With the subtle pull of a single finger, the FlashPoint knife flicks open to reveal its stout and serrated three-inch blade. Unlike pocketknives of yore, which could sometimes bend a thumbnail before they opened up, today companies like Buck Knives seem to thrive on making designs that give blink-of-the-eye access to a sharp edge.
To be sure, easy-open knives have been around for years. But knifemakers continue to find new ways to design and sell products that can be at the ready in an instant with one hand.
The FlashPoint knife, which Buck debuted this spring, is not a pseudo-switchblade or an "assist-opening" knife. There are no springs to make the blade swing up. Instead, the blade has a rounded butt end, exposed when closed, that hinges on a pivot point.
Here's how it works: Hold the knife in your right hand; pull the slide-switch with your thumb to unlock the blade; now, drag your finger on the turreted top and the blade pops to life, the point shooting up and locking in place.
Buck calls this pivoting design its "SafeSpin technology," and more than a dozen knives in its catalog employ the feature. Beyond easy access, the feature adds a bit of safety by keeping your "opening finger" on the opposite side of the cutting edge.
Buck makes the knife -- official name: "Model 770 FlashPoint" -- with a 420HC stainless steel blade and forged anodized aluminum handles. Rubberized handle inserts add some grip.
It is about 7 inches long when open and 4.5 inches long closed shut. A small carabiner-style clip lets you attach the FlashPoint to a belt loop, backpack strap or climbing harness. On the back of the knife, there's a removable belt clip.
The FlashPoint retails for $52. It comes in orange, blue and black. The company advertises the knife for hiking, climbing, camping and "around the house" quick-access use.
--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.