SOCOM Lock Failure

I'm still in shock. Been raving to everyone about how much I love my MT SOCOM (MA). For some strange reason, it never occured to me to perform a spine whack test on it, so a few days ago I did. The results were frightening, to say the least. So I tried another brand new SOCOM and two brand new mini SOCOMs (all MAs). You guessed it, all of 'em tried to bite me! Understand that I tried this numerous ways (full hand grip, squeezing very hard to faily light taps resting the knife in my palm, holding it with only thumb & index fingers) and the results were the same each time. Has anyone else witnessed this, or do I just have four flukes in my inventory? I feel I should also mention, I constantly argue the point that in actual combat it's highly unlikely for a knife to be affected in such a way that it would close in this manner, but I must admit that the results of this test were very discomforting to me and others who witnessed it.
Jan 31, 1999
Unnerving as h^ll, isn't it? That's how I felt when I tested a "tactical" knife I had been using. Chances are that it won't fold in an actual situation. But, I don't giving Murphy any help since always finds a way to muck things up.

I recently got another mini-socom and after removing it from the box, I whacked the spine to see what would happen. A quick whack with very moderate pressure about 1/4 of the way from the tip produced lock failure.I thought that maybe it needed to seat, so I tried some more and after about 15 tries I gave up. Each and every whack produced failure.

I sold the knife the next day to someone who will not be using it only admiring it.

In real world use the lock might not fail, but I am retiring my other M/T's and will have to think long and hard before buying another one.
It seems that for that much $ they would equip the Socom with a decent locking mechanism. Weird.

holy moly, same thing here. I've been a long time admirer of the SOCOMS. Alan Folts told me a story of how a whole bunch of SOCOMS failed the whack test, I retried it on my mini, but close to the tip this time. It failed!! Consistently! I was like, wtf, I take my puny BM850 "Gentlemen's Knife" that has this (relatively) skinny, nice and blue-purpley liner, whacked the heck out of it, it wouldn't fail.
While I have some thoughts on whether the spine whack test is valid, it bugs me that my mini socom failed SO EASILY, hardly any pressure. Anyone else out there have this experience?
They will fail, and then liner locks will "seat." If yours doesn't seat, then contact me and I will buy it. MT makes the very best liner locks.
After reading the topic for this post I had to try it on my Socom M/A.I am happy to report the lock on mine held time after time.I must mention that I have had mine for about 6 months and it has seen alot of use albeit not heavy use.(Translation:abuse)

As I said in my post above, I whacked it many times hoping that it would "seat". It did not. And the more I think about it, that theory really doesn't make sense. Why should I have to do anything to try to fix a knife that costs well over $100?

As myself and others have said, in actual use the lock might not fail, but why take a chance?

I can also take many other knives, both expensive and cheap and "whack" them without lock failure, so why can't M/T get it right before it leaves the factory?

Now keep in mind that these comments are from a person who has had many M/T's, and I have never had one fold. But until recently when I thought just for the hell of it I would "whack" the spine, I trusted them without question. Now I'm not so sure.
Glad to see it's not just me! Sorry if I busted anyone's bubble (definitely did mine!), but I must agree with Jailhack; these babies should be "on the money" before they're shipped. I should've mentioned this before, but in each different hit I targeted various points on the blade (near the tip, at the handle, etc.), which always produced the same result. I even tried to manually push the liner over for a better seat, and that also made no difference. I really love this knife anyway, but c'mon...Microtech, are you listening?
Someone please repost the spine whack test. I would search for it, but the feature isn't available right now.

I'm surprised that MT's fail this easy. I guess I'm spoiled by my sebenza but I was kinda wanting mini UDT. Mabe I should reconsider?
Here's a related thread titled "whack test" failures? over at the KFC Microtech Forum.

(Greg -- the link is also in the thread)

[This message has been edited by Titan (edited 11 July 1999).]
The M/A I had never failed the lock test. I had a Tempest from MOD that did with very light pressure applied to the knife. I also have a Kershaw Starky Ridge XL that does not fail the test. This has turned out to be my favorite knife. The reason I sold the M/A is that it stuck out of my pocket to far and every time I would get in my car it would bang the door jam. Not to say it isn't/wasn't a great knife. My 2 cents.
Hey guys! I'm glad to see people testing their knives. Whether or not your knife fails, it's good to see testing. If I may make a couple points:

- First, if I can pat my own back a little, I've been seeing for a long time on these forums people saying how their MT's have strong locks that will never fail. I've been responding by saying that reliability is more important than strength at this point, and that based on the reports I hear, I don't feel MT's liner locks are any better than (say) Spyderco or Benchmade (no comment on whether or not MT matches those companies). It looks like some testing here has shown some problems.

- Sometimes the spine whack test seats the lock, after which there's no more failures. Make sure this isn't the case with you.

- With a brand spanking-new liner lock, there's often an initial break-in period where the lock wears in quickly. I personally feel the maker should provide the break-in period for the customer, but most do not. As a result, I think you should open your new liner lock 50-100 times hard before performing tests and drawing conclusions. In particular, the MT mini-SOCOMs often arrive with the lock unready, needing a break-in.

I agree 100% with Joe on the point of breaking in. When I first got my mini SOCOM it looked as if I could almost defeat the lock with my hand (I could defeat the lock with a SMALL amount of pressure on the spine of the knife when my AFCK was new). However, both of these knives broke in really well. The lock is easier to work, and it locks up much more securely, no more whack test failures.
I should further note that the first SOCOM tested had been opened/closed approx. 300-400 times. The second one was brand new, maybe only cycled 20-30 times. I tried 'em with the pivot very tight, very loose, etc. I tried to take into consideration as many variables as possible. The minis were tested in the same fashion; both were new at the time of the test. I decided to take one home over the weekend, and opened/closed it firmly a minimum of 300 times. Tried it this morning and again, no difference. I realize there are a thousand ways to debate this, i.e. whether the test is valid or not to begin with, all the little variables that could arise in testing to change the results, etc. However, I think all the similar response indicates that this is a problem area. For a knife to justify this kind of price tag, it shouldn't fail, PERIOD. If knives that cost half (or less) of what a SOCOM sells for can hold up under this test, so should the SOCOM, PERIOD. If it can be shown that they will not fail, but only after proper seating has occured, then this process should be addressed before the knives are shipped, PERIOD. I still like Microtech, as well as other brands whose locks have failed. I feel it's completely redundant to point out that I had previously noted the slim chance that this type of failure would occur in use. But it just as easily could, and there at least as many ways this(accidental closure) could happen as there are variables in testing that would lead to inaccurate results. But hey, they sure are cool to look at, huh?
With respect,
Pricetag's got nothing to do with, IMO. For a knife to be sold for any price, it should pass this test. Otherwise it should be used for light duty only, and the buyer should be told as much. The pricetag only makes this even more disappointing on this knife.

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives
Again on the liner lock thing. I tried just now to defeat the Kershaw 1416, held tight.
Most liner lock knives will defeat if whacked out towards the end of the blade. I think it has to do with vibration more than anything else. I tried whacking my C16 really hard against our cutting board and it too held very tight. This knife has be cycled hundreds and hundreds of times and it is still very tight. Definetly not a flicker so to speak. A deliberate push on the blade will open it. Like it better that way. Now for the caveat to all this. If you are using the knife properly ie.) cutting away from you all the time the lock failure should be of little concern I would think. Now I am no martial artist at all with a blade although I have done impromptue testing cutting stuffed clothes etc. With a gorilla grip and slashing away from one's self I don't see the problem as being as large as everyone makes it out to be. I mean you do cut with the blade and not against it right? Food for though anyways. Keep'em sharp.
Longbow has raised an interesting point that I have been contemplating for a great while now and have neglected to say anything due to the apparent joy everyone has in "whacking" the back of their knives.

Why do we "whack" the spine? I guess to see if the lock holds. Most cutting pressure is against the blade and not against the spine. If one were placing the pressure against the back of the spine and not against the blade, wouldn't we be using the knife improperly?

Of course, lock security is an important concern, but I haven't yet had even a folder without a lock fold up on me unless I was not being careful with the blade. Maybe I am missing something here.

Can someone please tell me why everyone is "whacking" away?

Daniel, because they like to "whack it"? I own four SOCOMs and none of them failed the whack test. What do you guys do to your knives?