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Blade locks: Benchmade vs Spyderco

Discussion in 'Knives' started by Crocodilo, Aug 5, 2006.

    Crocodilo Empty Pockets

    Going out on controversial ground here, but I never did fancy lockbacks. Linerlocks or framelocks were my style, until Benchmade came up with the Axis lock, my favorite nowadays.

    Nevertheless, I like lots of aspects about Spydercos, and generally user feedback and costumer loyalty speaks highly of these lockback models (Delicas and Enduras sping to mind).

    My doubt is, am I best served with Griptillians, or would Delicas be better off (regarding lock methods)?
    Can anyone compare the two "families"? Are they in the same performance league?

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

    Lockbacks are my second favorite lock all time, they are when well made and executed, very strong and pretty user freindly, meaning pretty idiot proof. My first favorite lock is the Bolt Action lock designed by Blackie Collins a long while back now. It is a very strong lock, and works very well for a left hander, even though it is on the right side of the handle, It manipulations smoothly with the fingertips. I have carried a Bolt Action ever since he brought it out for Gerber must be 20 years ago now.

    Liner locks, are not a reliable locking mechanism, especially for a left handed user. Some people will yell, but if it is so reliable, why did they come out with the LAWKS and other variations of liner lock safety locks. Left handers especially, tend to grip a knife in the saber grip, in such a way that pressure is aplied to the liner in an UNLOCKING direction, which they can, ad have. I have had it happen twice, and known several others.

    The Axis I have heard is a very safe and excellant lock, I have seen diagrams and held one but never used one.

    Bazza Empty Pockets

    The main advantage of the Axis lock is the fact that it is truly ambidextrous. Having both the Benchmade and the Spyderco, I can say my preference is the Axis, but the Spydie is SOLID and with the Boyle detent, shouldn't unlock accidentally.
    Hope this helps.

    Yablanowitz Loaded Pockets

    I actually carry both a 556 Mini-Griptllian and a Syderco Delica. The Grip is smoother, easier to open and close than the Delica. It is also tip up only, where the Delica 4 has the four way clip position option. My biggest gripe with the Axis lock is it almost forces tip up only, but it doesn't hold shut strongly enough for my peace of mind in that position. That may be paranoia on my part, but I have had tip up knives come open in my pocket a couple of times, and I didn't care much for the results (I am a real whimp about blood loss). There is also the factor of legality. Out here in Kansas, the laws prohibit "knives which are opened by gravity or centrifugal force". If an officer tested both knives, he could claim the Grip is illegal because it can be opened with a simple flick of the wrist, without touching the blade. It is a LOT harder to get the Delica to open the same way. The same holds true on larger knives. The Endura 4 is harder to flick open than the BM 710. As far as absolute strength goes...I know Spyderco tests their knives to destruction. On the earlier FRN Delica and Endura, the first thing that gave out was the lock bar pivot pin pulled out of the FRN scales. With the new generation having skeletonized steel liners, I don't know what will give first, but I do know it will require a LOT more force than I can apply (the old ones took over 400 lbs of force against the spine to break. I think I heard the new ones are up around 800) The obvious solutions to me are either do all your cutting with the edge instead of the spine so you don't stress the lock, or carry a fixed blade knife so you don't have a lock to worry about. ;D

    Crocodilo Empty Pockets

    Very good points there, thanks to all!

    1. Flick open: I consider this a must, it is my favorite method for rapid and gross deployment (read SD). Wave system should also be good, but only when in jeans. Legal issues are not a problem for me here. I do keep away from automatics, but just because of the mechanical complexity and reliability issue.
    2. Tip up carry: also used to worry me, happened indeed once, a little twitch in the axis nut solved the problem without messing with the flicking action.
    3. Brute force closing: within "reasonable" limits, I don't expect to destroy a knife even with a little extra-normal use. (But it is always reassuring to know someone tests their products extensively.) Accidentaly moving the lock, or having some mechanical fail, might be a problem. Will a too tight grip release the lockback? Same issue with linerlocks, as Lee1959 wrote... he's got a point there.
    4. Fixed blades are out of my EDC league, due to size. I'd rather have in my pocket a folder with a full grip than a fixed blade with a small handle or a very small blade (to keep size comparable). I cannot consider other method than pocket carry except in very specific situations.

    konrad Empty Pockets

    Spydercos compression lock is a very good design. It will clean itself when opening and locking, pushing dirt and lint out of the locking recess. Never had problems with lockup. I like the axis lock too, easy to flip open and close. very solid lock also. I trust lockbacks, but not quite as much as the Compression and Axis. Lockbacks can gum up with lint and fail to lock. Liner locks are my least favorite, prone to releasing when gripped hard.

    m_calingo Empty Pockets

    I own several Benchmades and a few Spydies.  Of the Benchmades, a few use liner locks (975S, Mini-Stryker, 690) the rest are Axis locks (Ares and 940).  The two Spydies I own use a liner lock(Navigator) and a phantom lock (Meerkat).

    The Benchmade locks, and the Spyderco lock are all superb.   O0

    I prefer the Axis only because of its smoothness in action, both opening and closing.  However, that won't keep me from picking up a Manix down the road, or should I get that Ritter Grip first???

    Decisions, decisions...

    ghostrider Empty Pockets

    I’ve never used the Axis lock myself, but do know that a lot of people consider it one of the strongest locks out there. I think that either the mid-lock on a Spyderco, or the Axis lock on a Benchmade would be a good choice. Both are ambidextrous and both Delica and Mini-Grip are one-hand open and close.

    If fast deployment is a concern and you like flicking the knife open fast, then the wave system is the ultimate. Another option is to put a zip tie in the hole to act as a wave. If you go with the BM try to get one with one of those funky shaped holes. That way, you have the option of adding the zip tie when needed.

    Just out of curiosity, why is the wave system only good when in jeans? I guess I can understand if you don’t want to destroy your good slacks, but beyond that maybe I’m missing something here.

    Also, tip-up is perfectly safe if you keep the blade spine up against the seam of your pocket. Even more so with a mid-lock which has a more positive closed position. I’ve had tip-down liner locks open in my pocket while I’ve never had that happen with a tip-up, and I’ve been carrying tip-up longer than I carried tip-down. I think it depends more on where in the pocket you hang the knife, and less on tip-up verses tip-down.

    Deaths Head Banned

    I lean more towards locks that are safe and secure. Axis, lockbacks and framelocks are my favorites. I also love the Arc lock, but it is very similar to the Axis. I don't worry to much about how easily the knife is to close. One thing about the Axis and the Arc locks, is that they are very smooth. Like butter. I personally think the Arc is a bit smoother. Knives with these locks can be opened without using the thumbstud and just with the flick wrist method quite easily. They are secure locks. A bar that is the lock has to be comprimised with a force on the spine for it to close accidentally. In some ways, it works like a lockback. Not the mechanisms of course, but the way it locks into the spine of the blade.
    Not a huge fan of liner locks. Ended up sellling all of the knives that had them. I like framelocks a lot though. Very secure locks and there are many knives with this kind of knife that are in Ti.

    greencobra Loaded Pockets

    Never heard of any lockbacks failing. I'm using a D3 extremly hard in work daily almost to the edge of abuse, still locks tight. One bit of maintenence I do though is clean the, what I call, lock divot. Just making sure no debris prevents a secure lockup. I have several Mini Grips also that don't get as much use as the Delica and really like the Axis lock. Both have been proven strong.

    rawhide_clyde Empty Pockets

    I really like the Axis lock and especially the 550 Griptilian. Lots of bang for the buck, a trainer is available and it can be "tsunamied" so that it will open more reliably than most waved blades.
    Stay Safe,

    Attached Files:

    KeyGrip Loaded Pockets

    My advice, since the Grips and the new Delicas are now very similar knives, is to handle both and see which one you like the best. I've experienced varying levels of satisfaction with BM's Axis lock based on the model. Some knives were easy to operate, some knives were near impossible. You really can't go wrong with either one, so it's best to see which one fits you more. Fairness, consideration, and perspective aside, the Delica 4 is one of the greatest folding knives ever produced. The addition of steel liners only adds to the knife as far as feel and strength are concerned without compromises in weight or size.

    Colby Empty Pockets

    Not yelling but LAWKS was developed as a fail safe for liners lock that may not perfectly made (read: cheaper). As for lefties and liner locks, they should look for left handed versions of the knife. Yes, a lefty using a right handed lock as you described will have an easier time of accidently dis-engaging the lock by twisting. Not many companies make lefties but they are out there.

    As to the question Crocodilo question about how Griptillians and Delica compair? I would say very close, Ignoring steel (both can be found with different types). Also, I have both plus a few other axis and lockbacks.
    Both ambidexorus
    Both very strong lock(I'm sure someone might have safety ratings.) With both knives being small it will take alot of break em.
    Both light weight
    Not too scarry to the people
    Both flickable, (wave is faster)

    As too tip up or down, unless your carrying a right hand knife on your left side it shouldn't be a problem. I feel it's more about what your used to and comfortable. Last thing you want in a SD.stress situation is a knife not being what your expecting.

    Where they do differ is if you like tip up or down. I would place a waved Delica 4 in VG-10. A bit above a 440C Griptilian. But that's the fun part of the wave talking. I will say the Grip is a better cutting knife witht it's higher grind. Find a M2 or a D2 Grip and that's a real winner.

    I agree you can't go wrong with either.

    Yablanowitz Loaded Pockets

    I always have to wonder when I read threads on locks. Someone always says they have had this lock fail and that lock fail, when what they really mean is "I managed to screw up and unlock this thing while I was using it." There is no substitute for proper use. If a folding knife folds up during use, you are not using it properly, unless you have something with an edge on the spine, which I consider somewhat less than safe. Yes, I have folded blades shut on my fingers a few times. I (finally) figured out that I was doing something fundamentally wrong, and haven't had that type of mishap in about 18 years now.
    Always remember these two facts:
    1) Locks are mechanical devices
    2) All mechanical devices are subject to both gremlins and Murphy's Law
    No matter what type of lock you select, the one time you rely on that lock to protect you from your own folly will be the one time when a spring will break or foreign material will keep the lock from engaging properly, or you will somehow get your finger in the wrong place and release the lock, just in time to cut yourself.
    Most of the locks on the market today are at least adequate. Some are outstanding. Benchmade's Axis, Spyderco's compression and back locks are all examples of locks engineered and manufactured to exceed the need of 99% of the knife buying public. The chance of actual failure on any of these is practically nil. The chance of someone unlocking one in use...I'll let the users' stories speak on that.
    By the way, I carry both a BM 556 and a Spyderco Delica 3 every day. I find the Delica more useful most of the time.

    Buzzbait Loaded Pockets

    I am a very loyal Spyderco fan, but Spyderco has nothing that compares to the Axis lock. The Axis lock reigns supreme when it comes to ease of manufacture, strength, and reliability. The only time you ever hear of an Axis lock failing is when one of the springs goes south. Even then, the Axis still functions well on the remaining spring. The Axis lock also self-adjusts to lock wear, which makes it a real winner for long-term use. It is a positively incredible locking system. No Spyderco lock has yet to rival the Axis lock in all areas, unfortunately.

    If Benchmade had designs that I liked, I'd be a loyal Benchmade fan. Unfortunately, the Benchmade design philosophy is not my own. :mad:

    Joe Talmadge Loaded Pockets

    The locks on both the Grip and Delica are suitable for about anything.  The axis lock is almost certain stronger, but since the Delica's will hold up to about anything you subject it to, I'd look at other factors as well.  The biggest reason I carry a Delica and not a Grip (despite the fact that I admire the Grip) is that for me the Grip rides thick and uncomfortable in my pocket, where the Delica is thin and almost unnoticeable.  But if you're the type of person who doesn't care about carry comfort, you might prefer the Grip's thick handle in actual use.  I'd look beyond the lock on this one.

    About everyone I know who opens this way, has at some point or other accidently thrown their knife across the room.  That's under no stress at all.  For that reason, I personally lean against flicking for defensive use.  I feel the wave is a better solution.  You stated that the wave works on jeans, but if you haven't tried Spyderco's waved knives (delica & endura ... another reason to get a delica!), you should.  The waves are bigger than Emerson's waves, and for me work on jeans, dress pants, any shorts with seamed pockets, and even seem to open reliably on sweatpants (don't quote me on that last one yet).

    The one failure I've seen on lockbacks is failure-to-lock-open.  When carried deep in a pocket (rather than clipped to the seam), I've had a piece of lint get stuck on the tang and keep the lock from fully engaging.  Now I tend to carry lockbacks clipped to the pocket but not loose in the pocket.

    I feel that the notion of "proper use" just doesn't make sense.  Strict, controlled, edge-to-spine cutting is achievable for gents' folder use ... opening mail, cutting twine, etc.  But the context of this thread has been harder use, and self defense was mentioned.  I don't think anyone would argue that you could control the forces the knife is subject to in a self-defense situation.  Even in normal use, torques and the like are common.  We've seen failures, for example, where someone is cutting a material that binds (plant stem, hard clamshell plastic, thick cardboard), the knife binds and the lock releases under torque.  No one -- including the manufacturers themselves, who certainly should have a say in what is proper use -- believes that a lock should fail under those conditions.  The fact is, the technology exists  for locks to be made strong and reliable even for hard self-defense use; I feel strongly that letting the manufacturers off the hook with the "customer wasn't using the knife right" argument is the wrong thing to do.  Any knife advertised for medium- or hard-use must be able to handle non-controlled forces across the lock, or else it should be advertised as a gentleman's folder

    The ball lock should be the equal of the axis -- same principle, same strengths, and dual coil springs should be more reliable than axis's omega springs -- but it's not clear to me whether Spyderco has quite refined it yet the way Benchmade has the axis.  The compression lock should also be amazingly reliable, although it misses some of the axis's advantages such as spring bias to keep the blade closed.  Overall, like you I like the axis best, but don't feel the axis lock should be the sole decision-point. 


    Deaths Head Banned

    Your right about that Spyderco's ball lock Joe T. In my opinion, it should be just as solid and reliable. It is just the comfort and convenience issue when disengaging it that turns me off.

    Lee1959 Empty Pockets

    Lake and Walker designed the LAWKS to make liner locks safer. Walker was the inventer of the Walker lock (read that LINER LOCK) and afterwards helped designed a safety for said type of lock, because there were accidental failures of the lock, for various reasons. IN part because he did not feel that most other makers, not just makers of cheap knives, made the lock quite to his original design and were not as strong or safe.

    To say it was designed for cheaper knives only, well it has been generally put on quality knives by quality companies, and the cheaper knives still do not use it to this day. So if that was the intent, it is a failure in its original design. Instead, it is generally touted as a huge selling point for those makers who use it, why? Because it keeps liner locks from accidently unlocking and closing.

    As far as buying a strictly left handed version of ANY knife, I refuse to buy such a silly idea. Any knife that is not able to be manipulated safely with both hands, is in my humble opinion, useless. I will stick to buying knives that can be manipulated safely with either hand, in part because one never knows when one hand may be incapacitated for any reason.

    I agree, there is no substitute for proper use, however to say that the only time a lock will fail is when "misused" I believe is very wrong. Locks fail for many reasons, some misuse and others simply because it was not a great design for day to day useage, or that the knife must be kept scrupulously clean to function properly and safely.  After all, it is a knife, and if a maker advertises it as a using knife, not some wall hanger, it should be safe during reasonable use and expect to be subjected to normal dirt and pocket lint.

    Joe Talmadge Loaded Pockets

    Good news!
    The newest version of the ball lock, being released first on the P'kal, has wings of some sort, which should make it easier to lock and unlock, if things work out right.

    Deaths Head Banned

    Yeah, I saw the protos. I wasn't sure what that lock was. I knew they said that was an improved ball lock, but it didn't look like one, so I thought it was a very rough proto that something like a simpler Axis lock in place of the ball or something. Good to know that it is really a ball lock because those are very smooth. The P'kal is the knife that I am waiting for over the wave of new ones coming out.