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For those who are aficionados of edged weapons, butterfly knives occupy a special place given the uniqueness of the weapon. The Microtech Tachyon III keeps up the tradition and does not disappoint.
To fully understand just how great this knife is requires a description of how this unique instrument was created and its place in history.
Butterfly knives, also known as Balisong knives, are popularly thought to have been invented around 1900 in the Philippines. Digging deeper in history finds that a French book from the year 1710 entitled “Le Perret” clearly showed a diagram of the special workings of the Balisong knife. It is reasonable to assume this design filtered its way through Europe at that time.
One Balisong collector recently acquired a Bontgen and Sabin brand knife which has the tang stamp “D.R.G.M” with “1867.” D.R.G.M. would indicate Germany as the country of manufacture, and 1867, it would make this one of the oldest Balisong knives in existence.
This certainly belies the popular notion that butterfly knives were of Filipino origin. Nevertheless, the popularity of the knife and its proliferation in early 20th-century Philippines can’t be denied. There, the knives were crafted in many unique and ornate styles and used for a variety of purposes, defense among them.
We will soon describe how the Microtech Tachyon III embodies all the traditional elements of the Balisong/Butterfly knife and does so with amazing precision and state-of-the-art technological advances.
Principles of Knife Action
Often seen in 1970s-era Kung-Fu movies, butterfly knives became an instant curiosity for moviegoers who saw often-unsavory characters depicted flicking, twisting, opening, and folding these knives.
Most knives require two hands to open. This is not so for the butterfly knife. It opens with one hand just as the name “switchblade” implies, and they were featured in popular movies in 1950s like West Side Story and The Wild Bunch. Partly for this reason, the switchblade soon became classified as illegal throughout America.
The one-handed operation also raised legal questions for the butterfly knife. For a time, this caused the knives to be designated as illegal in some states, but, given the knife’s multiple uses, including, arguably, as a component in martial arts, such restrictions have been greatly relaxed. Something similar happened with the similarly popular Chinese Nunchaku fighting sticks.
The blade or tang of the butterfly knife is connected to two sheaths, which encase it when the knife is closed and then serve as a handle after the blade is exposed. Experienced handlers can learn how to manipulate the knife with great finesse. For example, immediately after it is removed from a pocket, they can whip the blade open and be ready for action with just the flip of the wrist.
Every aspect of these design principles has been preserved in the Microtech Tachyon III, but with notable improvements.
Improving on Perfection
Part of the allure of the butterfly knife class is its elegant simplicity. The simple and straightforward operation of the knife was hard to beat. What kind of small but incremental design elements could Microtech possibly make to this design that could be considered improvements?
Every time a knife manufacturer adds a perhaps small but meaningful feature to a design like a specially beveled edge, it adds to the cost of the manufacture of the unit and increases the retail price commensurately.
As with all modern edged weapons, the traditional hardening and fine honing of the blade are the most critical components. To this end, the Microtech Tachyon III is among the most magnificent products in its class!
The Tachyon III has a ceramic ball bearing pivot assembly which provides smooth deployment. These pivots use specialized Viton O-rings for load dampening. The knife also features a heat treated stainless steel retainer plate assembly to provide long-lasting performance.
Early versions of the Tachyon were produced with titanium handles. That drove the price a little beyond what some folks could afford. Today’s Microtech Tachyon III uses aluminum handles, and, in terms of weight, balance, durability and, of course, price, it has been a very good trade-off.
How Many Microtech Tachyon III Knives Do I Need to Buy?
Why, two, of course! After you have mastered the signature actions associated with this knife using both hands, you will be compelled to see if you can perform them with both hands simultaneously. Thus, when you’re shopping for the Microtech Tachyon III at your favorite knife store, you’ll want to plan on ordering two.
If you are new to the use of the butterfly knife, it is possible to order models that have dull edges for use in practice. That way, it’s easier to prevent injury during training and, believe me, once you start learning these techniques, you will find yourself practicing them more and more.