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The Butterfly Knife- Balisong

Updated on September 10, 2014

The Butterfly Knife- Balisong

The Butterfly knife, also known as the Balisong, is a folding knife which originated from the Philippines. It became considerably popular in the west after the Second World War, when American soldiers brought them back as souvenirs. Its name "butterfly knife" originates from the fact that it consist of two handles which counter-rotates to either reveal or conceal the blade. It is well known for its quick single-hand deployment, as well as its stylish unfolding method, which people often performed for art or amusement.

Unfolding a Butterfly Knife

Its really cool! But be careful

The Butterfly knife can be unfolded using both hands or with only just one. Of course, anybody could do it using both hands but its obviously not practical and totally uncool. However, unfolding it with one hand is hard to master, but once you do, its really cool. Learning to unfold the knife with only one hand is hard work and often painful. There will be many cuts and blood loss along the way, but as they say,"no pain, no gain".

Butterfly knives are relatively simple to use once you have learned just how to use them safely and properly. The fact there are so many varying ways to use a butterfly knife, is what is so time consuming when learning how to use one. For starters, you must first know that the butterfly knife has two different sided handle; one side is called the safe side, while the other side is called the dangerous side. This is because if you open the butterfly knife holding onto the wrong side of the handle (this being the dangerous side) you can in fact quite well cut yourself. So in learning how to use a butterfly knife, you must be aware of which side is which in order to open it the correctly and safely.

To open a butterfly knife, you have to place your thumb on the side of the safe handle and then make sure you have pressed the safe side between your thumb and index finger. While doing this, you can now uncurl your other fingers and as your other hand begins to drop, so will the other side of the handle, which will therefore make the blade follow suit. You will then curl your fingers back around the safe handle side of the handle to the butterfly knife. Now that you have your fingers safely secure around the safe side of the handle, you can now move your thumb upwards and out of the way. Give the dangerous side of the handle a slight help and it will flick up and rest on top of the safe handle side to the butterfly knife. The blade of the knife will simply follow and a specific pin in the butterfly knife will stop the blade at the correct position.

This is basic way of unfolding a butterfly knife. There are of course many other ways to do it but words can only teach you this much, thus I have provided you with a video which can better help you understand the steps and hopefully help you master the knife.

Things to consider when getting a Balisong

Is it okay to buy a cheap one?

Quality and safety needs to be brought into consideration when buying something that is potentially dangerous. The last thing you want happening is getting someone or yourself hurt because your knife broke or isn't working as its supposed to be. Cheap balisongs are generally flimsy and the handles don't flip well. You might get yourself hurt or find yourself frustrated over its flaws. If you're thinking of getting a cheap one for practice, I suggest getting a practice balisong instead.

I'm new, what should I start with?

If you wanna learn some of those really cool tricks, then its best to start off with a practice knife, or maybe a bottle opener balisong (no kidding, it's a really cool bottle opener). If you're not hot on tricks and just wanna own one because its cool, then why spend a few extra bucks. However, it is recommended that you get a single-edged knife instead of a double-edged as beginners are prone to getting their fingers cut, and a double-edged knife is gonna double the likelihood.

Is it legal for me to own one?

I would advice you to consult your local law and regulations about its legal status. But for your convenience, I have listed a few country and states so please refer below. Note however that the list might not be up-to-date.

Some really cool practice Balisongs

Legal Status

The Butterfly Knife has been outlawed in several U.S. States and some other Western and Eastern countries, due to its intimidating nature, rapid deployment, easy concealment, and potential for being used as a weapon. Thus it is important that you determine its legal status in your country before purchasing to avoid any trouble with the law.

Australia

Folding knives designed to be unfolded with only one hand, including the balisong, are considered to be Category M weapons, prohibited for possession or use by most citizens.

Canada

The possession of a butterfly knife is illegal. (Unless grandfathered in before prohibition)

United Kingdom

The Butterfly Knife has been legally classified as an offensive weapon since January 1989. Possession of one is not a criminal offence, but sale, lending, hiring, giving or importing is prohibited. Any imported are liable to be seized and prosecution may follow. The exception to this are knives of this type over 100 years old which are classed as antiques.

Germany

The butterfly knife was outlawed when the Waffengesetz (weapons law) was tightened in July 2003 in the aftermath of the Erfurt massacre. Thus buying, possessing, lending, using, carrying, crafting, altering and trading it is illegal and is prosecuted by up to five years imprisonment, confiscation of the knife and a fine of up to 10,000 Euros. Using a butterfly knife for crime of any kind - as any illegal weapon - is prosecuted by from 1 to 10 years imprisonment.

Lithuania

Balisongs among other knives are legal to possess and carry as they are not considered as weapons. This excludes switchblades.

Hong Kong

The sale of full-size butterfly knives is illegal, but miniature versions can be legally obtained.

Philippines

The sale of a 29-cm balisong is illegal.

Pennsylvania

The butterfly knife is legal for conceal and open carrying. See Commonwealth v. Miles.

*Butterfly knife trainers feature a special blunt and unsharpened "blade," and are legal in areas where butterfly knives are not.

Legal Status in the U.S.

In some U.S. states it is illegal to possess and/or carry such a knife in public. In certain jurisdictions, butterfly knives are categorized as a "gravity knife", "switchblade", or "dagger" although they are also occasionally outlawed by name ("butterfly knife"). The knife is illegal in California if blade length exceeds two inches. In a recent US Federal Court case, Spyderco, Inc. pleaded guilty and was fined $75,000 for sending butterfly knives through the United States Postal Service. Spyderco admitted that from June 2005 through January 2007, it had mailed butterfly knives, after importing the knife components from Taipei, Taiwan, through the Port of San Francisco and the Port of Oakland, to Golden, Colorado.

U.S. STATE LAWS REGARDING POSSESSION, CONCEALED AND NON-CONCEALED CARRY:

Alabama:

Possession-Legal

Carry-Legal [Allowed if not concealed]

Alaska:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Arizona:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

Arkansas:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if blade is under 3.5 inches and not used as a weapon]

California:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if blade is 2 inches or less]

Colorado:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Connecticut:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Illegal [if blade is over 1.5 inches]

Delaware:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Florida:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

Georgia:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [if carried openly]

Hawaii:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Idaho:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

Illinois:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Indiana:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Iowa:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [if not concealed]

Kansas:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Kentucky:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

Louisiana:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Maine:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Maryland:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Massachusetts:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Michigan:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Minnesota:

Possession- Illegal [exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios or antiques]

Carry- Illegal

Mississippi:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [if not concealed or intoxicated]

Missouri:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Montana:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Nebraska:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

Nevada:

Possession- Legal [With permit]

Carry- Illegal

New Hampshire:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Illegal

New Jersey:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

New Mexico:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

New York:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

North Carolina:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed]

North Dakota:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed]

Ohio:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed; concealed carry allowed with permit or license]

Oklahoma:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Illegal

Oregon:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed]

Pennsylvania:

Possession- Illegal [exception made for collectors and/or possession as curios]

Carry- Illegal

Rhode Island:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

South Carolina:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Illegal

South Dakota:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal

Tennessee:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Texas:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Utah:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed; concealed carry allowed with permit or license]

Vermont:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Virginia:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Illegal

Washington:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

West Virginia:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed; concealed carry allowed with permit or license]

Wisconsin:

Possession- Illegal

Carry- Illegal

Wyoming:

Possession- Legal

Carry- Legal [Allowed if not concealed]

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    • profile image

      cheshiregriffin 5 years ago

      You have a really good point in not getting a cheap one. Most of the ones I used in my younger days could be considered "knuckle busters". They just didn't allow for the fluid motion needed.

    • henrytkchun profile image
      Author

      Henry 5 years ago from Magnificent Garden

      @cheshiregriffin: Yup, save up for a good one instead of buying a bunch of cheapos. But heck, the good stuffs sure are expensive.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      It really looks cool, for me of course the bottle opener would be more appropriate... Interesting read, especially the part where we can read where balisong is legal and where not. Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      lyz-elliott 4 years ago

      If anyone could give me advice on getting this model 42 benchmade butterfly knife from the united states and owning it in England i would really apreciate it, its not 100 years old and all i want it for is to own. Thanks

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