Best OTF Knives: Top Single and Double Action Models

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

The OTF knife, also known as the out-the-front knife, is a type of pocket knife in which the blade deploys through an opening on one end of the handle. They are also known as sliding knives or telescoping knives because of how the blade slides in and out of the handle.

OTF knives were developed to provide safe, one-handed deployment action to pocket knives. This was way before other more superior and reliable options were developed such as the thumb studs and flippers.

But despite this, OTF knives have stayed around with us all these years because they make safe and durable everyday carry pocket knives, not to mention how good looking most of these knives are.

If you’re looking to get one of these for yourself or maybe a gift to someone special, then stick around as we go through 9 of the best out the front knives on the market. We can almost guarantee that you’ll find something here that you’ll like.

Our favorite out the front knife is the Venom Tactical 3TR Military Combat Knife. This military-grade knife is one of the most advanced combat knives and has one of the most superior double-action mechanisms in the market.

The Best OTF Knives Are:

ProductDetails
1. Venom Tactical 3TR Military Combat Knife

  • Total Length: 9.40-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 1.10-inch
  • Gross Weight: 9.17 oz
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2. NNK Sigil Double Action OTF Knife

  • Total Length: 9-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 7.5 oz
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3. Venom Tiger Z Tactical Combat Knife

  • Total Length: 9.40-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.9-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 1.10-inch
  • Gross Weight: 9.17 oz
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4. KaiQing Sigil Double Action OTF Knife

  • Total Length: 9.0-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 7.5 oz
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5. KHW Double Action Knife

  • Total Length: 9.84-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.89-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 8.11 oz
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6. MagicKnife UltraMagic OTF Knife

  • Total Length: 8.38-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.34-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 3.42 oz
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7. Smith & Wesson SWOTF9B Assisted OTF Knife

  • Total Length: 8.75-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.25-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.09-inch
  • Gross Weight: 6.09 oz
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8. Benchmade Infidel Dagger 3300 Auto OTF Knife

  • Total Length: 8.95-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.95-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.118-inch
  • Gross Weight: 5.0 oz
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9. Microtech Exocet OTF Auto Knife

  • Total Length: 5.625-inch
  • Blade Length: 1.90-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.06-inch
  • Blade Width: 1.125-inch
  • Gross Weight: 3.0 oz
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1. Venom Tactical 3TR Military Combat Knife — Best OTF Double Action Knife

Gerber Covert Knife, Serrated Edge, Black [22-01966]

The Venom 3TR is an automatic OTF knife produced by Southern Sporting Goods LLC. It is a multifunctional knife with heavy-duty features for military and professional use. It is for this reason that the Venom 3TR is one of the most efficient and advanced combat knives in the market.

It features an automatic mechanism that is faster and more superior than the competition. It is optimized for military and emergency uses and can withstand extreme environments while giving a 100% performance.

Another reason we love this knife is the double-edged tanto blade that is partially serrated to give it more cutting power and a tough blade tip for piercing.

Made from a high-end 440C stainless steel, the blade has excellent corrosion resistance, edge retention, and is hard-wearing. It comes with a heavy-duty zinc aluminum handle with a tactical finish that allows for a firm and comfortable grip.

Other features include a reversible pocket clip that fits any size belt, a glass breaker and a convenient nylon sheath. And to ensure that each unit sold delivers top performance in the field, each unit is properly tested before delivery.

Specs

  • Total Length: 9.40-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 1.10-inch
  • Gross Weight: 9.17 oz

Pros

  • Specially designed powerful glass breaker
  • High quality and partially serrated tanto blade
  • Rapid assisted blade deployment
  • Military-grade construction for multipurpose operation
  • Quality tested before delivery

Cons

  • Heavy
  • The closing action is a little harder than opening

The size and weight of the knife are well distributed to feel manageable in the hand. It is also a high-quality knife which is reflected in the price but it is well worth it.

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

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2. NNK Sigil Double Action OTF Knife

Sigil Double Action Knives Silver Blade Knife

The Sigil is one of the easiest double action knives in the market. It has a tough build with impressive features and great performance. Deploying the blade is a simple operation with the release button working smoothly and reliably.

It features a double-sided blade constructed in 420 high carbon stainless steel. This material offers corrosion resistance and good edge retention due to its hardness. It is used to make high-quality knives so you can be assured of having a durable knife.

The knife is compact and ergonomic allowing you to have grip and good control when handling it. The release button is designed to prevent children from playing with it but at the same time, it is flexible enough for an adult to release and retract the blade smoothly. The window breaker pin is a bonus that can come in handy in an emergency.

Specs

  • Total Length: 9-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 7.5 oz

Pros

  • Release button provides a reliable smooth action
  • Solid build with high-quality materials
  • Ergonomic design that fits well in the hand
  • Inexpensive and good value for money
  • Ambidextrous clip for belt carry

Cons

  • Heavy
  • It requires a touch up sharpening out of the box

The Sigil is larger and heavier for pocket carry but it also has a good weight distribution that it feels sturdy and well built. It also gives you good control when handling it which makes it a good knife for tactical, EDC use, and emergency response.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

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3. Venom Tiger Z Tactical Combat Knife

Venom Tiger Z Tactical Combat Knife - Double Edge Tactical Knife - Military EDC Tool

Tiger Z is another military-grade knife used by special forces throughout the world. The Venom tactical knives are known for their superior action that is above what other brands offer at a better price. This knife is a perfect example of top performance and reliability for both military and everyday use.

The Tiger Z features a double-edged blade made in 440C stainless steel, which we saw from earlier OTF knife reviews that it is a premium quality steel that is hard-wearing and great for outdoor hard use.

It comes with a glass breaker pommel for emergencies and a tiger-stripe camo stainless steel handle that provides a good grip and control.

Other features include a reversible metal pocket clip that fits well in the pocket for low profile carrying and a tactical nylon pouch. It is attractively finished in a tiger-stripe camo pattern with an all blackout hardware to protect and reduce the wear of everyday use.

Specs

  • Total Length: 9.40-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.9-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 1.10-inch
  • Gross Weight: 9.17 oz

Pros

  • Tough multipurpose knife
  • Features military-grade materials and design
  • Top in class performance and durability
  • Good value for money
  • Assisted opening mechanism

Cons

  • Heavyweight for some users

The Tiger Z is a reliable and affordable all-purpose knife with military standard features that outperform the competition.

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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4. KaiQing Sigil Double Action OTF Knife

KaiQing Sigil Double Action Knives Black Single Blade AAA

The KaiQing Sigil is a double-action knife that features a release switch to deploy and retract the blade. It’s a little smaller than the Tiger Z and Venom 3TR and lighter even though it’s made of steel.

Regardless of that, it is a solid and high-quality knife with a matte black finish which gives it the aggressive look.

It features a single-edge drop point blade with a tough pointy end. Drop point blades offer the widest range of use which gives this knife versatility for EDC, self-defense, and outdoor use. The blade comes sharp out the box and has a black coating for extra protection against corrosion.

The KaiQing comes with an ergonomic steel handle that fits well in the hand. It has a textured surface that assists in providing good grip and control when using the knife. The switch has a firm deploy and retracting mechanism that operates quickly and smoothly.

Specs

  • Total Length: 9.0-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.5-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 7.5 oz

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight knife
  • High-quality construction with a good finish
  • Ambidextrous clip for pocket carry
  • Textured handle and release switch for good drip

Cons

  • Does not come with a warranty

The KaiQing is a multifunctional knife that is of good quality build and well priced. We found that most users were happy with it and liked how it’s been finished.

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

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5. KHW Double Action Knife

Double Action Knives Outdoor Tactical Knife Single Blade Black Hunting Knife

This double action knife by KHW is a durable OTF knife that is great for tactical use and hunting. It features a single edge blade made in 440C stainless steel.

Of all the grades in the 440 carbon steel series, the 440C is favorite for knife making because it is tough, wear resistant and highly stain resistant. It is a solid all rounded steel for making quality and affordable pocket knives.

It comes with a black textured handle with a zinc aluminum alloy release button, glass breaker and pocket clip. The knife has a slim profile that allows it to fit comfortably in the hand and in the pocket. The release button is firm which can be a good safety feature.

Specs

  • Total Length: 9.84-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.89-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 8.11 oz

Pros

  • Great value for the money
  • Heavy duty and durable
  • High quality construction
  • Slim profile that is comfortable to carry

Cons

  • Release button is too tight

This double action knife is sturdy and is stable when handling it. The blade stays sharp and the textured handle offers a great grip. It also comes with a nice carry case.

Overall Rating – 3.9/5

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6. MagicKnife UltraMagic OTF Knife

MagicKnife UltraMagic Black Handle D2 Blade 7 Blade Styles Outdoor tatical Knife (Tanto Blade)

The UltraMagic is an exact clone of the Ultratech OTF knife which is Microtech’s flagship knife into the OTF market. The Ultratech is one of the best selling OTF knives which set the industry standard for OTF knives.

The UltraMagic is similar in size, weight, and quality. It is made of D2 steel which is a high-carbon and high-chromium steel that is tough and hard-wearing. On the down side, it corrodes faster than other stainless steel blades and it can also be difficult to sharpen.

Overall it is a good quality steel that has great edge retention and durable. The UltraMagic also comes with a 6061-T6 aluminum handle with a reliable blade deployment mechanism and a glass breaker.

Specs

  • Total Length: 8.38-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.34-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.11-inch
  • Blade Width: 0.70-inch
  • Gross Weight: 3.42 oz

Pros

  • Good value for the money
  • High quality construction
  • Flawless blade deployment action
  • Comes in a nice case

Cons

  • Handle is a bit slippery
  • Blade is not sharp out the box

The quality of this knife is exceptional for a clone. The original is costlier but this is a perfect substitute because you get almost the exact same knife for less.

Overall Rating – 4.1/5

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7. Smith & Wesson SWOTF9B Assisted OTF Knife

The SWOTF9B is an assisted opening knife that uses a spring mechanism to deploy the blade after you’ve manually started the deployment using the thumb slider.

Smith & Wesson OTF knives have the same build quality and performance as their firearms and are designed for rugged use.

This knife comes with an option of either the spear point or the tanto blade from which you can decide on whether to get a plain blade or partially serrated blade.

This double edge blade is made in AUS 8 stainless steel which is a high quality and affordable steel, finished in a black coating. It is a tough steel that will give you good performance but has poor edge retention which also means that it’s easy to sharpen.

It has a contoured handle in black aluminum that fits well in the hand and gives a good grip. It includes a glass breaker, a stainless steel pocket clip and a safety lock.

Specs

  • Total Length: 8.75-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.25-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.09-inch
  • Gross Weight: 6.09 oz

Pros

  • Very quick assisted opening mechanism
  • Quality construction with good balance
  • Good value for the money
  • Consistent and smooth performance
  • Easy one handed opening
  • Comes with a reliable safety lock

Cons

  • Retracting the blade is not as smooth as deploying it

The SWOTF9B is a well made and reliable knife that will give you long term service. It has a tactical aesthetic with quality construction and all-black finish.

Overall Rating – 4.2/5

8. Benchmade Infidel Dagger 3300 Auto OTF Knife

The Infidel is an exceptional OTF with high quality construction and a reliable automatic opening system. It features the deployment thumb slider on the face of the handle which is different from most other OTFs that feature the slider on the side of the handle.

Deploying the blade from this position gives you better control and grip because your thumb has a wider surface area to slide on.

The blade is a plain edge spear point blade that is double edged and made of D2 steel. The steel is tough with excellent edge retention so you don’t have to worry about breaking the tip of this blade easily.

It comes with an anodized T6 aluminum handle that is comfortable to use and contoured for added grip. Also comes with a deep carry tip-down pocket clip and a MOLLE soft sheath.

Specs

  • Total Length: 8.95-inch
  • Blade Length: 3.95-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.118-inch
  • Gross Weight: 5.0 oz

Pros

  • Automatic opening with ambidextrous thumb slider
  • Removable deep carry pocket clip
  • Double edged blade for cutting both ways
  • Great fit and finish
  • Has an integrated port for easy maintenance

Cons

  • Little blade play when extended

The infidel is one of the coolest looking knives in the market in addition to the stable and fast action of the auto opening.

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

9. Microtech Exocet OTF Auto Knife

The Exocet is an exceptionally small, practical OTF knife and one of the few considered legal in California. Its most unique feature is its extra wide pocket clip that can also be used as a money clip.

It features a tiny 1.98-inch blade made in high-end CTS-204P stainless steel. This steel has high wear and corrosion resistant properties which make it excellent for high performance knives and tools.

The blade is a double edged with a stonewash finish that will easily hide scratches and abrasions while also providing a non-reflective surface.

The Exocet comes with a 6061-T6 anodized aluminum handle with the thumb slider that activates the automatic double action mechanism on the side.

It comes with a reversible pocket clip that can double up as a money clip. Because it’s so wide, it doesn’t make a discreet carry or a comfortable one but it does make a cool money clip.

Specs

  • Total Length: 5.625-inch
  • Blade Length: 1.90-inch
  • Blade Thickness: 0.06-inch
  • Blade Width: 1.125-inch
  • Gross Weight: 3.0 oz

Pros

  • High quality knife that is great for tactical use
  • Pocket clip makes a cool money clip
  • Exceptionally small to fit discreetly in the hand
  • High performance double action auto mechanism
  • Wide handle allows for better grip

Cons

  • Pocket clip is too wide for comfortable use

The Exocet is the perfect weight and size for everyday carry and self defense. The blade allows you to perform light tasks and best of all, it’s legal in California.

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

 

The Best OTF Knives Buying Guide

OTF knives are pocket knives that have a wide variety of uses. Unlike other types of pocket knives like the EDC knives, OTF knives are not as many and very few companies produce them. OTF is the abbreviation for out the front, which describes how the blade deployment mechanism works.

Most pocket knives fold into the side of the handle and use various and innovative mechanisms to open and close the blade. The OTF blade uses a release switch or button that shoots the blade out from the front of the handle. These knives can be subdivided into different categories depending on the knife’s mechanical operation.

The most common OTF knives are the automatic OTF knives which come in two types. They include the double action OTF knives which use a spring-assisted release button to release and retract the blade. Single action knives use the release button to deploy the blade but you have to manually retract it.

As with other knives, when you go shopping for the best OTF knife, there are some features that you’ll need to consider and we’ve outlined some of them below.

Construction

OTF knives have few components but they need to be good quality so that you get long term use and good value. Good construction also ensures that the knife is durable and reliable for frequent use.

The use of good quality materials such as stainless steel and aluminum for the blade should be a priority. There are different grades of steel which vary with hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance.

The premium-grade steel is hardwearing and has good edge retention which also makes it hard to sharpen. Average steel grades are affordable and have good corrosion resistance but require frequent sharpening.

Most of the OTF knives reviewed here feature stainless steel handles that have been textured to add grip with a coating finish. The best synthetic material to use for handles is the G-10 laminate. It is an epoxy-filled fiberglass material that is lightweight and durable with checkered texturing for grip.

Blade Edge Types

Drop point blades offer the best versatility compared to other styles. So if you’re looking for a versatile blade, this would be your first consideration. The next thing to consider would be whether to get a serrated or a plain blade.

Plain blades are easy to sharpen but serrated blades have better cutting performance especially if you use your knife for outdoor activities. A good compromise is a partially serrated blade that will give you the best of both.

Something else to look out for is if you want a single or double-edged blade. A single edge blade has one side sharpened and is great for general utility.

Double edge blades have both edges sharpened and are good for combat knives because you get a pointy, spearhead type of blade that can pierce and slash effectively.

 

Deployment mechanism

The way the blade deploys from the handle affects how useful the knife is. As we mentioned earlier, automatic OTF knives have two deployment mechanisms.

But in case you missed it, there are two types of mechanisms. The single-action mechanism deploys the blade automatically, and then you retract it back manually.

The double-action knives have a mechanism working both ways, that is, automatic deployment and retracting. This type of knife would be the best choice for the obvious reason that it is easier to open with one hand.

Whichever one that you choose needs to have the mechanism working reliably. The closing position should be firm and safe. The opening should equally be firm but smooth and it should be reliably consistent

 

State Regulations

The deployment mechanism that an automatic OTF knife makes is almost similar to that of a switchblade which is illegal in many places.

But the main difference between a switchblade and an OTF knife is that a switchblade requires the mechanism to keep the blade retracted while the OTF knife needs the mechanism to deploy the blade.

We point this out to you because you’ll need to know if this type of knife is legal in your state. Get to know the regulations regarding the carry of knives in general because most states have classified the OTF as a weapon.

Versatility

The best investment is the one that allows you to have multipurpose use for your knife. But again, it all depends on your personal preference as to why you’re getting the OTF knife in the first place.

A self-defense OTF knife will have much less use as a general-purpose knife because the blade structure will be different even though all the other features are similar.

Extra Features

OTF knives come with extra features such as the glass breaker pommel which is effective for emergencies. Others include the belt or pocket clip which should be made of durable material.

An ambidextrous clip which allows you to adjust it to your convenience would be most useful. The sheath should also be durable and it should properly cover your blade.

Final Word

OTF knives make good pocket knives for outdoor activities because of their multifunctional nature. Also, most of these knives have military-grade features because they are developed for use by special forces and emergency response teams around the world. This assures you of high performance, reliability, and durability.

When we look at what makes the best OTF knife, we see that the double action knives offer the best one-handed operation and that the partially serrated blades offer the best variety of use.

There are many knives to choose from that have these features and more but our top pick is the Venom Tactical 3TR Military Combat Knife.

It features a powerful and partially serrated tanto blade made of premium quality steel and comes with a heavy-duty aluminum handle. Its double-action mechanism is the most superior that we’ve seen here and is reliable and durable even in extreme conditions.

The most obvious feature of OTF knives is the cool factor. They are aesthetically attractive which is another reason you should get one for your collection. Ultimately, we hope that your time with us has enabled you to decide which Out the front knife is best for you.

 

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