Secure Lockup on MT Mini-SOCOM?

Mar 15, 1999
After hearing all of the effusive praise for these knives on the forums, I did a little shopping and found a clip-point mini-SOCOM MA at a price that I felt I could afford. It just arrived and I've been playing with it for a few hours. The fit and finish superb, but I'm concerned about whether the locking mechanism (liner lock? locking leaf?) is functioning properly. The liner/leaf which locks the open blade in place does not seem to traverse as far across the lock ramp (?) as I have come to expect in my other liner locks. In fact, only about one-half of the thickness of the liner appears to be engaged against the blade. Is this normal for MicroTech products? I've never been inclined to obsess about the reliability of liner locks in the past; I've (fortunately) never had one fail during my admittedly moderate use. The lockup seems solid enough, but it sure looks as though it's not fully engaged. I just thought it might be wise to pick the brains of some of the forumites who are more familiar with the mini-SOCOM before I made any rash assumptions about this knife. Any inputs would be most welcome…

What you describe, where the liner doesn't fully come in contact with the back of the blade, is not normal for Microtech in general, but it IS not unusual for the mini-SOCOM. About 60% of the mini-SOCOMs I've handled have this "problem".

I put the word "problem" in quotes because this situation isn't really a problem. The mini-SOCOM has a titanium liner I believe. Titanium liners tend to have an initial break-in period during which they wear quickly. It should only take a relatively short break-in period before the liner makes full contact with the blade back. Try opening the knife 50-100 times medium-hard, the liner should march progressively across the blade back.

Once the entire liner is in contact with the blade back, you're done. Contrary to popular belief, there's absolutely no reason to try to get the liner in the exact middle of the blade. In fact, there's no "right" spot for a liner on a blade tang -- the liner is BY DESIGN supposed to go across the blade tang as it wears. I've seen liners hold solid even though they were way to the left, and liners fail miserably even though they were way across the blade back.

Once the entire liner is up against the blade tang, hit it with the liner lock tests and make sure it's safe.

Thanks for the information, Joe. I feel a lot better about my new acquisition now. It’s reassuring to learn that the liner/blade engagement should improve as the knife is broken in. I realize that there’s no reason for the liner to be actually centered against the back of the blade, but I was a little taken aback by the fact that less than half of the relatively thin liner appeared to be making contact with the blade. MT’s specifications indicate that the liner on the mini-SOCOM is a 17-4 stainless steel alloy rather than titanium; it may take some significant time and usage to “break in” properly. I’ll continue to work with the knife and see what develops…