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OTF or John Wick Knife: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

The Microtech Cypher is the latest OTF knife to be selected by Keanu Reeves to be in the upcoming John Wick 3 movie set for release in 2019. Click Here to shop our current selection of Cypher OTF Knives.

Keanu Reeves may not be the first celeb to come to mind when you think of knife-wielding heroes. But as John Wick, he brought the OTF knives designed by Microtech founder Anthony Marfione squarely into the blockbuster spotlight.

What is an OTF or John Wick knife?

An OTF (out-the-front) knife is a knife whose blade extends and retracts from an opening at the front of the handle along the handle axis. When retracted, the blade is hidden within the handle. There are single action and double action OTF types:

The single action propels the blade forward and locks it into place, and the blade is retracted by disabling the lock mechanism and manually moving the blade. The spring is strong enough to propel the blade through light clothing and break skin.

Double action OTF knives automatically deploy the blade and retract the blade, all with a push of a button. To accommodate this feature, these knives use a less powerful spring that would not break skin.

Double action OTF knives

How is it used?

The simple, rugged OTF design lets the operator deploy the stainless steel blade with the push of a button on the side of the handle. The double action design lets you retract the blade automatically as well, so you can stow it away as fast as it was deployed.

What is it used for?

OTF knives are handy for a variety of tasks that need to be handled quickly and on short notice. Whether it is taking out a competing hitman or cutting your meatloaf in the break room, you’ll find one of these blades to be a handy tool.

Automatic knives are frequently use by law enforcement and emergency services personnel who may need to deploy a blade with only one free hand to cut a seatbelt or rope, or to expose an injury site while their other hand is occupied. NASA issues auto knives to flight crews operating in low-G environments, as they are usually hanging on to something to keep from floating away while completing manual tasks.

firemen carrying auto knives

Police officers frequently carry an auto knife on the side opposite their firearm in case someone tries taking their pistol. The reasoning is that during a disarm attempt, their dominant hand will be occupied trying to keep the gun in the holster and away from the perpetrator, so only the support side hand will be available to deploy a secondary weapon.

For customers able to legally carry an automatic knife, there is a measurable psychological impact when presenting it against an attacker. Hearing and seeing the blade launch from the handle where there was only an unarmed victim a moment before can be enough to make an attacker re-evaluate their victim selection process — because we are conditioned through Hollywood to associate automatic knives or ‘switchblades’ with people you generally don’t want to mess with, like John Wick.

What styles, shapes and sizes are available?

Wick’s Combat Troodon and Ultratech are full-sized fighting knives, with 3.8-inch and 3.5-inch blades, respectively.

John Wick’s Ultratech is just one version of the OTF family designed by Microtech founder, Anthony Marfione. The UTX-85 and UTX-70 are smaller versions of the original, designed to fit particular carry requirements. 85% and 70% of the size of the Ultratech respectively.

Microtech OTF knives come in a staggering variety of blade types and finish options, from single and double edge to Tanto and other custom styles, like Hellhound and Warhound with or without serrations. There are several blade finishes to choose from, ranging from bead-blast or stonewash stainless to black DLC (Diamond-Like Coating) and satin.

John Wick Microtech handle colors run the gamut of the rainbow to appeal to the owner’s requirements: Muted blacks or grays are discrete enough for the assassin/hitman type; greens, browns and camo patterns will suit military operators; and vivid reds, oranges and yellows stand out for emergency responders who need to find their blade on an active scene when it’s dark or rainy.

Microtech Marfione Custom Design
John Wick Continental Set

Microtech Marfione Custom Designs offered a boxed collector set of both styles of OTF knife used in the films. These sets included three gold challenge coins and a No. 2 pencil, an accessory John Wick fans will appreciate. These sets are currently trading on the collector’s market like classical French paintings.

John Wick knives in the movies

John Wick knives have appeared onscreen in the hands of heroes and villains alike. Aside from Keanu Reeve’s character in the “John Wick” movies, Agent Jack Bauer carried a Microtech HALO auto knife while saving the free world from annihilation in the Fox network series “24.”

Batman nemesis the Joker used a variety of OTF automatics in 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” One was a Microtech Combat Troodon with a black plain-drop point blade and another with a serrated blade. In another scene, he uses a Microtech HALO.

Even in the animated children’s hit “Despicable Me,” loveable villain Gru deploys an OTF blade to cut a wire while working in his laboratory.

One takeaway from the equipment provided to John Wick in the movies is that it is real-world gear available to the consumer, and all of it is top-tier quality. Whether you are checking out his HK pistol, classic Mustang or Benelli combat shotgun, it’s been placed on set for a reason. The same logic applies to the blades chosen for these movies, so buy your John Wick Knife with confidence.

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