fastest opening system

Jan 29, 2000
After handling all sorts of one-handed opening knives (from the original ClipHanger to the BM AFCK), I can safely say that Cold Steel seems to open much easier than any other brand. I don't even have to use the thumb stud with my Vaquero Grande of Gunsite, just give a sharp snap of the wrist, like cracking a bull whip. The Spyderco roundhole seems a little awkward to me, but thumb studs like CS's work great.

I'll get to the point here. Is the ease of opening that I have experienced with CS folders due to the large blades that the aformentioned knives possess, or is it because they are tradtional lock backs (not liner lock to put pressure on the blade while opening), or are thumbstuds in genearal just easy to use?

I have wondered for a while, but haven't been able to figure it out.

I think that Many would argue that the Emerson Commander with the wave feature is the fastest opening knife. One can open it as it is drawn out of the pocket. In answer to your question, Yes, I personally think that the weight of the blade allows you to snap your wrist and open the blade easily. I doubt that the small voyager would be nearly as easy to open like that as the Vaquero Grande, although, snapping any knife open in that manner is bad for the knife. I personally think that the lockback feature of some knives make it a little more difficult to open. there are some liner locks that are very smooth and open with very little effort. All of these are Just my opinion though.

The ability to "snap" open a knife is mostly a function of pivot tension. If you can have a loose pivot, and maintain stability, great! I find that to be a knife-to-knife thing. There's a thin line, though, that is addressed by the detent. Too much detent, and you can't get the snap started. Too little, and the blade comes open in the pocket or at other inopportune times.

Design-wise, I think my Spyders are as fast as it gets without having a pocket ripper on the blade
. My fastest single knife, though, is a Benchmade Stryker that has just the right amount of detent before leaping out like greased snot.

AKTI Member #A000832

"That which does not kill me just postpones the inevitable."
Your ability to "wrist snap" the knife is a function of both pivot tension and inertia of the blade. While the "wrist snap" may be fun and cool, it WILL damage your knife over time. This issue has been debated many times, but if you feel that the marginal benefit of flicking is greater than the marginal cost, then by all means, flick away!

Flicking open can be very fast, but I don't look at it as a really serious opening technique, because I've seen too many people (including myself
) accidently throw their knives across the room. Under stress, with the adrenaline pumping and minor-muscle coordination out the window, a controlled thumb-opening is the winner.

For that, different things work for different hands. I like thumb holes the best, they're a big easy-to-hit target. Opening disks second, and thumb studs last.

Interesting what you say about Cold Steel. Forget the Vaquero Grande for a minute, since you're just really wrist-flicking it out. If you go with one of Cold Steel's folders that traditionally have tighter pivots -- like the large voyager, or even the x-large tanto voyager -- you'll get a different opinion of Cold Steel's thumb studs. The tight jerky action, coupled with Cold Steel's rounded thumb stud, makes for what I feel is one of the worst opening systems in the industry. I like the thumb studs of almost any other company better. For some reason, the Vaquero Grande's pivot is usually much looser than the other zytel handled Cold Steel knives, and you can do a wrist-assist even if your thumb falls off the stud, so it's kind of a special case.

I have Kershaw Whirlwind I`d put up against any Cold Steel folder. That thing pops open nicer than many autos I`ve seen.

Let me ask this fast does a knife have to open? And why?
I vote for the Spyder-Hole. It is quick, unobtrusive, and IMHO, much more elegant.
I had a chance to play with the new TiNives manual at the Vegas Classic this year and must say it was impressive. The bearings they use make it as smooth as silk and very fast.
In my opinion the "wrist snap" opening manner is bad not for the knife only. It's also dangerous for yourself and for people around you. However it's almost uncontrolled violent movement with razor-sharp blade.
Of course you can say: "It's not uncontrolled, I know well what I do!"
OK, it might look macho if you want to show your girlfriend how great are your skills with the knife. But if your life is really in danger I would recommend the reliability of conventional thumb opening over the seeming speed of "wrist snap".
For me "wrist snap" opening is something like putting the forefinger on the firearm's trigger until you are ready to shoot...
Without a doubt - the Commander from Emerson is the fastest thing out of a pocket. Allot faster then any spyderco and even from automatic knives such as Benchmade and others.

If you are not familiar with it - ask someone to demonstrate it for you - its amazing - by hooking the back of the blade against the pocket you are able to draw the knife from the pocket while the blade is being open - it takes allot less then it does to read this line alone.

Two problems: the major one: you have to carry a rather large knife in your pocket (not your waistband) the small one: it opens towards the rear - and then has to be moved forward for some of the fighting movements.

Anyway - if you foresee danger - have the knife open beforehand and conceal it behind your strong side.

You missed problem number three with the Commander's Wave feature. It shreds pockets! Don't even think about it in a suit!

BTW - Got a Kershaw mini-task last night. Speeedy!

AKTI Member #A000832

"That which does not kill me just postpones the inevitable."
I think it's hard to say what the fastest system is. Thumbhole or thumbstud is a matter of taste, as is disk. I like the disk on my BM Stryker, but I also like the stud on my wife's Synergy. THen again, a Spydy hole is hard to beat as well. The Wave is a good idea and despite it's mentioned problems aids in opening. But is it faster than an automatic? Or the SpeedSafe mechanism by Ken Onion? How do you compare? For you to use the button on an automatic, you have to have the knife in your hand. For the Wave to work you have the knife still in your pocket). For the wrist flick to work, you either need a heavy blade or a loose detent. In any case, you'll have to have the knife pulled first, then flick it. Generally, the motion you make to flick will move the knife into a direction that is not in line with the attack, thus you'll have to compensate after flicking, which will take more time.
Most knives "flickability" can be aided a bit by adjusting the pivot screws, some lubricant, or, depensding on the blade finish, sanding/polishing the pivot area to near mirror finish. Personally, I don't flick for speed, especially not in emergency situations.

Brian_Turner said:

"You missed problem number three with the Commander's Wave feature. It shreds pockets! Don't even think about it in a suit!"

You are 100% right there - and when wearing a suit - any knife in your pocket is a hazard to your cloths - hence - the waistband carry.

On the other hand - if you have to draw in a hurry - your suit is the last thing you should be interested in...

The Commander is definitely the king of speed. My BM910 Stryker is fast but nothing compared to the Emerson. The Kershaw's with the Speed Safe opening system are very fast openers. But with all, including the finest push button automatic's I've found the Commander is the fastest, it does shred pockets and I've minimized damage by positioning it in my right side pocket at a 45 degree rearward angle. I'm not a fan of the Cold Steel folders, although I do sell them and I've seen experienced users rapidly open them via the wrist flick method but I personally find them rather hard to open.

I must side with the Commander.Ever try to flick open a knife with your elbows pressed in against your sides? This is a real tactical possibility if you are attacked by multiple assailants,or even one assailant from the rear.The fact is that the inertial opening method derives its energy from movement.Movement may be restricted in a close range bear-hug or on the ground battle.
The Commander takes the few inches of upward movement to clear the pocket to open up,much easier to do if you find you range of motion restricted.
As for the pocket-ripping nature of the Wave,
just slide the whole knife forward a little bit before pulling it out.I have not ruined a pair of pants yet.If that still doesn`t help with dress pants,a little judicious use of a Dremel tool along the top of the Wavewould smooth things out without affecting its performance.

Benchmade Custom Balisong, Imada High Hollow, like lightening! Latch opening! Ask Chefget...

Then, Kershaw Random Task, torsion technology

Then, Rekat Carnivore, by Rob Simonich, release the lock and flick.


"The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions!"
Take the time to read your Bible Now, don't be left behind...

G2 LeatherWorks
Okay, so the thumbstuds aren't the greatest, and the knife may become damaged over extended flicking. BUT, most experienced knife fighters say that time is the greatest asset in a knife fight.

After practicing for a while, I can reliably bring my Gunsite (Five inches of Cold Steel) from concealde to strong side forward fighting postion in about a second. As a point, I do not flick horizontally, but use the momentum of my upward draw contered by a sharp downward snap to open the knife.

Another point: This makes an intimidating snap, a snap that saved a friends hide when he was confronted by a couple of guys at the local college campus. A Vaquero Grande flipping out switchblade style will make most punks soil themselves.

And when I use the knife for utility purposes, the thumb stud works just fine. It also doesn't snag, unlike the weird circular protrusions from a couple odd Emerson and Benchmade styles.
As for the damage to the knife, I haven't noticed any after alomost eight months of continuous use.
Emerson Commander with the Wave.

I wear BDU pants and haven't noticed any wear, but if you have delicate pocket material, yeah, I can see it.

I carry a RH one in my left pocket so it opens in a reverse grip, and puts my arm in front of me, instead of behind me. Less chance of my stabbing myself that way... plus being a lefty and prefering the reverse grip, I'm all set.


Kevin Jon Schlossberg
SysOp and Administrator for

Insert witty quip here
With the BM axis lock you can catch the thumb stud on your pocket and open it that way it is just as fast if not faster than any knife out there. IMHO

Knives everywhere, oh what a wonderful sight.
I've carried folders with the Spydie hole for more than 10 years, and I just love that feature. Nothing works faster or more positively for me. Like they say, different strokes...

As for the Commander (which I haven't had the chance to handle yet), I have no doubt it's the fastest one out of the pocket... But what if you already have it in your hand (as you might if you're anticipating immediate and otherwise unavoidable danger)? What if you're working out, wearing it in the waistband of a pocketless pair of sweatpants?

Still, I feel the thumbdisk would be faster than studs... But I'd love to have a Commander with both the Wave and some sort of thumb hole. Just a thought, of course...


Leo Daher