What is a Ballistic Knife?

As the name suggests a ballistic knife has a blade that is ejected from the handle through a spring-based system. But don’t be afraid of ballistic knife definition as the blade is always under your control through the spring system that keeps it connected to the handle.

For adventurous fellas, the ballistic knife is an ideal tool to keep with during mountain ventures or a trip in the woods as the blade can be ejected for several yards when you push the lever or press the trigger.  

Homemade ballistic knife will have similar feature as below mentioned commercial ballistic knife. We also covered legality issues of ballistic knife as this is one of major concern for knife lovers.

Ballistic Knife Definition

Simply put, a ballistic knife is basically a blade which is attached to a hollow handle fitted inside another hollow handle that has a coil of spring.  The blade of the knife is held back by a latch connected to the coil spring compressed inside the handle. When you push the lever the latch releases resulting in the launch of the knife.

Check our article on Electric Fillet knife VS Regular to compare fillet knives from various big brands. 


You can also look into our article on best fish filleting electric knife for your next fish party.

Regular Knife Vs Electric Fillet Knife

History of Ballistic Knife

According to United States Code, Title 15 Section 1245 (d) 

As used in this section, the term “ballistic knife” means a knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism.

Pub. L. 85-623, Sec. 7, Oct. 27, 1986. Amended Nov. 18, 1988.

In western markets, ballistic knives were introduced in the 1980s as their concealed blades were able to hit the target with great force which attracted audacious hunters.

The origin of these knives is rumoured to be the Soviet Union where special operation units like KGB and Spetsnaz invented them as a clandestine weapon. However, due to the dangers related with ballistic knives, they were soon banned by many countries in the late 1990s. 

The Russian made knives were different from the later created versions as they did not need gun powder or explosives to release the blade. They have a metal tube inside which the blade resides while attached to a spring.

Look into this beautiful Ballistic golden pocket Knife, You can read more about it on Amazon…


The blade releases as a projectile after pushing a button or pin and is propelled around 20 feet with the elastic energy of the attached spring.  Even today, this Russian version is considered among special weapons weighing under 1 lbs. category, 5-10 inches long and works on spring mechanism.  

The knife was designed to make it simple for young recruits to learn skills of throwing as less practice was needed for spring propelled ballistic knives. The surprising part of this knife was the attached blade could be used for routine activities like a fixed blade knife until a button was pushed to launch it in the projectile.  


Well, it is a hybrid tool with multiple exciting ballistic knife features some of them are:

  • Its outer handle is hollow containing a spring which almost doubles the length of the handle kept inside when not compressed. When you lock the knife the blade holds the spring.
  • To open the knife, you can easily flip a switch or micro lever and if you want to use the blade like a knife just keep it locked inside the handle and cut easily without any hassle.
  • When you press the trigger the knife blade is ejected and can travel several yards to hit the target. 

Blue Ballistics Spring Assist Knife

Dark Side Ballistics Spring Assist Folding Knife

Uses of a Ballistic Knife

The Russian version is quieter in operation as it relies on spring mechanism so you can use it to cope with any threat and protect yourself with this ideal self-defence tool.

  • Don’t forget that a ballistic knife can be used as an ordinary knife when attached with the handle
  • With its sharp blade, it can be used for hunting related tasks such as cutting the branches to remove obstacles.
  • The major utilization of ballistic knives is for armed personnel as it is an effective replacement of firearms. It can be used as a stealth tool, which performs as a covert projectile in dangerous situations.
ballistic knife usage

Are Ballistic Knives legal?

Unluckily, ballistic knives have faced ban just like other automatic knives. It is illegal in the United States to make, possess, sell or import ballistic knives for interstate commerce purposes.  This means that you cannot sell them across state lines or have them in your possession while crossing state borders. Moreover, using a ballistic knife at a crime scene is also illegal according to federal law and if you do so you may face imprisonment for a minimum of five years.

But, do not get depressed by these bans as you can make, possess and sell ballistic knives within state borders. Before enjoying the amazing features of a ballistic knife just make sure to check local laws.

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