Switchblade Automatic Knives From Around The World


Vintage 1960's USSR Russian Prison Made Purple Crushed Ice Clip Point Fileworked Axis Release Automatic Switchblade Knife

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Vintage 1960's USSR Russian Prison Made Purple Crushed Ice Clip Point Fileworked Axis Release Automatic Switchblade Knife

From The Former Soviet Block USSR Prison system during the 1960's.

This is an authentic piece of history from the Soviet Union as well as being a unique piece of art.

This is one of the few Axis Switchblade knives of Russian design that I've ever seen with intricate jeweler level hand engraving.

Solid Milled Steel Frame and Hand Engraving and Filework with Light Purple Acrylic Accent at Handle Base.

Solid Steel Axis Button Blade Release And Locking Mechanism.

Mirror Polished Stainless Steel Clip Point Blade.

Made In Russia


  • Overall Length: 8 7/8" (22.54 cm)
  • Blade Length: 4" (10.16 cm)
  • Blade Thickness: 5/64" (1.93 mm)
  • Closed Length: 4 7/8" (12.38 cm)
  • Weight: 5.2 oz.

In Russia prisoners are allowed & encouraged to make knives to sell.

The policy in American prisons of trying to keep prisoners from making knives (for themselves) has been notably unsuccessful. I doubt we have any fewer stabbings in our prisons than they do in Russia.

These tools make the crude shivs and shanks made from sharpened toothbrushes common in the US seem very unimaginative. Their provenance, technology forms of self-expression make them remarkable, not to mention their cultural context of apparently being fabricated within prison workshops. Obviously, not all inmates in Russian prisons are oligarchs and novelists.

High quality prison knives are not well documented. Their manufacture apparently is not limited to a single institution, but more than likely part of a cultural milieu of perhaps Soviet prison life.

Thanks to ausjulius on


we can learn some interesting facts about the subject:

All over the former soviet union they were made, also a little in bulgaria ive seen,
but in bulgaria there was during communisim a thriving cottage industry of homemade knives so i thin it was not developing a specific style,

in the soviet union the only place you could make knives was in prison,
as civillian knife production was illegal and the knife making areas were mostly in tula for the militart and in vorsma for most everything else and a little in zlatoust but the laws of the 1950s the cold weapon laws put a halt on most legal production
then there was uzbekistan, tajikistan and the other stans.. exsluding kazakhstan which if i recall had draconian knife restrictions like the rest of the union,
the other parts of central asia where much of these laws were disregarded ( laws in the soviet union were mostly not nation wide but region specific)
central asia a cottage industry and several state factories continued legally during communisim..

in the caucasus the knife laws were as in the russia areas of the ussr..
so there is regional specific styles of prison knife aswell ,
ther eis indeen a book written about the prison knives of the ukrain,

generally there is however very specific styles of prison knife made now and then , they are made all over in these styles and even have specific names.

much of the modern knife industry producing hunting and fighting knives ows its origins to prison knives... as this is where their first workers and some of their styles came from ,

still in the areas of folding knives the russian prison knives are miles ahead of the legally factory produced knives

the button lock auto has been made in russian prisons for many decades maybe since the end of ww2...
there is many weird autos with very unique mechnisims comming from the prison knives,

there is also ethnic type of knives,
there is the prison style of contured curved bladed knives with very grippy handle smade from wood , plastic or textolite ,
there is little keychain barrel knives for opening the old bottles of vodka and beer bottles, the double as a kubaton..
there is the weird folds some are having strange or unique mechanisms , like side folding butterfly knives or other stuff,
there is prison art knives also,
there is then just normal kitchen knives, hunting knives and pen knives..
hunting axes with engraving
some are very good some are very bad.. some are normal,

really i think some prison should get some decent machines and put these guys to work making interesting prison knives ,, i know id buy them ..
( i remember it was a common sort of humor to say " all the greatest minds are in prison" :d .. well this may not be true there is a lot of know enthusiasts in jail and some of them know how to make knives. )

the guards then sell these products knives and other things as well and give the inmates a little kickback for the work , sometimes the prison is in trouble for this .. but normally it is business as usual,

lots of people like the quality of the prison knives over the chinese junk in the bazaars i remember being shown many locally made crude folds and prison knives .. seems that most prison knives come sharp, almost convex sometimes.. while the commercial cheapies are blunt as hell.)

Scandinavian style prison knives that are popular weapons with street thugs and such, "gopnik specials" i guess..
many knives have funny markings like made in the u.s.a. or made in finland,
this can be seen on illegally made handguns and long guns also... (kind of "prison guns" they are built with the same look and style not made in prisons though ... mostly , ive heard say some prisons converted gas guns to firearms though)

there is a commonly made prison knife it is a folding spike or small steel knife where the handles fold to cover the blade and it can be carried like a pen, once i saw a tanto tipped one with a japanese engraving on the covers ,, one side was a scene of bamboo and the other sides were various water scenes all in very good detail.. really was well made an one done,, ( of corse most are not)

talk about prison made knives

more again

and here a google images search for you


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