Opening Knives Like The Pros

Tamara Keel writes at Shooting Illustrated

Back in the late ’90s, there was this customer at the gun store where I worked who I thought was super cool. Not just because he carried an HK P7M13—which is pretty cool right there—but because he carried this expensive pocket knife from some brand I didn’t know and he could open that thing like a ninja. He’d just reach for his pocket and… BAM! He’s got an open knife in his hand. I’d played with various autos and assisted-openers, and I knew how to pop a folder open with a quick wrist flick or twirl a Bali-Song, but the only way I’d seen people have a blade in their hand that fast was with knives in a sheath and no unfolding involved. Because I didn’t want to seem like a total n00b, I never asked him how he did it…

UPDATE: Y’all were supposed to click the top link to read the full post. Here is is in full.

Steve, a reader, emailed use a photo of his modded Spyderco knife that can be quickly opened.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • bbmg

    Was this article written by a 12 year old boy?

    • M.M.D.C.

      HAHA! I dare you to say that to her. Tam is very sharp. She’ll eviscerate you. Not to put too fine a point on it.

      • bbmg

        There were better considered puns in that brief response than in the entirety of the subject of this post 😉

    • Tim Pearce

      Yeah, it didn’t really seem to have a point. No attempt to explain how to open knives like a pro. No comparison between how different knives open and why this is faster than that. Just “wow, this guy was cool ’cause he could flick open his knife real fast!”

  • Gabe

    Read the article, I have simply started using fixed blade knives. I currently use a Tops Iraq-Jac as my daily carry knife.

    • ColaBox

      Any tips on how to conceal carry a fixed? I have yet to find an effective means without a coat.

      • 2hotel9

        I sometimes carry my KaBar in a reversed sheath at SoB. Shirt covers it casual and jacket covers it other times. Smaller fixed blades you can carry horizontal at SoB or on ankle. Just be sure whatever you have it in is SECURE. Nothing says “I’m carrying a concealed weapon” louder than it rattling across the floor or bouncing on the concrete.

      • Borderline5440

        If you have some good kydex with evenly-spaced eyelets, a belt, and a Comp-Tac C-clip, you can comfortably carry large fixed blades (up to 8-10″ blade, maybe larger depending on your size!) IWB with no problem! My dad and I both do it regularly and it works very well!

      • Gabe

        In my area there is no need to carry concealed, the Iraq Jac is a small 2.5 inch blade so it is legal in most areas. But as others stated a good kydex sheath is a must and Tops will provide you with one when you buy one of their knives.

        • ColaBox

          No need to CC in my area as well, I just choose to because, well, people…
          I was looking to start carrying a larger 11″, switching from the 8″ I use under coat. Ankle doesn’t seem to practical IMO, having to reach down incase of a draw tho.
          Well all are good suggestions, thanks the 3 of yas.

  • Unikitty

    This is just a teaser. TFB posted the link to the whole article. Though the article itself isn’t all that long or detailed, the paragraph seen here at TFB is explained. TFB likes to flag stuff of potential interest to its readers.

  • 2hotel9

    Got to agree, what was the point? Just trying to link hits to another blog? OK, try this.

  • woodman

    That was a total waste.

  • T

    Wow I had never thought of modding a Spyderco like that. I have a Tenacious I use around the house for random stuff, I think I’ll be trying it on that very soon. Grinder and a file should be all it takes.

  • 101nomad

    Find a knife you like, carry it always. Training, or not, is up to you. A one handed opening may be cool, but under stress, being cool ain’t.

  • 101nomad

    Anybody that says, “Y’all” can not be bad.

  • me ohmy

    that modded spyderco looks like a “ready to break blade” with the hole cut open like that.. I am also NOT a fan of pocket grabbers, they get hung up at exactly the wrong times.

  • Marcus Payne

    Also, if the folder has a flipper, and you can change the pocket clip to tip-up carry, then you can draw it by putting your index finger on the flipper (either inside or outside your pocket, it really doesn’t matter), middle finger on the clip, thumb on the scale/frame and as soon as it clears your pocket you can press the flipper and flick. Not quite as fast as an emmerson or customized spyderco, but close.

    • Geodkyt

      I gave up on tip-up carry after cutting open the pocket of the second pair of pants.
      Didn’t notice it was appreciably faster than a draw from a tip down knife, if you use the correct technique with a knife that suits you (I’m rather fond of the CRKT assisted openers like the My Tighe). I grab the top of the knifewith index finger and thumb, pulling upwards while my hand rides outside the pocket — by the time the knife clears my pocket, my thumb is on the opening stud and the knife is nestled in my hand right where it needs to be.
      NO desire for a pocket grabber opener. because I’ve had them get grabby when I didn;t want them to be.

  • Pig Farmer Bill

    I carry a ZT or a Spyderco on me all the time. My first reaction will be to pull my pistol. IF it gets bad enough for me to pull my blade for defense, i’m in deep. Don’t pull a knife on anyone unless you KNOW they are not packing. You may become a headline.

    • 2hotel9

      Another point. If you DO pull steel then use it, fast. Don’t flash it and talk smack, and screw that slashing BS and the whole Psycho thing. Keep it low, cutting edge up and put it in just under the bottom ribs angling up into the diaphragm/lungs. If coming from behind thrust horizontally into skull just below ear or straight into base of skull.

      It is appalling how many people do not know how to use a knife.

      Oh, I carry Buck 110 on belt and Kershaw Vapor on a pocket clip.

      • Pig Farmer Bill

        Good points, i’ll just double tap the chest with my pistol.

        • 2hotel9

          Sometimes you ain’t got that option. Knowing how to use what is in hand is the best insurance. And no monthly premiums!