Butterfly Knives

Popular among knife enthusiasts in the U.S. and around the world, the butterfly knife is valued for its everyday versatility and role in responsible self-defense strategies. Discover our vast collection of high-quality butterfly knives.
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So, is it a butterfly knife or a balisong?

Actually, both refer to the same type of knife. Balisong knives originated from the Philippines, and the term "balisong" is thought to have been a combination of the Tagalog words "baling sungay," which means "broken horn." Early balisong handles were made from carved animal horns.

When the balisong started surging in popularity a couple of decades ago, customers also started referring to it as the “butterfly knife” due to its resemblance to the wings of a butterfly when flipped open and closed.

Many customers favor the butterfly knife—and not just for its unique design. You can quickly deploy the knife with one hand, making it a handy tool for everyday utility tasks and even for self-defense. And if you want to crank your “cool” factor up a notch, consider mastering the art of balisong flipping. You'll be fun at parties, and your friends will have a blast. Plus, your nephews and nieces will think you're the coolest uncle or aunt ever.

But because the butterfly pocket knife is generally lightweight and particularly useful for everyday tasks that require light cutting, for heavier cutting needs, get a sturdier, more robust knife.

Understanding how a balisong knife works

The key feature that distinguishes butterfly knives from traditional pocket knives is their flipping mechanism. Most pocket knives have a single handle, while modern balisongs come with two handles that pivot independently around the blade, which can then be rotated fully around the knife’s tang (the unexposed, unsharpened part of the blade that extends into the handle). 

Then, there's the latch, a locking mechanism that secures the handles together when the balisong is either opened or closed. This prevents accidental deployment or closure, especially as you carry the butterfly knife in your pocket or practice your flipping skills.

Now, you may ask: What’s the primary thing that makes the butterfly pocket knife so appealing to knife enthusiasts? Simple. Its ability to be opened and closed quickly with just one hand, using various twirling and flipping techniques. Skilled users can deploy the blade much faster than your average folding knife.

Butterfly knife blades and materials

At Northwest Knives, we offer a diverse selection of quality balisongs. Our stainless steel blade balisong knives are a favorite among customers, but we also have plenty of other blade and handle materials for the discerning knife collector. The following are available for purchase in our shop:

  • The Boker Tactical Balisong is a lightweight, easy-to-use butterfly knife for everyday carry (EDC).

  • The Krake Raken V2.5 features an aluminum structure that provides greater durability against drops and wear.

  • The Kershaw Lucha Balisong is a super light, smooth, and sharp butterfly knife. It sports a premium CPM 20CV spear point blade, which is highly resistant to rust, and the carbon fiber handle elevates its toughness to champion status. 

If you’re unsure about the best butterfly knife option or style for you, feel free to contact our knife experts. They’ll be happy to answer any questions about balisongs that you may have.

Are butterfly knives illegal in America?

This is a common question we get from clients. Our balisong butterfly knife models are not only visually appealing, but they’re also practical tools that can be carried discreetly, concealed from prying eyes. Unfortunately, this has also made butterfly knives a weapon of choice among criminals. 

If you’re interested in getting a balisong knife, make sure they’re allowed in your jurisdiction. In some parts of the U.S., it is illegal to possess or carry a butterfly knife in public.

If you want to practice your butterfly knife flipping skills but can’t legally procure a balisong knife, our balisong trainers are the perfect tool for you. They replicate the weight and feel of a real butterfly knife—but without the sharp edge. 

That being said, although balisong trainers are not knives, have no sharp edge, and are essentially recreational tools designed as props for performing tricks, it doesn't hurt to double-check with local authorities to ensure that you can legally purchase one.

Is a balisong knife from Northwest Knives worth it?

The short answer? Yes. Our butterfly knives are practical, versatile, precise, and durable, making them suitable for various everyday tasks. Plus, balisongs are designed for concealed carrying, so you can keep your knife at hand conveniently without drawing any unwanted attention.

There's a balisong knife for everyone—made from steel or otherwise. Our shop offers some of the best balisong knives you can find online—high-quality, durable, in several different style options, and at a butterfly knife price that suits any budget. Check out what we have in store for you below, and remember to contact our team of experts for any questions about balisongs.



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