The Best Assisted-Opening Knives for Everyday Carry

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You keep an everyday carry knife handy to have the best tool for the job. With an easy-opening blade, you can spend less time opening a knife and more time actually using it. You might think that the only way to get this kind of speed is with an automatic knife, but you'd be wrong. The technology in assisted-opening everyday carry knives is now at the point where their speed rivals that of automatics.

There are a lot of different options out there for picking an assisted-opening EDC knife. We've put together a list of the best from what's available so far in early 2017.

The Case for Assisted Knives Over Automatics

Like automatics, assisted-opening knives are quick and easy to use with one hand. However, it's easier to carry an assisted-opening knife without falling afoul of the law. That's because you have to actually start opening them to a point where stored energy takes over and speeds things up. 

With an automatic knife (commonly called a "switchblade"), you don't actually move the blade yourself to get it open. They open at the press of a button (or switch), usually located on the handle.  That difference makes carrying automatics troublesome in most places compared to carrying assisted-openers.

Always check your local knife laws before buying a new knife!


The Best Assisted EDC Pocket Knives


Kershaw Scallion

The Kershaw Scallion is an excellent compact EDC choice for this category. Its 2.5” drop-point blade deploys in an instant via a flipper enhanced with SpeedSafe torsion bar technology. While it is an older design, it still remains popular in the EDC community. New production models of this knife include a frame lock for added reliability.

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Zero Tolerance 0350

If you're looking for a slightly bigger knife that still has a SpeedSafe flipper, take a look at the 0350. Everything about the design of this knife maximizes your ability to perform cutting tasks easily and safely. It also has a modified drop-point blade with a huge belly that helps it cut like a knife that's much larger.

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Benchmade 585 Mini Barrage

Benchmade's take on the assisted-opener integrates energy storage with their axis lock system. There is little to no blade play once you have the Mini Barrage open with a thumbstud flick. The blade on the Mini Barrage is one of the sharpest I've encountered. It has a very thin grind that remains sturdy because it's made out of M390 surgical stainless steel.

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CRKT Argus

The CRKT Argus has a unique assisted opening system that includes a safety as part of the thumb wheel in its design. While opening the knife, you naturally rotate the thumbwheel and the safety is disengaged. With it, you can avoid it opening accidentally in your pockets and causing serious problems for you.

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SOG Twitch II

The SOG Twitch II has the cleanest and classiest look out of the knives mentioned so far. It has a thin, drop-point AUS-8 blade with a full flat grind. The flipper enables quick one-handed deployment with SOG Assisted Technology. It also operates as a guard for your hands so that you don't accidentally cut yourself during hard use.

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Do you carry an assisted open knife? Leave a comment below with your favorite fast-opener that you think deserves a mention!

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Discussion (37 total)

I love carrying the Benchmade Emissary 470. Great 3 inch blade and super fast assisted opening.
My EDC blade is a Kershaw Blur with a plain edge. It lives in a cargo pocket (right next to the doggie poo bags) and I strop every couple of weeks to keep the edge sharp. I also have a Kershaw Leek flipper with G10 scales that is wicked sharp, holds its edge, is small enough to not be considered "tactical," but would serve in a tight spot. Both are great blades at attractive price points.
The Kershaw Link and the Kershaw Cryo II are probably some of the best buys you can find for EDC AO blades right now. Build quality, on the Link especially is outstanding.
I had a Cryo II for a while. Absolutely loved it. Got several of my friends Cryo IIs for Christmas gifts.
Another vote here for the Kershaw Speedsafe system. Love it. I have long fingers and find most thumb studs too stiff, too close to the pivot point, useless. Even on my Cryo, it's an effort not to cut myself trying to open the knife with the stud. Quick tip when you get a new Kershaw...add a drop of RemOil to the pivot point and flip the blade open 20-30 times. Deploy the blade and start backing off the pivot screw until you detect a bit of blade movement when locked. Start tightening the screw a bit at a time and test until the blade is solid and stop there. Smooth as butter!
My current EDC is a Kershaw Fatback, but I've previously carried a few of their knives, including the Blur and the Oso Sweet. The Blur was a bit heavy and bulky, and the Oso was slightly undersized for my liking. I love the shape and feel of the Fatback, and have stopped looking for new knives...for now.
Love my Kershaw Cryo II and speedsafe. Wanted a larger flipper so I was looking at a local sporting goods shop and was going to buy a ZT 0350TS, but only had one with serrated edge. Right next to it was a ZT 0301, really liked the knife and bought it. Now the ZT is my fav!
What about SpyderCo or Cold Steel ? They are my favorite EDC knifes.
i have two ... and LOVE them both !! ColdSteel Mini Recon 1 & SpyderCo Sage 1
My newest EDC is a Kershaw Grinder. Bought it on a wim to refresh what I carry. Love the Speedsafe assisted opening. Hasn't failed me once.
After many years experience with knives, I still have no idea why we need assisted opening?
Useful for one handed opening
No offense Boris, but that kinda sounds like a "these kids and their fancy knives, back in my day..." old guy comment :)
I get that way with some things I don't see the point behind, but that doesn't mean we can't embrace innovation. I carried a Spyderco for years because of the one-handed opening and to me, these knives are just the next step in the evolution (and a lot more affordable!)
All flippers or thumb stud knives are one handed opening without the kick of an assist spring. "Who need that extra kick" is my question mark point. I can only imagine those who has physical problem with their fingers.
Could I go through life without an assisted open knife. Absolutely. Definitely not necessary, you're right, but I like them and now prefer them for my EDC. I will admit though, there are days I miss my Spyderco.
I like the SOG Aegis Mini. 2oz of beautiful speed and sting.
I have the CRKT Tighe Rade, which I absolutely love. I've never seen a smoother action, and it's got a classy look too. The "flipper" opening is lightning quick and ultra quiet.
I've carried a Camillus HEAT - Darrel Ralph Designed Assisted Opening Linerlock for many years. Excellent knife and very fast opening.
I love my Kershaw Blur Black Serrated Kershaw 1670blkst! The price is right and the blade is partially serrated.
The new CRKT Graphite just became my new EDCBFF...
Wow that's an interesting looking blade! Is it a frame lock?
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