If you’re a martial artist training in the Filipino style, the Bear & Son’s Black Butterfly is a big step up from a balisong built only for practice. The hollow ground edge arrives razor-sharp, and the drop point blade is the right size and style for ordinary chores and campwork.
Bear & Son produces several versions of the balisong knife at their factory in Jacksonville, Alabama, and the Black 4-inch model is one of their most utilitarian. Built with a high carbon stainless steel blade and pivoting cast metal handles, the knife is well balanced and lightweight. Skeletonizing the handle halves cuts out ounces without seriously affecting the strength of the build. A black epoxy powder coat improves the look of this simply-made balisong, which opens easily with a practiced swing. The metal latch keeps the knife locked either in closed or open position. The Black Butterfly is more functional than beautiful and able to take a fair amount of abuse without serious damage.
Balisong knives are usually thought of as originating in the Philippines, but similar knives existed even earlier in France and may have migrated to the Philippines with French colonists. The butterfly knives became popular in America as returning WWII soldiers brought them back from the Pacific theater. As with automatic knives from Europe, import restrictions soon fell into place. Still popular with collectors, the balisong also finds a home as martial arts equipment.
For a larger version of the Bear & Son butterfly knife, see the Silver Vein Balisong.