What’s the best and strongest locking mechanism for a pocketknife? A quick overview of some options

Lots of people who are new to the hobby worry and wonder about all the different lock options available on pocketknives. This video is meant to show you some of the common ones, explain the differences, and dispel some of the myths surrounding lock strength and lock choice.


drengskap says:

Axis lock is a Benchmade patented thing? How come I have two Ganzo knives with the same mechanism?

Also, Opinels – what’s that, a rotating collar lock?

Grant SIRBALLBAG says:

Look at the lock of an okapi knife

Jablow Maikok says:

Lmao can’t take this clown voice seriously

Casey Bryan says:

Cold steel tri ad lock is the strongest

fx sniper says:

You try to be objective in your reviews, but here your lack of giving Cold Steel´s Tri-ad lock its place, shows ur still biased…Yes we know you don´t liker their pig stabbing marketing, but be objective and evaluate and give credit where credit is due. You should review CS flagship knives, like the Recon 1 and American Lawman. Not only is the lock super strong, they are really good knives, CTS-XHP, and not expesnive.

vashonmart says:

Blade hq tested it and the strongest was back lock. Next was bolt then ball then compression. Shocking! Cold steel and benchmade were not used so we can’t say how they come out though.

Dion St. Michael says:

Thanks. I’m very skeptical about frame and more often than not, liner locks since I’ve see far to many that are far to easy to break through so I appreciate the extra knowledge.

Blu Crystl says:

Nick, not one of your best videos. At least half of these knives can have lock failure with *very* light use. You did not educate viewers on *how* liner lock, frame lock, back lock and Axis lock can *easily* fail.
On Benchmade’s channel I challenged their Contego to a contest with my Cold Steel Kudu. Benchmade did not accept challenge and has not allowed public viewing of my message. Contest would have included spine whack, over-strike, batoning and throwing. The Benchmade Axis lock has the *potential* to be one of the strongest locks on Earth. Unfortunately the *application* of the Axis lock design is, in most cases, very poor. with a few inexpensive modifications it could be *vastly* improved. I am wondering if some Chinese company might beat Benchmade to vastly improving the Axis lock. It will be very bad news for Benchmade if that happens.

Heinrich der Kartoffelmörder says:

1:43 Wow, that’s probably the ugliest knife i’ve seen so far..

BeagleMaster64 says:

what model zt is that i really like it

Andrea Farsech says:

The best and the strongest are lock mechanisms that distribute the force on larger piece of metal. So liner-lock and frame-lock are the best, compared to the fancier tri ad lock, back lock, axis lock. Obviously all depends on the build quality, and if you use a crappy liner this could break, if the contact point is not well designedrefined It could slip laterally, but considering the good ones of every kind of system It’s a no contest.

Jezz Johnson says:

i have the same benchmade but only a couple days old. it doesn’t swing that lose. how do i achieve ?

Dana Commesso says:

I climb trees with knives tied to my feet. Speak for yourself city slicker

click bait says:

What no compression lock

bubu mic says:

Unfoldable knifes can`t be carried all day (at work, store, class etc)

Radek Hlavacek says:

Hi Nick, any knife you would recommend to buy if I want something the Delica 4 size, but something more sturdy…? Thanks, R.

Cleric775 says:

Don’t go for Cold Steel’s Tri-ad locks, they are a BITCH to work with.
Too hard to open, requires two hands.
Also to properly close them, one must apply the release lock against the edge of a solid stationary table to push against the spring to unlock the blade.
What fucking unworkable folding knife to work in the field.

I’m not going to bash against the wood or rocks all the time. I’m going to use an axe or a sledgehammer for those jobs.

Gruggs Giero says:

Cold Steel Tri-Ad hands down….


No tri ad lock…makes this video just useless crap.

Mark Thompson says:

Hi Nick
All of what you have said is true.
You sure have a way of adding humor to your vids …. good job

op pi says:

I believe Nick does not own any Cold Steel knifes, because of their BD1 steel blades perahps (?), otherwise triad locks are known to be the most secure and safe locks on a folder.
BTW, I used my CS Spartan an entire day, in the garden, cutting bushes and plants, even trimmed two palm trees with it and at the end of the day it was still razor sharp, still slicing paper easily and, with just a few strokes on the leather stropper, got to popping hair, just like before.
Perhaps is that “Heat treatment”, you were talking about in other video, they do to their blades?

Dave Wiesenhahn says:

i have a less expensive Boker that fails instantly minimal pressure, cut my self badly, reproduced failure mode with ease SMKW said send it to them i don’t want it

Joker Toker says:

The thing is, in real world use, the knife doesn’t always get used to how it was designed too. That is why the locking mechanism tests are great to show that if you had to abuse the knife, which is the strongest. Also the fixed blade argument is valid, but sometimes when you are in a shit situation, you don’t always get to choose what items you get to have on you. Sometimes you just got the shit that is in your pocket.

Swiss Watch Craze says:

Jeez what’s with the Spyderco knives. Ugly and simplistic design.

Vincent lqt says:

You all wrong americans bastards the saffiest is the rotating lock from Opinel Vive la France !

anton eckart says:

Sog has a similar access lock

Denis Valentine says:

Nice vid, good explanation. Thanks buddy.

visiblemode says:

Back lock is the strongest *common* lock. There may be other types that can outperform…but here’s the thing. Why? The forces involved here are beyond what will ever be applied by a human hand. Basically all the locks, in their ideal implementation are overkill. That being said, the reason most locks fail is likely: manufacturing defect, aging, or user error. So to me the big debate about “this lock takes 1000lbs of force yours only takes 998lbs” while occasionally fun, it ignores that even if you could apply that much force (you can’t) you’d be insane to do so with a knife. Knives aren’t really designed for massive force applications.

A better question is probably: which lock is most reliable? And what style combines long term reliability with ease of use?

hothamandfauri says:

The cheap $1 pocket knife at Wal Mart has the same lock design as that spyder co knife in this video.

Thank you Wal Mart for ruining this spyder co knife for me… Now whenever i look at the lock, i just think of a cheap pocket knife from Wal Mart….

rp says:

at the very first: thanx for this vid.

the last presended knife is really cool – i love it – technically spoken.

unfortunately, i am living in good old germany.
and thus, i am under pressure with the german weaponry act, and thus i am constrained by the following facts:
– i must not carry a knife, that is foldable and has a blade length of more than 8.5 mm and/or that can be opened by one hand
– i must not carry a knife, that has a blade length of more than 12 mm (if the knife blade is fixed (cannot be folded anyhow))

the german weaponry act allowes to buy and own many things (some are really and absolutally restricted) – but do not allow to carry them.
ahh… this is kinda schizophrenia… isn’t it

i can buy nearly all i want but cannot use it… what the f*ck…

ok, just for the case: i can buy all indeed (prepper’s vision of world) – but what is it good for?

best regards

pickle Rick says:

No Compression lock what the crap

Alex's Blade Work says:

Great video man i love people who educate themselves on knives, but a cheap little company named ganzo created the axis lock and before they patented it benchmade ripped them off

Fire bug says:

best locks, where stuff breaks instead of something slipping

marlon chin says:

I hace different types of knives with various lock types and the compresion lock is my fave

fx sniper says:

The Tri-Ad lock by Cold Steel is an improved back-lock and is the stongest pocketknife locking mechanism.

Outboard Fun says:

what about  the SOG Arc lock probably the best lock out there

Frederick Martin says:

On the disadvantages of the Benchmade Axis lock, I have have a Benchmade Axis lock and a SOG Arcitech with an Arc lock. Not being an expert the two locks look very similar to me and if you want superior fit and finish the SOG Arcitech seems pretty good to me.

Simon L says:

“The best locking mechanism is no locking mechanism at all.” quote of the year.

Kar Lizen says:

Lol, this guy out of the only 6 lock types he showcases, he includes a CRK slip lock which’s only used on 1 knife that’s super overpriced so barely anyone has it, vs including other far more common locks like Tri-Ad and compression locks.

Brady Blackburn says:

Most useful review ever. I have shown this to half a dozen people looking for their first knives, who will never need it for anything other than opening mail, cutting tags off their kid’s clothes, and maybe slicing some cheese. They always want a knife that can take town an attack helicopter, and I have to explain that that might be a wee bit more than they need.

Richard Edgecomb says:

Really good practical advice.

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