For the past few decades, I’ve been a knife enthusiast, enjoying tactical and survival types of knives, mostly. Recently, I was approached and asked if I’d like to check out an out-the-front automatic Templar knife and do an evaluation.
Normally, I don’t use automatic knives; they’re illegal to carry in my state. Aside from that, I’ve just never really had the urge, as the handle shapes have never really appealed to me. Despite that, I enjoy trying new things, so I figured—what do I have to lose by trying one out?
Templar Knives is a Texas-based, family-owned company. They outsource the materials for their knives, which are then hand-assembled and tested at the warehouse before they are shipped out.
The knife I received was the Premium Weighted Large Automatic with the “Don’t Tread On Me” motif, which I think looks very cool. The 3.55-inch blade is made from Powdered D2 steel with a stonewashed, black oxide powder coat. The knife’s handle is 5.25 inches long, and the overall length is 8.75 inches.
Available blade shapes are tanto, dagger, and drop point, and serrations are an option for these blade shapes. The blade on my knife is tanto with a plain edge. Out of the box, the edge was pleasingly sharp. There is also a swedge on the back of the blade.
The knife’s handle is aluminum-zinc alloy and is CNC’d inside, weighing 8.6 ounces overall. Upon handling the knife, I was struck by how solid it feels; it definitely has some heft to it. I wouldn’t describe it as being too heavy, but rather a solid feeling.
As mentioned, the appearance of the knife is fetching, with the American flag, coupled with the “Don’t Tread On Me” snake in front of a yellow background. There is also a pocket clip to secure the knife in the pocket.
Blade deployment is facilitated via a sliding button on the top of the handle. When the blade is closed, a spring inside the handle is stretched and ready to fling the blade out. Hit the switch and the blade shoots out.
That outward motion stretches a well-balanced return spring that—when the switch is hit again—will pull the blade back down into the handle.
It does take some effort to deploy the blade, so it’s not as if the switch has a “hair trigger”. Any fear of the knife deploying in your pocket is probably unfounded, and I doubt it would happen.
Should the blade disengage from its track inside the handle during deployment (or if it hits something while opening, it’s designed to come off the track), the user simply grabs the blade and makes as if he’s trying to pull the blade out of the handle. That put the tension back into the return spring and will reset the blade and you’re good to go!
Upon deploying, the blade flies out with an authoritative “CLACK!” Move the button in reverse, and the blade flies back into the handle with the same sound. I won’t lie, I sat there deploying and retracting the blade quite a few times simply because it was neat and fun to do.
How practical is the automatic feature for me, personally? Well, it’s illegal for me to carry in my state, so not at all practical from a legal aspect. Aside from that, I don’t necessarily “need” a knife that deploys in this manner, as I find my knives that have opening holes in the blade or thumb discs on the blade to be about as fast to deploy. Obviously, local and state laws will be a factor in whether people will carry these types of knives.
Ergonomics versus the necessity of out-the-front actions
The main thing that puts me off about the automatic designs is the handle shape and feel; it’s like holding a small box. I prefer my knives to have more ergonomic handles. To me, I consider an ergonomic handle to be an art form.
An out-the-front automatic knife’s handle has to be larger than the blade and closed on five of the six geometric sides (all but the front), which gives this style of knife a different look and feel, and almost all of them have hard lines and angular corners. The form closely follows the function, by design.
That said, I can’t say that I dislike the knife. It is intended to perform a specific function, and for what it is designed, I believe it fills the bill relatively well. Templar Knives seem to be of high quality and sturdy.
As well, Templar Knives has a lifetime warranty on the internals of the knives they sell.
The company recommends using Rem Oil or similar lubricant for cleaning, stating that thick oils can gum up the works.
How did the Templar knife cut?
The Templar knife cut about as well as most other knives. I didn’t perceive anything inferior or superior when compared to my other tanto knives. As I mentioned, the edge is very sharp right out of the box, and D2 has always been known for its edge holding ability. Rather than conduct a torture test, which would not really be practical, I used the knife to cut the everyday, mundane materials that I normally do, which is mostly plastic, cardboard, paracord, and tape. It came through like a champ.
There are some occupations where these type of knives really shine, specifically police and military. Any person who needs a fast deploying knife will benefit from an automatic. Those who parachute or engage in rappelling often have a need for a fast deploying knife that they have quick access to with one hand.
Overall, these knives are well built, sturdy, and useful for what they are intended for. The retail price at the time of this writing is $129.99, which doesn’t seem bad at all for a specialized knife of this quality. If you have a need for such a blade, I’d recommend checking out Templar Knives. They have a wide lineup of other knives, including smaller ones and lightweight knives. Chances are, they have something for you.