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A flipper knife is one where the blade has a "protrusion" almost like a shark fin that is pressed with the index finger (commonly referred to as "index finger protrusion") allowing the blade to roll out typically on some sort of ball bearing system. It is the legal option (in most states) for quick one handed deployment and mimics that of an automatic, however slightly slower.
Flippers have been around for over a decade and pretty much garnered a lot of attention when Kai USA (Kershaw/Zero Tolerance) and Ken Onion, then a knife designer for Kai introduced the Chive, which would end up winning the 2001 Blade Magazine American Made Knife of the Year.
But Kershaw/ZT Knives is not the only flipper game in town these days, but they definitely rank high among knife enthusiasts. So here is a list in no particular order.
1. Zero Tolerance 0801 Rexford
First on this list is the new 2013 Zero Tolerance 0801 Todd Rexford folder. This solid tactical folder is nothing short of amazing, but what else would you expect from a ZT knives, Todd Rexford collaboration.
The ZT 0801 made it's debut at this years 2013 SHOT show in Vegas and began hitting the shelves last month. It features a 3.5" stonewashed Elmax powdered steel blade that will hide scratches and signs of wear.
The 4.7" handle is a titanium frame lock with grooves making it lightweight and extremely eye catching. Perhaps the coolest part of this flipper is how smooth it opens via a ZTVT ball bearing system. It opens super easy and smooth which is a must with a flipper knife IMO. [product id="" sku="zt0801"][product id="" sku="zt0801cf"]
2. Microtech D.O.C (Death On Contact) Flipper
Ok so I couldn't leave this knife out of the mix because it is one of my favorites of 2013. The Blade Show 2013 Winner for "Most Innovative Design" and "Collaboration of the Year", The Microtech D.O.C. Death on Contact flipper was a joint effort between Anthony Marfione (Microtech Knives) and Mick Strider (Strider Knives).
The Microtech D.O.C. comes in a manual action (M/A) and an automatic version called the "DOC Killswitch" . The manual version is in stock now and has hit the market pretty hard with sales. It is a heavy duty tactical folding knife with a lot of vengeance and attitude.
The Microtech DOC features a 3.25" S30V spear point blade (first runs had an Elmax blade) with a unique looking bevel cut (see above) and comes in a variety of finishes such as bead blast, stonewash, satin and black (serrated and plain). The integrated flipper (index finger protrusion) makes for easy one handed opening and there are oversized dual thumb studs as well should you decide against the flipper.
The stainless steel blade also has serial number, date of manufacture and D.O.C. M/A (which stands for manual action) stamped.
The DOC flipper's handle measures 5.5" and is made from 6061 T-6 aluminum with Traction inserts which feel sort of like "grip tape" on a skateboard (if you ever hit the half pipe in your day). This allows for excellent grip and handling and honestly feels really good in the hand. The anodized aluminum comes in an array of colors that include red, black, blue, green and tan.
The integrated titanium frame lock has a sub lock bar which ensures solid lockup every time. On the back of the handle sits a pocket clip with A.Marfione/M.Strider etched.
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3. Spyderco Domino Flipper
Spyderco finally hit the market with their first flipper earlier in the year, so lookout as they have many more coming. The Spyderco Domino flipper, designed by Eric Glesser is another flipper for a legend in the cutlery industry who until recently had no flipper knives if you can believe that.
According to Blade Magazine, Cutlery Hall of Famer and CEO of Spyderco, Sal Glesser stated that the reason it took him so long to produce an assisted open knife is simply because back when they hit the market, there were legal questions still in the air and Spyderco was not set up overseas to handle such a project.
This Eric Glesser designed flipper knife is the second Spyderco knife to feature the Kit Carson inspired “Flipper opener”. The Spyderco Domino Flipper features a 4.5″ black carbon fiber laminate scale handle on one side with a solid titanium scale on the other.
A titanium Chris Reeve integral liner lock ensures solid lockup every time. The Domino has a 3″ full flat ground CTS XHP steel blade that rides on ball bearing washers for a buttery smooth opener. The Domino features a 4 position black pocket clip for universal carry.
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4. Zero Tolerance 0560/0561 Rick Hinderer
Im lumping these two together since they are the same knife with different colored handles. The ZT 0560/0561 is a Rick Hinderer designed tactical folder with plenty of attitude and ability. It is a solid EDC knife and for the money you really can't beat it. The 0560 is based off Hinderer knives XM-18 model which is to say, it's pure awesomeness! The ZT 0560 has a black 3D machined G-10 handle on one side and titanium 3D on the other. The ZT 0561 features a dark earth (tan) 3D machined G-10 handle on front.
Both knives contain a 3.75" stonewashed Elmax stainless steel blade with dual thumbstuds and an index flipper. The blade deploys smoothly with the KVT (Kershaw Velocity Technology) opening system. According to Kai, The KVT system works using ball bearings at the pivot point so when the flipper is pressed the ball bearing rotate delivering a smooth blade deployment. The 0560 locks up with a titanium framelock.
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5. CRKT Foresight Ken Onion
Well it is no surprise that Ken Onion is on the list more than once.. In fact an argument could be made that all of his flipper knives are the best on the market, but I'll save the Ken Onion highlight reel for another post:).
The CRKT Foresight by (Columbia River Knife & Tool) is a Ken Onion designed folder that won the Blade Magazine 2012 Import Knife of the Year award. The Foresight is a "form follow function" flipper knife. It features a 3.5" modified drop point blade made from AUS 8 stainless steel with a black Ti Nitride finish.
The CRKT Foresight has a 5" aluminum handle with an integrated liner lock and an IVKT bearing system which rolls out the Ken Onion blade buttery smooth via flipper. The handle also features finger grooves for better gripping performance for EDC tasks. The CRKT Foresight comes in a plain and combo edge version.
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Zero Tolerance 0350
I had to add my favorite EDC knife because I have abused the crap out of this thing and it stays in my pocket. The ZT 0350 happens to be one of my favorite flipper knives simply because it is larger but light and indestructible. In fact I have several friends who carry it as well.
The beauty of the ZT 0350 is the options that come with it. There are several blade colors and washes so you can have more than one and not feel guilty :). My favorite is the 0350 TS (tiger striped) blade because it's just plain wicked.
The Zero Tolerance 0350 is a scaled down version of the 0300 upon demand from consumers. It features a 3.25" S30V blade that comes in stonewashed, tiger striped, black DLC, composite, satin and the new blackwash finish.
The beefy handle is black G-10 scaled with an integrated SpeedSafe assisted opener via flipper. This flipper knife is indestructible and one of my favorites because it isn't so large in the pocket like many ZT knives.
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