What Is a Front Flipper Knife and Should I Consider One?

What Is a Front Flipper Knife and Should I Consider One?

Jun 4th 2019

Knifemakers are continually innovating to create new and exciting handle and blade combinations. One of the most recent discoveries to gain traction in the community is the front flipper knife.

Although this style is not popular in the mainstream knife industry, the front flipper mechanism has developed a steady following of users who appreciate its smooth opening and sleek profile. If you are shopping for your next blade and contemplating a front flipper knife, there are a few crucial factors to consider first.

man holding an open pocket knife

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What Is a Front Flipper Knife?

Front flipper knives are manual folding knives that use a tab which protrudes from the blade to open. The tab often features a slightly textured or grooved grip for added traction and easier opening. However, unlike the original flipper knife, the tab is located on the blade’s spine and deploys using a sweeping motion from the thumb.

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The History of the Front Flipper Knife

Most people attribute the front flipper knife to a South African knifemaker, Fanie Le Grange. The revolutionary knife style was introduced to the public with the Kizer Feist in 2017. It was gradually adopted by numerous knife brands, including Real Steel and Bӧker and knifemakers Will Boos and Garth Bull.

Often incorporated into custom folding knives, this simple opening mechanism offers a sleek design that provides the user with numerous benefits over traditional flipper knives and other folding styles.

Benefits of a Flipper Knife

  • Concealable

Folding flipper knives may not have the blade strength of other knife models, but what they lack in ruggedness, they make up for versatility. The folded appearance of a front flipper knife makes it inherently more concealable than other knife styles because you keep it in your pocket. You can also find sheaths for folding front flipper knives that can be worn in-the-waistband (IWB) or outside-the-waistband (OWB) for open and concealed carry.

  • One-Handed Opening

Unlike many manual openers, the front flipper knife offers one-handed operation, making it a convenient choice for many knife enthusiasts. You can often find front flipper knives with a spring-assisted opening for easier deployment. For complete one-handed operation, opt for a flipper with a liner lock that allows you to close the blade with a single hand. Liner locks are also safer and prevent accidental opening inside your pocket.

  • Rapid Deployment

Front flipper knife tabs are typically found on the opposite side of the knife to standard flipper opening mechanisms. This feature provides a more intuitive hand movement and creates better leverage nearer to the blade’s pivot point for faster, smoother opening.

The spine tab also offers better control of the opening mechanism. Standard flippers usually can’t complete the blade arc with the initial deployment. The thumb tab lets you control the blade’s movement better, letting you open the blade as quickly or slowly as required. This controllable, rapid deployment makes front flipper knives an excellent choice as a self-defense knife.

  • Clean Profile for Better Handling

Once the front flipper blade is opened, the thumb tab disappears into the handle, so it creates a streamlined profile that is more akin to a fixed blade knife than a traditional folding blade. This sleek look allows for exceptional handling, and you don’t risk snagging the tab during use.

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  • More Flexible State Laws

While switch blades are a popular EDC knife due to their fast, automatic deployment, many users wonder, “ Are switch blades legal?” Many states do not allow them for concealed carry, regardless of the blade length. A manual front flipper knife makes a fantastic alternative. Most state knife laws regarding folding knives are more lenient, and a front flipper still offers the same rapid deployment and compact carrying design.

Front Flipper Knife

Drawbacks of Front Flipper Knives

As with any new development in the knifemaking industry, the front flipper knife has received some criticism, which is essential to take into consideration if you are thinking about buying a front flipper knife.

For knife enthusiasts used to standard flipping mechanisms, the thumb tab may have a learning curve that makes using the knife inconvenient. Practicing frequently with the tab builds up your muscle memory. You’ll find the sweeping motion quickly becomes second nature and, eventually, a more comfortable and speedy way to deploy your blade.

If you still struggle with a front flipper blade’s concept and action, Microtech knives have a range of stunning folding knives that are legal for EDC and deploy smoothly every time.

Find High-Quality Flipper Knives at EKnives

What may have been seen as a gimmick in its early stages has now found a devoted following. Knife enthusiasts swear by front flipper knives as excellent EDC blades for their compact size and folding capability. The tab on the spine allows for rapid deployment with an intuitive thumb movement for better control over the blade arc.

We have the best range of custom folding and fixed knives online. Explore our full range on the website, or contact eKnives at (423) 525-9477 to find out more about a front flipper knife’s benefits.