When you’re looking for a supremely practical new knife for your EDC, the plethora of styles can frustrate more than they help. Do you need a front flipper knife in your collection? Since the first human-made a crudely flint knapped knife, we’ve been improving and expanding our design options. Naturally, after a few thousand years, that innovation leaves us with a lot of choices. However, not all options are practical. From beautiful replicas to cheap knockoffs, some knives aren’t worth anything in real-life situations. Fortunately, a modern style, the front flipper, is one of the most underrated and necessary knives you could choose. I’ll explain what front flippers are and why you should have one in your gear. This surprisingly innovative knife has something you want in an emergency that most small folding knives lack.
What is a front flipper knife? A front flipper knife has a small protrusion off the back of the blade that allows you to open the knife with a finger or thumb on your knife-hand. The smooth motion and lack of excessive protrusions or switches to flip make for a sleek weapon. Moreover, it fits more comfortably in a pocket.
What Makes a Front Flipper Knife
All knives, even front flippers, have the same essential parts. A blade and handle don’t make for a long list of identifying components. If you add the flipper element, then it helps to understand this style. A ‘flipper knife,’ sometimes known as a one-handed-knife, opens with a flip.
Other examples of flipper knives would include back flippers and butterfly knives. However, it’s easy to confuse the three styles. Luckily, once you understand the difference, you’ll know what you’re looking at with a glance.
An excellent front flipper for new learners is the Kershaw Emerson’s E-Train from Amazon. The patented wave-shaped thumb flipper at the back of the knife allows for a fast open. This variation on the standard front flip style is excellent for learning a new style and training the uninitiated. Moreover, with its unsharpened 3.2-inch blade, you can easily have the safe practice you need and then sharpen the edge you want later. Find out more by clicking here.
Not All Flipper Knives Are Equal
A back flipper knife has a protrusion that sticks out from the front side of the blade as an integral part of the metal. Though that may seem confusing, you can quickly identify the piece to flip because it sticks off the knife at a ninety-degree angle.
Meanwhile, a butterfly knife opens with a flip from your wrist. There’s typically a latch at the bottom of the handle, and the handle pieces split in two. You can re-latch the handle once the blade is extended. Butterflies are well known, and the splitting handle makes them easy to spot. Furthermore, butterfly knives are illegal in many places.
The front flipper knife has a small protrusion off the backside of the blade. Typically this is low profile and can look like a decorative element at a glance. Hence, sliding a forefinger or thumb is all it takes to open this style. The action of the blade and manner of the flip is what defines a front flipper.
Instead of pushing a latch to open a front flipper knife, some have a catch to close it again. The blade fixes in place once fully opened like a standard pocket knife. Similarly, the style of the flipper helps it sit comfortably in a pocket.
Uses For Front Flipper Knives
Surely it doesn’t matter so much how you open a knife like a front flipper. Or does it? Notably, there’s a very sensible reason for seeking out a one-handed opening blade.
Emergency preparedness and survival depend on having the tools and skills you need available at the right time. When the pressure is on, and situations change rapidly, you never know what you’ll face. You need a knife that’s easy to get open even if you’re using your off-hand in the dark.
Remember, you can never prepare for every possible dangerous situation. Someday you may find yourself alone in the woods with on broken arm. A good knife can help you access food, cut away clothing if you have excessive swelling, and make strips for a tourniquet.
Having an EDC knife on your belt that doesn’t have any fancy locks or ways to catch on your clothing is smart. Whatever you need it for, a simple, capable blade is always the best choice. The more complex your equipment, the more potential weaknesses, and the harder it is to maintain.
Generations of Front Flipper Knives
Front flipper knives come from South Africa. A designer by the name of Fred Burger created this no-nonsense style for comfortable access knives that don’t have a standard flipper jutting out. A blade that won’t get hung up in a pocket is always a benefit.
Trevor Burger, Freds’ son, also became a knifemaker. His designs are similarly practical, and he often works in the front flip style. Doubtless, he learned from his esteemed father.
You can find knives styled after the Burger front flippers all over the world today. Naturally, when someone has a good idea, and they share it, it spreads like fire on the savanna.
When looking for your next EDC knife, the Ruike P671-CB Front Flipper is one of the best places to start. Just like the famed Burger knives, this outstanding folding knife fits easily in any pouch and pocket. You’ll appreciate the stainless steel blade and the G10 carbon fiber overlay on the handle. Check the Amazon reviews right here.
Front Flipper Knife Upkeep
What should you do to keep your front flipper knife functioning correctly? Learning the subtle differences in variations of EDC gear can mean the difference between having a working knife and not having one at all in some cases, especially if you buy one that’s prone to rust or breakage.
Unlike a fixed blade knife that doesn’t close, you do need to keep an eye on your hinge. However, the simplicity of a front flipper knife is what makes them so reliable. There are no fiddly extra features that you need to worry about. Instead, focus on standard upkeep.
For those seeking a longer blade, the three and a half-inch tanto style Tactical Gears Tatsu Tc4 is ideal. The incredible quality of a titanium and carbon fiber knife that easily folds into any pocket or go-bag is matched only by the elegant simplicity. If you prefer a Higonokami Japanese style blade, you’ll love this innovative front flipper. Plus, it comes with a gift box and sheath. Have Amazon deliver yours by clicking here.
Basic Folding Knife Upkeep
There are four straightforward things to keep in mind when ordering a front flipper knife. First, the hinge needs to bend. Secondly, the channel the blade sits inside should be debris free. Third, you always want to keep your blade sharpened. Finally, keep the point of your knife pointy. It’s easy to chip a knife tip if you put too much pressure on it.
Luckily, you don’t need any special equipment to maintain a pocket knife. A soft cloth, preferably microfiber, will wipe any outside material off your blade. Always clean the oil from your skin, and any other messes off your knife before you fold it away. Avoid anything acidic like cutting lemons if you’re using a carbon fiber blade.
Beyond that, you will need a good knife sharpener. The style is up to you—personal preference and skill level matter. You can also use a pipe cleaner or thin wire to help your cloth get into the smaller crevasses on your knife. Add some WD-40 or other oil for the hinge, and you’re in business.
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To keep your hinge in good shape, it helps to keep your knife in a sheath. Pocket-lint and grit will jam the movement making it unable to open and close properly. Similarly, any solid dirt or debris can scratch the mechanism or immobilize it. You may need a small amount of oil or WD-40 on rare occasions.
A good sharpener will help you maintain the blade’s edge and hone the tip. Knife sharpening I a necessary skill anyone who carries a blade should have. Additionally, keeping the channel clear will prevent dust, dirt, sand, and other materials from scratching up the edge of your front flipper knife blade.
Front flipper knives make an excellent one-handed opening EDC blade. Although everyone has their taste in blades, I recommend keeping one around for survival situations. The ease of opening and ability to access your blade without extra catches is always a benefit.
Whether this is your first time looking at knife styles or you’re an old hand at blade keeping, front flippers are trending for a good reason. Not only are they easy to clean and maintain, but they don’t catch inside your pockets. This is one innovative design worth having in any gear collection.
Make sure you always keep your blade sharp and accessible. You never know when you’ll need it.