Ballistic knife

A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable, self-propelled blade that can be ejected to a distance of several meters by pressing a trigger or operating a lever or switch on the handle.[1][2] Spring-powered ballistic knives briefly gained notoriety in the United States in the mid-1980s after commercial examples were marketed and sold in the United States and other Western countries. Since then, the marketing and/or sale of ballistic knives to civilians has been restricted or prohibited by law in several countries. There's a common but erroneous belief in the Western countries, that ballistic knives were being developed for the Soviet Special Forces, however, such knives were never produced for nor used within spetsnaz units. The closest weapon to them is the NRS-2 knife with a built-in firearm in handle. All ballistic knives produced in the USSR were manufactured in makeshift conditions for the needs of criminals. By 1985, spring-powered ballistic knives were being advertised for sale in the United States in the Shotgun News, Soldier of Fortune, and other publications.[3][4][5] In its spring-propelled form, the blade of a ballistic knife is theoretically capable of being fired to an effective range of around 5 meters (about 16 feet) at a speed of 63 km/h (39 mph).[2][3] Ballistic knives using compressed air or gas propulsion to fire the blade can be made somewhat more powerful, and do not suffer from spring fatigue over time. However, since the projectile blade of most ballistic knives has no aerodynamic or gyroscopic stabilization, the blade frequently tumbles after traveling a short distance. While easier to learn than the skill of knife throwing, the jarring shock caused by unleashing the expanding spring and a lack of a sighting mech

nism contributed to its inaccuracy, making it advisable to close to within a few feet to ensure the blade delivered a killing blow to a targeted and vulnerable area of the body. Soviet training doctrine of the day emphasized the use of the thrown knife as a silent weapon, designed to kill or incapacitate an unsuspecting opponent at just beyond grappling distance (five to six paces); the ballistic knife appears to fit within that tactical doctrine.[2] In addition to spring, air, or gas propulsion, the blade of a ballistic knife may also be propelled by an explosive charge, such as a blank pistol cartridge. After hearing uncorroborated testimony from a congressional witnesss that ballistic knives could be used to defeat body armor typically worn by police officers, and witnessing a staged demonstration against a wood-backed target,[13] Senator Alphonse D'Amato of New York introduced the Ballistic Knife Prohibition Act, a bill to ban sale or possession of ballistic knives. The bill eventually failed. However, after gaining the support of Senators Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, and Dennis DeConcini of Arizona,[14] congressional support for a ban on import or possession of ballistic knives quickly gained traction. In September 1986 senators supporting the ballistic knife ban attached their bill to popular legislation designed to eradicate drug crops in foreign countries and halt international drug trafficking operations. The bill was subsequently enacted into law. The new federal statute prohibited future importation or possession of such knives in interstate commerce. Some individual states following the example set by the federal law and passed even tighter restrictions, sometimes banning ownership of the knives outright within their state.