SOCOM Lock Failure


It seems that with the level of discussion going on here that Microtech would be a little more forthcomming.

As long as the majority of their consumer base does not think its a problem there is little need, from a financial point of view, for them to address it.

Longbow :

Don't understand why some manufacturers consider the liner lock whack test as abusive.

Because their knives fail it and the alternative it to admit the design is flawed. That however would indicate that there are manufacturing or design needs to be corrected. Its far easier to just critize the test or tester. This of course is only possible with the support of customers who deem such an approach valid.

I purchased a MT mini-socom (my ONLY MT) up a couple of weeks ago. The first think I did was take it out of the pretty box, and whacked the back of it on a piece of oak I had laying around in my basement: NO liner lock failure. Everytime I pick up a liner lock even in a shop, I ask them if I can tap the back on something hard (they have never objected). Having read all the numerous posts on liner locks here on BF, you guys have me paranoid about them! LOL
Here's my thoughts folks, i love microtech, there socom m/a is awesome, my favorite folder, but, i'm startin to believe that Microtech's are more for show than function, Microtech says this is abuse, Ha ha, thats ab excuse for there design, i honestly think, and of my experiance with folders, that if the socom m/a had a leaflock made of titanium, it would hold under the spine test. I have tooken apart my afck to-the 2year old one, and grinded the blades tang horribly, and really messed up the liner/tang conjunction, where the liner hits the tang. There is exactly 1/8inch play, the blade wobbles and moves back in fourth big time, i grabbed the handle, and gave the afck 15 hard "HARD" whacks on a formica table, guess what, it did not budge, the contact or angles dont mean sh**. It all comes down to the heat treat, or hardness of the liner, and the tang, the tang should be at least 10Rc's higher than the liner. So lets say the blade is Rc60 like my afck, and the liner i'm guessing is under Rc45, this is good, the liner will gall the tang, i've tried it all, and believe me there it is. Ya'll gonna hate this, but yesterday i took apart my 3month old Socom m/a, it fails the test badly, well its all apart, everything, i took the screw out thats holding the leaf lock, got the leaf lock, and my Zippo lighter, and put the flame to the liner face and detent, for about 2 minutes non-stop, then put it in warm water to make the liner very low in the Rc's, i put it all together, fixed it up, and guess what, i gave it 20 hard spine whacks on the formica table, it didnt budge at all, the liner just molded to the tang, and the liner/leaf locks up in the middle of the tang, AWESOME. What i think is this, Microtech should use very a very soft stainless steel liner/leaflock, this will gal to the tang, mine does, or use ti. You people are probly sayin, man, this guy is an idiot, well hey, when i pay over $120 for a damn knife, it better not fail, and i dont give a hoot about warranty crap, i fix all my knives myself because i have over 12 years experiance testing knives, and seeing what works, and what doesn't. So, soft stainless, of ti, thats what should be done, or maybe the reason microtech uses stainless for the leaf lock is because they dont want people saying that the other ti liner is wearing, and wants it replaced, in my past, Benchmade did great jobs for me, but now i simply fixem my self. And also, you people sayin thata liner lock is not made for this, and it is abuse, ok, u believe that, the spine whack test is just a test, a test, and only a test. TAHNK U
Cliff Stamp

I don't know, you are most likely right however I want to believe that there is something more to this. The fact that this topic has produced 41 posts in less than 4 days (42 now) indicates that there is a reasonable level of interest in the topic.

Any way, I wrote Microtech an (I hope) diplomatic email asking them to address the issue. When and IF I get a response I will post the result.

For my part I own a Microtech automatic, and am lusting over future additions, however this problem and Microtech's response will be a controlling factor in my purchases.


Amen that if it doesn't work you're better off fixing it up yourself than relying on someone else, if you have the proper tools and experience (and the only way to get that experience is to try it when you don't!)

I'm still not convinced that Ti vs. steel matters 'cause I've seen many good solid liner-locks in either. You may be on to something with your harness idea. If you could get the liner to a high enough temp with a lighter to do anything, though, I'd think dunking it in water would raise the hardness. I thought that annealing required a slow air-cooling.

I'm tired of hearing folks calling this test abusive (this doesn't mean you, rage). It simply isn't, if the knife is well made, at least no more abusive than the wear from constant opening and closing we all inflict on our liner-locks during idle moments. I currently own three "high-end" linerlocks (AFCK, Military, Starmate) and one "cheap" one (SW SWAT). All have endured this test many times without failure or damage, and I do it hard. I try to hit 2/3-3/4 of the way out on the blade, and hard enough to leave a good mark in a desk or table. The knives are fine - I've had the AFCK for about 4 years! I see no reason why I should expect any less from another knife in this size range, whether I pay $30 or $300. Little teeny "gent's knives" maybe I would expect less, but a full-sized heavy-duty folder should take it.

-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives
MNH, 41 posts here. How many posts / emails to Microtech or on the Microtech forum in support of the test and against the policy of "its just abuse".


I have no idea! All my liner locks have been Benchmades and all of them lock up like bank vaults. I guess I have just been lucky, I had never considered the possibility of lock failure until I started reading about it here a week or two ago. I had seen it done on the Cold Steel tape, and I have tried it on all of mine without problem. I had just assumed that any knife that was reasonably well made would pass the test.

Silly Me.

I assume from your response, that you consider it highly unlikely that I am going to receive a forthcoming, meaningful response to my email to Microtech! Oh well, I guess I will have to find another Benchmade of two that need a new home.


I had just assumed that any knife that was reasonably well made would pass the test.

As of course it should. I have yet to see an advantage of having a knife that fails this test and the advantages of having one that passes are rather obvious so the choice is pretty clear.

Will Microtech give you a straightforward answer - it could happen but I severely doubt it. The way it has been treated on the forum on Knifeforums is far from indicating such.


I agree, I love my little M.U.D.T. but I don't think I am apt to buy a manual or a D/A from them until the question is answered by them or someone else to my satisfaction.

Not sure what the problem is with these other MT's, But I have had mine for almost 3 years now and have used it heavily. I have never had a lock failure and I have tried the whack test several times.
Okay, you're going to think I'm insane, but maybe the hardness thing is the answer. Although saying that the angles and surfaces are of no consequence is absurd. Obviously, some engineering has to be done. Anyway, I was fooling around a few weeks ago and decided to bulid myself a linerlocking knife. I had used and played with my friend's AFCK and a couple other cheaper liner locks, so I thought I pretty much knew how they worked. I had some cryogenically treated M2 samples (awesome stuff, but hard to grind). For the liner though, all I had was a bunch of 1/16 T6 aluminum (Al) sheet scraps. This stuff is hard and tough for Al, but it's still Al, so I doubted it's strength. After I finished the knife (wood scales; 3/16 steel pivot), I wanted to make a better one useing what I had learned making this one. I didn't wnat to regrind a blade however. Therefore I decided to destroy the old handle by finding out its performance limits. I couldn't make the lock fail! I whacked it over and over, but no folding and no play. I'm definately going to work on another now. Why pay $100+ for something questionable?
Upon reading this thread, I retreated to the basement to try my newly aquired mini-socom for a whack test of my own. 6 whacks at moderate strength produced 6 failures. I then tried my Military. 8 whacks produced no failures.
Next, I tried my Wegner Jr. The first two produced failures, but the next 4 did not. Maybe it got seated, who knows! Lastly I tried my BM Spike and 5 tries produced no failures of this lock. Sadly my most expensive knife faired the worst.