Butterfly Knives, also known as the balisong or a fan knife, is actually a folder which has two handles counter rotating around the tang.

When the Butterfly knives are closed, the blade is hidden within the grooves of the handle. Sometimes, Balisong knives goes under the name of Batangas, that’s a province in the Philippines, where this type of knife is used traditionally.

The Butterfly knife is designed mainly for self defense purposes, but it can be also used as a utility knife. The coolest thing about the balisong is that it can be opened with just a flick of the wrist, with only one hand, unlike other folders. Usually, balisong knives are razor sharp and they were actually used as razor blades in the Philippines.

The balisong is regarded as a concealed weapon in many countries like Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands and even in some states in the USA, so you must be aware of your local law when using one.

CCC Balisongs are the dirt-cheap variety, as CCC stands for Cheap China Copy. You can find one of these for $5 in your local flea market, but they are not recommended, they will fail on you in a matter of weeks if you’re actually flipping them on a regular basis. Some people argue that they are worth the dirt cheap price tag, but you will find yourself in the end spending a large amount of money on cheap balisongs which keep failing when used intensively. So, I would advise you to go for a decent butterfly, instead of a “bargain”.

Bradley Kimura series comes with a price tag of $75-$95 and if you think that’s a lot, you must think again. This balisong is a high quality one, it will last you a life time and it can take any amount of abuse without failing, unlike a CCC. The handles are made of stainless steel, T-Latch and the blade is made of 14C28N steel. You have 7 models to choose from, but the differences are all about design, they all work the same in terms of “flipping”, so it’s a matter of personal taste.

M-Tech Twist are classified as CCC, but they are using pretty decent materials and workmanship, they are superior to most of the Chinese balisongs out there, and they are able to take some abuse without breaking down in a week. You can buy a Twist for $20-$40 and they are great for those of you on a tight budget. The blade steel is 440 (57 RC) and while these balisongs are on the cheap side, don’t go cheaper than this, it’s not worth it.

So, here are the things to look out for when buying a high quality balisong knives:

  1. You should go for a reputable company, even if the knife is made in China. The design and quality control in a balisong are very important; a “brand” variety will provide you with a balanced and functional knife.

  2. A high quality balisong is manufactured with ball bearings in the handles, instead of cheap Teflon/metal washers. The ball bearings will provide the handle with smooth rotation and they are very durable.

  3. You should go for a screw construction balisong instead of a pin construction. I am referring to the screws/pins that connect the handles to the blade of the knife. Screws may be adjusted for your personal preference to loosen or tighten the handle, pins are fixed forever and this is a nasty limitation for your knife, if you’re not happy with the way your blade moves.

  4. You should take into consideration if the handles of the balisong are milled or cast. The casted handle is generally lighter and tougher, while the milled ones are smoother but also difficult to manufacture, hence the knife will be more expensive.

  5. The golden rule : you will get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get the best bang for the buck butterfly, but also it makes no sense to pay a fortune if you’re not a collector. It all depends on your budget and, why not, personal preference.

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