The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Category: Best Knives (page 1 of 3)

10 Best OTF Knives

best OTF knives

When you need a knife that can open and close in a blink of an eye with a single hand, there is only one choice: an OTF knife.

An OTF, which stands for Out The Front, is a type of knife where the blade comes out of the front of the handle rather than the side.

These types of knives have become increasingly popular with tons of varied and compelling designs from the top brands like Kershaw, Boker, Benchmade, and more. We’ll know they’ve finally crossed the mainstream when we finally get an OTF version of the Buck 110!

Our team took on the unenviable task of narrowing down some of the best OTF knives you can currently buy. Before we get into the list, let’s take a quick look at the background of the OTF.

A Brief History of the Best OTF Knives

Although the OTF seems like a modern invention, the first OTF was supposedly patented in the late 19th century, but I couldn’t verify the information widely spread across the Internet.

Instead, some of the earliest OTF knives that were widely used date back to the World War II when paratroopers used OTF knives as emergency tools. Unlike modern OTF knives, these were gravity knives, meaning the user disengaged a lock and used gravity to slide the blade out.

The designs have gone through multiple evolutions like the Kershaw Ripcord, Smith & Wesson Power Glide, and even box cutters. More recently, we’ve settled on dual action automatic OTF knives that open and close with the push of a switch as the default OTF design.

Let’s just into the best OTF knives you can currently buy.

1. Benchmade Infidel

Let’s start with an obvious entry on this list of best OTF knives: the Infidel.

The Benchmade Infidel has been by far one of the top-selling OTF knives since it was introduced in 2006. If you collect knives, this is likely a prized center of that collection.

What made the Infidel such a big hit at the time (and even these days) is its robustness and utility. It caught the eye of military and law enforcement personnel because of its dual action design and general toughness.

Over 15 years later, the Infidel is still a top-seller, thanks to its 3.95-inch D2 steel dagger blade and aluminum handle.

2. Kershaw Livewire OTF

From the  oldest knife on this list, we go to the newest. In 2023, Kershaw released its very first automatic OTF knife to much fanfare.

Kershaw is well-known for its high-quality Launch series of automatic knives and the brand has been exploring manual OTF designs like the Kershaw Interstellar and Kershaw Kapsule. It only made sense for them to merge its knowledge of OTFs and automatics into something amazing.

The result is the Kershaw Livewire.

It has a pretty tried-and-true design that doesn’t break barriers. Its aluminum handle is comfortable and durable with welcomed texturing. Its 3.3-inch blade features a stonewashed finish.

The three main selling points of the knife are its use of MagnaCut super steel, its US-made reliable construction, and its competitive price tag for what it’s offering.

3. Boker Plus OTF

Boker itself makes some really great OTF knives like the unique Boker Plus USB OTF and Boker Kalashnikov OTF, but its collaboration with Hogue Knives is off the charts.

Continue reading

13 Best Automatic Knives in 2024

Despite its legal gray areas, the automatic knife (sometimes called a switchblade) is one of the best types of knives on the market.

For those who don’t know, an automatic knife is a knife that can be opened with the push of a button or switch. For a more in depth look at the difference between a switchblade and an assisted-opening knife, check out this article.

We’ve been going through and carefully picking some of the best knives of each brand and category. So, it only made sense to do autos.

One caveat here: We are not including OTF knives in this list. While most out-the-front knives are technically automatics, they’re almost their own thing. We’ll have a separate list for the best OTFs coming soon.

Check out which autos made the list below.

1. Buck 110 Auto

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter is one of the most iconic folding knives ever made. Its only major downside is its inability to open quickly with one hand.

That’s what makes the automatic version of the Buck 110 so good.

With just the push of a button, the classic 3.75-inch clip-point blade bursts to life instantly. This version uses the same 420HC stainless steel that the 110 is known for and also keeps the lockback mechanism. For strength and dependability, you can’t go wrong with a lockback.

The handle is Crelicam genuine ebony with brass bolsters and pins.

Even after all these years, the Buck 110 remains an excellent choice for a knife and this auto version just makes it even better. You can opt for the premium Buck 110 Auto Elite if you prefer S30V steel and a G-10 handle. There’s even the Buck 112 Auto if you need a smaller knife.

2. Kershaw Launch 6

With the new Kershaw Launch 15 coming out in 2023, this list could easily have contained 10 different Launch knives because they are all simply excellent.

But we kind of arbitrarily picked the Kershaw Launch 6 for this spot. The Launch 6 is a full-sized auto with a 3.375-inch drop-point blade and an aluminum handle.

It has a cohesive all-black look that’s downright sexy.

Continue reading

Best Bowie Knives

This post was first written in 2019 and was most recently updated in 2023.

When you think of American knives, there should only be one knife that jumps to mind: the Bowie Knife.

We’ve written a ton about the Bowie knife. In fact, the very first blog post back in August 2010 was about the legendary Jim Bowie.

If you don’t know about the legend of Jim Bowie and his knife, check out our definitive look at the legend of the Bowie knife.

There are a lot of bad quality Bowie knives on the market. Cheap, low-quality steel and bad workmanship are rife. We’re here to help you find only high quality Bowie knives.

What Makes a Good Bowie Knife?

As I’ve said many times, there is not a consensus on the dimensions of the original, but a Bowie knife is broadly defined as a large fixed blade with a clip-point profile.

These days, designers play with the elements of the Bowie to create knives that fit the general framework of the Bowie while pushing the boundaries. You get some original creations that could still be defined as a Bowie knife. We’re including some of those here too.

Cold Steel Wild West

Let’s start with the Wild West Bowie. This is the knife most people probably envision of when they think of a Bowie knife.

It has a long 10.75-inch clip-point blade made from 1090 carbon steel with a rosewood handle. A brass-colored hand guard also adds to the traditional look of the knife.

KA-BAR Bowie

The KA-BAR Bowie is a little small to be a Bowie knife, since it has a 6.9-inch blade (that’s still pretty long).

The original KA-BAR is essentially a Bowie knife too, although most probably wouldn’t instantly recognize it as one. This model has a clip point blade with a stacked leather handle and a small guard. It comes with a leather sheath.

Schrade Leroy Bowie

Here’s where we start to get a little more playful with the design choices. This isn’t the type of Bowie that old Jim would have carried as he defended the Alamo. But the Leroy Bowie still makes a good Bowie knife.

It has an all-black design with a 9.55-inch clip-point blade.

Continue reading

10 Best Spyderco Knives

Best Spyderco Knives

This post was originally published in August 2018 and was updated in September 2023.

When Sal and Gail Glesser started a company in the 1970s based around a device called The Portable Hand — which could assist jewelers and other professionals who work with small parts — they likely never imagined it would become one of the premier knife brands in the world.

But, more than 40 years later, the company known as Spyderco is a top-tier brand with some of the best and most revolutionary knife designs ever made.

So, as we’ve been doing, we decided to go through the 10 best Spyderco knives currently in production. You’ll notice this list is heavily populated with classics, but that’s partially thanks to Spyderco’s CQI (constant quality improvement) program that improves upon existing designs. That’s how you get perfection.

Here are the 10 best Spyderco knives you can get right now.

1. Spyderco Paramilitary 2

Spyderco Para Military 2

BUY Now – $185.50

Let’s get the Spyderco Para Military 2 out of the way. The PM2 is almost universally known as not just the best Spyderco model but the best pocket knife available.

So how does a knife like the PM2 capture the hearts and minds of people everywhere? It has a nearly 3.5-inch blade with a functional design and quality S30V steel. On top of that, it stays engaged with the easy-to-use and reliable Compression Lock. The G-10 handle had been improved from the first generation for better ergonomics.

Continue reading

The Best Karambit Knives in 2024

There’s nothing cooler than a karambit knife.

Although the karambit is best known for its modern day application as a self-defense tool used in martial arts, it was originally used as an agricultural device in Southeast Asia.

Legend has it that the knife is inspired by the claws of big cats found roaming the rainforests of Indonesia, like tigers and leopards. Whether or not it’s true, the lore surrounding the karambit makes it a popular design.

What is a Karambit?

If you’ve never seen a karambit, it’s a type of knife that comes in folding and fixed-blade varieties.

The origins of the karambit trace back to Indonesia and evidence of the knives can be found on temple walls around the region from the 12th century.

Although the knife started as an agricultural tool, it was later incorporated into an indigenous martial arts called silat. Through silat, the karambit spread throughout Southeast Asia. Europeans were later intrigued by the knives and collected them as souvenirs.

The karambit is defined by two main traits. The first is its curved, almost hawk-bill style blade that looks like a claw.

The second main trait is the finger ring at the butt of the handle. This allows the user to hold the knife comfortably for hours when performing tedious tasks or offers a reliable hold when using for self-defense purposes.

These days, designers will sometimes push the boundaries of a karambit (I’m looking at you Joe Caswell!), but the curved blade and finger ring really define the boundaries of a karambit.

The Versatility of the Karambit

There are a few things to think about before going out and buying one of these knives.

First, it’s important to know that they come in both folder and fixed blade varieties. The folding knife folds into the handle like most other pocket knives, while the fixed blade is sturdier, with no moving parts, and requires a sheath or cover to carry it around in.

When choosing between the two, think about size. Folders are often smaller blades—though not always—and can always fold down into a more manageable carrying and concealing size. Size will also affect how the grip fits in the hand, something to consider especially if you’re buying for someone else.

While we’re talking about size, it’s also wise to consider the knife laws of wherever you’re planning on taking your karambit. One of the most common kinds of law regarding knives in many states is to place a limit on the length of the blade.

Continue reading

10 Best Benchmade Autos

With knife laws regarding switchblades being relaxed across the country, we’ve entered a golden age of automatics.

Not too long ago, autos were a niche category from a few specialized brands or in very limited offerings. Not anymore.

Even brands as iconic and beloved as Benchmade have shown just what automatic knives can offer. You’d think narrowing down the 10 best automatic knives from Benchmade would be an easy task, but the diverse offerings and sheer amount of Benchmade autos made things very difficult.

The formula used in calculating the knives on this list was very unscientific: I included comments from customers, reviews from around the web, personal experience, and more.

If you disagree with any or think we missed one, let us know in the comments.

1. Benchmade Fact Auto

Let’s start with a sleeper hit. The vanilla Benchmade Fact was as interesting knife with a slim profile and lightweight design that wasn’t particularly spectacular.

However, the moment Benchmade turned it into an auto and gave it some much-needed upgrades, it became one of the most compelling autos Benchmade has ever offered.

This version of the knife has a long 3.95-inch blade made from S90V with black coating. The boring skeletonized handle of the original is replaced with an aluminum handle with carbon fiber inlays. This essentially turns it into a modern-day Italian stiletto. The Auto AXIS lock is intuitive and easy to use with one hand.

It’s a true masterpiece.

2. Benchmade Infidel

Back when Benchmade introduced the Infidel in 2006, OTF knives were very niche. Still, despite being aimed at military or emergency personnel, the Infidel was received surprisingly well and has since become a mainstay of the brand.

The Infidel has since been remade into a few versions, but the new standard is the 3300BK with a 3.95-inch black blade and black aluminum handle.

Continue reading

10 Best Smith & Wesson Knives

Best Smith & Wesson Knives

This post was first published in 2020 and updated in 2023.

When you think of Smith & Wesson, high-quality knives might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

No, you probably think of great firearms… and Dirty Harry. But the truth is, Smith & Wesson also manufactures quality knives. They’re the type that appeals to law enforcement personnel and those interested in self-defense. These aren’t your average kitchen knives.

Smith & Wesson knives are versatile and rugged. They’re designed for the field, with sturdy blades that hold their cutting edges, and good grips for ease of use.

Over the years, Smith & Wesson has expanded its lineup of knives to include more than just search and rescue and first response knives. Still, those remain the bread and butter of the lineup.

So let’s cut to the chase. See which are the best Smith & Wesson knives.

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops

We’re starting with one of the top-selling S&W knives at Knife Depot: the Smith & Wesson SWFR2S Extreme Ops.

This is a tactical folding knife that rivals any other rescue knife in this price range.

As a heavy-duty rescue knife, the SWFR2S feels great in the hands, thanks to its rubberized handle. Its partially serrated tanto blade is 3.3 inches long.

If you keep one knife in your car for emergency situations, this one should be it. It’s also available with engraving! It’s no wonder it was a Knife of the Week a few years ago.

Smith & Wesson 1st Response

The 1st Response is the companion knife of the first knife on this list. While it has a lot of the same features and blade length, it looks very different.

Continue reading

10 Best CRKT Knives

CRKT M16

This post was originally posted in August 2018 and is updated every year.

Formally known as Columbia River Knife & Tool, CRKT is a relatively new company in terms of big knife brands, having only been established in 1994.

However, over the nearly three decades the company has been around, it’s put out hundreds of different models. There’s a lot to love about CRKT, from its truly innovative designs to its collaborations with some of the top knifemakers. Unfortunately, the use of inexpensive materials leaves a lot to be desired by the knife community. In the last few years, CRKT has tried to remedy these failings.

Picking the 10 best CRKT knives was easy at first until I realized all the knives I was forgetting. The company puts out dozens of new models every year and discontinues a ton. Unlike many of the other brands, this list is a mixture of new and old.

Let us know if you think we missed any.

CRKT M16

We’ll start with the flagship series from CRKT: the M16. The late great Kit Carson, who pioneered the flipper tab, helped propel CRKT to where it is today, thanks to his M16 series. His knife was named one of the 10 best tactical knives of the decade by Blade Magazine, and the CRKT interpretation is nothing to scoff at.

Continue reading

10 Best Cold Steel Knives

This article was originally published in July 2018 before being updated with newer models.

We’re continuing our run-through of the best knives from each brand.

Narrowing down the 10 best currently in production is no easy task, but I did the best I could using personal experience, consensus around the internet, reviews, and more. Here are the 10 best Cold Steel knives.

Cold Steel Recon 1

Let’s start with a gimme: the Cold Steel Recon 1.

The Recon series helped usher in a new era for Cold Steel, one that is currently dominated by tough knives with a tactical bent that use Andrew Demko’s famous Tri-Ad locking mechanism.

The Recon 1 uses high-quality material with a 4-inch blade made from S35VN steel (recently changed from CTS-XHP). The handle is a grippy G-10. One of the great things about this flagship model is that it comes in tons of sizes and blade shapes, so you can get exactly what you want.

Cold Steel Ti-Lite

Cold Steel Ti-LiteReminiscent of the switchblades of the 1950s, the Cold Steel Ti-Lite is a thin yet lengthy folder with an eye on self-defense. There’s a 4-inch or 6-inch version — both come in either budget or premium builds.

The larger one is a legend with a long 6-inch blade made from S35VN steel and an aluminum handle. You can pull the knife out of your pocket while engaging it thanks to a protruding quillon that catches the edge of your pants. The reach on this thing is insane, which is why some people opt for the smaller Ti-Lite. We also really like this budget version with AUS 8A steel.

Continue reading

10 Best KA-BAR Knives

KA-BAR is a legendary brand that’s been making knives under different names for a century. While the KA-BAR knife is the most well-known model from the company, the Olean-based company makes a diverse group of knife designs.

Teaming up with some of the best knife-making minds out there, such as Ethan Becker, Rick Hinderer, and Bob Dozier, shows this brand is committed to quality designs.

There have been a number of great new models over the years, but none have been quite strong enough to topple these classics.

Here are the 10 best KA-BAR knives right now.

KA-BAR USMC Fighting Knife

Let’s start with the icon — the original KA-BAR. I won’t go too deep into the history of KA-BAR (because I’ve already done that) but a few companies actually made the KA-BAR knife. However, the knives that were made by what is now KA-BAR were always considered the best. Even all these years later, the fighting knife remains a favorite among civilians and military personnel alike.

I could have easily made this list nothing but KA-BAR utility knives, but I thought the classic USMC could also stand in for the dozens of other iterations, such as the Kraton models, tanto models, and smaller versions.

You can pretty much find the perfect KA-BAR for you, including a Kraton version, commemorative versions, a short version, and more.

KA-BAR BK2 Becker Campanion

Just as I could have made list of only the fighting knives, I could also make this list nothing but models from the KA-BAR Becker line. Ethan Becker is a knife-designing savant and his line of Beckers at KA-BAR proves it. Few are as great and versatile as the BK2 Becker Campanion.

Continue reading

« Older posts

© 2024 The Cutting Edge

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

123