What are some of the best assisted opening knives? We get that question quite a bit here at BladeOps. So I thought I would address the question in today’s blog entry.
There are several questions that must be addressed when looking for the best assisted opening knife. First, how much do you want to spend on your new knife. A $20 knife is priced lower than a $200 knife for a reason. But, it is possible, that for you, the $20 knife is the exact one that will meet all your needs. Or to paraphrase Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, if you get that knife, all your wildest dreams will come true.
Today, let’s look at some really great assist knives in the under $50 range. Several brands come to mind immediately. Smith & Wesson, Schrade, Kershaw as well as CRKT to name just a few. Which are the best?
Smith and Wesson has a Military and Police line of assist knives that are absolutely fantastic. Each one uses the MAGIC assist system which has been delighting knife users for several years. About three years ago, I carried the SWMP3 for about six months. I used it to cut everything from boxes to ABS sprinkler pipe. I even cut sod with it once when I ended up at a neighbor’s house helping him do some yard work and didn’t have anything else on hand. I abused the living daylights out of that little assist knife and never heard a complaint. It has a slide safety on the front that was always dependable. There are several different models and tons of variations available. Check them all the SWMP Assist Knives here. Models 1-3 are the smaller size and 4-6 are larger. These are dependable, tough, and durable knives that you can carry with confidence.
Schrade Assist Knives also use the MAGIC system to open. Very dependable, these knives are available in a wide variety of blade and handle styles. If you want a knife that has a sleek, modern look you could check out the SCHA5 series. If you prefer a beefy, military style handle and blade the SCHA6 series might be more to your liking. I carried a SCHA3 for a couple of months last year and was impressed most by the reliability. At the time, it was winter which meant I didn’t use it in quite the same abusive way that I used my S&W–it mostly was used for cutting boxes and opening small packages. The 5 and 6 series are both new this year. With the limited lifetime warranty, anodized aluminum handles and AUS 8 blade steel, the Schrade Assist knives are a great choice in the under $50 range. They also make a couple of Out the Front Assist Knives that are probably worth looking at if you would like an OTF.
CRKT has been making knives since 1994–and they have made a whole bunch of really great assist knives. Two of my favorites are the Endorser and the Moxie. They both use the OutBurst assist system–which is incredibly fast and dependable. The Endorser opens with a thumb stud and has a more classic look and feel to it. The Moxie opens the same way but has an overall outdoorsy feel to it. They both use an interesting mechanism called the FireSafe. The way it works is the thumb stud actually has a small mechanism at the top. When you press the thumb stud down (toward the blade) it actuates and releases the blade so you can flick it forward and the spring of the OutBurst system takes over and snaps the blade open. I’m sure there is a more technical way to describe it, but that is my layman’s effort. The system can take a few days getting used to, but after you have used it for a while you really begin to appreciate the extra blade security the FireSafe mechanism offers. It makes it virtually impossible to have an accidental open in your pocket. Check out these two great CRKT assist knives here.
Finally you have the Kershaw Assist knives. My absolute favorites in the Kershaw line of assist knives are the Cryo and the Cryo II. These knives are Rick Hinderer designs built with a flipper for easy open. A beefy framelock keeps the blade open. At an under $40 price these knives offer an amazing amount of value. I have the original Cryo and it is absolutely a fantastic knife. If you want smaller, go with the Cryo. If you prefer a bit bigger, get the Cryo II. Both models are available in a classic stainless steel finish or with a Ti-Nitride finish. Either way, you are going to be delighted. To see the full line of Kershaw assist knives go here, or to see the Kershaw Cryo Assist knives look here.