My first liner lock failure


Feb 5, 1999
I'm sorry if some of you think that this topic is beaten to death. I just wanted to say that I now believe what Joe and hat other people are saying about liner lock. Luckily, I discovered this liner lock failure when I was looking for it, not while working.

For a long time, I have taken the warnings with a grain of salt - I told myself that I only use my knives lightly, and that I don't plan on deploying them in a self defense situation (that's a topic for a different thread). However, I have always done the basic test to insure that my lock works decently. My first liner locking knife that I owned was a s&w swat. I white-knuckled it, did the spine-whack, and everything and it held fine. Tonight however, I tried something I should've tried a long time ago. While white knuckeling the handle, I held the blade and torqued my hand a little bit, and voila, the lock disingaged. I'm lucky this hasn't happened when I was doing some of my "light" cutting.

I now understand why Joe keeps bringing up white-knuckling all the time.

ps. Since then, I've tried white-knuckling my lockbacks as well, something I haven't done before. To my surprise, some of then fail this test too. Boy, I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight!

[This message has been edited by pk (edited 24 March 1999).]

[This message has been edited by pk (edited 24 March 1999).]
Hasn't there been a lot of discussion of the S&W SWAT's liner failing? I thought I have read that in previous posts.


I generally feel that if you are "white knuckling" a folder, it is either not sharp enough for the task, or the task requires a fixed blade. Folders are for light duty.

Welcome to the club. I am patiently awaiting my Crawford Rolling Lock Kasper. Hopefully, the Rolling Lock will live up to its early promise.

I am aware that the swat doesn't really have a good reputation here, but I guess I was thinking that since it passed my earlier tests that it would be fine for my use.

As for "white knuckling," it wasn't necessary for the lock to fail, just torqueing it. One of my cutting duties involves cardboard, and I have gotten it stuck once or twice even though it was sharp. Because I'm right handed, my tendancy is to rotate counter-clockwise a little as I try to pull the knife out - that's why I was surprised it hadn't happened to me. I now know that I should use a different grip if that happens (well, on another knife, I was planning to sell this one to a friend anyway - after I show him the problem of course).

A couple days ago I posted a review request on the review forums for the AG Russell One Hand Knife and it didn't get any replies. Even though it's been around for awhile, I haven't handled one and one of my questions was about the lock which appears to be a variation on the lockback. It doesn't have to be "bull-strong," but strong enough and reliable. Does anyone have experience with this knife? I'd really like to know. (I'd be using it for different cutting duties).


[This message has been edited by pk (edited 24 March 1999).]
And little by little, they realize that Talmadge guy isn't a complete loon...

I've handled the A.G. Russell knife but haven't used it. In theory, as you hold the knife more firmly, the lock should tighten up even more. Don't know how well the theory works in practice.

I haven't had a failure yet with a liner lock. I have with a lockback. The locking lug got dirty and filled up with pocket lint and crud. I clean my knives weekly now, if not more often. With all the warnings on liner locks recently, I was a little worried about my new Mini Socom. I thumbed, flicked, or snapped it open well over 500 times since I got it. It's still tight and the lock clicks in solidly. No problems with the new "c" shaped pocket clip yet either.
If you're asking about the AG Russell one-hand where the handle and lock are cut out of one piece of steel, I have two that I have carried on and off since they first came out. I can't see how the lock would ever fail. The lock is deep and very fitted, and it takes a bit of practice to unlock it. Mine have never been a problem.
I have not trusted lockbacks since an accident in my youth, and last week I was unfortunate enough to witness a liner lock fail in a spectacular fashion. I was not the weilder, so I do not know if a "white knuckle" grip was deployed, but it has changed my feelings about liner locks. At my work I cannot get away with carrying a fixed blade, so I am upgrading to the Sebenza full time.

Oh Joe, you're definately a loon, you just won't have your fingers lopped off from accidental failure any time soon

I still really like the action of liner locks. Now, I have a better idea of what to look for and beware of.
I remember a thread where I was espousing what is, I believe, called a 'pinch saber' grip. This is where the fingers line up against the clip, the thumb on the other side, and the back of the hand across the part into which, the blade does NOT fold.

Alas, my pleas fell largely on deaf ears, with other posters citing the weakness of the grip, how if a knife DID fold up on your fingers, it wouldn't cut them very much, and so forth.

Now, given the above posts,are you willing to reconsider whether or not you should heed my advice? Further, yes, indeed, I saw a lot of finger lacerations in the Emergency Dept., but liner locks did not exist back then, and the majority of lacs were caused by misuse of fixed blades. Thus, I cannot point to statistics and say that there are now more lacs due to liner locks failing, but I really don't think I have to. Just the POSSIBILITY of finger/hand injury is enough for any responsible person to exercise extreme caution with ANY knife.

Keep safe, and keep your digits. Walter Welch, Diplomate, American Board of Emergency Medicine.
Hey Joe,
Just because you're right doesn't mean you're not crazy!
AHHH! Ferrets! Git'em off me! AHHHHHH!

I cut it, and I cut it, and it's STILL too short!

On all my folders, I always check to see that the lock is secure before usage. This is particularly true with liners. In particular, I have found that unless I snap it open, my Spyderco Viele rarely securely latches open.

Live free and buy. It's the American way.
Whoa, Krom, I have the Spyderco Viele and it doesn't do that! It locks nicely no matter whether I open it gently or not. Send it back to Spyderco pronto. Sal and company will look at and fix it. You'll find (like many of us have already) their customer service first rate.