August 04, 2006

Blades : Blade Snap Open

Blade Snap Open, ocassionally known as the New Jersey Open or the New York Open (why does NY get all the good moves?), is one of the two best known techniques for opening a folding knife with one hand. The technique is fairly basic, although it can be dangerous to practice - a training knife (knife with an ultradull, non-cutting blade) can be purchased for very little cost and is recommended for those who are new to this technique. Citizen's Arrest is not responsible for any damage caused while working with knives.

The first step is to pick up a closed folding knife by the side of the blade. Ideally, you should do so between the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand, as far from the knife's joint as possible. Get a very tight grip, and try to get as much of your thumb's surface on the flat of the knife as possible. While holding the blade tight, flick the knife down with your wrist, as hard as you can while still keeping your grip. You will end up with an open (and ideally locked) blade. By shifting back to your last three fingers, you can easily translate to a grip that is useful for slashes and stabbing motions, although it does leave your first two fingers exposed.

The blade snap open usually works best on knives with heavy handles and light, well-exposed blades. It is useful to pick a blade with an easy-open stud or hole, preferably between one inch and two inches from the folder's joint.

This technique has some benefits compared to the better known 'wrist snap' open. It's faster, and even if you don't get the necessary momentum to get the knife completely opened, you still have a functional pointy object (as opposed to the flat of the blade a 'wrist snap open' results in). It is very easy to pull a knife from complete pocket concealment regardless of orientation without having to shift your grip. And as a majority of knives have lighter blades than handles, it is usually easier on those with less wrist strength.

It also has some costs. If you don't have the hand strength, you can drop your blade or cut yourself doing this, both of which are very bad things (and why I recommend doing this with training blades first). It is very hard on the blade and locking mechanism. While you won't destroy a decent blade doing this, try it too often and you will add to normal wear and tear, shortening a knife's lifespan or adding 'play' to a previously secure lock. The New York Drop can also cause some to confuse a basic folding knife with a switchblade or gravity knife, and as a result, isn't recommended for use around police or known KFWs.

The blade snap open is fast and reliable, making it an excellent choice for use in utility situations, and while it's usually not as good as the wrist snap open for self-defense situations (as you do not keep a natural grip nor the full length of the blade available), it still has its uses, and is certainly worth knowing.


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