Butterfly Knife vs. Switchblade How Do They Compare and Differ

Butterfly knives and switchblades may both be illegal in the same places, but they are not the same thing.

From the build and design of these knives to how they are used, they couldn’t be more different.

In this piece, we do away with the sentiments as I show you factual reasons why switchblades differ from butterfly knives.

3 Differences Between Butterfly Knives and Switchblades

These differences should do all the talking:

#1 Opening Mechanism

A switchblade is a form of automatic knife that requires deploying the blade via the press of a button. This button releases the blade from the sheath and may also be configured to retract the blade.

However, manual blade retraction is standard on most switchblades.

A butterfly knife or balisong is opened by releasing the blade between its two handles. The blade is sandwiched between both handles when the knife is closed and can open under gravity, even though it should not be considered a gravity knife.

#2 Handle Types

Switchblades are designed with one handle, just like conventional knives. It is usually a hollow handle that can eject the blade, either through the front or side of the knife.

Balisongs characteristically feature two handles – the bite handle and the regular handle.

You can find out more about the parts of a balisong knife here.

Handling a real balisong knife can be unsafe if you don’t know where to hold it. That is because holding from the bite handle could cut you even when the blade is not yet open.

#3 Stability

Switchblades and butterfly knives come close here, but the switchblade comes out top.

Butterfly knives’ instability woes start with the separated handles, which don’t have a meaningful hilt or finger guard. You can’t do any severe stabbing or pierce with this knife without the fear of losing a finger yourself.

The blade’s position within the handle also means that it wobbles from time to time. That is not something you want from a sturdy EDC knife.

Now, a switchblade is not all that stable either.

Using a switch or button to get the knife out means the blade doesn’t fit the space inside the handle perfectly. Depending on the quality of the knife, it would wobble a little – or a lot.

When compared to butterfly knives, though, switchblades are relatively more stable.

Does A Butterfly Knife Count as A Switchblade?


Butterfly knives are legally defined in some regions as switchblades, but they are different kinds of knives. They remain illegal in the US, Canada, Mexico, most of Europe, and surrounding areas.

Now That You Know the Difference

You must have been curious about either the butterfly knife or switchblades to have gotten here. Or maybe both.

Now that you are here, you may be interested in learning why banning balisongs/ butterfly knives. If you still want to learn and practice butterfly knife tricks anyway (which I wrote all about with videos here), you can get a fake butterfly knife.

Before then, read this guide to know if fake butterfly knives are illegal in your region or not.

Once you are done with those guides, you will have become something of a mini authority on the butterfly knife subject yourself.

In all you do, I don’t recommend getting the real butterfly knife. Besides being illegal, the chances of cutting yourself are high, and I wouldn’t want you to take them.

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