Switchblades and Assisted-opening Knives – The Difference

Switchblades and assisted-opening knives are ideal pocket folders for emergencies because of the quickness and ease with which you can deploy the blade. Both knives are portable and feature spring mechanism to open and close the blade. However, despite the similarities, they are not the same.


The blade in a switchblade is under constant pressure from a spring and waiting to be deployed, with the locking mechanism the only thing keeping it closed. When the button is pressed, the tension is released and the spring opens the knife fully and locks in that position. To close the knife, the button is pressed again and a second spring pulls the blade back into the handle. Switchblades come in two types – one that opens from the front of the knife and another that opens from the side. Typically, the blade in the front opening knife is double-edged like a dagger. The switchblade was invented in the 1850s and gained infamy in the 1950s mainly due to movies depicting the tool as a weapon. Over the years, rules have been set in place that make these knives illegal to carry in some states.

Assisted-opening knife

An assisted-opening knife is different from the switchblade in that the spring does not exert constant pressure on the blade. Only after you physically open the blade to a certain point, typically by using a thumb stud, does the spring take over and complete the opening action. These knives are usually single-edged and come either serrated or plain in design. The assisted-opening knife was invented by knife maker Blackie Collins in 1995 and was meant as a substitute for the switchblade.

The differences

Switchblades carry a button to deploy the blade whereas assisted-opening knives do not. The presence of this button makes blade deployment quicker in switchblades but that same ease of opening also renders these knives a somewhat riskier proposition; with assisted-opening knives, the blade opens only after you make a conscious effort to do so. Also, with assisted-opening knives, the blade always swings open from the side while switchblades can have side as well as straight deployment. Further, the switchblade is illegal to carry in some states but there are no restrictions with assisted-opening knives as long as the blade length is within specified limits.

Check out our collection of switchblades and assisted-opening knives.

Leave your comment
2/6/2019 12:59 PM
Switchblades have that fun or "cool" factor.  I like both, but switch blades can be pretty entertaining.