Poll: Liner lock fan or "newer" lock fan???

Jul 24, 1999
The opening click or flick of a liner-lock is addictive.

They're strong enough for me - I don't need the axis, monolock (I do love my Sebenza though) or Carnivore - although I certainly do want them! For example, my AFCK suits me just fine - and the price is right.

Well-made liners get the job done. Inspect it before buying or order from a master like Kit Carson and you'll have a great, flickable knife.

Warm regards
I kind of consider the entire MonoLock thing (including Sebenza) more of a fringe division of the liner-lock. I am not a fan of the Rolling Lock at all, but (for me) the Axis-Lock is close to perfect in every way. It's not so much the ability to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure I will never apply to it, it's the ability to give me a smooth and one-handed locking device that keeps my fingers away from the blades path during closing procedures. Also, the Axis-Lock, as far as I can see, has like NO chance of ever becoming useless by way of wear. The AFCK is great knife for many people, but what happens when those liners wear to the point that the knife may fail the whack test. Or, worse yet, fail while you are USING it? With the Axis-Lock, I have two Omega springs, a nice hunk of hardened steel, two steel liners, and two G-10 scales to protect me from the lock breaking. The blade will most likely just fall apart before all of those become breached. With the common liner-lock, there is... The liner. That's it, that is all protecting your fingers from going bye-bye. The width of just ONE of the Axis-Locks liners surpases the width on the AFCKs, only locking liner.

Robert Joseph Ansbro

If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed. -Stanley Kubrick, 1928-1999


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I own many liner locks and several Rekat and Axis lock knives. I love all of them and it would be hard to make a choice except that both the Axis lock and liner lock are much smoother than the Rolling lock. What I want to mention is that we should not forget the old fashioned rocker bar lockback. I have lockbacks that are almost twenty years old that are still in great shape. It should also be noted that a good lockback is almost as flickable as a liner lock. Just a thought.
Something to consider is that a failure on a linerlock (not a disengagement, but a true failure involving damage to the knife) will usually jam the knife open, saving your fingers. This is not true of many other locks. While I was at Spyderco recently, I was able to examine a number of linerlocks that had gone through their "breaking machine." All that I saw had an identical pattern of damage, preventing the blade from closing. Furthermore, some rather unreasonable loads were put on the knives in order to cause this.

As far as the wear issue goes, my AFCK is over four years old and has only had much competition for "pocket time" in the last year. It locks up only a hair from where it did when new and passes a spine-whack every time. My other linerlocks (Military, Starmate, Wegner) all pass spine whacks consistently as well, and I expect them to wear even better due to their steel liners. I've never disengaged any of them accidentally. Finally, all four knives have a smoother, lighter, more even action than any lockback, Axis-lock, or Rolling-lock that I have handled.

Get my fingers in the path of the blade? When I cut myself closing a liner-lock, I'll let you know. Incidentally, note that a mid-lock lockback puts your fingers in the blade's path when closing due to how it is generally held to depress the locking bar. I now know to hold it close enough to the pivot to catch the "kick" at the base of the blade when it drops, but I have cut myself on these in the past.

I guess what I'm saying is that when a liner-lock is done well, I'll still take it over any other lock that I know of.

The Integral lock is an extension of the liner lock concept, without a doubt, and both are proven designs when engineered properly. My preferred lock is the Integral lock (talk about your addictive “click”!), mostly for its reliability and simplicity, and these are the same qualities that I like in the liner lock design. The liner lock and leaf lock are much more common than the integral lock, and also allow a wider variety of materials to be used as handle scales. The bolster lock falls into the ‘taint category (‘Taint fish nor fowl), but shows a lot of promise.

The new spring actuated locks also show promise, but I will wait to see before adding myself to the fan club. I mean, what is in there, a couple of peanuts and a spring? Get back to me in a few years with your “Best folder ever”.

Agree with Corduroy that with care, you can find a liner lock that is reliable and safe. However, my own experience have led me to be a bit disgusted with the format, so I don't buy them anymore, period, except on light-use gents knives. However, to repeat, I do not think a *knowledgeable* buyer would be foolish to favor liner locks. There are makers and manufacturers who are particularly good (or bad) at making reliable liner locks, so you can affect your chances by choosing wisely from the start.

At this point, I favor almost anything but liner locks. I love the Axis, I'm encouraged by the Rolling Lock but think REKAT still needs to fine tune it a bit, love the integral lock, I think Elishewitz's bolster lock has the major features of the integral lock so I have high hopes for it. There are some interesting button locks out there (e.g., GT, SpeedTech), I'm hoping to see more. I like lockbacks, but always test to make sure they'll pass white knuckling for me.

I'm off linerlocks also.I have an Axis,Rolling lock and Mono lock.I like them better.Too many bad liner locks.I grew tired of watching my $100.00 linerlock knives wear before my eyes.Some within just a few days.I realize that some are just breaking in but I was just uncomfortable with that.My Axis has been opened and closed a bazillion times and there seems to be no wear that I can see.
scott w
I find liner locks mechanically elegant but I can't seem to bring myself to trust them.
I prefer lockbacks.
I look forward to examining a scale release lock which Gene Osborn has sent to me so I can see how it locks and unlocks.

Luke 22:36, John 18:6-11
I like the liner locks on my AFCKs. They have never failed a whack test. Even the AFCK which I had blunted has withstood repeated thrusts into my leather covered heavy bag.

That being said, I have experienced failures with other liner locks. I don't know if the newer locks are "fool proof" yet because they are so new.

As far as your fingers going "bye-bye", I recently had Pat Crawford leave an extra 1/2" of the blade unsharpened at the pivot end of my new KFF. Now should the lock disengage, the unground edge will contact my finger.

I truly doubt that any lock will have a 0% accidental disengagement record with heavy use. This added safety feature makes sense to me.

I like my linerlocks. I've tried some of the new locks, but I've never liked the actual knife designs. My linerlocks haven't failed although I've seen knives I would not trust.


I think we all want a lock that will hold under its intended purpose.I think all the lock designs mentioned in this thread are capable of holding during heavy use.
Providing they are adjusted correctly and properly maintained.I have knives with lock backs,liner locks,and axis lock.I'll have a rolling lock when the Sifus are finished.

I guess I am more concerned with blade and
handle design than particular locking mechanism.
I like my linerlocks, but I want to eventually get the Axis-style locking knives. The one thing I do NOT like about linerlocks is that they might wear faster than other types. I've known people who carried a lockback for utility for 20 or more years and still going strong. It's usually impressive for a linerlock to remain strong after repeated daily use for only a few years. I guess only time will tell with the Axis, mono, and rolling locks. Supposedly Axis and Rolling locks "wear in," as opposed to wearing out.
Just exactly how are these "20 year knives" being used? I'd never expect a blade to bear up to sharpening for that long without changing shape dramatically. My AFCK doesn't pull "heavy duty," but it's been sharpened countless times and reground several times to repair damage (the fairly brittle steel may increase this... but its hardness also reduces sharpenings). I don't expect a knife's blade to hold up for 20 years of use, so why should I expect the lock to?

Besides, I'd like an excuse to replace my knife at least once every five years or so...

Well, the lockbacks in question are Buck 110's or similar knives. Obviously the blades do not look like new, the handles are worn from use, there is often a little bit of play in the open position. They have been sharpened to the point of losing a portion of the edge/belly. But still used. I might also point out that the knives in question are owned by "one-knife" users as work/sport knives; they are not knifeknuts.
One new knife every five years?!?! I'm lucky to go five months without getting another one!!!

Ya, sure, some liner locks are OK, but the Axis lock, the Rolling Lock are superb. My 710, Crawford Carnivore, and SpeedTech Synergy all flick open easily.

I'm not getting rid of my M-2 AFCKs, or M-2 Styker, or my Krait, but I carry my Apogee, 710, and REKATs with a lot more confidence.