Smith & Wesson’s H.R.T. O.T.F (Hostage Rescue Team; Out The Front) knives aren’t quite as dramatic as their names, but they are useful. Check them out if you’re looking for an assisted opening version of the classic stilletto.
With only three-inch blades, the H.R.T. knives lack intimidation factor, but the action is satisfying. This isn’t quite switchblade performance, since if you slip the safety on one of the O.T.F. series knives, nothing should happen. Like other mainstream manufacturers, Smith & Wesson discovered a way to provide nearly automatic one-handed opening for ordinary knife owners. Push the blade slide forward and an internal spring takes over — the blade launches on its own and locks into place. Returning the blade to the closed position is a more manual procedure. Press down on the slide, ease the blade back into the handle, and slide the lock shut.
Solidly built of high carbon 4116 stainless steel coated with non-reflective titanium nitride, the blade of the H.R.T. O.T.F comes in three styles of tanto, dagger, and clip point. The handle frame of machined aluminum has reliable strength, and the Kytel handle slabs contribute a comfortable non-slip gripping surface. Position it at the ready in the pocket with the stainless steel pocket clip. One last but important perk is the hardened steel glass breaker stud at the base of the handle. You’ll never be trapped in a sinking car again.
Practically speaking, the H.R.T. O.T.F series from Smith & Wesson does fall short of automatic knife standards. Legal restrictions may still apply in some areas. Proper mechanical action depends on keeping the knife clean and lubricated. Don’t expect the knife to work perfectly unless you spend regular maintenance time with this handy pocket folder.