At some point or another, just about everyone has seen a butterfly knife being used. Whether on TV, in the movies, or perhaps even a live demonstration, the hand flourish used to open a butterfly knife is pretty much unmistakable.
Unlike a fixed-blade knife or switchblade, a butterfly knife uses specific hand motions to expose the blade concealed within the grooves of the handles. Butterfly knives are some of the most popular products here at Blade-City.com, so to help our customers with their purchasing decision, we’ve put together this article with everything you’ll need to know about butterfly knives before you buy.
What Is a Butterfly Knife?
First, let’s talk a little bit about what a butterfly knife is. A butterfly knife, also known as a balisong knife, is a trendy tool consisting of a blade with two handles called flippers. The handles rotate on a pivot and have grooves on their interior sides to conceal the blade when closed.
Many people believe the birthplace of the balisong knife to be the Philippines. Its roots in the Philippines date back to 800 AD with a similar knife that people could open with one hand to use as a weapon or utility tool.
How To Open a Butterfly Knife
While opening a butterfly knife may look easy, it actually requires a considerable amount of practice. If you don’t know how to use a butterfly knife properly, you could seriously injure yourself or someone else. If you’re just starting out with your knife, you can follow these steps to open the knife and expose the blade. Remember, this knife is not a toy, so be very cautious as you get started.
- Hold the closed knife on its safe side, which is dull.
- Flick your wrist in a backward motion while holding the knife in front of you. The movement should resemble the action you would make when casting a fishing line. The motion will open the handle facing the blade’s sharp side, hitting your thumb and forefinger.
- Flick your wrist down to close the knife.
- Flip the knife upward while moving your thumb to the side. Now the handle from the blade’s dangerous side will touch the safe side and completely extend the knife.
Learning how to operate a butterfly knife takes a lot of practice and skill, so it’s always best to practice with a training balisong before moving on to the real thing.
Top Butterfly Knife Brands
Just like with switchblades and OTF knives, there are a few big names in the world of butterfly knives. These brands are known for the quality of the products as well as their innovation within the space.
- Benchmade: Whether you want a blade for self-defense or to perform tricks, you can’t go wrong with a Benchmade butterfly knife. This American company wins awards and receives recognition for its superior designs and innovations.
- Bear & Son Cutlery: This brand has a rich history of blade-making with butterfly knives that are beautiful and comfortable to hold.
- Bear Ops: As a division of Bear & Son Cutlery, Bear Ops focuses primarily on tactical knives for emergency, military, and survival situations. Their butterfly knives are visually attractive and have superior craftsmanship.
- Hom Design: Brand creator Jerry Hom specializes in making products that have unique designs of high quality.
- Bladerunners Systems: As a relatively new butterfly knife manufacturer, the brand’s owners are expert balisong users and specialize in making knives with the right balance and materials to perform attention-grabbing tricks with ease.
Some Of Our Favorite Butterfly Knives
Choosing the right butterfly knife is like choosing the right car - it’s all about your personal experience and preferences. Blade-city.com carries a wide range of butterfly knives that work for users with any budget, experience level, or stylistic preferences. Here are a few of our favorites.
If you’re just getting started out with a balisong, you’re going to want to start with a practice butterfly knife. A butterfly knife training knife will have all of the same operations and features as a normal butterfly knife, however, it has a dull or plastic blade in place of a sharp steel one.
While there are a number of great training options out there, the VT Bali-Hoo Butterfly Trainer is specifically for learning. Its lightweight aluminum handles and dull stainless steel blade perfectly mimic the weight and feel of a real balisong knife, making it the ideal choice for practicing tricks.
This USA-made butterfly knife is for anyone who wants to take their butterfly knife tricks to the next level. The blade has tapering at the tip with extra weight to allow for a smooth pendulum effect when you open and close it.
The Lucha blade is durable 14C28N stainless steel with a steel handle, giving the knife superior corrosion resistance. Kershaw is well-known for its strategic design, which you will see in this knife. It has two KVT ball-bearing pivots for quick and easy flipping.
This Bear & Son butterfly knife model has a stainless steel drop point blade with a hollow blade grind. Its zinc handles have a black epoxy coating for extra durability and a skeletonized design to make the grip more lightweight and comfortable to hold. The Black Drop Point Butterfly Knife blade also has an epoxy coating, giving the entire weapon a crisp, uniform appearance.
The overall knife weight is 4.90 ounces, and its center of balance is closer to the middle of the handles, so it feels lighter than it weighs. All of its joints consist of non-adjustable rivets, but it delivers a smooth operation.
Whether you’re a survivalist, a member of law enforcement, a military veteran, or someone who plans to spend lots of time outdoors, the Bear Ops Bear Song V balisong knife is one of the better butterfly knives to keep on hand. Its design and material allow for users to operate the blade in harsh conditions.
The handles are black aircraft aluminum with a carbon fiber coating to increase its strength and resistance to scratches and corrosion. The blade is a 1095 carbon steel single-edged dagger with a black powder finish to reduce light refraction. The Bear Song V’s double tang pin design, phosphorus washers, and precision ball bearing surfaces allow for a smooth balance and even weight distribution for the entire knife.
The FGX Balisong is a treat for anyone who likes flipping butterfly knives. It consists of non-metal materials like Griv-Ex through injection molding, but it doesn’t lack performance.
The tanto blade has a sharp, reinforced point that slices with ease. The engineering of its handles and retaining latch give the butterfly knife the appropriate weight to provide users hours of fun while still being completely functional as a self-defense tool.
Buying The Right Butterfly Knife For You
Butterfly knives are definitely much more of a “showpiece” than your traditional switchblade or OTF knife. These knives are one part performance and one part function, making them extremely popular among a variety of different groups.
While butterfly knives can be used for doing tricks and impressing your friends, these knives still have tons of practical use for utility, hunting, camping, and even self-defense. No matter how you intend to use this weapon, stay safe by following all balisong knives laws. If you’re interested in purchasing one of our top butterfly knife models but still aren’t sure which is right for you, feel free to reach out to our experienced customer support team for assistance.