In this article, we will help you figure out what the best-assisted opening knife is on the market for the money. We will not only discuss the advantages of having an assisted opening blade, but we’ll also get into the different blade edge options available before finally getting into specific models and what makes them so enticing given their price point.
Now, when it comes to looking for a knife, there are a lot of things to consider. And sometimes, paralysis by analysis begins to set in when you find a wide variety of items you have to take into account. Things such as a knife’s look, balance, quality, and even their color will all be considered.
With that said, however, the number one thing that will often make or break a decision usually falls down to price.
Can you really justify spending $150 on a given knife when the $25 one looks so similar? What does your budget (or your partner) have to say about the matter? Can you afford the knife of your dreams or will some sort of compromise or sacrifice have to be made?
Below, we have collected five knives that feature the assisted opening mechanic. Please use it to help you better get an idea of what blade may be best for you. We have categorized each knife listed in the interactive table based on model, steel/material, price, blade length, and customer review rating (thanks to Amazon).
Pricing Structure: $ = $1-30 | $$ = $31-60 | $$$ = 61 and above
|Benchmade P30 (HK)||8CR13 stainless steel||2.95"||$$||4|
|Gerber Swagger Drop Point Knife||G-10/Stainless Steel Handle||3.25''||$$||3.7|
|Kershaw Clash||8CR13MOV steel with bead-blasted finish||3''||$$||4.6|
|SOG Aegis Knife||AUS-8 steel||3.5''||$$$||4.5|
Why an Assisted Opening Knife?
One of the first things you must ask yourself is “Why do I want an assisted opening knife?” This is the most important question you will ask throughout this process, as a knife for show does not necessarily have to put up with everything that a heavily utilized knife will have to endure and will focus more on appearance rather than basic function.
If you are looking for a knife for self-defense, for example, then you know you need a practical knife that can take some abuse as opposed to a beautiful-looking blade that’s more flash than substance. The same is true with any knife with an assisted opening mechanism. So let’s dive a bit deeper.
There are few options when it comes to assisted opening knives. All of them require you to open the knife to a certain degree before the opening mechanism will kick in and do the rest of the work for you.
They work by using a spring to open the blade, as opposed to gravity, which would have them classified as a switchblade (which is illegal in most states and countries). Most blades have a safety mechanism in the form of a lock on them, however, this is not always the case and it is important to check this prior to purchase so there are no unfortunate accidents with your new knife.
Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling pocket knives currently for sale on Amazon:
Depending on usage again, durability is usually a major factor in determining a blade’s worth. This is usually the thing you will hear knife owners complain about first with knives that are subpar. Knife owners can be quite vocal if a blade does not live up to expectations.
You can therefore check on a knife by reading forums, talking to other knife owners and even looking at how long a knife has been in production. Knife companies such as Spyderco have been making knives for over 3 decades and are commonly listed in the top 10 for various knives over the years.
As with most pocket knives, you can get the blade with one of many different edges, all of which have specific purposes and they all have their ups and downs.
- Plain edge
The plain edge is good for doing slicing and smooth cuts. This is ideal for self-defense knives and all-purpose knives where you do not need or want the knife to grab ahold of anything. Rather, you want it to slide through with minimal effort.
- Combo Edge
The combo edge is the best of both worlds, and yet strangely, is the worst of both worlds too. It allows the user the opportunity of using either a plain edge or a serrated edge depending on their needs. This makes it a good all-around knife, but like a Jack-of-all-Trades, it is the master of none.
- Serrated Edge
The serrated knife is good for sawing through objects when it needs to grip and shred. Branches and rope are two prime examples of things a serrated edge is great at doing. With that said, for tasks such as self-defense, a plain edge or even a combo edge would be much better suited.
The average assisted opening blade is usually around the 3-inch mark. It is small enough to be carried and held in the palm of your hand, light enough to be easily opened and used yet heavy duty enough to withstand a fair amount of abuse. Assisted open knives are as fast, if not faster in experienced hands, to open as an automatic open knife yet are legal to a broader market. This is the main reason it is favored by most as it is good at its job while remaining compact, legal and accessible.
Table of Knives
Now, here are our thoughts on two knives specifically that we think stand out not just in terms of their quality, but their price.
Benchmade HK P30
The P30 Assist is a nice little blade weighing in at 2.2 oz. with a 2.95” blade and an overall length of 6.75”. This blade is a collaboration with HK and is an import as opposed to their standard, military and gold lines which are all made in the United States. Rest assured, all of the knives made by Benchmade have passed their strict quality control and therefore should become a non-issue (and even if it does, your knife likely comes with a warranty).
Like most Benchmade knives, there is a selection when it comes to the edge on the blade and you can opt for either a combo edge or a plain edge. Either way, both options have a modified drop-point tip and both are made from 8CR13 stainless steel.
This knife is ideal for an everyday carry knife and the plain edge would be good for a self-defense knife if needed (although if self-defense is the primary purpose, there are knives that may be better as the grip may become slippery in a sweaty hand or in wet weather).
In fact, the scales on the handle aren’t the best—but one could also argue that because the handle isn’t overwhelming grippy, it can be pulled out of the pocket in a much more hassle-free fashion.
In all, it is a quality product without Benchmade’s usual price.
The Benchmade HK P30 can be found for less than $70, and if you shop carefully online, you might even find it for a hair under $50.
Now admittedly, the Skyline is NOT an assisted-opening knife, but I think it’s small and capable of easily being carried so well, it’s worth a brief mention here. In fact, when it was designed, you can tell that size was heavily on their minds as this weights in at just 2.3 oz.
The blade is 3 1/8” long with an overall length of 7 3/8”. The steel used in this knife is the Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel, which is done by the same company that provides the surgical steel used for medical devices. It is corrosion-resistant and holds an edge remarkably well and requires little maintenance.
This knife is not the most expensive and yet performs past its price expectation. It is small, nimble and easy to handle, and while it may feel small in larger hands, it will still admirably stand up for the person who requires it for self-defense.
You can find the Kershaw Skyline online for about $80 or $90 on the high end and $45 to $50 on the low end.
Granted, this isn’t a “budget” price, but remember, we’re discussing finding you the best knife for the money. In other words, it’s not about which knife is the cheapest, it’s about which knife gives you the biggest bang for your buck.
Assisted opening knives are favored over other knives due to their versatility and their ease of use but also favored over their close relatives, the automatic opening knives, in that they are legal throughout most of the United States and the world.
Automatic opening blades are a special class of knives which are generally reserved for military and law-enforcement use only, as they are considered too dangerous for the average person, which is fairly accurate.
The other reason they are illegal and assisted knives usually squeak by is that these kind of knifes cannot be accidentally deployed and has the versatility of a pocket knife without having to pull the blade out.
As different countries, states and even cities have varying bylaws for and against assisted knives, it is important to check the area where you are residing to ensure you are not breaking any laws in the purchase or possession of an assisted opening knife.
In all, buying a blade with an assisted opening mechanic is about the same as buying any knife. It is all about personal preference, where your priorities lie and ultimately your budget.
For more great reviews of knives, be sure to return to Reliable Knife!
- If you enjoyed this article, please join the Reliable Knife Facebook page!