Spyderco’s 2016 catalog is huge. Nearly 100 models are available, including the Byrd models and Sprint Runs. Each knife has several blade options – and at times, several handle colors – to choose from.

The Autonomy

United States Coast Guard
Commissioned by US Coast Guard rescue swimmers

Within this vast collection of cutters and slicers, there is one specific model, the Autonomy, which is a restricted model. In its 40 years of operation, Spyderco has released several models meant only for authorized personnel. Military, police, firefighters, EMTs, federal agents, and the like – they all had the chance to order these restricted models. Many restricted items have been produced and then discontinued by Spyderco over the years. There have been the Bi-Fold, the Citadel (in its various incarnations), and the Embassy. In 2016’s catalog, there is only one type of restricted item: the Autonomy, which was released a few years ago.

The Autonomy automatic knife was produced by request of the United States Coast Guard’s rescue swimmers. This knife is made in the United States, which already puts it on a different scale. It has a spring-loaded automatic opening mechanism, a button lock, and a blade made of high-quality carbon H-1 steel. It features state-of-the-art G-10 scales and also has a secondary safety which prevents accidental opening. This model also has a larger release button, which can be operated in harsh sea-rescue conditions. The Spyderco Autonomy won the 2012 Blade Show’s “Most Innovative American Design” award, and rightly so. This knife isn’t just innovative. It is THE modern-day automatic knife. The spring which is used to open the blade has a removable part which allows spring replacement and maintenance, without having to take the entire knife apart. Talk about maintainability!

Be sure to check out The Best OTF Knives from our friends at Bladesto

Innovative Design

The Autonomy
The Autonomy

Autonomy’s large deployment button is supported by stainless steel liners for increased locking strength. The button’s spring provides increased tension, and that eliminates any holes and cavities within the handle that could retain water. This thing is designed perfectly.

This knife was engineered and built in such a way which allows easy cleaning and drying, making it one highly appropriate tool for water rescue operations. The Autonomy has a non-reflective diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating on the blade and all the hardware, and a spring replacement kit is available for replacing the choil kick spring.

Being a restricted knife, one must complete and sign an acknowledgment form before the knife is shipped. The form states that the customer in question is authorized to purchase and carry such a knife. This is done so only those with permission from the government will be able to carry automatic knives.

Spyderco Autonomy Warranty

Spyderco’s products come with a limited lifetime warranty. In the event that a restricted item is in need of maintenance or repairs, the carrier of the knife must complete and sign a restricted item return form. Once a knife is shipped to Spyderco Golden Colorado for repairs, it is in their care. If the company does not receive the completed return form, it will not ship the knife back to the owner, nor will it provide a refund. For this reason, the knife carrier must make sure to have the necessary paperwork in order.

Automatic Knife Laws

There is some controversy regarding the restriction on automatic knives, but as of now, the law remains unchanged. Federal regulations on the subject are very clear, which is why there are no exceptions to Spyderco’s policy. There are different local (state) laws, but generally speaking, automatic knives are prohibited.

My Spyderco Autonomy

After getting my approval letter there was only one thing stopping me from having and using my knife, the wait. It wouldn’t take very long because I had put a rush on the package because I desperately wanted it for my hunting/fishing/camping trip that I had planned with some buddies. I can safely say that outside of my rifle, fishing rod, this was my most utilized tool. I mean the thing stood up beautifully in the water, handled the woods just fine, and was a huge asset by the campsite. The spring definitely produces a quick release and is not for a beginner. It requires care and the know-how of a professional. I’m not saying that I’m a big fan of knife laws in general, or even here but the untrained hand could injure themselves with such a powerful piece. This is a tremendous tool and anyone could benefit from its durability, excellent design, and overall usefulness. If I ever have to go back into conflict zone this will definitely be on me, as it is I carry it when stateside.

As funny as this may sound I think an automatic knife in the average hands is more dangerous than a gun in the same hands. Sounds crazy right? Please let me explain. Most sane people have a basic fear of guns and an understanding that the consequences will be worse than satisfying their curiosity or acting out on their anger. A knife is different, we are around them all the time. Not just are we not hit by the impact of seeing a knife out in the open like we are with a gun, but if you play with a knife you probably won’t die or even have lasting marks. The fact is most people are okay with gun safety That doesn’t mean people go around handing knives to babies but the average person isn’t very careful with them. A professional will never hand you a knife with the blade sticking out in your direction. They certainly with a knife like this would never open the release in someone else’s direction. A superb knife all around but I think needing to be on a list isn’t a bad thing. Keep it with the professionals and there will be less idiots walking around with a powerful tool they don’t know how to use. There are plenty of guns and knives available to the public, I like that it’s exclusive.

Want to hear more from the people that know? Check out Gunivore for a goldmine of tactical info!

Nate M.

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