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What is a gravity knife

Written by:
Dr. Braide Honest
April 21, 2023
Gravity Knives

This platform provides an extensive range of services, covering exclusive content on a variety of knife types, such as Gravity Knives, thorough reviews, practical advice, and a curated collection of unique handmade knives. It aims to serve collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals alike, enhancing their participation in the custom knives community and supporting their discovery of the broad spectrum of knives available, with a particular emphasis on distinctive types like Gravity Knives.

gravity knifeThe gravity knife has 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 feature is a historical feature that has been quite helpful for those flying a parachute, cutting off lines tangled in trees when one is in motion, and needing one hand for balance and control. custom knife for sale

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 an emergency 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 a can opener and a tool to cut through barbed wire. 

german gravity knife

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 the definition of a gravity knife in the different states. New York’s definition for a 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 a set of gravity knives featuring blades that slide from the handles and lock in place when opened.

OTF gravity knife

Ball Bearing Gravity Knives

To enable the release and closure of their blades, these gravity knives make use of the ball-bearing feature.

Ball Bearing Gravity Knife

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.

Drop Point Gravity Knife

Tactical Gravity Knives

Tactical gravity knives are mainly designed for 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 to flip out of the handle.

Popular Gravity Knives Range

The most popular gravity knife ranges are the German Paratrooper Knife, the OTF knife, and the Warlock knife. Some of the most popular Models and Brands are:

Reate Exo Gravity Knife

The Reate Exo Gravity Knife represents a pinnacle of innovation in the field of folding knives, characterized by its unique gravity deployment mechanism. This mechanism allows for swift, one-handed opening and closing, a significant advancement in user efficiency and safety. The Exo features a blade crafted from premium M390 steel, known for its exceptional edge retention and corrosion resistance. The handle, constructed from titanium and carbon fiber, provides a robust yet lightweight structure, enhancing grip and handling. The overall design of the Reate Exo demonstrates a harmonious blend of aesthetics and functionality, making it a sought-after choice for enthusiasts and professionals in the knife community.

reate exo gravity knife


The Reate Exo Gravity Knife features an opening mechanism distinct from traditional switchblades. Its blade deployment is facilitated by gravitational force, enabling one-handed operation while the other hand remains free.


Offers convenience with its one-hand open and close capability.
Acts as a swift utility instrument due to rapid blade deployment.


The knife’s weight can be burdensome for continuous carry.

Blade: M390 Steel

Handle: Titanium and Carbon Fiber

Blade Length: 3.75 inches

Total Length: 8.45 inches

Lock Type: Magnetic Locking System

Price: $350

Video Credit: Metal Complex.

The German Paratrooper Gravity 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 landed with the parachute tangled or became entangled in trees or the water with the shroud lines. 

ww2 german paratrooper knife


German Paratrooper Knife


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.

Blade: Steel

Handle: Wood & Steel

Blade Length: 4.0”

Total Length: N/A

Lock Type: Leaver-Operated Spring Catch.

Price: $130



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 horizontally by flicking the user’s wrist.

Blade: Stainless 440-A steel (HRC 56)

Handle: Fiberglass reinforced polyamide grip

Blade Length: 3.346”

Total Length: 8.740”

Lock Type: Leaver

Price: $190

LL80X260 german gravity knife

Akc Gravit – E Manual OTF Knife Black/Wood 3.7″

Features a Lockback mechanism that is set in the spine of the Gravit-E’s handle. 

Blade: Stainless Steel

Handle: Wood & Aluminum

Blade Length: 3.75”

Total Length: 8.50”

Lock Type: Lockback.

Price: $125



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.

Price: $270



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 features 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.

Price: $60


The OFT Knife

The OFT Knives are designed as switchblades. 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 OFT knives. They are the Single action OTF and Double action OTF.

In the Single Action OTF: the switch button powers the release of the blade, and the blade is returned manually to the handle.

In the Dual Action OTF: the release and retraction of the blade are both automated by pushing the same control switch button in different directions.


Features a dual locking and release mechanism. The dual action is opened 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




Least Durable

Nearly 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 sizes: 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.

Price: $550

benchmade 3300bk infidel knife

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. It’s an affordable OTF as compared to Benchmade, Microtech, and Para-X.

Blade: Stainless steel

Handle: Aluminum

Blade Length: 3.60” 

Total Length: 8.75”

Lock Type: Push / Lock button.

Price: $199.


Microtech Combat Troodon Hellhound

The Microtech Combat Troodon derives its name from a bird-like dinosaur, which lived during the Cretaceous period and was one of the very first discovered in the United States, It is very similar in shape to various raptors. Microtech is the larger version of the regular Troodon knives. The handle is made of anodized aluminum in a variety of colors.

Blade: Premium Damascus steel

Handle: Black-anodized aluminum handle

Blade length: 3.8”

Total Length: 5.50”

Lock Type: Slide

Price: $648.

microtech combat troodon hellhound

Hogue Compound OTF Auto knife 3.5″ S30V

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. It works smoothly, swiftly, and perfectly. The Hogue Compound is an absolute delight to handle.

Blade:  CPM-S30V

Handle: G10 G-Mascus/Aluminum

Blade Length:  3.5”

Total Length: 8.40”

Lock Type: Button lock

Price: $350

hogue compound otf auto knife


The Warlock Knife

The Warlock Knife is one of the most popular modern gravity knives, largely partly because of 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

Extremely sharp

Stonewash finish


Unique safety mechanism

Gravity powered blade


Illegal in many places 

Big and boxy to carry in one’s pocket

Lacks practicality

Popular Models and Brands:

The Asheville Steel Paragon-Warlock Dagger Black s30V

The Asheville steel paragon warlock dagger grind black S30V is obviously beautiful to behold gravity warlock knife, it’s made up of a tactically coated black CPM-S30V double-edge cross dagger blade. Its handle is made of black 6061-T6 aluminum with cross shield design and black clip.

Blade: CPM S30V

Handle: Aluminum

Blade Length: 3.875″

Total Length: 9.375″

Lock Type: Button Lock

Price: $270

the asheville steel paragon warlock dagger black knife

The Asheville Steel Paragon-Warlock Knife

This knife features a cross-shield design; with sword sword-pearled two-tone satin design. It’s beautiful to behold and handle.

The mechanism of opening the paragon. The user has to ensure both sides of the pivot are pushed at the same time, which makes the handle separate and the blade is released. With the application of gravity and wrist flick of the user, the blade of the Warlock emerges and locks in place.

Blade: Material: S30V

Handle: Aluminum

Blade Length: 4.00”

Total Length: 9.375”

Lock Type: Push lock

Price: $ 285

The Asheville Steel Paragon Warlock Knife

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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 and 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 silhouette. 

Handle Construction: The material used to craft 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 is 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 all gravity knives simply disengage a lock and the blade falls into place due to the gravitational force at work, locking mechanisms differ 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 makes room for the blade to fall into place. 

Price: Gravity Knives 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 its counterpart. Therefore, price is a crucial factor in decision-making for these sets of knives.

Style & Design: There are a lot of traditional knives mimicking or look-alike models of the gravity knife. Plenty of gravity knives also range in style, size, and shape. It’s advisable to check a wide range of options before deciding which to purchase. 

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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 don’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 dirt 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 implications in your district or city before acquiring one of these special knives.

Legal Restrictions, Safety, and Ownership of Gravity Knives

Gravity knives, characterized by their ability to open with a flick or the force of gravity, face varying legal restrictions across different regions.

These restrictions often hinge on the knife’s quick-opening mechanism, which some jurisdictions classify under prohibited weapons, leading to a complex legal landscape for collectors and users. Safety considerations are paramount for handling gravity knives, including the necessity for proper training to avoid accidental deployment and potential injuries.

Responsible ownership extends beyond legal compliance; it encompasses ethical use, secure storage, and education on the safe handling of these knives. Owners should be vigilant in understanding and adhering to the specific laws of their locality or any area they plan to travel to with such knives, ensuring their passion aligns with public safety and legal standards.

FAQ on Gravity Knives

How does a gravity knife even work?

A gravity knife operates through a mechanism that allows the blade to move freely within the handle when unlocked. Typically, this involves a button, lever, or switch that, when activated, releases the blade from a secured position. The user then points the knife downward, allowing gravity or a flick of the wrist to extend the blade out of the handle. Once the blade is fully extended, it locks into place, ready for use. To retract the blade, the user releases the locking mechanism and manually pushes the blade back into the handle, securing it for safe carry. This design allows for quick one-handed operation, making it a tool favored in situations requiring speed and convenience.

Can I just carry a gravity knife anywhere?

Legality and restrictions regarding gravity knife possession vary widely by jurisdiction. Many areas classify gravity knives as weapons and impose strict regulations or outright bans on their carry and possession. Users must consult local and national laws to determine legality in their specific location. Even where legal, certain conditions may apply, such as restrictions on blade length, carry method, or the necessity of a valid reason for possession. Additionally, laws can differ when traveling from one region to another. Failure to adhere to these laws can result in severe legal consequences. Thus, verifying local regulations is crucial before carrying a gravity knife.

So, how’s a gravity knife different from a switchblade or a usual pocket knife?

A gravity knife deploys its blade using gravity or a wrist flick after releasing a lock, whereas a switchblade uses a spring mechanism to automatically release the blade with a button or switch. A usual pocket knife typically requires manual unfolding of the blade and lacks the automated or semi-automated opening features of gravity knives and switchblades. Each type has distinct legal implications and practical uses.


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 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 engagement and intended use will determine which is most appropriate for you.

We are keen to provide you with the best information and guidance in deciding for best knife pick for your needs, style, and class.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post and would love to learn more about gravity knives and other types of knives, simply click our subscribe button Knife Blog today!

Author: Braide Honest | Connect with me on LinkedIn


  1.  Campbell, Jon. “How a ’50s-Era New York Knife Law Has Landed Thousands In Jail”. Village Voice. Village Voice. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^“Federal Judge Rules New York’s Dumb ‘Gravity Knife’ Law Is Unconstitutionally Vague”. 2019-03-28. Retrieved 2019-04-13.
  4.  Ladd, James D., Melton, Keith, and Mason, Peter, Clandestine warfare: weapons and equipment of the SOE and OSS, London: Blandford, ISBN 0-7137-1822-6ISBN 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.
  5. ^ Thompson, Leroy, Survival/Fighting Knives, Paladin Press, ISBN 0-87364-347-X, 9780873643474 (1985), p. 76
  6. Gravity Knife – Know Your Knife Laws
  7. Penal Law Section 265.00(5).

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  • FoldNFlipFanatic

    Super informative post! I’ve heard the term “gravity knife” tossed around in knife circles but never really understood its mechanics and distinguishing features until now. It’s intriguing how such a simple mechanism can be the center of so much debate.

  • Jordan

    Thank you for this detailed post on gravity knives. I’ve always been intrigued by their unique mechanism. How do gravity knives compare in terms of safety and practicality to other folding or switchblade knives?

  • Jackson Hartley

    Can i own a gravity knife in the US?


    The legal status of gravity knives in the U.S. is complicated and varies from state to state. Here’s a general overview:

    Federal Law: On a federal level, the Federal Switchblade Act, which historically regulated the interstate commerce of switchblades, did not directly address gravity knives. However, in many instances, they were lumped in with switchblades for prosecution purposes. It’s important to note that federal law mainly addresses the import and interstate transport of these knives, not necessarily individual ownership.

    State Laws: Each state has its laws regarding the possession, sale, and carry of gravity knives. Some states may classify gravity knives in the same category as switchblades, while others have specific laws addressing them.

    For example, New York historically had strict laws against gravity knives, leading to many arrests in NYC. However, in 2019, New York decriminalized gravity knives by removing them from the penal code’s list of prohibited weapons.

    Other states might have restrictions based on blade length, the manner of carry (open vs. concealed), or where the knife can be carried (e.g., schools, government buildings).

    Local Ordinances: Even if a state permits the ownership of a gravity knife, local city or county ordinances might have their restrictions. For instance, what might be legal in one part of the state could be illegal in a specific city within that state.

    Intent and Use: Even in jurisdictions where owning or carrying a gravity knife is legal, using it in a threatening manner or as a weapon can result in criminal charges.

    If you’re considering owning or carrying a gravity knife, it’s crucial to:

    Check the specific laws of your state.
    Investigate any local ordinances or regulations in your city or county.
    Consult with an attorney or legal expert to ensure you fully understand the regulations and any potential risks.
    Always ensure you’re in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

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