Knife Guide: The 5 Basic Knife Types and Uses

Type 1 – Manual Folding Knives

With this type of knife, it requires you to physically open the blade, using a thumb stud, a cutout, or some other manual system and the blade closes into the handle with no assisted mechanism.

There are three main types of folding knives: single blade, multi-blade, and multi-tools (aka Swiss Army type knives).

1) Single-Blade Manual Folding Knives

Smith & Wesson Border Guard Liner Lock

☝️ Most widely used because of simplicity

📏 Come in a variety of shapes and sizes/lengths

🔒 Often have a locking mechanism

💪 Studier than multi-blades

These are your basic everyday pocket knives. Great for #EDC, but not #Bushcraft.

2) Multi-Blade Manual Folding Knives

Rough Rider
Copper Ridge Stockman

🪚 Multiple blades = Multiple functions

🦣 Bulkier than single blades

🗡️Not as strong as a single-blade knife

These types of knives tend to be very traditional and feature a combination of spey (curved knife blade good for livestock and grafting, often seen in trapper knives), sheepsfoot (blade that drops down into a point which is strong and useful), pen (blade was designed for sharpening a quill originally, come in a variety of looks) or drop point blades (style of knife blade that slopes on the spine of the blade from the handle of the knife to the tip of the blade).

3) Swiss Army Style/Multi-Tool Knives

Swiss Army Type
Pocket Knife

These types of knives contain so much more than just a basic blade, including:

🪚 Saws

🪥 Toothpicks

✂️ Scissors

🔍 Magnifying glasses

And even 🍾 corkscrews

These are the most versatile pocket knives on the market and can range from 3 tools to a whopping 87 tools in one. If you need a knife to be a jack-of-all-trades like you grab a multi-tool.

Type 2 – Spring Assisted Knives

Smith & Wesson
Assisted Opening
Military & Police Knife

This type of folding knife is an assisted opening knife, the internal spring helps to open ONLY after the blade is slightly pushed open with force.

🏪 Convenient

🪠 Useful

🐇 Quick

They come in every size, shape, length and brand imaginable.

Type 3 – Automatic/Switch Blade Knives

Smith & Wesson
OTF Tanto
Finger Actuator

We are entering the territory of knife restrictions with Automatics.
These blades automatically open with the push of a button or pull of a lever.
The two styles are Out The Front (OTF) and side opening.

🏎️ Fast opening

🏕️ Great for survival

🎉 Fun

🔦 Functional

Type 4 – Fixed Blade Knife

Old Timer
Copper Head

These type of knives the blade is attached to handle and cannot pivot or close.
Generally, the better fixed-blade knives will be full tang.


🪨 Solid

🥾 Adaptable

Type 5 – Butterfly/Balisong Knives

Bear & Son
30th Anniversary
Satin Embellished
Silver Vein

These type of knives have two handles that pivot around the blade. Think 🥷
There are restrictions in many jurisdictions for these types of knives.

🎈 Fun

📺 For recreation

⚖️ Legal complications


Whatever type of basic knife you choose to carry,
1) Always check the legality of your knife choice
2) Pick a knife that suits your needs
3) Keep it sharp!

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