I have been fascinated with switchblades since I was in fifth grade, when I first read the classic novel The Outsiders. Unfortunately, that was the early 70’s, more than a decade after the passage of the 1958 Federal Switchblade Act and long before the internet. Buying a switchblade back then was a whole lot harder than it is now.
Ultimately, I managed to acquire a few old-school switchblades from friends and even smuggled a couple back from day trips to Tijuana and Acuña, Mexico. While I was glad I could finally satisfy my interest, and the thrill of snapping my prized possessions open never faded, I began to realize that traditional switchblades were novelty items or, at best, light-duty utility knives. They were not the fearsome weapons I originally thought them to be.
Although I will admit that I was disappointed with my revelation, it did little to curb my appetite for automatic knives. During the 1980’s, I bought and assembled the switchblade “kit” knives that skirted the laws back then. In the 1990’s, I lived in Bangkok for a few years and bought switchblades from street vendors.
While my collection steadily grew, the quality of those knives did little to change my opinion of the real-world usefulness of traditional switchblades.
It is Michael Janich, so read the whole thing.
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