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Discussion in 'Knives' started by WARFIST, Jan 16, 2010.
what lock is better and why? this should start a good thread!
Both have their drawbacks, personally I feel lockbacks are more reliable. Ive had a liner close on because my finger slid the lock to the side. But I guess part of your hand could engage the lock back to. Just my 2 cents, In no way am I a knife expert or am I saying im right. Im really interested to hear from the rest of you guys.
A properly made (and used) liner lock should be more reliable than a lock back. There is more material in contact with the blade, and if the angles are right, the harder you push the blade the more locked up it becomes. However, if its a cheap knife, or the liner isn't properly heat treated, it can bend and fail. A frame lock is even more robust.
The one that closed on my hand was a cheap one, but I could still see it happening again. FWIW, I dont really trust locking knives that much. I prefer a fixed blade.
I've never had either fail in use, and I prefer liner locks. I think the advantage of the liner lock is better/smoother opening feel as well as easier to use. The disadvantages are that they can push the blade off center and if they can fail to engage properly. The advantage of the lockback is greater strength/reliability, but there is more friction and the contact area is much larger so they aren't nearly as smooth.
I like the ability of one hand open and close but the lockbacks feel sturdier to me so its a hard choice I would have to say a center lockback that you can squeeze to close with one hand
and i assume you mean frame locks too
Liner/Frame locks tend to gum up and make it hard to open when you havent oiled it recently so thats a MAJOR issue so I must go with lockback all the way
There are some advantages and disadvantages due to the nature of the locks ... liner locks can always potentially be made smoother than a lockback, lockbacks can always be made to have a better closing bias than liner locks. With proper engineering both can be made extremely strong.
But for me, the real difference comes down to reliability. The liner lock's simplicity belies mechanical subtleties that are easy to miss. And even if the lock is made right, if the geometry changes in subtle ways, for example through the knife being torqued or the lock face wearing and the lock engaging further down the tang, a previously sound lock can become less so. During the many years I tested very many knives, I never saw failures anywhere near the percentages of liner locks. They're susceptible to torquing, they're susceptible to impacts, they're susceptible to the flesh of the palm engaging the lock. I decided that for myself, I won't use this lock for anything but gentleman's folder type use. And while many people feel this is just a matter of "cheap" locks, almost uniquely, when it comes to liner locks there are problems from cheapest to best, I've personally seen them in custom folders from Elishewitz, Onion, and Emerson, I've seen them in high end production folders from Benchmade and Spyderco, etc. Yes, there can be a stinker among any lock type, but in my experience nowhere is there such high chance of problems as liner locks. Add to the preceding problems the trickiness of the ball detent, and now you have a lock type that's much more likely to let the knife open in your pocket than other types.
I like the lockback better.The most important issue is safety.I've never owned a liner lock or frame lock knife but I got to try out a liner lock and it just didn't feel right.And the fact that a piece of metal or plastic bends inside the knife in order for you to open it is not comforting either.Sooner or later I believe that the lock will fail, either by breaking, by jamming or by normal wear and tear.On lockbacks it's much safer and the lock doesn't just break or otherwise fail on you.I have a cheap lockback knife and I have to say I'm really impressed of how strong and reliable the lock really is, regardless if the blade is folded or opened.Now if that's what a cheap lockback does, I can only imagine what a branded knife (Spyderco, Benchmade and other) will be like.
I gotta be honest, I enjoy all lock styles as long as they're made by Spyderco. Spyderco excels at anything they choose to make, which is why I trust and use them daily.
never had a failure with liner, lock back , or frame lock.
However I don't abuse folding knives, and I don't use cheap knock offs either.
I have no preference, as long as it's well made
I agree with Carrot's sentiment. I have had cheap knives of all different lock types and none of them were reliable. None of my knives or tools made by Spyderco, Benchmade, Victorinox, or Leatherman have ever failed under normal circumstances.
As long as a lock type is properly done, all are reliable. I haven't had a problem with any lock types in terms of reliability and strength. Choose a good manufacturer and this issue is pretty much moot. I find liner/frame locks smoother and easier to close quickly and feel lock backs may have a edge in strength.
I've never had any problems with liner locks and I don't imagine doing anything that would cause one to fail with a pocket knife. I prefer liner locks because of the smoothness of opening and ease of closing. That said, my current EDC knife is a lock back.
I probably have more liner locks than lockbacks, it really doesn't seem to matter to me except that it is easier for me to close a lockback, and when I do so I am not putting my my thumb or a finger in the path of the closing blade in order to release it.
I think a lot of people share that sentiment ... and I share it, too, when it comes to gentleman-type folders. But there have been numerous liner locks failures reported for things I consider medium-duty (at most) use, which is something you should be able to expect a reasonable knife to do. One example: someone decided to prune off some small twigs, knife got wedged slightly, he pulled (and probably torqued a bit) the knife out, not too hard, liner lock failed. Obviously, we can find these type of stories for all sorts of locks, you never know when something is going to fail, but again, the number of these stories that star liner locks is disproportionate. The fact is, a well-made medium-duty folder (much less any and every "tactical") should be able to handle this easily, and there's only one lock format that suspiciously rises to the top when it comes to spin pressure and torquing type failures. Which is why, when you say that you don't imagine doing anything that would cause a failure with a pocket knife, and bother to actually emphasize "pocket", I point out that 1. not all failures are unreasonable, and 2. any folder being advertised for medium-duty use and especially hard use or tactical/defensive use should easily be able to handle a reasonable load plus torquing, white knuckling, etc.
my feeling is that in cheaper, lower quality knives, the lockback has a definate advantage. unlike the liner lock, it is difficult to make a back lock too thin, or too flexible, and so poor quality lockbacks tend to be too stiff, and tend to lock too tightly, not too loose.
in a good quality, well designed knife it comes more down to personal choice. the only potential issue with a liner is the hand accidentaly dis-engaging the lock during use, and this is a fairly small chance (unless you are a left hander, when it becomes more of an issue)
personally I prefer a well designed liner lock, as I tend to find them easier to open, and easier to close. and I would love to try a framelock. the up-coming rat cultery izula folder is looking very likely to be my first.
i have used bolth and never had a problem with either but i like lock back better
It doesn't work to compare lock designs on their own. You need to put them in the context of a manufacturer or a specific knife for the comparison to be valid because so much of the lock's performance depends on the materials and the attention to detail put into construction and assembly. I like lockbacks more than framelocks in general, but I would rather have a Kershaw framelock than a no-name gas station lockback.
Tri-Ad lockback. Solid.
Although I generally prefer lockbacks, I recently picked up a CRKT Mt. Rainier liner lock that has a safety on the back. Once you open it, you can flick the safety up, and the liner lock cannot be disengaged. Kind of a neat idea, but I can't help but think that you wouldn't need the safety if the liner lock were either of a better design or replaced entirely with a lockback mechanism. I still like the knife, though.
You can see the safety behind the hinge area (below, and to the left of where the pocket clip is screwed to the frame):