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

Views: 1685

Replies to This Discussion

I think that the strongest locking mechanism for folding knives is a lock back. I think the BM Axis Lock and any button locking knife(i.e. CRKT Pharaoh) are a close second. I have never had either of these locking mechanisms fail on me. I have not had as much luck with liner locks or frame locks.

The two knives that have the best lock up in my collection are my Spyderco Delica and my BM Mini Griptilian. I have never had to adjust or tighten the pivot screw on either knives and I have used them very hard.

My prefered lock style is a frame lock. Alot of people like the benchmade axis lock but for some reason it just doesnt appeal to me. I think my strongest locking knife is my cold steel ti-lite.
I have heard of many failures occuring in Axis lock designs, so it leads me to believe that they are not the strongest in the world... Though strong I'm sure, or perhaps the products were defective, I don't know.

I personally believe that the lock back is the strongest folding lock design I've handled, or will ever handle (Subject to change).

I have a buck 110 that locks up ridiculously well. But my Ti-lite is up there, too...

I'd have to say that my buck 110 takes the cake, personally.
I like to keep things simple so for me i like the lock back but find it's often to slow to close. I think a liner lock that is done properly and with good quality control will be just as good as any other mechanism. I think auto lawks such as is on the CRKT m-16 series makes a big improvement to the liner lock. I have never had my m-16 liner lock fail.
Axis lock has been pretty good to me.

I've stood on my Griptilian, no lock failiure. Thrown it into a tree from 50+ ft away, no lock failure. Batoned through wood, edge failure (that darn hollow ground and brittle 154cm), but no lock failure.

Also, well crafted old school lock backs are just great. I want to get one of these but the design and serrations really kill it for me. Though, in the future, if I have some expendable cash just laying around, I might just have to.


BTW, the Tridents don't use an Arc Lock, they use their "Arc-actuator." Similar to a rolling lock (I've REKATs made some of the best rolling locks) but with a curve.

Though also, really, really, really thick frame locks are good too. :D

The strongest locking folder that I have is probably my Rukus, though I wish the blade was a tid-bit stronger...
Axis locks have worked perfect for me.
Another vote for Framelock from me, but ONLY if they're made from titanium, like the CRK Sebenza, Strider, Emerson, BM Lum 760 LFTi, Buck Mayo TNT, Kershaw Junkyard Dog II SG2, BM Skirmish and mini-Skirmish, Bradly Alias, etc. I think the closest Spyderco has ever come to one is the ATR. I keep hearing that Ti is getting more scarce and expensive, Emerson has already dropped them from their line.

I like how the tighter your grip, the more engaged the lock is. I like how THICK it is, compared to linerlocks as well.
I'm a HUGE fan of Benchmade's Axis lock. Never had it fail. However, based upon a YouTube video that I recently watched by demissie101, the best lock might just be the lock (Ultra Lock) that Cold Steel uses on the Recon 1 series of folders. He brings up (and shows) where the Ultra Lock differs from the Axis lock. Check it out at : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb1PWQqO_YU.
While there has been some bad reports about Cold Steels "ram-lock", I believe this is a good mechanical design, and incredibly strong. Mine was one of the "bad" ones, I returned it, and it was replaced with an updated model. I've watched the torture tests online, and think this concept is going to prove itself in time...............I like the "axis" and "arc" locks too, and of course the "butterfly", and you can't forget the strange but strong pantograph knives.
personally, I have found that quality knives usually have quality locks. I have examples of most locking systems out there from numerous manufacturers and have not had one fail on me yet. Axis, plunge, liner, frame, and lockbacks. Cheap knives are another story though.

I have to say that my favorite lock is the Plunge Lock on My Masters Of Defense CQD Mark II (in below picture)
The Zero Tolerance 301/302 is one of the strongest frame lock tactical folders on the market today. Got a 301 still plan on getting a 302.

Emerson Knives... never had a problem with their liner locks...from the Benchmade 970 & 975. and my CQC-7s A & B, Commanders, CQC-8, Raven, SpecWar-A, and CQc-11.

Few more months and I "stand down"...retire and I'll open my shop and be able to buy some Striders, Les Baer .45 & CQC-45, Fitzen Tank, Breitlings, Rolex, Hummer 2...sorry got lost there for a second...lol!
I've found Benchmade's Axis lock to be exceptionally strong. Similar results with SOG's Arc lock. However, the strongest folding lock that I've encountered is probably Cold Steel's Ultra lock. Similar in design to both the Benchmade and SOG versions, the Ultra lock seems to possibly go just a step further. I realize that Cold Steel is sometimes unpopular for a variety of reasons...but I just can't deny the fact that their Ultra lock is seriously tough.


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