Knife Snapping...will it hurt?

Kodiak PA

Gold Member
Dec 3, 1998
Can I damage my knives by snapping them open? I have a Spydie Military and it opens easily with a flick of the wrist and I hear that the Genesis I ordered does the same thing.

Should snapping be held in reserve just for emergencies or is OK to do this routinely?


Greg Mete
Kodiak Alaska

Depends upon the knife. Too much snapping will eventually start to wear down any knife to an extent that it causes play.

Be careful snapping open any lockback, even axial lock designs (like REKAT knives or the Benchmade Axis lock), because if you snap too hard (and how does one ever know how hard "too hard" is?), the blade will bounce. This is one advantage that a well-executed liner lock has over any lockback-they don't bounce. If a liner lock ever does bounce when you snap it, it's an indication that the lock isn't engaging properly to begin with.

Hope this helps.


Knife lover, Philosopher, Humanitarian, and All-around nice guy
(all right, so I'm just a knife lover)
Snapping a liner lock open causes considerable force to be applied to the liner lock / tang contact area. More so than opening it normally. Check and see how much farther over on the tang the liner lock ends up.

Now consider that Ti is softer than the knife tang, and Ti tends to gall.

With these facts in mind, how can you conclude anything except that snapping hastens liner lock wear? This was discussed on the BM forum ages ago, when Mark was still there. He said that he snapped his open, and I replied that he had a heck of a lot more knives to play with than any of us, and did not face any warranty hassles; I suggested his habits would be different if this were not the case. Walt

Walt and Win make excellent points. Consider too that the maker of unquestionably the strongest folder lock on the market, Chris Reeve, strongly discourages this practice.

Personally, I am prepared and have practiced snapping those folders that I carry for emergency or tactical use as opposed to general utility use. Hence my almost 5 year old Elishewitz M5 Omega and my newer EDI Genesis I have seen their fair share of quick snap deployments. Whereas my large Sebenza hasn't and won't unless I'm confronted with a situation that demands it. I did check with Will Fennell about "snapping" the Genesis. He indicated that its design would take the abuse fine. But this is at the cost of accelerated albiet almost imperceivable wear.

As a Physician's Assistant, you could be in a SAR OP or other circumstance where quick deployment by snapping a one handed knife open could save someone's life. Here the value of a given knife pales in comparison with the benefit of quick use. The Benchmade AFO auto knife has been adopted by the USCG for SAR teams for just this reason (NSN 1095-01-446-4348). A press of the button by even a heavily gloved hand such as would be the norm in Kodiak and a partially serrated blade is immediately available. Not sure if you qualify with your PA duties but I'm sure the corpsmen who fly SAR are authorized these knives. Why not check with your supply types? Let me know how you make out.


Bald is beautiful! Rub a dome for luck today!

[This message has been edited by bald1 (edited 13 December 1998).]
Win, Dr. Welch and Bob, thanks for the sage advice. I really appreciate the info. I think I will only snap the knife for emergencies. Bob, I'll give the NSN to our supply types and have them check it out. I know that our flight surgeons and aviation medical specialists are issued orange Spydie Rescue Jr's. I have checked those blades out and I swear they are the sharpest serrated blade I have ever seen and I know they would work fine in an emergency. Of course though, they have to be manually opened.
Thanks again for the info.

Greg Mete
Kodiak Alaska

Although snapping folders open wil cause accelerated wear to some extent IMHO it`s almost imperceptible on any sturdy,quality knife. I`ve snapped my BM Panther hundreds of times and my Lg.Vaquero even more,to the point that I removed the thumb stud. This practice hasn`t loosened either knife up at all as far as I can tell. Most of my other knives are hardly if ever snapped simply because either I don`t feel the need to or they`re too small or stiff to snap well. In any case if you`re uncomfortable with it don`t do it. Marcus
Marcus makes a good point about the Benchmade Panther. My Panther has suffered through thousands of snap openings with little or no wear. IMHO, if you have to play, a Panther is a good toy and a pretty decent knife also. Sadly they are discontinued, but some dealers still have stock. They are an excellent value, and seem to thrive on hard use/borderline abuse. I think Walt hit it right about the Ti liner since the Panther has stainless, and seems to laugh at hard opening.
What's the point ?
Why snap a manual folder when automatics are available ?
Unless you have a cheap knife that you WANT to wear out, I'd avoid this practice.
Later, Bill
Bill: Autos are a felony here. I would rather wear out a 35.00 knife playing with it than lose everything over a felony conviction. I enjoy a good auto as much as the next guy, but won't own one cause the price could be more than I can afford.

[This message has been edited by Hal (edited 13 December 1998).]
You make a better point than I.
The state where I reside switchblade law is as follows.
"Carring weapons. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on or about his person, or in his portfolio or purse, any bowie, dirk, switchblade, spring-type knife, sword cane or knife having a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring, or other device in the handle of the knife.
Provided further that this section shall NOT prohibit the proper use of guns and knives for hunting, fishing or recreational purposes."
I approached our DA with this law when I received my Concealed Carry permit and received written permission to carry an auto with a blade not in excess of 3.5" under the auspice of a "recreational" knife.
I seldom carry a pistol, but always carry a knife.
Bill - Your county is blessed with an accessable and reasonable DA.

In my county, if you have a conventional folder, one-hand or two-hand, a knife that can be snapped open by a cop on the tenth try is a wicked gravity knife, at least when it is found on the person of one of the "usual suspects."


Hi Kodiak;
I say: "snap away". It's fun trying various
opening techniques. Practice makes perfect!
What else are ya really doin with your knives
If it wears out, you can always get another
If it's really an expensive, special knife,
you won't want to snap it. You'll polish it
and put it away or on display... Ed E
I snap open my knives. I don't know if will hurt it or not but if can't take it I don't want it. I want something I don't have to worry about. If it is that weak you can have it! My carry knife right now is Spyderco Delica II it holds up and I only paid $35.00 for it! If I pay $100 or more it better hold up as good as my Delica II
I don't believe in snap opening my knives....but I do it sometimes. Hey, it's fun.
But I must disagree with the "snap in an emergency" theory. In an emergency, I want to feel that I am in complete control of the knife. Adrenalin and sweaty hands can lead to a situation where the "snap" sends your knife across the room or worse. I believe I can open any of my one-handers using the hole or stud as quickly as I can snap it open....and it is going to be nearer to a using grip when it opens. Most snapping techniques require a non-using hold to execute...if a folder does not, the action is, IMO,probably too loose.

just a few thoughts

Brian W E
ICQ #21525343

Hi Brian;
That's exactly how I feel!
I've been with the boys, snappin their knives
with NO CONTROL - flinging them, wherever!
I say: snap at home; carry a fixed blade. Ed
Well, it seems Will Fennell is right about snapping...

You know how every liner lock you know of locks tighter when you snap, least ways for me, well, the Genesis doesn't seem to....

Was at my local shop playing with the EDI, trying to convince myself I like it despite the index shapes, and I decided to snap it, no change in lock-up...

Marion David Poff fka Eye, one can msg me at

Patiently waiting for the Spyderco SpydeRench, Lum Chinese Chopper Folder, Rolling Lock, Benchmade M2 Axis, M2 Axis AFCK, M2 Pinnacle and the REKAT Escalator and Pat Crawford Design.

"The victorious Warrior wins first and then goes to war, while the defeated Warrior goes to war and then seeks to win" Sun-Tzu

I would like to thank everyone who responded to my post, I appreciate the advice.
It's so much fun that I'll take my chances. However, I don't like opening my auto's as frequently. I think a manual liner lock will stand up to repeated snaping better than an auto will.

Joe Liguori