What can you do with a butterfly knife?

If you have ever seen the movie Kill Bill or the TV show Breaking Bad, you may have been intrigued by what butterfly knives are.

Ballistic knives and spring-loaded blades are not actually a type of knife at all - they are devices that look like knives but cannot be used as such. Nevertheless, they have been classified as prohibited offensive weapons in many jurisdictions due to their notoriety as dangerous weapons. 

However, these knives - also called balisongs - are actually legal to carry across most of the United States (including Hawaii). They reside in a legal gray area that has yet to be defined.

Since the movie Police Story (1986) was released, all films featuring balisongs have had to be "code-compliant" ["i.e." made to look like a real knife by using orange handles or other such camouflage], however, in reality their history is much older than any film.

The first documented balisong knife was made by the Filipino Marciano brothers, who patented it on March 24th of 1937. In addition to having a spring-loaded release mechanism on its hilt mechanism, it featured an extra clip at the butt of its handle that could hold two more knives.

What Makes a Butterfly Knife?

The name "Balisong" comes from the Tagalog word "baling-sang," which means "swing-blades." There are four types of balisongs: cosmetically decorated, plain, short scaled and long scaled.

It is also known as a butterfly or fan knife, is a folding pocket knife that can be used to open and close the blade with one hand. It was invented in the Philippines in 1919 by Manuel Nieves Martelino, who handed it over to Walter Drake for mass production for American servicemen fighting in World War II.

The design of the Balisong is elegant and practical. First, it has two steel blades connected to an axis on either side of the handle. When closed, they are prevented from harming anyone by being enclosed within a protective slotted disk called the "bail. 

The blade is composed of two parts, a lower blade with a serrated edge and a larger "fang" that is used to open and close the knife. The handle is made of wood or other hard material, which acts as a stopper to secure the knives within their bail during storage. Balisong is most often found in the form of a pocket knife, but has also been knifed into cigar cases, compasses and hatpins.

Butterfly Knife's Construction

It is a folding pocket knife with two handles counter-rotating around the tang such that, when closed, the blade is concealed within grooves in the metal handles. Its name comes from its origin as a traditional Filipino farming tool used for clearing foliage and harvesting sugar cane. 

A spring catches the blade and holds it against the inside of one of the two handles (usually one at each end). A real butterfly knife, like most folding knives, is made of multiple parts. The two primary parts are the blade, which is an integral part of the handles, and the tangs which comprise the bulk of the handles. The blades themselves are often made of stainless steel or high carbon steel with a hardness of around 56 RC in order to maximize toughness while minimizing brittleness.

Butterfly knife

  • Tangs:

The tangs can be made of various materials and come in many sizes and shapes depending on their intended use. The handle may be separate pieces or one solid piece that encompasses both sides. Some of the many types of tangs include drop tang, integral tang and the meaty tang. 

  • Blades:

In most Butterfly knives the blade is held in place by a spring which, when not extended, holds the blade away from the handles and allows it to fold up against the inside of one side of the handle. 

This method is by no means fool-proof as that side cannot be opened without taking apart the knife. More or less all Balisong knives are made for safe, easy opening with either a thumb stud or a flipper tab on one side of each handle. 

Balisong as Farming Tools

Balisongs were used by Filipino farmers to clear vegetation from sugarcane plantations and to harvest sugar cane. The blade experiences frequent wear and allows the user to quickly and easily sharpen it. 

When invented, the "Balisong" had a large, heavy knife with a very fast edge that was used in close quarters combat. It was also used for other tasks such as harvesting sugarcane, clearing vegetation from fields and cutting coconuts. The Balisong is not only a knife but also an important Filipino cultural symbol that has become a part of Filipino history and heritage.

Self Defense with Butterfly Knives

One reason you may want to learn defensive tactics with butterfly knives is for your own protection from an attacker or assailants who are still close enough to do physical harm.
These knives can be very effective in a self-defense situation. 

All it takes is some practice, skill, and a little creativity to turn your balisong knife into a devastating weapon. If you can land one good slash or stab to an attacker's body with the sharp edge of your fan knife, that's often all it takes for an attacker to stop so you can get away or defend yourself.

The most important thing to remember about using these balisong knives for self defense is that you need to know how to effectively use them against an attacker from a variety of angles and positions.

Balisong as Throwing Tool

A balisong knife is not a good throwing weapon. It needs to be kept very tight to the hand while swinging, and it's not weighted very well on either end. The blade will often wobble in flight and then the user has no hope of catching the blade again because the second handle is now up high. All this makes a balisong knife unreliable for throwing purposes.

The paraw is a Filipino knife. It is a single-edged knife whose blade is typically longer than its handle. Like the balisong, it folds flat and has two sharp edges, so it can be used as an effective cutting weapon while being compact enough to be carried discreetly. 

But unlike the butterfly knives, the paraw's blade typically has no handle on either side: the blade itself forms both the spine and edge of the weapon. This makes it easier to throw in competition because there are no handles for any wobbling to occur: when thrown correctly, it turns over just once (as opposed to a balisong which will often turn over several times before falling).

Does Butterfly Knife Hurt?

Recently, some people have been wondering if it's possible to get hurt with one of these knives. It's worth noting that this is barely physically possible. For instance, in their locked position, butterfly knives are completely safe to use and completely incapable of harming a person. But if the blades are open, they can be dangerous.

As for the fear of damage or injury from the knife itself, this is also unfounded. As you can see, it's very hard (but not impossible) to hurt yourself using a balisong knife.

Theoretically, it should be possible to slice open your own hand by blocking the blade with your thumb while it's closed; however, we can say with full confidence that this would take more effort than what you'd be willing to do in a fight situation.

Butterfly knife trainer

Butterfly knife Trainer is a Safe Option!

Balisong knife trainer is a tool that consists of a plastic sheet which has holes in it that can move back and forth. The finger grip helps a person to hold the trainer safely and in one place when practicing techniques with knives. These trainers are also good for children who often struggle with holding knives properly when using them for play or food preparation.

A butterfly knife trainer is also used by law enforcement personnel. There is a knife trainer that can be utilized with this particular training device which teaches defensive and tactical techniques with the knife to a police officer. 

The butterfly knives trainers may be made of leather or plastic with the holes being in a certain pattern and size so that it can perfectly accommodate the hand and fingers of any person using it.

Some butterfly knife trainers may come with handles that can be used for extra support and to help securely hold the knives in place.

Also Read: Improve Your Butterfly Knife Tricks