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We all wish there was a tactical folder out there that could match the strength of a fixed blade knife. Unfortunately due to physics and common sense a folding knife is not as strong as a fixed blade there are some tactical folders out there that get pretty close to fixed blade strength. Judging from my experience I believe that a balisong style folder has the strongest locking mechanism. I personally prefer either a liner lock or lock back, because I can easily close them with one hand. I have had some pretty bad experiences in the past with frame lock folders. Even though I have had lots of frame locks break on me I am still attracted to their intriguing simplistic design. I recently purchase a SOG Trident and have not had an Arc lock break on me but I still question the design and strength of the locking mechanism. I think that the strongest folder I have in my collection right now is a tie between my Spyderco Tenacious and My CRKT Triumph or Hissatsu. One of these days I will be able to afford a ZT, Emerson, and Strider.

1.) In your opinion which locking mechanism is the strongest and which do you prefer?

2.) Also which tactical folder in you collection has the strongest lock up?

Tags: CRKT, Emerson, Hissatsu, Tenacious, Triumph, ZT, folder, tactical

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Replies to This Discussion

definitely has to be the tri-ad lock from cold steel, i got a black rhino an let me tell you the term bank vault doesn't do the lockup on this thing justice.

Absolutely no! wiggle In any direction whatsoever, not to mention the fact that the sound it makes when it locks open is downright intimidating. it's so cool that you want to open it over and over again just to hear the sound.

aside of that I would have to go with traditional lock back as my overall preferred choice.
i havent had a problem with knife failure since i was a boy. i had a cheap lockback fail on me, im just glad the blade was a cheap steel and super dull so i didnt get hurt bad.

as for the best lockup knives i have are my ken onion made kershaws. i have a scallion i bought back in '03 and havent had a failure in the last 6 years of owning it. the knives all use a liner lock, but even after 6 years the knife has no blade play in any direction, im not saying they are the best and strongest, just saying i havend had any problems.

as for the strongest folders ive seen are the cold steel espada series, please watch the video for yourself its pretty anazing. after beating the crap out of the knife they hang over 600 lbs of weight from it with no lock failures. this is verry impressive.



I like lock backs, because the are lefty friendly and they just work. I batoned through twenty two-by-fours with a lockback (SOG twitch 2), it had bladeplay but it didn't fail, I tried it with my griptilian the second time i hit it with my baton it failed. all that you hear about the axis lock is bs. The axis lock is a good lock but its not a great lock.
The compression lock, which I did for Spyderco, was designed for force against the blade and addressed many of the issues of the axis lock, the arc lock, the rolling lock, and of course simple locks, such as a locking liner and a lock back. Cold Steel's triad lock is actually a compression lock rolled onto its side. The weak point of compression lock was the stop pin/anvil pin: this pin not only absorbed the impact of the opening of the blade, but its bottom surface was the anvil that was hammered and caught the tang arm allowing it to be compressed between said anvil pin and a shelf on the end of the blade.

My newest lock, the puzzle lock, eliminates that problem. It is designed to work like a jigsaw puzzle piece or a dovetail joint conceptually making the tang arm and the blade into one solid piece of steel. Most locks within a folding knife are designed exclusively to prevent inadvertent closing of the blade on to ones fingers: they are not designed to be used with force against the blade or the lock while it is engaged. Said force when applied to the back of the blade and against most locks causes catastrophic failure: the blade either closes or is so destroyed, it can no longer function. Use of force against the blade and lock in this manner violates the warranty and stated purpose of these locks and the design to which they are committed. The puzzle lock is designed for force against lock, force against the back of the blade, and to do things uncommon, not acceptable, and physically impossible for other locks.

The puzzle lock comes in 3 variations:

Simple puzzle lock: the Female puzzle piece within the blade is a channel cut into the blade that is matched to the male tang arm coming from the liner side. When the male tang arm comes into the channel, and making contact with both the top and bottom (lower and upper) of said channel, the tang arm and blade channel mate as in a jig saw puzzle and lock the blade in place.

Compound puzzle lock: is same as a simple except that the tang arm not only contacts the upper and lower channel sides (top and bottom) but it makes contact with the rear perpendicular lower wall of the blade's rear female channel, therefore the tang arm and blade channel mate as in a jig saw puzzle and lock the blade in place.

Complex puzzle lock: is the same as simple and compound except that the tang arm not only contacts the upper and lower channel sides (top and bottom) but it makes contact with the rear perpendicular lower and upper walls of the blade's rear female channel, therefore the tang arm and blade channel mate as in a jig saw puzzle and lock the blade in place.

This is the strongest lock I have ever designed: for it is designed for hard use, as a hard use tool, and a martial arts/military combative accessory. Its patent allowance has been granted and the final patent number is being issued. Locks are important in a tactical folder, and in a hard use tool for all one has to lose is ones fingers!!
Of all the ones I've used the strongest would have to be the Cold Steel Triad Lock. That Rajah 1 was insanely overbuilt and I had complete confidence in its ability.

I currently don't own any Triad lock blades so the strongest one in my collection is going to have to be a Titanium framlock. I'm guessing it's my Strider SnG
1. The strongest locking mechanism I own is probably the caged ball lock on the Spyderco Manix 2. I prefer lock backs and the caged ball lock.

2. The strongest tactical folder I have is the Spyderco Police in G10.

I try to stay away from liner locks because I think they are weaker than lock backs. But for some reason, I have almost as many liner locks as lock backs. hehehe
Once opened .. this one WILL NOT fold on you ..

.. http://www.iknifecollector.com/photo/albums/joh-engstrom-eskilstuna .. the downside is .. not a tactical & been out of production for ~ 100 yrs.

Marble's Safety folding hunter .. a stronger locking folder does not come to mind ..

.. this one's in very rough shape & they've been out of production for awhile too..

The old BUCK 110 or 112 .. one robust design .. 0.125" pivot & backspring pins .. 0.0625" solid brass liners ..

.. I did that one for my Dad in '75 .. he was an avid sportsman and used it hard .. it has never failed !!!

Current production .. I'm voting for a properly manufactured LOCKBACK .. such as those old BUCK's !!!!!!!!!!
That being said .. my current EDC's are a linerlock & a lockback ..

... physically impossible for other locks ...

.. check out Milton H. Rowland's design that Webster Marble manufactured as his "Marble's Safety Folding Hunter .. it isn't a tactical .. BUT .. I haven't seen a stronger locking mechanism to this day ..

I'm open to suggestions though .. :)
Outdoorsman have been batoning wood with this design for over 100 yrs .. now that's some "proof in the puddin".

http://www.knifeworld.com/ahuyeofsahub.html
the best tactical folder in my opinion (besides a balisong) is the new 2010 model cold steel recon 1 tanto folding knife. It is amazing and can support over 200 pounds of force shown in their video.
gotta say cold steels tri ad lock seems the strongest ive ever owned

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