Did you recently purchase a butterfly knife but aren't sure how to use it? Or, maybe you're thinking about purchasing a butterfly knife but aren't sure if it's worth the money?

How to Use a Butterfly Knife: A Guide for Beginners

Did you recently purchase a butterfly knife but aren’t sure how to use it? Or, maybe you’re thinking about purchasing a butterfly knife but aren’t sure if it’s worth the money?

A butterfly knife, also known as a balisong or a fan knife, is a type of folding pocket knife. While there are several tricks you can perform with a butterfly knife, you can also use this knife in emergency and tactical situations.

While these knives can be very useful, they can also be very dangerous if not used correctly. Before you open your butterfly knife, it’s very important that you understand how to use it.

Check out this guide to learn how to use a butterfly knife.

What is a Butterfly Knife?

Butterfly knives come with two handles that counter-rotate around a tag. When the knife is closed, it’s concealed within the grooves of the handles.

In addition to being known as a fan knife or balisong knife, a butterfly knife is sometimes referred to as a Batangas knife. This is because it’s traditionally made in the Batangas region of the Philippines. Filipinos traditionally used the butterfly knife as a pocket knife or utility knife.

Because of its potential use as a weapon, the knife has been outlawed in several countries. It’s generally illegal to carry a butterfly knife in the Philippines without the proper identification or permit. To carry a butterfly knife legally in this country, you need to demonstrate a need for it in your professional life.

The laws regarding balisong knives in the US vary by state. In some states (for example, California), it’s completely illegal to carry this knife in public, but you may keep one in your home.

Florida allows you to carry a balisong knife just as long as it’s 4 inches or smaller. In Michigan, butterfly knives are completely legal to carry, as they fall under the category of “folding knives.” Before you purchase a butterfly knife, it’s important to understand the laws in your state.

Other countries with restrictive laws regarding butterfly knives include Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania, Canada, Poland, Australia, and the UK. You can click here to discover more about the butterfly knife.

How to Use a Butterfly Knife 

As mentioned earlier, some people use a butterfly knife for tactical purposes and survival situations, while others use it for performing tricks.

While butterfly knife tricks are fairly easy to learn, it’s unlikely that you’re going to master all of the tricks on the first try. If you make a mistake when practicing a trick, it could result in a small cut at best and a trip to the emergency room at worst.

To prevent severe injuries from occurring when practicing your tricks, it’s best to put some tape over the edges of the knife to dull the surface. Once you’ve taped your knife, here are some tricks you can practice:

Flick Closing 

Flick closing is the easiest butterfly knife trick to learn. To perform this trick, you first need to place the knife in an open position. This will give the knife blade enough room to swing back into its closed position without slicing open your hand.

The aim of the trick is to flick the knife and close it. Begin by deploying the knife and flicking the bite handle up into your palm. To do this, make sure to keep your palm open. Flicking the bite handle into your palm allows the handle and the blade to line back up at a gradual pace.

Flick Opening 

As you may have guessed, flick opening is the reverse of flick closing. This is another great trick for beginners to start with. To perform a flick opening, flick your wrist to send the bite handle away.

Spin the safe handle at the same time. At this point, the bite handle and the back of the blade should be at the back of your hand. Next, flick your wrist back to make the bite handle go to the front again. When you do this, the knife should return to an open position.


While the pinwheel is tougher than the above two tricks, it’s still a good one for beginners to learn. However, you should first master the flick opening and closing before attempting this trick.

To perform this trick, hold your butterfly knife in a horizontal position. Make sure that the tang pins point in the same direction as your thumb. Then, hold the safe handle as you drop the bite handle at the same time.

Next, flip around the bite handle while you simultaneously shift your grip so the bite handle points upward. This will snap the bite handle in a closed position and allow you to complete the trick.

Once you’ve mastered the basics of the pinwheel, there are many variations you can try.


Last but not least, we have the aerial trick. Like the pinwheel, aerial tricks are not for beginners, so you should master the basics before moving on to this trick.

The most popular aerial butterfly knife trick is the Y2K trick. This trick involves fully rotating the blade in mid-air. To begin the trick, hold the knife by the opposite handle (just as you would do for the flick opening trick). Point the butterfly knife straight outward so it could open on its own if you allowed it to.

Then, move your wrist in an upward motion as you drop the second handle and let go of the knife. The momentum and leverage of the swinging handle will cause the butterfly knife to rotate in midair.

After the blade rotates past your hand, grab the handle of the blade in the open position.

Are You Ready to Use Your Butterfly Knife? 

Now that you know how to use a butterfly knife, it’s time for you to try your hand at these tricks. As we said earlier, butterfly knife tricks take a lot of practice, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t nail them on the first try.

And be sure to check back in with us for more butterfly knife tricks and uses.