The switchblade is a small folding pocket knife similar in size and appearance to an Italian Stiletto Switchblade. In The Last of Us, Ellie carries a switchblade with her. It is also her signature weapon, having used it in tight situations like stabbing the military soldier's knee that was scanning her for CBI when captured with Joel and Tess, giving them time to kill the two soldiers.
It takes about one and a half times longer for Ellie to stealth kill an enemy compared to Joel, but the switchblade can be used to kill from the front as well as having unlimited uses.
Without the blade, Ellie is unable to perform melee moves because of her small size and age.
The switchblade acts like a hybrid of a Shiv and a blunt weapon, as it does not degrade but takes many attacks to kill an enemy, yet can be used for finishing and assassination moves. As Ellie cannot craft weapons, the switchblade is her only melee means of fighting. It takes around four hits, like a blunt weapon, to parry an enemy, before performing a finishing move like thrusting the blade through the enemy's abdomen and instantly killing them. The finishing move can also have Ellie jumping up and grabbing the enemy's skull and stabbing it.
The switchblade takes the place of both the Shiv and the regular choking stealth kill, upon which Ellie will jump on an enemy's back and stab him numerous times. Despite making a lot of noise, killing an enemy in this way is no more likely to attract attention than Joel's stealth kills. However, unlike Joel's strangle and shiv kills, Ellie's victim will move forward a lot, and it is possible for you to be carried into the enemy's sight. When stabbing non-lethally, Ellie's cuts won't make enemies stagger while being hit, making a raw hand-to-hand fight against enemies hazardous for Ellie's health.
A good strategy for making Ellie's melee encounters easy would be to toss a Brick or Bottle at the enemy, then use Melee since she will automatically deliver a execution while the enemy is stunned by the item.
The weapon was first seen carried by Ellie in the VGA 2011 trailer.
The trailer demonstrated Ellie's skill with the weapon as Joel is almost overpowered by an infected.
Upon completing the game and randomly after that point, in the background of the main menu you will see Ellie's switchblade lying against the window.
The color of the blade's handle must be "metallic bronze" as it is glowing in each side when inspecting the switchblade during Lakeside Resort. It can be clearly defined as metallic brown instead of wooden brown or light brown color.
The Switchblade appears to be about twelve inches in total length, blade included.
The Switchblade has several strange qualities that differentiate it from most Italian Stiletto Automatic knives. It's lower screws are not evenly aligned, it's safety is longer than most. The blade guards are unique as well, featuring regular ovals as their shape, instead of a "tear drop" or square design. Also, the Switchblade's closing mechanism is located at the top of the handle, instead of within the pommel.
Ellie can jump from behind a victim and cling to their neck and shoulders while rapidly thrusting the blade to their stomach and chest area. This is equivalent to Joel's shiv attack, but slower and not nearly as silent.
This makes sense as Ellie is at a size disadvantage and is nowhere near as experienced with killing as Joel.
The Switchblade that Ellie uses was given to her by Marlene, as it originally belonged to her mother, Anna, as seen in the prequel comics American Dreams.
The Platinum trophy in The Last of Us, It can't be for nothing, is Ellie's switchblade.
In Left Behind, there are several more Switchblade killing animations than in the main story.
Ellie's Switchblade isn't the only real knife in-game. A cannibal uses one to attack Joel, which he later uses to interrogate two of them. Bill has a trap with several different knives strapped to it, including the previously-mentioned hunting knife's model. There is also a sword, ax, and various other knives in a small shack in the Slums, right before Joel and Tess bribe a man for Robert 's location.