You can easily spot the one handed tools by the small lips that overlap the frame of the knife
Other companies are jumping on the bandwagon as well- Buck’s X-Tract is a good example- but as with anything else, no one else can do it with the smooth style and function of the Swiss!
The new Rescue Tool from Victorinox was perhaps the first of the new breed of tools with multiple OH options. With it, the main blade, glass saw and serrated seatbelt cutter are all accessible with one hand, and occasionally a handy belt loop or pocket. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite easy and natural, as with many Swiss innovations, like the serrations near the tip on the OHT!
Wenger has been hard at work redesigning the entire line of knives and introducing some even more interesting innovations, especially in the new 120mm Ranger lineup. Even on the models without one handed opening blades, the other tools are accessible with one hand- the saws, pliers, scissors, marlin spikes and files in the 120mm series are all one handed opening, provided you have a belt loop or pocket edge handy to catch the small lip at the end of the knife on.
So what does all this mean? Is it all just useless additions to make the tools seem more interesting to potential consumers? My guess is no, since there doesn’t seem to be the kind of hooplah about it that normally accompanies “new and improved” versions of the same old design. What this means, is that the actual user, the person who is actually performing the functions these tools are designed for, now has one less thing to worry about, and one more thing to make his or her job a little easier. In the case of the Rescue Tool, designed for EMT’s, Police, Firefighters and other first response organizations, this literally can mean the difference between life and death. Maybe not so dramatic for the rest of us, but looking at the case of the new Alinghi model from Wenger, a few seconds difference in a race can make a world of difference, and millions of dollars in endorsements and advertising.
And, for the average Joe like you and me, doing things around the house, and just enjoying the feeling of being prepared with a quality tool, one handed access may not be quite as important, but it sure is a nice feature to have.
I for one am looking forward to seeing many more one handed tools, and this is indeed a trend I like. After all, anyone can bolt a saw and screwdriver to knife, but it takes the brilliant designers at Victorinox and Wenger to make it a SAK!