Best Folding Knife Locks: A Guide

Looking for the best folding knife lock? Consider the following as they are the most common in the industry.

Lockbacks are one of the oldest styles of folding knife locks, and they are also among the strongest. These consist of a spring tensioner bar and a lock bar that keeps the knife closed, and fits into a notch at the top of the knife blade, locking it open.

Knives like the Buck 110 Folding Hunter feature this knife lock type. They are very strong and easy to engage with one hand, but difficult (if not impossible) to disengage with one.

Liner Lock
Liner locks are probably the most common folding knife lock type, in which configuration the liner is tempered to spring open and wedge under the knife blade when it is open, locking it.

They are easy to engage and disengage with one hand, but not as strong as lockbacks.

Frame Lock
A frame lock is identical to a liner lock except that the entire frame swings inward under the blade, in the absence of a liner. They are also easy to engage and disengage with one hand, and they are considered much stronger than liner locks.

Bar Lock/AXIS Lock
Bar locks, like Benchmade’s AXIS, are among the strongest lock types. They are as strong as (if not stronger than) lockbacks, but they can easily be engaged and disengaged with one hand. They also don’t favor left or right-handed users (liner and frame locks do).

In a bar lock configuration, a cylindrical bar of steel is inserted through the scales of the knife crosswise and is set in a channel and held under tension by a “U” shaped spring. When the blade is opened, the spring forces the bar forward, over the top of the back of the blade’s shoulder. This prevents the knife from closing until the bar is removed.

Button Lock
Button locks are growing in popularity and like bar locks are fairly strong. They are also easy to operate with one hand. The button lock consists of a button on one side of the knife that when depressed, removes a bar that detains or locks the knife, allowing it to be opened or closed.

Ring Lock/Collar Lock
Some knives, like Opinels and Old Bear knives, use collar locks. The collar lock is a ring of steel that encircles the pivot mechanism of the knife, keeping it either opened or closed. The good thing about ring locks is, despite their inconvenience and relatively low strength, they can easily be removed in areas where it is not legal to carry a folding knife that locks.

The Best Folding Knife Awaits
Choosing the best pocket knife for hunting or EDC goes far beyond weighing the lock type. You should also consider handle materials, knife steel and heat treatment (keeping a sharp blade is critical), blade shape (clip point vs. drop point blade), blade opening and closing mechanism (thumb studs, thumb holes, etc.), and other features, such as if it’s a pocket knife with a bottle opener or keyring.

All in all, you want a knife that works for your ends and offers a good balance across toughness, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. A good pocket knife will meet two of these conditions; the best pocket knives will meet all three.

Whether you’re looking for stainless steel-bladed folding knives that offer one-handed opening or just need a short fixed blade for opening packages or food prep, White Mountain Knives has you covered.

Their catalog will help you find the best folding knife for your needs. Check out their collection of brands (which includes highlights from the best options in the industry) today.

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