Date Published: 2015-06-24

What is a Butterfly Knife?


Butterfly Knives
Butterfly Knives
By Adelia Ladson

A Butterfly Knife, also known as a Balisong and a Fan Knife, got its start in the Philippines as a self-defense and utility pocket knife – or did it?
There is a heated debate over whether this type of knife was an ancient design that originated in the Philippines or whether it was actually brought to the Philippines from Europe. Of course, on one side, you have the Filipinos, who claim it was a part of their martial arts since about 800 A.D. (unfortunately, there is no hard evidence to support this belief) and, on the other side, you have those who believe it originated in Europe between the 1500s and 1700s (the oldest documented balisong, dating back to before 1791, was found in France). Regardless of its debatable origins, it gained popularity in the United States when soldiers returned from the Philippines after W.W.II.

Butterfly Knives Here are the parts of a butterfly knife.
Butterfly Knives Here are the parts of a butterfly knife.
A butterfly knife can be constructed in two different ways but the basic design is the same – when it’s closed, the blade is concealed between the two handles of the knife. Really, the only difference is the that the “channel construction” gives you a solid, one-piece handle and the “sandwich construction” gives you a layered and screwed or pinned together handle. Those who want to take their knife apart prefer the “sandwich construction” but it doesn’t make any difference as to the utility of the knife. The design of the butterfly knife allows the handles to counter-rotate around its tang so that the blade can be deployed quickly. This knife has been classified, in some instances, as a “gravity knife.”

Bear & Son Butterfly Knife India Stag Bone There are a variety of Butterfly Knives to choose from.
Bear & Son Butterfly Knife India Stag Bone There are a variety of Butterfly Knives to choose from.

Now, learning to “flip” a butterfly knife quickly takes practice and patience. If you don’t start slowly to get the motion right before you “go at it,” believe me, you will be sorry. Afterall, this is a sharp bladed instrument we’re dealing with here. The basic concept of maneuvering the knife is to let the flipping motion of one handle and the blade, plus the twist of your wrist, actually spin the handle you’re holding. There’s lots of videos online to watch, so, you might check some out first. Many people, who own butterfly knives, say the find the act of “flipping” it to be relaxing. Also, there are impressive tricks that can be learned and performed using this type of knife.
All that, and it’s still a great folding pocket knife. You can count on it to perform any of the tasks that you ask of it on a daily basis. The only difference is that you do them with style. When you flip out a butterfly knife, when someone asks if you have a pocket knife to cut something with, the look of amazed appreciation is priceless. Go ahead, take a look at the variety of Butterfly Knives we have and treat yourself today!




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