Best OTF Knives 2021: Top Brands Review

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If you’re on the lookout for a brand new knife but are confused by the wide range of options available for purchase, this review is for you. In this review, we’re going to take a closer look at 24 OTF knives from numerous brands that you could consider.

Apart from reviewing all the knives and highlighting their pros and cons, we’ll also share with you certain factors you should keep in mind before buying an OTF knife. So, without further ado, let’s get right into this review!

What Are OTF Knives?

We’ve already mentioned the phrase ‘OTF knives’ in the introduction, but if you don’t know what they are, read this section carefully before you move on to the reviews. OTF stands for ‘out the front’ and while it’s a phrase that’s thrown around a bit too casually these days, there’s a clear difference between genuine OTF knives and other knives that have been branded as OTF without much thought.

So what is an OTF knife and how is it different from other knives? Well, simply put, an OTF knife is one that features a sheathed blade that comes out directly from the top of the handle. Side-opening knives feature sheathed blades as well, but unlike OTF knives, the blades are deployed from the handle’s side.

Top Best OTF Knives Brands

Top 24 OTF Knife Brands

1. Hogue Knives Compound

The Compound from Hogue Knives is a quality product in terms of both style and substance. It’s a USA-made knife. This double-action knife features a Type III anodized aluminum internal casing, which ensures that a smooth bearing surface makes contact with the blade and as a result, delivering incredible strength across various deployed situations. The grip is slip-resistant and also very comfortable yet tough. Even in the slickest conditions, this knife is unlikely to slip out of your hand.

When it comes to firing the blade out of its sheathe, the knife depends on a dual action trigger that can be easily accessed. The blade itself is a thing of beauty too, and is 3.5” CPM black PVD-coated with a thickness of 0.125”. It boasts of a hardness of 58 – 61 HRC, making it a knife that’s super strong. Its total weight is 3.6 ounces and it’s 4.9” closed.

Hogue 34170 Knives EX-01 Folder 3.5" Drop Point Blade, Matte Black
  • 3.5" tumbled finish drop point blade
  • Matte black aluminum frame

2. Microtech Ultratech

When shopping for a genuine OTF knife, you’ll have to pick from options that range from the very basic to the amazingly advanced. The Microtech Ultratech is the latter sort of knife and right now, it’s one of the most high-end OTF knives out there. The knife looks stunning, with its black aluminum handle with the iconic Microtech claw logo being one of the highlights when you see the knife for the first time. The thumb slide may take some time getting used to, but once you’re comfortable, it’ll feel super smooth.

The CTS-204P blade is corrosion-resistant and is an upgrade from the Elmax steel that featured in previous generation models. However, sharpening this 3.44” long blade does require some effort. There’s also a pocket clip to help you carry this knife around with you. All in all, we’re mightily impressed with this beast of an OTF knife and highly recommend it to you, particularly if you want nothing but the best.

3. Microtech Exocet

If you’re on the lookout for an OTF pocket knife, look no further than the Microtech Exocet, a USA-made dual action OTF knife introduced in late 2019. It features a 1.98” blade with an overall length of 5.625” and a weight of 2.75 oz. In terms of the finish, you can opt for all three finishes that have become hallmarks of Microtech knives; stonewash, black, and uncoated blade. There’s a pocket clip that you can use not just to carry it around easily, but also to store your debit cards and cash.

The black anodized aluminum handle looks great but if it brushes against hard objects frequently, it will display signs of wear. Bolted to the pommel is a triangular impact tool, which looks nice and is pretty useful in terms of securing the pocket clip. It also incorporates a lanyard hole successfully. Last but not the least, the slider gets the balance right between not requiring too much force and wearing out your thumb.

Read more: Best Automatic Knives Reviews 2021

4. Guardian Tactical Recon-035

The Recon 035 from Guardian Tactical is yet another high-quality OTF knife that has an overall length of 7.75”, a blade length of 3.375”, and a blade thickness of 0.14”. Its Elmax blade is quite the performer and the black anodized handle delivers on the durability front. The knife opening action is incredibly smooth and responsive and its thumb slide design is one of the most unique out there. There’s a convenient locking mechanism as well, which is definitely something that needs to feature on some of this knife’s competitors.

The stonewashed blade looks great but more importantly, it does what its supposed to wonderfully well. Carrying the knife around is also a piece of cake, thanks to the pocket clip whose stainless steel construction guarantees convenience of portability for a long time to come.

5. Piranha Rated-R

Piranha is no stranger to the limelight as far as OTF knives are concerned. The company is among the most experienced at creating automatic knives and that experience is reflected in all its products, including the Piranha Rated-R. It’s a USA-made dual action OTF knife that features a two-tone finished stainless steel 154-CM tanto blade and an aluminum handle with an eye-catching black finish. Its overall length is 8.125” and blade length is 3.50”.

The design is lightweight and the knife weighs only 2.83 oz, making it one of the most pocket-friendly OTF knives. From a gripping standpoint, the knife really does excel and it’s an excellent alternative to OTF knives created by Microtech, which feature grips that sometimes wear out with frequent rough use. What really makes this knife stand out is how it looks when deployed; a look that’s straight out of a movie that features a lot of samurais and their iconic samurai swords.

BUCKNBEAR KNIVES Piranha Tactical 3.6in Knife, Army Green
  • The fixed blade tactical knife is made of D2 stainless steel
  • The fixed blade knife comprises 3. 6" blade length and 8. 5" overall length

6. Benchmade Phaeton

The Benchmade Phaeton is a masterpiece of a knife and its highlight is the S30V steel blade, which is known for its rust and corrosion-resistant properties. It’s also incredibly tough and makes the Phaeton one of the most durable OTF knives in the market. The drop point shape offers great versatility, and while critics may not consider it the best when it comes to piercing, it is quite good for tactical use. Its T6-6061 anodized aluminum handle is another excellent feature, lending sturdiness to the knife. However, using it in cold conditions may not result in the most comfortable experience.

This dual action knife comes with a reversible pocket clip that’s ideal for deep-carrying, i.e. it can stay totally concealed if you want it to. You can also trust it not to slip out from your pocket. The only drawback is the fact that sharpening the blade is a difficult process. Before you buy and use this knife, you should check your local laws thoroughly, as it’s not a knife that’s legal to use across all states.

7. Benchmade Autocrat

If you’re searching for an OTF knife that can get you through the toughest and trickiest of situations, you should seriously consider the Benchmade Autocrat. EDC and tactical enthusiasts will love the opening mechanism of the knife, along with its high-end components, which make it among the finest OTF knives that money can buy. Its dual-edge CPM-S30V blade is versatile and makes the knife a handy tool across a wide range of applications. With a length of 3.71” and a thickness of 0.105”, the blade stands out as one of the most impressive features of this knife.

The tombstone-shaped American G-10 handle impresses as well and all in all, it’s a no nonsense handle that’s incredibly comfortable without being too flashy. The back handle scale features a pocket clip that makes it convenient for users to carry this knife around with them. Made in the USA, the Benchmade Autocrat is nothing short of a combat soldier’s dream.

8. Microtech Combat Troodon

The Combat Troodon is the third Microtech OTF knife to feature in this review and for good reason. It bears all the hallmarks of Microtech’s iconic knife design and construction, and the best thing is that buyers can customize it in a variety of ways to suit their preferences. With an overall length of 9.65” and a dual-edged spear point blade that’s 3.8” long, this is the perfect knife for EDC. Of course, you should first confirm whether or not this type of knife is legal in your jurisdiction.

The knife is available in a variety of finishes, but the satin finish is the most popular. The genuine M390 steel blade boasts of good edge retention and unlike some of its contemporaries, it can be sharpened without going through much hassle. It’s also a knife that is simple to use, even when you hold it in one hand. The hard anodized aluminum handle looks and feels sophisticated and even though regular, prolonged use can lead to wear, it’s worth it in the long run. The deep-carry pocket clip is also quite effective in concealing the knife.

9. Benchmade Infidel

The Benchmade Infidel was introduced way back in 2006, but it managed to stand through the tests of time and is still ranked as a formidable OTF knife. However, it’s also been the subject of some controversy, as some critics have had a go at it for being too expensive for what it has to offer. In terms of dimensions, the Infidel has a blade that’s 3.9” long with an overall length of 8.7”. It weighs just under 5 oz and both the blade and handle manage to pack decent punches, thanks to the former being super thin and the latter providing a solid grip. All in all, the blade to handle ratio is quite satisfactory.

The blade features D2 tool steel and you can pick from either a matte satin or black-coated finish. You can trust the steel to get you through the toughest situations without any problems. It also stays sharp for a long time, but be warned – sharpening this blade is no easy feat. The 6061 T-6 aluminium handle features a removable pocket clip. The handle is comfortable to grip and you can count on it in wet conditions as well. The dual action auto-deployment is also a positive. The only major downside is its price, which is definitely on the higher side.

10. BTI Tools Schrade Viper OTF Knife

The Schrade Viper OTF knife is available in two variants; 4 series and 5 series. The only major difference between the two is that the 4 series knife features combo edge bayonet blades and the 5 series variant has dual standard edge bayonet blades. The overall length of the knife is 8.5” and the blade is 3.2” long. The AUS 8 steel blades across both variants are quite tough and provide great competition for some of the other steels mentioned so far in this review.

The handle is made from black anodized aluminum that’s high on comfort, even during single-handed use. A deep-carry pocket clip is a part of the package and is very convenient for carrying the knife around in a concealed manner. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind the fact that this is an assist model and not an automatic model like most of the previously-reviewed knives in this review,  there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider this.

Schrade SCHF27 11.5in Stainless Steel Full Tang Fixed Blade Knife and Tool with 6.6in Drop Point Blade and TPE Handle for Outdoor Survival, Camping and Bushcraft
  • DIMENSIONS: 11.5 inch (29.2 cm) overall length with a blade length of 6.6 inches (16.7 cm) and a weight of 9.9 ounces
  • DURABLE: Blade is made of reliable 8Cr13MoV Titanium Coated High Carbon S.S. with a black, textured thermoplastic elastomer handle

11. Asheville Steel Para-X

The Asheville Steel Para-X is one of the most unique OTF knives you can buy, and it is made unique by its flame-shaped kris style blade. The 3.50” long blade features S30V stainless steel, which we’ve already praised in this review. The T6-6061 black anodized aluminum handle boasts of tactical black hardware. The opening and closing mechanism of the knife makes it very user-friendly as well.

Weighing 4.50 oz, the knife is quite lightweight and its deep-carry pocket clip allows users to conveniently store it in their pockets. While feature-wise, this knife isn’t anything out of the ordinary, it’s definitely recommended for people who want their OTF knives to be a bit different from the ones with conventionally-shaped blades.

12. Benchmade Precipice

Ever since Benchmade parted ways with Heckler and Koch, it has created several designs that are very reminiscent of some of the older H&K knives. If you remember the H&K Epidemic, then the Benchmade Precipice is sure to take you back, as it’s more or less the same from a design standpoint. However, there are several significant upgrades as well. For starters, the blade features CPM-S30V steel, which is one of the most high-end and expensive steels out there. Even though it’s much tougher to sharpen than the Epidemic’s D2 steel, its corrosion and rust resistance are exemplary.

The T6-6061 anodized billet black aluminum handle provides a comfortable grip. However, this knife disappoints in rainy conditions, as the handle gets quite slippery when wet. The reversible, deep-carry pocket clip is certainly a pro and the gray trigger looks cool, apart from playing a key role in the opening mechanism. In dry and warm conditions, very few OTF knives can compare with the Benchmade Precipice.

13. Protect Dark Angel

ProTech, a USA-based family-owned company, has a fantastic range of automatic knives and the Dark Angel is its premium OTF knife. The 3.75” blade employs 154CM steel, a top-notch stainless steel created by Crucible. Apart from having corrosion-resistant properties, it’s a blade that can do some serious business thanks. The T6-6061 hard anodized aluminum handle is something that the Dark Angel has in common with most of its contemporaries, and while it’s extremely comfortable to grip, it can get a little uncomfortable if you use this knife in cold weather.

Other standard features include a deep-carry pocket clip and a nylon sheath. One of the concerns you’d have regarding the sheath is that since it’s made of nylon, it can get worn out with frequent use. However, the fact that it’s nylon makes the knife a tad cheaper than knives with leather or kydex sheaths. Overall, this knife has to go down as one of the best everyday OTF knives you can buy.

14. G&G Hawk Deadlock

While all the knives we’ve reviewed so far are quality products, they’ve also faced sharp criticism from technical users regarding one aspect; blade play. But that’s where the G&G Hawk Deadlock manages to stand out, and you can expect this knife to serve you well for the longest time without ever getting wiggly. Its secondary lock mechanism reflects the fact that Gavin & Grant are definitely learning from the mistakes that their competitors are making. However, beyond the blade play benefits, there’s not much that’s different between the Hawk Deadlock and the ones we’ve already paid attention to.

Its blade features CTS-204P, which has excellent rust and corrosion-resistance, and is quite tough as well. G&G also offers carbon fiber or titanium handles depending on the buyer’s preferences. Both carbon fiber and titanium are better than aluminum in terms of handling, especially in cold conditions. Buyers also get to pick from a single-edged spear point shape and a hollow dagger grind shape.

Read also: Best Spring Assisted Knife in 2021

15. Mod/Harkins Triton

Masters of Defense and J.A. Harkins, a custom knifemaker, collaborated to create the Mod/Harkins Triton, probably the only OTF knife that’s famed for its appearance in a movie. It featured in Quantum of Solace, the James Bond movie, and as far as production OTFs go, no knife is better than the Triton. When you first see the Triton, you’ll be bowled over by the anodized black aluminum handle, but it’s not just about the looks. The handle features trac-tec grip inserts, which ensures that gripping this knife isn’t an issue, even in cold and wet conditions.

The Triton’s blade has a dual-edge dagger grind shape is available in two variants; the black-coated and half serrated version and a plain version. The blade is 3.6” long and features 154CM steel, which is both rust and corrosion resistant and offers a fair degree of hardness. Even though it resembles a mid-range OTF, the Triton is only 4.10 oz in terms of weight, which is surprising. All in all, it’s a high-end knife that does justice to its price tag.

Buck Knives 0027RDS Clearwater 9-Inch Fishing Fillet Knife
  • This Great Hunting Fixed Blade Knives is used for the outdoors.
  • This is a product of the company Buck

16. Tac Force Assisted Opening Tactical Knife

The Tac Force Assisted Opening Tactical Knife isn’t technically an OTF knife, but since it’s marketed (wrongly) as one sometimes, we thought we’d might as well include it. Its 3.25” long stainless steel knife is quite a rugged performer. However, this knife is a fraction of the price that you’d have to pay for a genuine OTF knife, so you can’t expect the knife to serve you as well as a genuine OTF would. So if you’re buying this as an alternative to a high-end OTF, keep your expectations low.

The blade has a plain-edge drop point blade and the knife features a flashlight, which is convenient when you’re in the dark. However, overall, there’s just no way that this knife can be pitted against the best OTFs in the business. It may look great, but in terms of functionality, it lags behind the others that we’ve reviewed previously.

17. HX Outdoors Tactical Knives

HX Outdoors is a Chinese brand that has some decent tactical knives in its product catalog. However, once again, this isn’t really a genuine OTF knife brand. While its products do appear quite sophisticated, in truth, they are much cheaper alternatives made mostly from low-end components. The tactical knives offered by the brand offer K10 handles and blades featuring 440C steel, which is decent considering their low price tags. The blade is 3.7 mm thick, which is okay for a tactical knife, but if you’re on the lookout for a bushcraft knife, you should look for a knife with greater blade thickness.

The kydex sheath is a great feature that facilitates easy storage and all in all, the drop point tips of the blades offer good penetration. So if you’re looking for a quality knife on a strict budget, HX Outdoor Tactical Knives are certainly worth considering.

Read also: Best Tactical Knives Reviews 2021

18. OG Rapid Fire Collection Knife

The Off-Grid Knives Rapid Fire Collection Knife is a knife that’s great for camping-related applications. It’s yet another product on this review that isn’t a true OTF knife, but deserves a mention, as it offers great quality for its low price. The knife has a combo blade that is 3.75” long features Cryo Japanese AUS8 steel that’s wear-resistant and high on strength. Handling the knife is quite easy as well, making it perfect for use with both hands and single-handed use.

The weight of the knife is 5.68 oz, which makes it slightly heavier than most of the knives we’ve reviewed so far. All in all, if you’re looking for a budget EDC knife, do consider this knife.

19. Schrade Viper Assisted Opening Knife

The Schrade Viper Assisted Opening Knife offers a 3” long blade that’s ideal for EDC applications. The knife weighs just under 5 oz, making it a knife on the heavier side, but that doesn’t make it difficult to handle. The blade features Krupp 4116 stainless steel, a fine-grained steel that offers great edge retention, hardness, and corrosion resistance. Buyers can choose from a number of blade shapes, even though the plain tanto edge has emerged as the most popular choice.

The assisted mechanism is not bad at all once you get used to it. Schrade has also included two safety features to ensure that the knife doesn’t open accidentally. The handle is made of 1061 machined aircraft anodized aluminum and is very well made. There’s also a steel pocket clip that makes the knife easy to conceal.

20. Kershaw Assisted Opening Pocket Knife

The Kershaw Assisted Opening Pocket Knife features nitride-coated blade made of 8CR13MOV titanium blade along with a titanium handle. The titanium handle is undoubtedly the highlight of this knife, making it easy to grip even in wet conditions. Another great feature is its SpeedSafe assisted opening technology.

The knife weighs a little more than 4 oz and additional features include a lanyard hole and a 4-position deep-carry pocket clip. The best thing about this knife is that it’s not as expensive as some of the high-end OTF knives featured earlier in this review.

Kershaw Clash (1605); Multi-Function; 3.1 Inch 3Cr13MoV Steel Blade; Bead-Blasted; Glass-Filled Synthetic Polymer Handle; SpeedSafe Assisted Opening; Liner Lock; Flipper; Reversible Pocketclip; 4.3 oz
  • Clash has handsome contrast: blade, pocketclip and flipper are gray matte; handle scales and screws are black matte
  • Pre-drilled holes allow user to change tip position or side on which knife carries

21. Watch Buckshot Pocket Knife

The Wartech Buckshot Pocket Knife is an extremely handy tool to have around, especially when it comes to camping and survival. It has a cleaver razor blade that’s 3.5” long and features 3CR13 stainless steel. Both the blade and the handle feature the iconic Damascus pattern, making it a knife that looks stunning. The right-hand thumb push opening mechanism is quite neat.

Overall, it’s a decent knife if you only intend to use it for basic applications. However, if you’re looking for a genuine OTF knife with high-end components, you should check out some of the knives we reviewed earlier.

22. DH Benchmade Infidel Greatest Otf Knife

The DH Benchmade Infidel Greatest OTF knife is a USA-made product that features a high-quality stainless steel blade. The blade’s anti-corrosion coating makes it a knife that will serve you well for a long time.

The anti-slip handle is also a great feature, making the knife comfortable to use in a variety of conditions. All in all, it’s a knife that looks good and one you can rely on for a wide range of applications.

Read also: Best American Made Pocket Knives Review 2021

23. Oerla Tactical Outdoor Duty Knife

The Oerla Tactical Outdoor Duty Knife is a knife that works great for daily applications. Its high-carbon stainless steel blade offers high penetration and its fiberglass handle facilitates easy handling. The blade has a length of 3.9” and the knife’s total weight is 10 oz, making it one of the heaviest knives in this review.

Easy portability is guaranteed thanks to the lightweight kydex sheath. There’s great edge retention as well thanks to the accurate cryogenic tempering, which aids in the increase of the crystalline structure of the steel. Overall, this is one of the most value-for-money knives that money can buy.

24. Benchmade Tactical Fixed Knife

The Benchmade Tactical Fixed Knife brings all the good qualities of Benchmade knives to the table, and it’s a knife you can count on for a long time. Benchmade offers numerous options to buyers for both the blade and the handle, and there’s a wide variety of blade lengths, shapes, and coatings to pick from.

Benchmade knives have received universal acclaim from both experienced knife users and amateurs. They feature high-end components and are among some of the durable knives available in the market. Their price tags may be a bit high, but of course, if you want quality, you can’t expect to get it at a cheap price.

So, that almost brings this OTF knife review to an end. In the following section, we’ll take a look at certain factors you should keep in mind when purchasing an OTF knife.

OTF Knives

Buying Guide

Cost

All high-end genuine OTF knives are quite costly and that’s not surprising when you consider that they feature some of the most top-notch components. If your budget is too tight, you should consider some of the alternatives that we’ve listed in the second half of our review. But if money is no object for you, you should definitely consider OTF knives manufactured by brands such as Microtech and Benchmade.

In any case, it’s best to not get a knife that claims to be OTF with a price tag that’s less than $150. Most likely, it won’t be a genuine OTF knife. If a standard pocket knife is enough to cater to your requirements, you can get one that’s much cheaper. Why spend $100 on a knife that’s marketed as an OTF knife but isn’t one?

Mechanism

Different OTF knives have different opening mechanisms. While the most high-end OTFs feature a dual action automatic opening mechanism, there are others that rely on semi-automatic or manual mechanisms. The mechanism you choose depends on what you’re comfortable with.

Of course, if you want to keep pace with the times, a dual action mechanism would be ideal, as it incorporates the latest tech. But if your intended use of the knife is basic, going for semi-automatic, assisted, or manual mechanisms won’t really carry much significance. The only thing that the opening mechanism affects is the price. Knives with dual action opening mechanisms tend to be on the pricier side, while the ones featuring assisted and manual mechanisms are more affordable.

Edge Type

A lot of OTF knives have single-edged blades, while others have double-edged blades. But which one should you go for? Once again, it all boils down to how you intend to use your OTF knife. If you need it for applications where you need to place your thumb on one side of the blade for leverage, purchasing a knife with a double-edged blade would be a bad idea. Instead, you’d be better off with a single-edged blade.

Double-edged blades are better for combat and survival purposes, where it’s the penetration of the blade that matters the most. So, before you invest in a costly OTF knife, figure out what you’ll be using it for.

Last update on 2021-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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