The Best Automatic Knives: Top Reviews for Survival, EDC, and More

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

An automatic knife, originally known as a switchblade, is a modern pocket knife whose history dates back to the 1700s. The first automatic knives were used as folding-spike bayonets on coach guns and flintlocks. The first actual example of a switchblade was made during the mid-nineteenth century.

Switchblades were introduced in the U.S. after the Second World War, and they became quite popular with gangs. This forced the U.S. government to introduce the Switchblade act of 1958, which declared them illegal. The Act forced switchblade manufacturers to change its name to Automatic knives.

Automatic knives are designed for several purposes. But the fact that they can fit in all pockets makes them ideal for everyday carry.

Whether you are looking for a heavy-duty survival tool or a knife for your collection, owning it is a great responsibility. That is why we have brought you some of the best automatic knives on the market.

Our favorite is Smith and Wesson SWMP4LS, as it is a sturdy and reliable tool you can count on. It is an ideal automatic knife that can function as both EDC and self-defense tools. Its partially-serrated blade can handle anything that can come up both outdoors and indoors.

The Best Automatic Knives Are…

ProductDetails
1. Smith and Wesson SWMP4LS

  • A partially serrated 3.6 inches long blade
  • Pocket clip
  • Aluminum handle with rubber inlay
  • Finger actuator
  • Safety and liner locks
  • The blade is made from 4034 Black Oxide steel
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2. Grand Way Spring-Assisted Knife

  • Mechanical fuse
  • Pocket clip
  • Liner lock
  • Direct and reverse grip
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3. Gerber Mini Covert Knife

  • G-10 handle
  • Partially serrated blade
  • F.A.S.T opening technology
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4. Bullshark G-10 8CR13 Knife

  • Silver partially serrated blade
  • G-10 handle
  • Reliable belt clip
  • 8CR13MOV steel blade
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5. Kershaw Cryo Knife

  • High-performance 8Cr13Mov steel
  • A beautiful titanium carbo-nitride coating
  • Fast deployment
  • Secure locking system
  • Convenient pocket clip
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6. Tops/Buck CSAR-T Knife

  • MOLLE compatible sheath
  • 154-cm stainless steel blade
  • G-10 handle
  • A 3.5-inch long blade with Zirblast finish
  • Lanyard hole
  • Reversible tip-up clip
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7. Kershaw Clash Black Pocket Knife

  • Drop point blade style
  • Reversible pocket clip
  • 3.1 inches long 8CR13Mov steel blade
  • Built-in flipper
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1. Smith and Wesson SWMP4LS — Best Switchblade Overall

Smith & Wesson SWMP4LS 8.6in S.S. Assisted Folding Knife with 3.6in Serrated Clip Point Blade and Aluminum Handle for Outdoor Tactical Survival and EDC

Smith and Wesson are known for manufacturing high-quality multipurpose or self-defense tools. And SWMP4LS is one of the best automatic knives in the market. Whether you are a survivalist or a collector, you can trust this reliable and sturdy automatic knife.

SWMP4LS is a well-designed knife that comes with a durable 4034 Black Oxide Steel blade and a sturdy handle. Its 3.6 inches blade is partially-serrated for multipurpose use.

This knife features an aluminum handle that comes with a rubber inlay for secure and safe use. SWMP4LS’s blade is easy to release thanks to the M.A.G.I.C assisted opening.

This knife’s security was improved further by adding a liner and safety lock. Plus, its unique pocket clip makes it perfect for everyday carry.

SWMP4LS is a beautifully designed knife with an excellent black finish. However, the finish tends to scratch and chip off with time. Weighing about 7.5 ounces, this pocketknife can be a tad heavy for some users.

Specs

  • A partially serrated 3.6 inches long blade
  • Pocket clip
  • Aluminum handle with rubber inlay
  • Finger actuator
  • Safety and liner locks
  • The blade is made from 4034 Black Oxide steel
  • Ambidextrous thumb plate

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Perfect grip

Cons

  • The black finish tends to wear off with time
  • Heavy for some people

Overall rating – 4.5 out of 5

Conclusion

SWMP4LS is a perfectly designed pocket knife that is durable and easy to use. Plus, its small size and pocket clip makes it ideal for everyday carry tools.

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2. Grand Way Spring-Assisted Knife — Best Budget Automatic Knife

Pocket Knife Spring Assisted Knives for Men - Assisted Opening Folding Tactical Survival Knofe - EDC Camping Hunting Boy Scouts Gear Accessories Knifes Christmas Gift Ideas for Men Guys 0208

The Spring-Assisted pocket knife from Grand Way is one of the most beautifully designed automatic knives in the market. Spring Assisted Knife comes with an aluminum handle and a stainless steel blade.

Its durable non-serrated blade is made from high-quality stainless steel 440C. This simple knife is durable, rust-resilient, and can stay sharp for a long time.

Designed for all outdoorsmen, this knife comes with a reliable and safe liner lock. This Spring Assisted Knife has a unique thumb stud for both left and right-hand opening. For easy carrying, it comes equipped with a decent pocket clip.

For extra safety, Grand Way added a mechanical fuse, which prevents it from opening accidentally. The Spring Assisted Knife features a reliable direct and reverse grip; however, it can be very slippery in sweaty hands.

Specs

  • Mechanical fuse
  • Pocket clip
  • Liner lock
  • Direct and reverse grip

Pros

  • A reliable locking mechanism
  • Durable
  • A sharp blade with a high edge retention capability
  • Easy to open
  • Affordable
  • Light

Cons

  • Can be slippery in a sweaty hand

Overall rating – 4 out of 5

Conclusion

The Spring-assisted knife from Grand Way is light easy to use. Its non-serrated sharp blade can slice through anything, making it a reliable EDC tool.

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3. Gerber Mini Covert Knife

Gerber Mini Covert FAST Knife, Serrated Edge [22-01967]

Gerber is known worldwide for producing a high-quality survival tool, and the Gerber Mini Covert knife is no exception. This compact knife comes with a stainless steel blade that is coated with titanium 7Cr17Mov.

Its partially-serrated blade is ideal for a wide range of purposes. Weighing about 0.8 ounces, this knife is quite smaller and lighter than most tools of similar style. This Gerber knife features a quick release that is assisted by the F.A.S.T opening technology.

Its fast forward action means that you can open it using one hand, which can come in handy in a difficult situation. Gerber mini covert comes with a sleek all-black finish. Its G-10 handle has a reliable all-condition grip. So you don’t have to worry about it slipping from your hand, even when it’s raining.

Even though it is reliable, the mini covert knife is quite small and challenging to open using one hand. Some users have complained that its spring is noisy.

Specs

  • Stainless steel blade that is coated with titanium 7Cr17Mov
  • G-10 handle
  • Partially serrated blade
  • A.S.T opening technology

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Sharp blade
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Can be a bit small for some people
  • Spring quite noisy
  • Opening with one hand can be difficult

Overall rating – 3.7 out of 5

Conclusion

This mini covert knife is perfect for anyone looking for a lightweight and small tool with a serrated edge.

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4. Bullshark G-10 8CR13 Knife

ANVIL BLADESMITHS BULLSHARK G-10 8CR13 Knife with Glass Breaker and Seatbelt Paracord Cutter - Straight Blade

Bullshark knife from Anvil Bladesmith is a sturdy EDC tool that merges a G-10 handle with a partially serrated blade. Bullshark’s sharp blade is made from 8CR13MOV stainless steel.

The 8CR13MOV blade is durable and has a high razor-sharp edge-retention capability. Its G-10 handle is durable and provides extra grip during both dry and wet conditions.

Its razor-sharp blade opens fast and easily thanks to its liner lock. For easy carry, Anvil Bladesmith added a reliable belt clip. Bullshark is available in both Manual or assisted opening system, so the choice is yours. Plus, its sharp 3.5 inches long blade locks perfectly when it’s opened.

The paracord cutter and glass breaker convert this knife into a life-saving tool. And its open length of 8.25 inches makes it a perfect EDC tool. Weighing about 5.5 ounces, Bullshark knife can be a tad hefty for some people.

Specs

  • Silver partially serrated blade
  • G-10 handle
  • Reliable belt clip
  • 8CR13MOV steel blade

Pros

  • A sharp blade that locks perfectly when opened
  • Durable
  • Grippy and soft handle
  • Easy to open

Cons

  • Can be a tad bulky for some people

Overall rating – 4.4 out of 5

Conclusion

Its open length of 8.25 inches and weight makes it a perfect EDC knife for anyone looking for a huge, but portable automatic knife.

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5. Kershaw Cryo Knife

Kershaw Cryo Folding Knife (1555TI); 2.75” 8Cr13MoV Steel Blade, Stainless Steel Handle, Titanium Carbo-Nitride Coating, SpeedSafe Assisted Open, Frame Lock, 4-Position Deep-Carry Pocketclip; 4.1 OZ

Kershaw is known for producing affordable knives that are classy enough for formal occasions and daily tasks. This beautiful Kershaw Cryo knife is an outcome of a collaboration between Kershaw and Rick Hinderer. This knife comes with a 2.75 inches blade that can be quite beneficial in your next survival trip.

For high corrosion-resistance and edge-retention levels, Kershaw made this blade using 8Cr13Mov steel. Kershaw coated this all-steel construction with titanium carbon-nitride for edge retention. Cryo comes with a reliable blade locking mechanism that uses speedsafe assisted opening and a tough frame lock.

A part of its frame moves behind its blade and helps locking it in place. Its ergonomic handle is quite comfortable to grip; however, it can be small for people with big hands. Even though it’s easy to use, this knife can be slippery in sweaty hands.

Specs

  • High-performance 8Cr13Mov steel
  • A beautiful titanium carbo-nitride coating
  • Fast deployment
  • Secure locking system
  • Convenient pocket clip

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Sharp blade
  • High rust-resistance level
  • High edge-retention level
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Can be a bit small for people with big hands
  • Can be slippery in sweaty hands

Overall rating – 4.6 out of 5

Conclusion

Kershaw Cryo knife’s fast opening mechanism and beautiful design make it one of the best automatic knives under $30.

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6. Tops/Buck CSAR-T Knife

Buck Knives 0095BKSTP TOPS/Buck CSAR-T Tactical Folding Knife with M.O.L.L.E Compatible Sheath

CSAR-T is an ideal outcome of a collaboration between TOPS Knives and Buck knives. CSAR-T features a tanto-style blade that is 0.175 inches thick and 3.5 inches long.

This blade is made from 154CM steel with Zirblast finish for excellent rust resistance and edge retention. The Zirblast finish holds up against prying sturdy items, scraping, and piercing. CSAR-T’s blade comes with a thumb stud that helps with opening and notches for bending wires.

This knife comes with a non-slip G-10 handle with finger grooves for a perfect grip. The rock-mountain scales on this knife’s handle play a key role in providing excellent grip.

For easy carrying, this knife comes with a reversible tip-up clip and a lanyard hole. CSAR-T comes with a compatible polyester MOLLE sheath.

Buck has been offering lifetime warranties with some of their product, including CSAR-T since 1902. CSAR-T is on the heavier side as it weighs about 10.9 ounces. Therefore, it can be a bit bulky for some users.

Specs

  • MOLLE compatible sheath
  • 154-cm stainless steel blade
  • G-10 handle
  • A 3.5-inch long blade with Zirblast finish
  • Lanyard hole
  • Reversible tip-up clip

Pros

  • Rust-resistant
  • High edge-retention capacity
  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Perfect grip
  • Comes with a heavy-duty polyester sheath

Cons

  • Can be heavy for some people

Overall rating – 4.4 out of 5

Conclusion

CSAR-T is a tough, beautifully designed, and durable knife that can outlive its owners.

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7. Kershaw Clash Black Pocket Knife

Kershaw Clash Pocket Knife, Black Serrated (1605CKTST); 3.1” Stainless Steel Blade with Black-Oxide Coating; Glass-Filled Nylon Handle with SpeedSafe Opening and Reversible Pocketclip; 4.3oz

Kershaw Clash is a perfectly built light pocket knife that can be an ideal everyday carry tool. Kershaw clash merges a solid glass-filled nylon handle with a black stainless steel blade.

Kershaw clash’s nylon handle has great scales that offer excellent grip. The Kershaw Clash is comfortable to use.

Kershaw made this knife’s blade from 8CR13Mov steel with a black-oxide finish. Kershaw Clash black has high wear resistance and edge-retention levels. Its sharp partially-serrated blade is perfect for handling numerous tasks such as stripping wire.

Kershaw Clash’s flipper mechanism makes it possible for you to open with one hand. The flipper mechanism also makes this knife perfect for both right and left-handed individuals.

For easy carry, it comes with a reversible clip, so you can carry it pointing down or up. Even though this blade might be bulky for some peoples, it is very easy to carry around thanks to its clip.

Specs

  • Drop point blade style
  • Reversible pocket clip
  • 1 inches long 8CR13Mov steel blade
  • Built-in flipper

Pros

  • High wear resistance level
  • High edge-retention level
  • Sharp blade
  • Solid grip
  • Durable blade
  • Easy to use for both right and left-handed users

Cons

  • Can be bulky for some users

Overall rating – 4.7 out of 5

Conclusion

This beautifully designed knife has a sharp edge that can tackle several outdoor and indoor tasks. Plus, its flipping mechanism makes it a perfect EDC for both left and right-handed individuals.

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Buyers Guide: Factors To Consider When Looking For The Best Automatic Knife

When it comes to buying an automatic knife, there are numerous things you must consider before finally making a decision. Some of these factors include blade size, budget, and durability, among others.

However, a perfect automatic knife incorporates several essential features. So here are some essential things to consider when looking for an automatic knife.

Automatic Knife Laws

The most important thing you must find out before getting this knife is if owning an automatic knife is legal in your jurisdiction. Carrying an automatic knife is illegal in several states in the United States.

That is due to the speed at which the automatic knife’s blade can be opened. In fact, carrying an automatic knife can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on where you are.

The Release Mechanism

Another factor to consider is the knife’s release mechanism. Release mechanisms vary between different automatic knife brands.

So look for a release mechanism that can work for you. Currently, there are 3 release mechanisms that are common with these knives, and this includes:

Lever

This type of release system can be very easy to use. All you need to do is pull the lever, and you are good to go.

Hidden Release Mechanism

The hidden release mechanism varies with knife brands. However, it can be very beneficial since you will be the only one who knows how to open it.

Firing Button

The firing button is one of the most common automatic knife release mechanisms on the planet. This mechanism features a button that must be pressed or pushed to release the blade.

Blade Size

Even though the blade size is a personal preference, we believe that it should be determined by the purpose of the knife. Smaller blades are perfect for handling everyday carry tasks.

Massive blades are ideal for dealing with heavy tasks. So look for a knife with a blade size that feels comfortable in your hand.

Blade Style

Nothing makes an automatic knife stand out more than the blade style. However, each blade style is designed for a specific purpose. Therefore we recommend that your needs should also determine the blade-style.

Some of the most common styles among automatic knives include:

  • A clip-point blade which is perfect for EDC
  • Drop-point blades are found in hunting or survival knives
  • Needlepoint blades are perfect for piercing objects.

Edge Style

Like all the other types of knives in the market, automatic blades come in a wide range of edge styles. The edge style determines the type of material or objects any automatic knife can handle.

So instead of just picking any knife, you should consider your plans for the knife. Some of the most common edge styles among automatic knives include:

Straight Edge Blades

Straight edge style is perfect for cutlery and general knives. Straight edged knives are easy to sharpen, clean and use.

Full-Serrated Blades

Serrated blades are meant to be used as small saws. They can be great for sawing through fabrics, ropes, and belts.

Partially-Serrated Edges

Partially-serrated blades are quite standard among automatic knives. These blades come with properties of both serrated and straight edges. Therefore, they can saw and slice.

Final Thoughts

Automatic knives come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and designs. These knives were designed for specific purposes, but they all can fit in our pockets. You can always have your automatic knife with you every time, but just make sure that carrying this tool is not illegal in your jurisdiction.

An ideal automatic knife must be light, easy to use, and with a fast release mechanism. Remember, the size and weight matter if you are looking for an EDC tool.

However, all automatic knife lovers have a hard time when looking for a perfect automatic knife for EDC. Therefore, we have rounded up some of the pieces in this review.

From the research, we concluded that the best automatic knife is Smith and Wesson SWMP4LS. It is an exquisite self-defense or multipurpose knife that can also serve as an everyday carry knife. It has a very sharp blade that is very easy to release.

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