What is Gravity Knife? Is it Illegal to Carry one?

Gravity Knife

Some knives stand out by their looks. Others stand out by how they work.

Today, we’re going to have a look at one of the later ones. We’re going to have a look at gravity knives.

Gravity knives are knives that use gravity to open. Their blades are concealed within their handle. That is until you let it drop out.

I own quite a lot of knives that have this hidden-in-the-handle feature. So what makes gravity knives different? Where did these blades come from, and what are they for?

Today, I’m going to give you the complete guide to gravity knives. Let’s dive right in!

What is Gravity Knife?

Unlike some of the knives we’ve looked at together, gravity knives aren’t a particular type of knife. What I mean is that two knives can look miles apart from one another, and still both be gravity knives.

This is not like a knife such as, say, dirks. The thin looks and single-edged blade of these knives let you spot them with a glance.

With gravity knives, there are no visual cues.

What sets these knives apart is how they work. Any knife that uses gravity to open is a gravity knife. This is whether they unfold from the side, or slide straight down from the handle.

Aside from that, gravity knives also have a locking system. It would be crazy to have a knife that opens every time it faces downwards. Imagine how many people would hurt themselves with that.

Classic gravity knives have a little lever on the thumb for this. To open, all you have to do is point your knife downwards and press this lever. The blade will slide right out in the most badass fashion.

If you don’t like that method of opening, you could also go for what I call the flick-switch. To open, flick your knife and let inertia pull the blade out. Once it’s out, the locking system will hold your blade in place.

When you’re done using your knife, press the lock lever again and hold your knife upwards. The blade will fall right back into place, safe within its handle.

The original gravity knives all had an awl that one could pull out from the side of the handle. This was an extra tool to help untangle ropes. Today, a lot of modern gravity knives still have these.

What are Gravity Knives for?

Gravity knives are so much more than a cool toy that you can flick open.

These are knives. And like every other knife, these are incredibly useful tools.

We’ve looked at some knives with very specific uses. Take hook knives as an example, they were built for one purpose and one purpose only. Compare that to gravity knives, which are, what I like to call, all-round.

Gravity knives were first used by German paratroopers in World War 2. Sometimes, their parachutes would get caught in trees. To free themselves, they needed a knife that was small, concealed, and could be opened with one hand.

Gravity knives have come a long way since. Today gravity knives are some of the most versatile blades around. They’re the type of knife that you want to have around when you don’t know what you’ll come across – whether you’re in the woods or going about your daily routine.

You can use gravity knives for cutting and slicing. You can use gravity knives for self-defense. And if your gravity knife has an awl, you could use this to bore holes as well.

The best part?

They are extremely portable.

You don’t need to carry a sheath around to bring your gravity knife. All you need to do is slip this into your pocket and you’re good to go. Gravity knives also tend to be quiet small, often smaller than my palm.

That’s why taking this knife wherever you go would’ve been great. It would’ve been great if it wasn’t for our laws. Which brings us to:

Is it Illegal to Carry a Gravity Knife?

If you read a bit about gravity knives, you’ll find that they are not short of controversy. There seems to be a lot of confusion about whether or not gravity knives are illegal or not.

To answer this question, let’s start back from the beginning. The 2nd amendment gave Americans the right to bear arms. So there’s nothing wrong with owning a knife.

However, several weapons are illegal to carry outside. The reason for this is because you can easily harm, or even kill, someone with them. You’ll get in trouble for carrying anything classified as a “deadly weapon” outside.

Do you see that phrase “classified as a deadly weapon”? That’s where the confusion starts.

Are gravity knives deadly weapons?

Anyone with common sense would say no. Gravity knives are tools, not weapons. But in 1958, New York banned carrying gravity knives. And soon after, the rest of the country followed.

Since then, there have been a lot of controversial arrests. People who used gravity knives for their work found themselves behind bars.

Thankfully, after years of protest, New York lifted the ban on gravity knives. At last, people can now carry their gravity knives wherever they go.

That is, in New York. This is a very new change. It’s still unclear whether or not other states will follow.

The best thing to do is to check your local state laws. This way, you’ll be informed. You won’t get in any trouble when you know what the law says.

Keep in mind though that gravity knives are NOT switchblades. This is a significant difference. Why? Let me tell you.

What is the Difference Between Gravity Knives and Switchblades?

Two knives, both concealed in their handles, what is so different between these two?

If you remember what I said earlier, gravity knives are gravity knives because they use gravity. Switchblades, on the other hand, use a spring to open.

Aside from that, these two are very similar to one another. It’s only the method of opening that sets them apart. A lot of people even dub switchblades as “modern gravity knives”, and it’s not hard to see why.

However, you should know that unlike gravity knives, switchblades are seen as deadly weapons. So if you’re afraid to get in trouble for your gravity knife, expect more with a switchblade.

Also, keep in mind that switchblade is another name for automatic knives.

Another similar knife is the folding knife. By now, you should know how these are different.

If you guessed the opening method, you’re right.

For folding knives, you’ll need to push the blade out from the handle. You can’t use gravity for help, neither will a button snap the blade into place.

My Best Gravity Knife in the Market

You Can Check its Price at BladeHQ


And that’s all there is to know about gravity knives. These knives are not only super cool but also very useful. It’s such a shame that it is still illegal to carry these in a lot of states.

Nonetheless, you’ll find that there is a lot you can do at home with your gravity knife. Or, if you’re like me, this knife will make a great addition to your collection.


I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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