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Assisted opening knives is a category that is increasingly common for everyday carry. They use springs to propel the blade once the user has moved it past a certain angle. These differ from automatic or switchblade knives in that the blade is not released by means of a button or catch on the handle; rather, the blade itself is the actuator. Most assisted openers use flippers also called triggers as their opening mechanism. Assisted opening knives can be as fast as or faster than automatic knives to deploy.
Another major benefit of this type of knife is its ability to be easily deployed with one hand, in some cases just one finger and is easy to operate in varying weather conditions, even with gloves on. This can be a real bonus in high stress situations for military and first responders like police, fire and EMS.
Atlanta Cutlery (ACC) carries a variety of styles and manufacturers like Kershaw, Master Cutlery and Cold Steel. Blade and handle materials for assisted opening knives are the same as other folding knives so performance doesn’t suffer at all. Stainless steel blades and either plastic, aluminum or G-10 handle scales are prominent on assisted opening knives. To aid in carry most come with a pocket clip which allows easy access from any pocket or can be clipped to a pack or purse.
Automatic or switchblade knives open using the stored energy from a spring that is released when the user presses a button or lever built into the handle of the knife. Although restrictions seem to be lifting in some states, please check your local and state laws about the purchase, ownership and carry of such knives. Normally the domain of law enforcement and military, these are seeing a resurgence as laws change for civilian carry.