There comes a time in everyone’s life where they come in contact with the term “OTF”, and for those of you who don’t know it means Out The Front (with regard to knives). OTF knives have a mystique about them because they are so cool looking. It only takes one look at them before you will suddenly find yourself wanting one.
Now we find ourselves at a difficult decision. Obviously one would want quality, and since you now find yourself within a new branch of the knife world, there is probably hesitancy to drop a busload of Benjamins on your first OTF. There are surprisingly a lot of OTFs out on the market today. I’ve seen high end OTFs which are amazing and once you have one in your possession there is no turning back. Most people however are on a budget either imposed by income or by your loved one (we can’t just go out and buy something on a whim). It has to be a justifiable purchase. Now there is this need to get an OTF which many knife enthusiasts will be able to sympathize with. So branching into a budget OTF is a very logical move for the first time buyer. The fear that now arises is you want to buy budget, however you would rather try to avoid buying crap. I have the answer.
I myself carry a Lightning OTF. It is made in Taiwan, double action, and has a stainless steel blade, and an aluminum handle all for a fraction of the price of a name brand. To make matters better, one thing that is great about it is that it can be cleaned easily. Simply blow out the opening with a can of compressed air or an air compressor, oil it and you are good to go. The action is great for the money and they seem to be more durable than other budget OTFs. Now, I sharpen my knives and with some blade designs, it can be extremely difficult to recreate that edge on a blade. What makes the Lightning nice for me is the fact that the blade is a chisel grind. This means that the front edge goes all the way to the back of the blade rather than the traditional “V” grind. The reason why I prefer this grind is how quick and easy it makes sharpening. I just worry about the front edge and once I’m satisfied with that, it’s a simple matter of taking the burr off of the back and you are good to go.
All in all the Lightning is a solid knife for someone looking to branch out into the OTF bracket. Buy, beat it up, get used to how OTFs work then you can work your way up to name brand with a good solid foundation of OTF expectations.
Here is a quick video review by the guys at Grindworx: