Italian knives can increase your classiness by an increment of a bajillion. When you think of Italian knives, stilettos are probably the knives that come to mind. There are actually quite a few other styles of Italian knives, though, and I think it’s time to get acquainted with them!
Understanding Italian Style Knives
I’ve done quite a bit of reading up on Italian-style knives, and I learned a few things. First off, have you heard the term “switchblade” before? A lot of times the term is used incorrectly. If you have a friend who doesn’t know much about knives, they may have seen you pull out your manual folding knife before (or even a spring assisted knife) and said, “Dude! Don’t you know that switchblades are illegal?!”
A switchblade is actually a generic name for an automatic knife. Most Italian knives (especially stilettos) are switchblades, but not all switchblades are Italian knives. (Does this remind you of those IQ tests they give you in school?)
There’s still a ton you need to learn, so read on!
Types of Italian Knives
There are many more types of Italian knives than the ones you see below, but these are some of the most common that are up on the Grindworx website:
This took me a while to wrap my brain around, but from what I’ve found, the knife you see pictured above is in fact an Italian stiletto. However, the term “stiletto” is technically overarching—for example, the Lever Lock is an Italian stiletto, but an Italian stiletto isn’t necessarily a Lever Lock. I haven’t been able to find a more specific name for the AKC pictured above than “stiletto.” So even though “stiletto” is technically a fairly generic term, for the purposes of this post, the type of knife you see pictured above is a stiletto.
At first glance, this probably looks very similar to the first stiletto you see pictured above. They are very similar, but one key difference between the two that’s easy to spot is how they look when they’re closed.
Here’s what a Swinguard looks like when it’s closed versus a stiletto:
Do you see that thing that kiiiiiiind of resembles a mustache on the right side of the knife up by the bolster? When the knife opens, that “mustache” slides to the left and on top of the bolster to create a kind of finger guard.
In a stiletto, the finger guard is stationary, like on the knife pictured below:
Italian Swinguards, at least the ones on the Grindworx website, typically have a lock back mechanism.
Lever Locks all look like this, more or less. The shape and style might change slightly from Lever Lock to Lever Lock, but all Italian Lever Locks will have the lever button you see near the bolster area of this knife. When you push the lever down, the blade fires.
As its name suggests, the Leverletto is a combination between a classic Italian stiletto and a Lever Lock—hence the leverletto. It functions like a Lever Lock (it’s fired with the lever), but its style is very much like a classic stiletto.
The Camper is very similar (in my opinion) to the Lever Lock with a couple of small differences. The Camper typically can be opened with either a ring pull or a humpback release mechanism. The Lever Lock’s lever is located on the front of the handle by the bolster, but the Camper’s ring pull or humpback release mechanism is located on the right side of the bolster.
What’s your favorite Italian-style knife?
Be sure to get yours at Grindworx!