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Everything You’ll Ever Need To Know About Butterfly Knives



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Known for their lightning-fast deployment and quick concealment, butterfly knives are the perfect addition to your knife collection. Check out the post below to learn more about these awesome knives.

RELATED: Are Switchblades Legal? Knife Laws By State

In this article:

  1. Butterfly Knife Origin
  2. Butterfly Knives: The Basics
  3. Earliest Uses
  4. Reasons for Carrying
  5. What to Look for When Purchasing

The Complete Guide to Butterfly Knives

Butterfly Knife Origin


The butterfly knife is one of the most notable blade styles today. Also known as “Balisong” knife (translated from “broken horn” from the Philippines during the 20th century), these knives have origins that may date back to the 18th century.

The French claimed to have invented one of the earliest butterfly knives and even have illustrations dating back to 1705.

Butterfly Knives: The Basics

The butterfly knife consists of two counter-rotating handles that open to expose a single blade. The blade made from steel and sharpened at one end.

This knife has steel handles but does consist of different materials depending upon the style of the butterfly knife. Wood and brass are also some of the most popular materials butterfly knife handles.

At the end of the handle, a latch keeps the handles at a lock preventing them from opening unless you want to.

Earliest Uses

Some of the earliest uses of the butterfly knife are recorded amongst Spanish sailors in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is said that Spanish sailors used the butterfly knife as a tool for everyday use in order to safely operate canonry.

The Spanish butterfly knife consisted of a steel blade in order to cut fuses and a brass handle as brass is known to not cause a spark. This prevented unwanted explosions while surrounded by gunpowder.

In 1905 the earliest mass production of the butterfly knife began by the Hemming Cutlery company out of Connecticut. This version is famous American servicemen and a popular knife even throughout the propaganda campaign demonizing them in several states making them inaccessible later in the 20th century.

Reasons for Carrying


The butterfly knife makes a great tool as an addition to your E.D.C (everyday carry). Most butterfly knives fit easily and snug into a pocket.

Part of their convenience is that they do not require a sheath as the blade sits securely between the handles. The fact that there is no sheath means fewer components are necessary in order to deploy the blade in a scenario requiring self-defense.

The blade in a butterfly knife typically is only for self-defense use. Therefore, constant sharpening is not necessary for a butterfly knife.

RELATED: Choosing A Fixed Blade Survival Knife (Part 1)

What to Look for When Purchasing


There are several different schools in every state that teach the art of how to properly use butterfly knives for beginners and advanced individuals.

When shopping for a real butterfly knife it is important to know the difference between the actual self-defense blade and a fade blade. Butterfly fade blades are intended for beginners who are learning the art of the butterfly knife.

Generally, this ensures that they do not seriously injure themselves while doing so. These knives intended for self-defense will have a noticeably sharp blade.

Keep in mind the latch at the base of the handles as well. Ensure that the latch on the butterfly knife safely secures the handles in place while not in use.

The handles come in many different decorative designs that will ultimately increase the price value. However, a decent self-defense butterfly knife should range anywhere between $60 and $200.

If you purchase a decorative butterfly knife, chances of fading throughout the handle may occur if used for knife flipping.

There are several different companies that provide some of the best butterfly knives on the market. These companies include Benchmade, Bradley Cutlery and Microtech Custom.

Want to see the beauty of butterfly knife tricks? Check out this video from Kuma Films:

There is an entire culture that comes with the butterfly knife. There is an entire style of martial arts that focus on learning and training butterfly knives.

Much like the Karambit style blade, the butterfly knife has launched a reliable form of self-defense for everyday survival.

Would you consider the butterfly knife to be a great addition to your EDC? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!


Go to our Survival Life Store to shop some of our favorites knives on the market.

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Everything You'll Ever Need To Know About Butterfly Knives | https://survivallife.com/all-about-butterfly-knives/

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 8, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy

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  10. Saba Sheikh

    January 1, 2019 at 12:28 AM

    This article is very informative and well-written. Thumps up!

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  14. Bear

    May 11, 2019 at 7:50 AM

    Interesting that this site endorses these, but other sites do not. They site wobbly blades, likely to break. Maybe self-defense, but not my overall choice. I have several assisted opening knives that are more durable and useful.

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