One of the things I love most about the knife community is the constant quest toward innovation and freshness. While I love dissecting the minute changes in the latest flipper, it’s those completely ground-breaking models that keep me in awe.
For a tool that’s been around for a couple million years, the knife is still experiencing some pretty radical changes and creativity. While these knives can be hit-or-miss and many have been discontinued, they stand as evidence that no matter how long something exists, great minds can always think outside the box.
Here are 15 knives with the most interesting deployment mechanisms.
1. Kershaw ET
Let’s start off with one that most people will instantly point to when you mention unique opening mechanisms: the Kershaw ET. Standing for External Toggle, the ET hails from the genius minds of Grant and Gavin Hawk. This father and son duo has developed some pretty out there designs like the TOAD, Boker Griploc, and many more.
The Kershaw ET uses a toggle mechanism to open and close the blade. You can actually engage the blade through many ways (using your thumb like a traditional folder and dropping the handle while holding the blade), but the toggle is probably the most fun. You can use a lever near the butt of the handle to open and close it. The knife was discontinued, probably because there’s the danger of the knife closing on your thumb when you use the toggle.
Here’s a gif of how it opens with the toggle from this review:
2. CRKT Rollock
Next up is another discontinued knife. The CRKT Rollock is a fascinating knife with a cool opening mechanism. To deploy the blade, you press down on the blade (specifically on some jimping near the rear of the spine) when closed. That pops the blade up, and then you slide it completely open.
This factory version from CRKT was inspired by the Rolox from Blackie Collins. Collins is often cited as the first person to create an assisted-opening knife, though Ken Onion may have invented the SpeedSafe assisted opener concurrently.
Here’s a gif of the opening from this commentary-less YouTube video:
3. Paragon Knives by Asheville Steel Warlock
The Warlock from Paragon Knives by Asheville Steel (I know that’s a mouthful) is actually a new knife. Not quite an automatic knife and not quite an assisted opener, the Warlock is its own category. When shut, the blade is completely invisible. So how do you open this baby up?