Dual Action Automatic knives are often confused with Double Action Automatic knives. A dual action automatic is a knife that can be opened in two different ways. A dual action automatic knife is one that can be opened automatically with the touch of a button and it can be opened manually. A great example of this is the Pro-Tech Defiance series. You can open this knife by manually pushing the thumb stud open. The blade opens smoothly and locks up nice and tight. Or, you can push on a certain spot in the middle of the knife and the blade snaps right open. It opens fast. The benefit of this style of knife is that you can carry an automatic knife unobtrusively. For the majority of people, it will appear as just a very nice, manual folder. If you know the spot on this dual action automatic knife, then for you, it is also a great auto knife. At BladeOps, we think the Defiance is one of the very best dual action automatics on the market. If you are looking for a really well built dual action automatic at a lower price, we recommend the Hunter series in our value blade section.
A double action automatic is normally an out the front knife. The term “double action” stands for the fact that the knife can be opened and closed with a slide button or trigger. The very best example of this is one of Microtech’s out the fornt knives. Let’s take the Troodon series as an example. To open one of these knives, you push the slide button on the side of the handle towards the front of the knife. To close it, you push the same slide button down towards the base of the handle and the blade retracts. The other style of OTF knife, a single action out the front, can be fired with a button but then needs to be manually reset (closed). A very popular example of this knife is our Joker’s Wild Out the Front Knife. You open this knife by pushing on the button right in the middle of the handle. To close it, you push the button–which releases the blade–and then pull the slide that is on the side of the handle down until the blade locks back into the closed position.
In summary, a dual action is a knife that opens either manually or automatically. A double action knife, on the other hand, is one that opens and closes automatically–typically it refers to an OTF knife that opens and closes with a slide trigger.