Is this knife legal?

I just received this freebie “keychain knife” in the mail. The story is: I found a new site that had some sorta groovy stuff to hang on my walls. To test the waters, I ordered the cheapest thing available I was interested in, and then found I could get said “keychain knife” for $0.01.

The thing is, I’ve found out that it’s pretty much a switchblade. It’s not spring-loaded, but it dosen’t have to be, as the action performed by pulling out on one end of the knife about half an inch. Legal, I think, as it takes two hands to do that.

So I put it on my keychain.

Now all it takes is a slight flick, and the weight of the keychain is enough to open it one-handed. Hmm. FWIW, the blade is maybe 2.5 inches, and I live in Texas. Am I okay, or should I just drop in in a lake?

The way you’re describing it, it’s definitely not a switchblade. How easy it opens with with a flick doesn’t matter. In texas you can carry a knife with a blade up to 5 and a half in. long, so you’re ok there. All together, it sounds legal to me.

I can’t provide a cite, but I’m a longtime reader of knife magazines. I have the impression that the federal switchblade prohibition from the late 1950’s specifies a spring-loaded opening.
Many knives now on the market can be opened with one hand.

Now all it takes is a slight flick, and the weight of the keychain is enough to open it one-handed.

A knife that can be flicked open one-handed is called a gravity-blade knife or gravity knife. In many jurisdictions it is considered the equivalent of a switchblade knife. This site ( shows them to be prohibited in CA, CT, NJ, NY, & WA, as well as in Canada.

Here’s what the American Knife & Tool Institute says (in recommendations for legislation standards:

" For the purposes of this section, “switchblade knife” means a knife having the
appearance of a pocketknife and includes a spring-blade knife, snap-blade knife, gravity
knife or any other similar type knife, the blade or blades of which are two or more inches
long in length and which can be released automatically by a flick of a button, pressure on the
handle, flip of the wrist or other mechanical device, or is released by the weight of the blade
or by any type of mechanism whatsoever.
“Switchblade knife” does not include a knife that is designed to opens with one hand
utilizing thumb pressure applied solely to the blade of the knife or a thumb stud attached to
the blade, provided that the knife utilizes a detent or other mechanism that (a) provides
resistance that must be overcome in opening the blade, or (b) biases the blade back toward
its closed position."

It’s illegal in many, probably most, perhaps all U.S. states.