Is their a difference between a switchblade and a spring-assist knife?
This is a discussion on spring-assisted knife within the Defensive Knives & Other Weapons forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Is their a difference between a switchblade and a spring-assist knife?...
Is their a difference between a switchblade and a spring-assist knife?
As far as I know, a switchblade has a lock holding it closed. Releasing the lock or pushing the button snaps the blade open from fully closed.
Assisted knives require you to manually open the blade to 30 to 50 degrees before the spring takes over. LEO and others may have differing opinions.
Oh yeh? Well this was sent from the scary black electrical box under my desk, so there!
"It aint how good you shoot, it's how cool you look doing it." [Fred Sayer 1994]
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I know in VA its not considered a "full-auto" knife or a "switchblade",...
But I prefer wave-openers
"To blame a gun for a mans decision is to foolishly attribute free will to an inanimate object"- Colion Noir.
I was the gerbralter gun show and they had a couple of these "assisted" knives. Push a button and the blade snapped open. They were selling to anyone...
Assisted opening knives require an initial push of the blade. If all it takes is punching a button, it's an automatic knife (legal here in good old Arizona).
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" 'Switchblade knife' means any knife that has a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle or sheath, and that:
(A) opens automatically by pressure applied to a button or other device located on the handle; or
(B) opens or releases a blade from the handle or sheath by the force of gravity or by the application of centrifugal force."
There are several court cases involving part (B) recited above as pertains to knives which are manually opened by the blade but which have a much quicker spring action than traditional pocket knives. So far as I know all of these cases have been either thrown out or resulted in not guilty verdicts. Needless to say a lot of manufacturers such as Spyderco and SOG were interested in the outcome of these cases.
Someone in Va. brought this up about a week ago . At the time I was looking to get a assisted opening knife so I called the Richmond State Police Headquaters and talked to the duty sargent . He told me it was considered a switchblade . I called Chesterfield the sargent there told me he thought it was ok , but it could depend on the officer . Carrying one is not worth the chance to me because if you do get arrested for carrying one the judge is going to make that decession . It's not worth the money I might have to spend to get out of it or the time I will miss from work , not to mention the stress . I am not trying to tell anyone what to do (not that anyone will listen ) I am just giving you something to think about . Even if the officer is wrong I don't want to be locked up any amount of time .
I work in a school, a nice rural FL school. No firearms...,but at times, I do carry my assisted opener with me.
I was talking with the cop at school (we talk all the time about guns and technique...)and asked him about my assisted opener and the legality...I already knew the answer. Well, he said that it was not considered...(he pulled out his switch blade...) to be an illegal device like his, which was not illegal for him...no comment about having it with me...gotta' love rural FL.
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Flag...AZ has no laws outlawing automatic knives...that's why you see so many for sale at our gunshows. As a retired SO, I can say with certainty that most cops don't know that, and could cause a delay in your plans.
FL made auto knives legal. They said that a knife shouldn't be illegal just because of how it is opened. The way it opens doesn't mean it will be used for illegal means. It probably helped that Microtech is based in FL IIRC.
The spring assist knives open just as fast as an auto knife, some are even faster.
I have several assisted openers and now have 3 autos that I got for Christmas here in the Philippines. I called my brother from another mother ( SwiftyJuan ) and told him I find no difference in how fast they open so what is the difference I ask...... his reply....20 years in jail if caught carrying in CA. You can own one, carry it around the house but don't get caught in public with it ! Oh well I'm blameing Hollywood.
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Here in Oklahoma it depends on which Law Enforcement Officer you talk to. Its mainly their discretion (unless it goes before a judge)
I carry a Kershaw Scallion most days and if I'm wearing jeans a Benchmade Apparition. Both are excellent.
They can tell you what the actual law on it says.
As for an assisted opening knife being considered the same as an auto opener or "switch blade", in most places they aren't as you maually have to open the blade a certin number of degrees before the "assist" helps out.
I have both types, and now carry the assisted opening, mine also has a built in seat-belt cutter, so if questioned about it, I can simply state it's carried as a utility/safety device and not a weapon.
As for asking LE, well, I think it really depends on the city & their degree of accountability. Being an Administrator for a mid-size PD in S. Cal, we regularly train our Patrol Officers on new laws & case law (Typically every quarter-3 months). I'm not saying my guys are always right, but I think nowadays, the DA's office will complain if LE are making bogus arrensts (Especially if it's a felony).
At to CA., yes automatic knives are illegal for non public safety & Military, unless the blade length is under 2" (In which case, it's legal). A/O's are fine & there's no blade length limit for the state of CA. Cities, however; can make municipal laws that would not allow certain knives (LA, in particular, is noted for that). Typically, municipal laws that are more stringent than state law, are misdemeanors.
As far as the best answer for what legal or not (If you're going to travel), I'd highly recommend contacting the AG's office of the particular county that you'll be staying in. If you're just traveling through, then the state AG would be sufficient.
While the AG's office is generally more knowledgable than local LE, they've been known to bungle an answer or more.
Probably the best thing to keep in mind, is that if you're worried about a knife's legality, either don't carry it or "concealment" is your friend.
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