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Classic Steel Finds Perfect Match in Modern Design: Arcform Slimfoot Automatic Knife Review

So long as it's legal in your state, the Arcform Slimfoot Auto marks the epitome of modern knife design.

(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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If someone with a vested interest in knife steels — like a pirate, perhaps — burst into my workshop, put a sword to my throat, and demanded to know what my favorite knife steels are, I would reflexively blurt out “D2 and 154CM!” And once I managed my way out of that pickle, I imagine we’d drink some rum and he’d ask why I didn’t pick something like S30V or MagnaCut.

The truth is, I am a fan of the newer knife steels out there, but I’m a major proponent of materials that stand the test of time. My feeling is, just because a new knife steel has come out, doesn’t mean the old steel is obsolete.

Over the years, I have had nothing but a good time with both D2 and 154CM. But somewhere in the early 2000s, 154CM was everywhere — so much so that it got boring. That’s when I ensconced myself in steels like S35VN, M390, and CTS-XHP.

Truth be told, I avoided 154CM like I avoid Justin Bieber (the one exception was Leatherman’s Skeletool CX with 154CM, a promising move for a brand that hadn’t taken its knife steel as seriously as it should have).

Now, all these years later, I had an opportunity to test out the automatic version of Arcform’s Slimfoot with, you guessed it, 154CM. I had such a great time testing the manual Slimfoot (M390 steel) last year that I was eager to see the difference between the two models.

In short: The Arcform Slimfoot Auto is an American-made automatic knife that consists of reliable materials and top-notch manufacturing — for less than $200. It excels in form and function, and it’s destined to give you years of hard use and abuse.

Arcform Slimfoot Auto Knife


  • OAL 7.25”
  • Blade length 3.125”
  • Blade steel 154CM
  • Blade shape Sheepsfoot
  • Grind Flat
  • Lock Button lock
  • Hardness 58-60HRC
  • Carry Right hand
  • Weight 3.38 oz.
  • Price $190


  • 154CM sheepsfoot blade
  • Balance between weight and size
  • Incredible craftsmanship for a production knife
  • Premium American-made knife for under $200


  • The outdated and arguably absurd knife laws keeping some folks from buying this knife

Arcform Slimfoot Auto Knife Review


Automatic knives are becoming less restricted throughout the country. This is happening just in time for more brands to bring automatics into their lineup. But there are still rules and regulations everyone needs to know and observe.

According to kniferights.org, five states still make it illegal for a civilian to carry an automatic knife: Delaware, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Washington.

Still, there are other restrictions peppered throughout the rest of the country, so you’ll want to make sure you can carry an automatic knife where you live (or plan to visit).

To make understanding current law easier, the folks at Knife Rights teamed up with Blade HQ to create a single source of pertinent information: the LegalBlade Knife Law app. It is the best resource I have found for quick and easy answers.

Design and Features

(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Designed by knifemaker Geoff Blauvelt and manufactured by Pro-Tech Knives for Arcform, the Slimfoot Auto should be the subject of a TED talk. In my opinion, it stands as the epitome of modern knife design. Like the other Slimfoot models in the series, the Auto offers a mixture of hard and soft lines that must have been refined using the latest 3D modeling software.

As I mentioned, the Slimfoot Auto has a stonewashed, Sheepsfoot 154CM blade. This steel holds a decent edge, is easy to sharpen, and has impressive corrosion and abrasion resistance ratings. Its body comprises 6061-T6 aluminum, anodized in a deep forest green that pairs wonderfully with the hardware and blade finish.

I previously tested the automatic Pro-Tech Runt 5 and was surprisingly intimidated by the spring action of its automatic feature. That same intensity exists on the Slimfoot Auto, but it stretches out an additional 2.18 inches over the Runt 5.

That extra length balances out the intensity nicely. It’s still an incredible force, but one that also keeps the button lock mechanism solidly in place until you press it down.

First Impressions

(Photo/Nick LeFort)

The build of the Slimfoot Auto is more akin to a precision instrument than it is a knife that costs less than $200. Both handles line up just right without any gapping. The blade sits centered in the handle pocket and feels rock solid when deployed. Heck, the brand even paid extra attention to the slot the pocket clip sits in so that it doesn’t look like a slot at all.

I’m wicked impressed with the anodizing quality on the handle scales. I’ve never been a fan of aluminum scales or anodizing, besides their cool looks. With all of the chamfering and beveling around the body, it’ll be interesting to see how this all holds up.

As far as fit and feel go, the Slimfoot Auto tucks nicely into your palm, allowing your index finger to choke up into the choil and your thumb to find itself above the pivot.

This provides a lot of control over the knife, which I really appreciate since I’m always concerned about grip on both raw aluminum and anodized aluminum scales.

Finally, despite my unwavering preference for lanyard holes, the Slimfoot Auto might have me turning over a new life. Although it disappears in my back pocket, I have had zero issues retrieving it.

Slimfoot Auto in the Field

Harvesting tinder with the Slimfoot Auto; (photo/Nick LeFort)

It’s been wet and grimy around my Connecticut home since October. Along with brief bursts of freezing temperatures, it’s made for a fantastic mix of winter and mud seasons. Unless I’ve been in the house or kept it in my pocket, the Arcform Slimfoot has been wet and cold to the touch for the better part of a month.

It’s also been covered in bits of bark, wood, sap, and dirt for just as long. I mostly leave it in my dump pouch with the kindling bits and tinder I pick up along the way while camping or hiking. Why dirty up my back pocket? I might have a date afterward.

That’s when I give it a good wipe down and whisper sweet nothings into its pivot. If it’s still grimy when I get home, I’ll give it a quick wash in the sink with warm water, let it air dry, and then re-grease the pivot. But as dirty as this knife gets, there’s never a need for me to scrub it clean. And still, the blade is sharp and remains corrosion-free.

Arcform Slimfoot Auto is winter bliss; (photo/Nick LeFort)

Real-World Task Master

Over the last few months, I subjected the Slimfoot Auto to myriad chores. I used it to cut greens for my mom so she can decorate her home for solstice. I spent mornings stirring my tea with it while staring off into space. On Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, it opened countless presents and sliced through mountains of cardboard. It should be dull but it defiantly stays sharp.

On top of all that, I’ve deployed the blade at least 100 times before writing this review, so I can’t even fathom how many times it’s been opened and closed overall. And it’s still snappy as ever.

And that brings me to one very important point: The Slimfoot Auto has no button lock to ensure that you won’t fire this bad boy off in your pocket.

But I assure you, you will not. By design, the button sits recessed enough that a lot of coincidences would need to converge at once for that to happen. As someone who has had his fair share of (usually manual) folding knives almost slice off his own ass cheek, I promise you’ll be safe with the Slimfoot Auto.

Arcform Slimfoot Auto Knife: Conclusion

(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Carrying, using, and abusing the Slimfoot Auto for the last 2 months has once again renewed my fandom for 154CM steel. The blade might have lost some factory-sharp luster, but if it has, I can’t tell. There are also zero signs of corrosion or abrasion.

But beyond the steel alone, I am also a big fan of the knife itself.

After spending some time immersed in the elements, and an unfortunate encounter with a large surplus of tree sap, it still looks, feels, and reacts as if brand new. It fits incredibly well in my paw and pocket, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the spring inside still has years of life left.

My primary concern going — the anodized aluminum handle scales becoming slick and causing me to slip up and cut myself — never happened. While I won’t call the handles grippy, I’m not concerned about my ability to control the Slimfoot Auto in any weather conditions. Wet or dry, glove or bare hand, this knife won’t go anywhere unless I forget how to use my hands.

Ultimately, laws and regulations aside, if I had to choose between the Slimfoot and the Slimfoot Auto, I would choose the Auto. As much as I loved the manual version, the Auto is ⅝-inch smaller overall. This gives it a better fit for a larger range of hands.

Also, with all due respect to liner locks, button locks are stronger and more dependable. Sure, I enjoy the automatic action, but it’s not what drew me to this knife, nor what keeps it in my pocket.

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