In honor of National Learn About Butterflies Day (you are celebrating, right?), BLADE presents these three balisongs for your consideration. Get ready, nation, to learn about butterfly knives!
Why Do Knife Enthusiasts Enjoy Balisongs/Butterfly Knives?
What is it exactly about the butterfly knife that is so captivating? It is a distinctive breed of folder with handles that freely rotate, allowing experienced butterfly users to deftly manipulate the handles in a fancy manner to expose the blade. There is more than a little bit of flash and rock ’n roll to these knives.
As folders have progressed through the years with the use of high-end materials, ball bearings in the pivots and more, so have butterfly knives. Many premium models feature the same blade and handle materials found in high-end tactical folders, and some butterflies have pivot bearings for glassy-smooth handle rotation that you must experience to believe.
Microtech Tachyon III
Microtech’s Tachyon III is the third iteration of the company’s Tachyon butterfly, done up in true Microtech fashion through quality materials coupled with top-notch machining and overall craftsmanship.
“It mimics the design and engineering of the ever-popular Marfione Custom Tachyon III, other than the hidden pocket clip,” says Jason McCoy, Microtech’s government and military sales manager. “The handle materials are T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, and we decided to go with Bohler ELMAX blade steel to make it a very durable, affordable cutting tool.”
About 10 inches long overall, the Tachyon III is impressive. The slight recurve of the edge gives the blade enhanced slicing abilities. The milled-in fuller lends a bit of an aggressive appearance, along with the unsharpened swedge. As with some upper-end butterfly knives on the market, the Tachyon III employs pivot bearings for that addicting, glassy smooth action. The handles have machined-in decorative recesses that aid in knife manipulation, giving you a tactile reference point as to blade orientation during flipping maneuvers.
Another noteworthy feature of the Tachyon III is the spring-loaded handle latch, an uncommon feature on butterflies. From the closed/secured or open handle positions, squeeze the handles and the latch pops loose. Moreover, the spring-loaded latch does not bang on the other handle as more conventional, non-spring loaded latches do during flipping exercises.
A steel clip carries the Tachyon III in the pocket very comfortably—a nice feature many butterflies do not have.
Bear Song IV
Bear & Son Cutlery offers the Bear Song IV butterfly knife in two sizes and several blade styles. The Bear Song IV Model B-450-ALCF-B is a nice, compact knife. It offers the only non-stainless-steel blade among our featured butterflies—2 7/8 inches of 1095 high carbon steel in a stain-resistant, no-glare black powder coat.
Approximate closed length: 4.25 inches. Weight: 3.5 ounces. Skeleton holes in the blade match those in the handles, which are T6 aircraft-grade aluminum with a nice carbon-fiber graphic finish.
Also the smallest featured butterfly, do not discount the Bear Song IV’s compact size in terms of its quick manipulation.
“It has ideal weight and balance for flipping with its stainless steel handle spacers to provide continued momentum for performing tricks,” says Matt Griffey, Bear & Son vice president. Phosphor bronze washers facilitate smooth handle rotation. “It has been the number-one-selling butterfly in the Bear OPS line,” Griffey states. “It’s a nice complement to add the next step up for a higher-end butterfly to our entry-level butterflies.”
The Bear Song IV line offers clip-point, tanto and single-edge dagger blades along with Sandvik 14C28N stainless in addition to the 1095 for blade material choices. There is also a high-definition damascus option for some models.
The aptly named Marty McFly butterfly knife from Quartermaster Knives is a nod to the year of the knife’s release, 2015. Twenty-fifteen is the year when the main character of the movie Back to the Future, Marty McFly, sets the DeLorean time machine to travel forward in time. When the movie was released in 1985, 2015 did indeed seem a long way off.
The Marty McFly resembles many other butterfly knives, but it is what you cannot see initially that is special. Incorporating Quartermaster’s BladeExchange feature, the blade can be swapped out of the handles and replaced with one of three other blade styles to tailor the knife to the task at hand.
“The knife is able to quickly and easily exchange its blade shape, color or sharpness level without any tools whatsoever,” says Lee Price, Quartermaster Knives co-founder. With a simple press of a button at each handle’s pivot, you can slide the handle away from the blade and replace it. “This is useful when training, as users can easily switch to a dull trainer blade so as to not cut themselves while attempting new manipulations,” he notes.
Quartermaster uses D2 tool steel for the blades and CNC-machined titanium for the handles, catapulting the McFly into high-end butterfly territory. “The QBS-1 and QBS-2 Marty McFly knives are among the all-time best-selling models for us,” Price states. “We plan to introduce new blade styles and updated handles, which will of course be compatible with all prior blades and handles.”
Price adds that the QBS-1 Marty McFly is the company’s initial foray into the butterfly market, and is something consumers have embraced enthusiastically.
Subscribe to BLADE Magazine
Whether you call the United States home or somewhere else, you’ll love a subscription to BLADE magazine.
1973 BLADE magazine issues in digital PDF! Delivered straight to your e-mail inbox for instant download. It’s 1973, and the future of the modern knife industry was being forged by a pioneering group of knifemakers with a magazine and a mission. Get these collectible first issues of the World's #1 Knife Publication! Click Here to Download the Pack