Since the mid 90s Microtech Knives has produced some of the best automatic & out the front knives on the market. Many would argue that Microtech automatics & OTFs are definitely the best. Without a doubt the technology and precision manufacturing of Microtech is amazing. But, what is it that makes a great automatic or OTF knife, to begin with? We wanted to break this down in detail, while also taking a look at the meteoric rise of this famous U.S. brand. What they have accomplished in under 30 years rivals what some of the great companies have done in over 50!
The knives Microtech is known for producing include the '85, the '70, the Halo OTF, the Sigil, SOCOM Elite, the LUDT, and of course the Ultratech OTF which are some of the best selling knives out there. Microtech as a brand has become one of the top 5 manufacturers in automatic knife sales and it regularly tops this list. They have constantly stayed on the forefront of innovation and built a name on being cutting edge technological adepts.
BladeOps is proud to be one of the best places you can buy Microtech online. We are knife nerds who get excited about the technology of precision knives in a way very few people do. We pride ourselves on selling the very best blades to our customers and Microtech is one of our favorite elite brands. You can get your hands on one on our website at a great price with excellent customer service. After reading this article, check out our eclectic selection here.
Making Microtech: A Brief History
The Microtech story begins in Vero Beach Florida in 1994. With the commercial knife market on the rise in America and a new demand for high tech knives with tactical features, the circumstances were just right for Microtech and founder Tony Marfione to enter the game. Though the company would take on many experiments from cutlery to fishing knives, arrows, and various accessories, they made their mark by putting automatic and tactical knives back at the forefront in the mid to late 90s. Not only did they reintroduce this class of products to the market, but they also took a niche overrun with cheap flimsy imitation quality products and infused world-class precision and quality instead. Several major brands followed this trend shortly after, cementing Microtechs branded market share for the immediate future.
Starting out as a machinist with a childhood love of firearms and pocket knives, Tony Marfione put his gunsmithing expertise, tool making experience, and novice knifesmithing skills into creating the original production models for Microtech. He started making knives because he couldn't afford a high-quality one and he wanted to put his skills to the test. The original miniature sized switchblade he created would become the companies name based on how friends described it "micro" and "technologically advanced". He brought the knife to a show where a major distributor offered to pick up the model if Tony could have it reproduced. With a little encouragement from co-workers and the support of his wife, Tony set out to become a full-time knife maker. The rise in demand for knives with custom specifications and absolute precision made Microtech's adapt and innovate approach an instant hit. Tony has credited his mentorship by Chris Reeves as the main reason he became such a good businessman in the knife industry, do to Reeves pragmatic approach toward bringing a product of universally optimal qualities and features to the marketplace.
This small family company which started in an apartment grew over time to 75 employees, yet still, throughout the years their production has been on par with much larger companies. They credit this to their ability to find and recruit elite talent while keeping their processes simple and optimal. Throughout the years, the company has moved its base of operations around from its origins in Vero Beach to Branford Pennsylvania in 2005. After problems sourcing local talent and trouble getting key talent to relocate to Branford, they decided to relocate again, eventually settling their its current location of Fletcher North Carolina back in 2009. Their success really began with the release of the UDT mini Seal an excellent everyday utility knife which was created in homage to the Navy divers and service members who Tony's machine shop originally served. This would begin what is now a long time tradition of use of Microtech products by the United States Military. Today their service personnel program aims to support these servicemen and women directly. Though the company holds on to it's "small, personable knife company" culture the demand for their products has made them an industry giant.
By 1995 the company had released it's first OTF knife called the CFO which had some initial success as well. Later that year they upgraded the model to an OTF auto and rebranded it as the HALO, which to this day is one of the top-selling knives in its class. By 1999 they released their first double action blade which instantly became the top-selling OTF in the country. The popularity of their products began to skyrocket and their release of the UTX-70 in 2003 put the micro back in micro tech which had the technology of the flagship Ultratech at about %70 of the size! Also in 2003, was the release of the Scarab which was a bigger thicker Ultratech which became the industry benchmark from that point forward. By 2006 the knife community was asking Microtech to push the envelope and release something outside their wheelhouse. This lead to the making of the Currahee, a stylish tactical fixed blade survival knife which sent a strong message to the knife community. "We could do that too if we wanted."
2006 was a productive year for Microtech and lead to the release of the Troodon. This stealthy high powered Ultratech would become a popular series all on its own. MSAR also launched a firearm that went to 6 figured in sales in just 3 days! By 2011 Microtech was firing on all cylinders at their new location in Fletcher. This meant it was time for a big new release and boy did they deliver... The Select Fire was the first automatic side opener of its kind. It's groundbreaking safety feature allowed the user to switch the automatic function of the blade on and off by turning a key!
Since moving into their Fletcher facility in 2009, all Microtech products and materials have been 100% American Manufactured with 95% of the materials being fabricated in house. They even hand sharpen the blades in the factory and back each knife with a limited lifetime warranty. Collaborators are noted for saying Microtech knives tolerance during manufacturing holds up so well that they are on par with hand made quality knives. This reputation for precision, durability, and overall reliability proceeds the Microtech name today.
Though the laws surrounding carrying automatic knives are extremely limiting in many states, it hasn't hurt the sales of Microtech at all. Though most major brands have some type of automatic or OTF knife, Microtech remains synonymous with being the best in class. In many ways, they raised the bar so high that they now have to compete with themselves on quality, performance, and feature innovation. This is where Marfione Custom Knives comes into play. Tony will personally draw up and craft new designs or radial variations on existing designs, which he makes available for a limited run through Marfione Customs. Once a certain blade performs well he rolls it over for mass production through Microtech. Though the fit and finish of these production models may deviate from the original concept slightly, the quality is always an exact match.
Over the years some of the variations put out by Microtech have been blockbusters including the more recent "Bounty Hunter" Combat Troodon which every Star Wars fan can appreciate. The popularity of the brand has exploded so much that it has been featured in various forms of pop culture media including the HALO which was shown on the TV show 24 as well as the Troodon and Ultratech which can be seen depicted in the action movie series John Wick starring Keanu Reeves.
Following a time-honored tradition in the knifesmithing industry, Microtech has done collaborations with high-level designers to add style and notoriety to their selection while creating exciting variations of their existing product line. When it came to picking collaborators Micro sought out the absolute best in the industry. The likes of Greg Lightfoot, Walter Brend, Reese Weiland, Bob Terzuola, Mike Turner, Mick Strider, and even Ernest Emerson have all contributed to Microtech at some point.
The absolute obsession with precision, commitment to customer satisfaction, and hunger for innovation have allowed the company to grow at a rate of around 30% each year. They have seen growth in developing products in other markets including their Microtech Small Arms Research project launched in 2007. Though they intend to continue pushing into the firearms industry and possibly others, knife making will remain the core of Microtech for the foreseeable future due to its massive success to date.
Microtech In The Marketplace
When it comes to automatic knife manufacturers Microtech is a household name. When it comes to American knife manufacturers they are among the most reputable and successful companies out there. Microtech will probably remain a huge part of the knife industries future for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons your next knife could be a Microtech are listed below.
The Family Behind The Brand
Tony & Susan Marfione bet their families future on success in the knife industry. This was a decision that shaped their family values as well as the knife industry as a whole! To this day, their family still runs every aspect of this massively successful company. Susan runs the business while Tony and his son work in the shop hand grinding the steel on their blades themselves! This true manifestation of the American dream is at the core of the Microtech brand. This level of authenticity shines through in many ways. Tony himself is a highly accomplished knifesmithing craftsman who was mentored by some of the very best. He is even willing to put the family name on the line when it comes to the Marfione Custom Shop products he makes. His signature mirror polished style finish is easily recognizable among experts. It is also common knowledge that his technical prowess and belt sander skills are second to none!
Customers generally report their blades are reliable, surprisingly durable (especially the OTFs), among their favorite pieces in their personal collection. With Microtech's commitment to quality and innovation, it's no coincidence that owners love these knives.
Obsessive Quality Control
Microtechs claim to fame revolves around their extensive testing process, which proves that their knives will hold up under duress much better than most. The top shelf materials and precise tolerance accuracy or only rivaled by the very best blades from elite companies like Benchmade. This superior quality sets them apart among knife enthusiasts who demand perfection. Because they control 95% of the manufacture parts and process in house, this quality is ensured directly where other manufacturers can't.
Because the company was built from a machine shop culture, this obsession with precision and performance permeates everything the brand does. Even in a highly competitive marketplace, they are still at the head of the class when it comes to quality.
Microtech also has a reputation as one of the best tactical combat knives in the world. Simple adjustments like standardizing the glass breaker on the bottom of the handle have attracted the attention of those with self-defense and survival interests. The proof is in the pudding. Microtech is among the most widely used blades by the United States Military, or as they like to say "those who need it most". The reliability of these knives is trusted by many who get them encase of survival scenarios. For being a brand the predominantly makes automatic OTFs, that's really saying something!
Due to the constant demand for customization, Microtech has become experts at putting a new twist on a successful concept. Whether it's making knives smaller or bigger, adding a double action feature, or grip variation, they always find some way to mix things up and keep it interesting. The number of applications for their proprietary Ultratech technology has grown over time and they continue to work on new concepts all the time.
With planned expansion for MSAR in coming years, it wouldn't be surprising if they carved out a big niche their as they did with making automatic knives.
We here at Bladeops we make sure to stock the best selection of Microtech knives available in the online marketplace. Here are some of the Blades our staff highly recommends:
Microtech 121-11 Contoured Ultratech S/E OTF Auto Knife, Stonewash Combo Blade
This Contoured Ultratech is an absolute beast! It's a lightweight tactical masterpiece that packs a lot of punch while maintaining pocket real estate nicely. The partially serrated edge gives it plenty of everyday use utility as well as major survival scenario perks. That paired with the glass breaker on the bottom of the handle pair Microtech excellence with an amazing tactical feature that will be standard in most knives of the future. All this paired with its sleek stonewash finish make it one of the best ways you can spend $279.00 here on BladeOps, if you are looking for your first OTF, this is the Ultratech is our #1 recommendation.
Microtech Distressed Grey Troodon OTF Auto Knife, Black Blade
If you are willing to spend just a bit more, you can get a taste of the unorthodox yet charming style Microtech is known for. This distressed Toodon is another OTF gem! Unlike the larger Combat Troodon, this beefy blade doesn't trade impact potential for pocket real estate. It's sharp distressed grey anodized handle and satin black finish on the blade flats make it pop out in any lineup. At the price point of $384.00, you would be hard pressed to find a more stylish knife of this quality. Even on Bladeops this model really stands out.
Marfione Custom Ultratech Tanto OTF Auto Knife, Mirror Blade
For the collector who wants the very best, you have to go with a Marfione Custom Ultratech. The tanto shines like a diamond with the Tony Marfione signature mirror blade finish. Don't be fooled by it pretty looks though, this knife is made with the same performance standards of every MCK product. The aircraft alloy handle and blue-ringed hardware complete this masterpiece, which comes in the standard presentation box, zipper pouch, and certificate of authenticity. At $1,430.00 it is a must have for any serious collector.
Microtech vs. The Competition
At Bladeops we are dedicated completely to making sure you get the absolute best knife for you. When making a purchase there are so many options on the table. How do you know if you should make the investment in a Microtech knife? Everyone's needs are different. It all depends on what you will use the blade for, and what is missing from your current collection. When scrolling through our selection you will see the Microtech Knives brand generally provides the following benefits.
The Knife Of The Future
What really excites collectors about Micro Tech is the fact that they have so much room to grow. Even though they currently enjoy their position as a high-end niche company in the knife industry, they have been slowly but surely making strides toward expansion. Though there haven't been many groundbreaking technological advancements since the Ultratech, the infrastructure is in place to change the game at any time. For now, they are happily producing amazing quality knives, consistently, in as many usable variations as possible.
Most modern collectors value the Microtech brand as an elite knife of precision engineering. Now the style and utility that the brand has integrated into it's more recent products have raised the bar for the knife industry as a whole. Owning a Microtech is synonymous with being technically savvy, discerning, and on the cutting edge of whatever is next. Everyone loves a cool switchblade but the auto OTFs made by Microtech are the most advanced knives in any collection. Microtech is easily one of the premier brands in the U.S.A. and the world.
Check out the Bladeops store to pick up your next blade. We will always carry the brands, collectors love at prices they love even more. We will do everything we can to ensure you get the best deal and the most useful information to make the best decision about your next knife. We have an unparalleled variety of Microtech knife options as well as everything you need. We also offer FREE shipping on all orders!
If you need to know more about what makes the knives you love so great, follow this blog to become educated in no time. We have reviews, comparisons and detailed reports about the materials, brands, and knives which give you the most value for your pocket real estate and bang for your buck.
For all the best deals on the products that will fill out your knife collection nicely, please subscribe to our email list here and follow us on your favorite social media platforms. You can also tag your photos of recent purchases with #bladeops as well as #bladeopsmicrotech if you decide to pick one up today. This could get you a chance to win coupons for special promotions in the future. We send out details about the new product and deals all the time, so you can get the best blades in your inbox, just a click away when you need them.