The gravity knife is one having its blades embedded in its handle, the blade gets open when the force of gravity is applied, just as its name connotes. The key distinguishing feature of a Gravity Knife and Switchblade is the mechanism of opening both knives. For a switchblade, the mechanism involves pushing a button, which has a spring; the spring-propelled blade opens automatically at the push of the button.
Gravity Knives provides the advantage of opening and closing with the use of one hand, whilst the other hand is engaged. This features is an historical feature which has been quite helpful for those flying a parachute, cutting of lines tangled in trees when one is in motion and need one hand for balance and control.
You may also wish to know why the gravity knife was invented, despite the availability of other similar knives.
As we noted earlier, the one hand handling and control of the Gravity Knife is a key contributing factor to its invention. The German airscrew and paratroopers were issued this special knife as an accessible pocket tool to cut themselves free of a possible parachute rigging or the harness when emergencies arises.
The knife was invented for a practical and not fighting purpose, which is noticeable by the shape of the blade, with a relatively blunt end. A fighting knife usually has a more pointed blade end.
The history of the Gravity Knife dates back as far as the 18th century.
Its original design was very simple, such that the release of the blade was done by simply pressing a button on the knife’s handle. The original intent of the gravity knife was to help the German Soldiers and Paratroopers cut through their parachute cords after landing or when theirs rigging of the lines, it also served as can opener and a tool to cut through barbed wire.
It’s also important to take into cognizance the legality issues of the gravity knife. There are some legal complexities of the Gravity Knife. In countries like Canada and the United Kingdom and in certain states in the U.S.A a gravity knife is proscribed by law, it is considered a prohibited weapon, which has its attendant criminal consequences.
In New York for instance, selling or ownership of a gravity knife is illegal, whereas in a state like Florida the ownership of a gravity knife is not prohibited. This is due to the discrepancy in definition of a gravity knife in the different state. New York’s definition for gravity knife is any knife that can be opened with “the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force.” This is a broad definition and includes other knives not traditionally considered as gravity knives.
Types of Gravity Knives
Gravity knives are generally classified into the following types:
Out-The-Front (OTF) Gravity Knives
These are set of gravity knives featuring blades that slide from the handles and locks in place when opened.
Ball Bearing Gravity Knives
To enable the release and closure of their blades, these gravity knives makes use of the ball-bearing feature.
Lever Release Gravity Knives
These gravity knives have a lever or button that releases the blade when pushed.
Drop Point Gravity Knives
These gravity knives earned the name “drop point” due to the opening mechanism, the blade drops, when the user opens the knife.
Tactical Gravity Knives
Tactical gravity knives are mainly designed for the military or tactical use. It features a partially serrated or serrated blade.
Flip Open Gravity Knives
These gravity knives are similar to the switchblade as the opening mechanism allows the blade flip out of the handle.
Popular Gravity Knives Range
The most popular gravity knife range are the German Paratrooper Knife, the OTF knife and the Warlock knife. Some of the most popular Models and Brands are:
The German Paratrooper Knife
The German Paratrooper was first produced in 1937. It was called “Fallschirmjägermesser” and was mainly used by German aircrews and Para troops. Its primary purpose was to cut a parachutist trapped from his rigging in case he lands with the parachute tangled or became entangled in trees or in the water with the shroud lines.
Its mechanism of opening is different from that of a switchblade, the blade is using relieved by gravitational force with the use of one hand, while the other hand may be engaged.
Convenient to open and close with one hand.
Swift utility instrument
It’s heavy to carry about
Considered illegal is some countries and states.
Fallschirmjager gravity paratrooper knife ww (II) era
A modern replica of Fliers folding knife. It is a drop knife, featuring a locking mechanism of an original leaver-operated spring.
Handle: Wood & Steel
Blade Length: 4.0”
Total Length: N/A
Lock Type: Leaver-Operated Spring Catch.
LL80X260 Original German Army Paratrooper Gravity Knife
The handle comes in green or black with straps. Also has an awl or screwdriver. Its design doesn’t require maintenance. Featuring a Leaver style lock, which opens and closes the blade when the leaver is turned down along its handle and released to move in the direction when the lever is swung towards its handle.
The blade drops to the extended position, when the knife is opened down or horizontal by flicking of the users wrist.
Blade: Stainless 440-A steel (HRC 56)
Handle: Fiberglass reinforced polyamide grip
Blade Length: 3.346”
Total Length: 8.740”
Lock Type: Leaver
Akc Gravit – E Manual OTF Knife Black/Wood 3.7″
Features a Lockback mechanism that is set in its spine of the Gravit-E’s handle.
Blade: Stainless Steel
Handle: Wood & Aluminum
Blade Length: 3.75”
Total Length: 8.50”
Lock Type: Lockback.
Roberto Ottonello gravity knife
This is a high-end drop knife. Its design is quite minimalist but very sleek. Featuring a hinged outer lock, which pivots open and releases the blade, its opening is really stylish.
Blade: Bohler N690
Handle: Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 2.75”
Total Length: 6.88”
Lock Type: Hinge Lock.
HEiLON Everyday Carry or Hunting Use Tactical Folding Pocket Knife
This piece is composed of a stainless steel clip pointed blade, stainless steel handle and genuine Wenge wood inlays. It feature a leaver-operated opening and locking mechanism.
Blade: Stainless Steel
Handle: Wenge Wood & Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 3.66”
Total Length: 8.97”
Lock Type: Leaver-Operated Spring Catch.
The OFT Knife
The OFT Knives are designed as switchblade. A switchblade is an automatic knife; at the pressing of a button, the blade is automatically deployed. The blade comes out of the front. Generally speaking, there are two types of the OFT knives. They are the Single action OTF and Double action OTF.
In the Single Action OTF: the switch button powers Release of the blade, the blade is returned manually into the handle.
In the Dual Action OTF: the release and retraction of the blade are both automated by pushing same control switch button in different directions.
Features a dual locking and release mechanism. The dual action is open by a single trigger and manually closed. The double action is opened and closed automatically by the trigger button.
Can be opened easily
Can be opened in a very confined space
Near impossible to fix
Popular Models and Brands:
Benchmade 3300BK Infidel
In the OTF Collection, the Benchmade 3300 Infidel is rated as one of its best; it’s available in two main size: the older version -full fat 3300 infidel. The total length of the knife is 8.9”, the blade alone accounts for 3.9” of the total length. The Benchmade 3300 Infidel is a dual action OTF
Blade: Stainless Steel
Handle: 6061-T6 Aluminum
Blade Length: 3.95”
Total Length: 8.95”
Lock Type: Steel liner.
Asheville Steel Paragon Para-X OTF knife
The Asheville Steel Paragon Para-X is a single action OTF, having a powered deployment, but manual retraction. Its steel is super solid. All models of the Para-X are designed to deploy snappy fashion. A safety switch below the plunge opens, closes, and locks the blade. Its an affordable OTF as compared to the Benchmade, Microtech and Para-X.
Blade: Stainless steel
Blade Length: 3.60”
Total Length: 8.75”
Lock Type: Push / Lock button.
Microtech Combat Troodon Hellhound
The Microtech Combat Troodon derives its name from a bird-like dinosaur, which lived during the Cretaceous period and one of the very first discovered in the United States, which is very similar in shape to various raptors. Microtech is the larger version to the regular Troodon knives. The handle is made of anodized aluminum in variety of colors.
Blade: Premium Damascus steel
Handle: Black-anodized aluminum handle
Blade length: 3.8”
Total Length: 5.50”
Lock Type: Slide
Hogue Compound OTF Auto knife 3.5″ S30V
The Hogue’s Compound design focuses more on looks than use. It’s the most popular powered steel in the market and heat treated to 58-61 HRC. This power tool is designed and controlled by a double-action automated trigger for its release and retraction. Its works smoothly, swiftly and perfectly. The Hogue Compound is ab absolute delight to handle.
Handle: G10 G-Mascus/Aluminum
Blade Length: 3.5”
Total Length: 8.40”
Lock Type: Button lock
The Warlock Knife
The Warlock Knife is one of the most popular modern gravity knives, largely partly about its blade deployment method, which is unquestionably unique, and its top-shelf material.
The Warlock is available in an attractive range of colors and fine finishing.
Mechanism: The safety mechanism of the warlock knife makes it unique and stands out in the gravity knife collection series. When the oversized pivot housings are grasped and squeezed, the halves of the handle split open, exposing the blade and the user manually swings out the blade and swings again to return the blade.
Smooth operating knife
Stainless steel blade made from CPM s30v
Unique safety mechanism
Gravity powered blade
Illegal in many places
Big and boxy to carry in one’s pocket
Popular Models and Brands:
The Asheville Steel Paragon-Warlock Dagger Black s30V
The Asheville steel paragon warlock dagger grind black S30V is obviously a beautiful to behold gravity warlock knife, its made up of a tactically coated black CPM-S30V double-edge cross dagger blade. Its handle is made of black 6061-T6 aluminium with cross shield design and black clip.
Blade: CPM S30V
Blade Length: 3.875″
Total Length: 9.375″
Lock Type: Button Lock
The Asheville Steel Paragon-Warlock Knife
This knife features a cross shield design; with sword pearled two-tone satin design. Its beautiful to behold and handle.
The mechanism of opening the paragon. The user has to ensure both sides of the pivot are pushed at same time, the makes the handle separate and the blade is released. With application of gravity and wrist flick of the user, the blade of the Warlock emerges and locks in place.
Blade: Material: S30V
Blade Length: 4.00”
Total Length: 9.375”
Lock Type: Push lock
Price: $ 285
What to consider when buying a Gravity Knife
A few aspects of gravity knives are not different from regular pocket folders or autos, there are a couple of points of specificity when it comes to a gravity knife space. We’ll highlight some points to help you make a choice when shopping for a new gravity knife. This will help you assess the authenticity of the Gravity Knife, review your personal needs and make an informed decision.
Blade Steel: The blade of the gravity knife is durable. The more recent gravity knives are designed constructed by extracting metals from metal ore, which makes them even more powerful and durable.
Blade Profile: The shape of a gravity knife’s handle limits the type of blade profile that can be used, however the gravity knives are produced with a range of different blade shapes, namely: spear point, drop point and clip point, spear point. It also features a tanto/reverse tanto silhouettes.
Handle Construction: The material used to crafting a gravity knife’s handle plays an integral role in its features, such as its lightness and durability. This is the reason why Gravity Knives have the pairing of wooden elements and stainless steel, though; some of the more recent knives employ more premium materials such as titanium, micarta and aluminum.
Locking Mechanism: Although they all gravity knives simply disengage a lock and the blade falls into place due to the gravitational force at work, locking mechanisms differs to an extent across the various models. For instance the Luftwaffe Paratrooper’s knife employs the leaver-operated spring catch system, whereas the more modern knives or operated by the slide-operated mechanisms. By this mechanism, the handle opens up and make room for the blade to fall into place.
Price: Gravity Knifes are produced in smaller numbers and most times produced on request, which is mainly because of the legality in the possession and sales of this unique knife piece. The aforementioned factors tend to make the gravity knife more expensive than their counterpart. Therefore, price is a crucial factor in decision making for these set of knives.
Style & Design: There are a whole lot of traditional and conventional knives mimicking or look-alike models of the gravity knife. Plenty of gravity knives also range is style, size and shape. It’s advisable to check a wide range of options before deciding which to purchase.
Care and Maintenance of the Gravity Knife
You can be sure Noblie Knife Blog won’t leave you helpless without some tips to care for and maintain your newly acquired Gravity Knife. Unlike other pocket knives, the Gravity knives doesn’t need too much care and maintenance to remain optimal, functional and durable. Here are some guidance tips to care for and maintain a gravity knife:
• Cleaning should be focused on the locking trigger; a sharp object should be used to get rid of dirty and garbage.
• Keep the blade sharp always, but do not use a power grinder to sharpen a gravity knife. Honing rod, steel or electric sharpener are the preferred options.
• Lubricating moving parts with mineral oil as well as the handle.
• Do not leave extra oil on the knife before closing; wipe the extra oil.
• Proper storage, keep away from humidity and direct heat.
When we think of a gravity knife, we think of a small pocket blade, folded in a safe metallic and wooden frame and one having a leaver. In the design of a gravity knife, the leaver serves as its safety mechanism, preventing accidental opening, as the knife uses the force of gravity to open up when flipped.
Notwithstanding the gravity knife is still a dangerous tool, which is considered illegal in some countries and states; in New York, for instance many citizens were arrested for been in possession of Gravity Knife illegally. The Gravity knife was banned in the USA because of its size, ease of use and danger when in the possession of an illegal user.
The illegal possession and use of Gravity Knife can lead to various degrees of penalty including fines and jail terms, so it’s of utmost importance to know the legal implication in your district or city before acquiring one of these special knives.
FAQ on Gravity Knives
How does a gravity knife even work?
It’s pretty cool—instead of springs or manual unfolding, you just use a flick of the wrist or gravity to get the blade out.
Can I just carry a gravity knife anywhere?
Not everywhere. Some places lump them in with switchblades and have rules against them. Always a good idea to check your local laws first.
So, how’s a gravity knife different from a switchblade or a usual pocket knife?
Well, switchblades pop out with a spring. Regular pocket knives? You gotta open them by hand. But with a gravity knife, just a quick flick and you’re good to go.
The Gravity Knife has been around pretty long and has remained popular despite the emergence of more recent pocket knife brands. Gravity knives were mainly used by paratroopers, soldiers and sailors, but have become common utility tools for daily activities in our present day such as, hunting, camping, fishing, cutting, opening of cans, etc. The gravity knives are amongst the popular choice for knife enthusiasts, due to their convenient and unique mechanism, as well as adaptability.
However, the issue of legality is to be considered before purchasing a gravity knife in certain states in the U.S and a few other countries in Europe, but still a very popular and handy tool amongst rescue workers and military personnel.
Various types of gravity knives are available in the market, having different features and suiting different purposes, so your personnel engagement and intended use, will determine which is most appropriate for you.
At Noblie Collectibles, we are keen to provide you with the best information and guidance in making a decision for best knife pick for your need, style and class.
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Author: Dr. BRAIDE HONEST
- Campbell, Jon. “How a ’50s-Era New York Knife Law Has Landed Thousands In Jail”. Village Voice. Village Voice. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
- ^ Kertzman, Joe, Sporting Knives: Folders, Fixed Blades, Pocket, Military, Gent’s Knives, Multi-Tools, Swords, Krause Publications, ISBN 0-87349-430-X, 9780873494304 (2002), pp. 60-62
- ^“Federal Judge Rules New York’s Dumb ‘Gravity Knife’ Law Is Unconstitutionally Vague”. Reason.com. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
- Ladd, James D., Melton, Keith, and Mason, Peter, Clandestine warfare: weapons and equipment of the SOE and OSS, London: Blandford, ISBN 0-7137-1822-6, ISBN 978-0-7137-1822-5 (1988), p. 29: These British SOE gravity knives are NOT the same knives as the standard British Army soldier’s and sailor’s clasp pocketknife, which featured a short, thick marlinspike.
- ^ Thompson, Leroy, Survival/Fighting Knives, Paladin Press, ISBN 0-87364-347-X, 9780873643474 (1985), p. 76