 
The only auto I would consider buying right now. The price is right and I can find it, I will buy it.

View attachment 1170938
Yeah, that's a Boker I'd buy (now dreads email from BladeOps et al :) )

To OP, there are any number of times where you are committed to something that cannot be let go of with the one arm, and that opens-with-one-press knife is the exact right thing to have.

And, I do have to admit to a bit of a Boker addiction.
new boker.jpg
Pair clip side small.jpg
Between Strikes and Kalishnikovs . . .
Mind my Pick one before you leave the house selection is always changing
Grab One Group.png
 
What advantage does the assisted opener give me?
Some autos open faster than some manuals.

In my modest experience with several popular auto designs, they are usually not faster than a well designed thumb opener if you count total time, pocket to in-use. Even those autos with very fast ergonomics (where the button/trigger leaves your hand near a useful grip, like an OTD), the margin is small.

Given the other disadvantages, like delicate, expensive mechanisms with lots of parts and springs, I chose simple, reliable, and robust over slightly faster.

But if you want to panic the hoplophobes, bring a flashy auto!

ETA: Regards opening and closing with either hand. . . it ain't 1905. Any knife that isn't entirely ambidextrous need not apply outside of historical curiosities division.
 
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I've carried a Kershaw Blur for years, it's assisted and opens faster than most knives, with just a flick of the thumb.

You would be amazed at some of the current production knives that are available.

Go to a sporting goods store or knife store near you and check some out. You might walk out with a couple new ones.
 
I agree that there are more parts to fail in an auto or assisted opening knife, but even with a broken spring, the knife is as useful as a slip joint. Most modern designs protect against inadvertent deployment, and materials are much more durable than the much-vilified stilettos of the 50s. I like my Hogue and Boker strike autos, and I see a kalashnikov in my future. The dessert warriors seem to be in short supply right now, but there are many more non-tactical renditions on the way:
https://www.bladehq.com/item--Boker-Kalashnikov-Warrior-Buffet--142783
 
I have a couple of ZTs that are assisted. If the spring broke, I'm not sure they wouldn't still open. Once they are open the frame lock keeps them open, so it doesn't bother be esp. since they both feel great in the hand. One is a 0566 and a newer 0357. I have a few autos and carry them occasionally, but my current favorites - ZT 0393 and Spyderco Shaman are fully manual. If they were sprung, I'd probably like them a little bit more.
 
Are we really talking the same knife design? (Flick open v push-button)
The flick open as designed HERE have the same lock-open as conventional,
but w/ 1-finger initiation. And it fails (if it ever fails), it fails to conventional as well.

Over the years in mountain rescue, I've never had one fail.
A Flick knife is not a FLIP knife...
That Kershaw is an Assisted Opening Knife
""SpeedSafe assisted opening with Flipper and liner lock safety"".
So, no button, no stud, no thumb hole in the blade, just a flipper lever.
jmo,
.
 
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