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There are staggering models for you to choose from when it comes to buying a pocket knife for daily carry. This can make it overwhelming for you to look out for subtle variations to choose the right knife. One of the important factors you need to consider is the locking mechanism.
You need to know the type of lock to have as per your needs and preferences before selecting a quality knife. The locking mechanism is indispensable for the user’s safety.
Just as a fixed blade knife, the locking mechanism keeps the opened blade from folding in while in use, preventing the risk of injuries. In its absence, a folder would become unusable. There are different types of locking mechanisms and we have discussed them in the past.
What is Lockback Mechanism?
A Lockback mechanism is that which several classic American folders have. It is composed of a spine designed on a spring. Upon opening the knife, the spine goes inside a notch present on the blade’s rear and gets locked.
Upon closing the knife, you only need to push downwards on the spine area that is exposed. This spine area is typically on the handle’s middle or rear. Doing so pops up that spine area such that it is exposed to the blade and unlocks the lock. Thus, you can now swing the blade to close it.
The plus points of such a mechanism are safety and strength. The unlocking part does not come in the middle of your grip once you have started using the knife.
This means that the risk of accidentally unlocking the lock and closing it on you is zero. The mechanism also maintains your hands safely by putting them away from the blade’s path at the time of closing, curtailing the probability of cutting yourself or fold the blade when in use.
On the flip side, you need to use both hands to fold or close a Lockback. Although this is safer, it is likely to be inconvenient when it is essential to maintain one hand on the item that you are cutting. You can close using a single hand but it is not easy. This is because you would have to switch grips and be a lot more careful at the time of closing the blade.
Overview of Lockback Knives
While locking knives have been integral to cutlery for centuries, the Lockback mechanism joined only during the mid-1800s. This was the time when it was in the form of a tabbed lock, which later evolved into a more manageable and currently famous detent style.
The modest yet effective mechanism got a huge boost in the first half of the 1960s when Buck Knives came up with the now fabled 110 folding hunter knife. The Lockback loyalist was always there but it is just that it has been eclipsed by newer mechanisms.
However, lately, it has been creating a good resurgence and seems to be more varied than before. Also known as back lock knives, Lockback knives are popular amongst EDC fans.
This is due to its feasible design and eclectic versatility. They are mainly used for self-defense. You can also use them in an emergency while hiking, camping, and bushcraft.
They are also useful for performing daily utility chores with ease. Further, the portable design makes it possible to carry these knives in pockets and purses.
3 Best Lockback Knives in 2023
Spyderco Endura 4 Lightweight Knife
Consider the Endura 4 knife to experience the height of functionality as well as durability. It features a sturdy build and is versatile enough to be used for several applications.
All Endura 4 models come with slim liners of stainless steel and handles of injection-molded FRN or Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon. This one features a completely flat-ground blade made up of ZDP-189 stainless steel and having a satin-finished plain edge.
This 3.75-inch blade is one of the sharpest ones to have in your collection. The slim, refined grind makes up for a stunning edge geometry and a friction-reducing taper ensuring outstanding cutting performance. Its ability to retain the edge is strong. Its steel has a hardness level of 64HRC, which means longevity is off the charts.
You can expect it to resist dullness as well as rust for a long time. A strong Lockback mechanism supports the blade. It locks the blade securely when opened while facilitating ambidextrous release.
The molded 4.89-inch handle sheltering the blade has a bi-directional texture to deliver a non-slip grip. The slim design makes the handle amazingly strong.
The four-way hourglass pocket clip makes the knife more portable than expected. It supports up or down carry from one of the two sides.
This decent-sized, lightweight knife is ideal for any outdoor enthusiast.
- Made in Japan
- Large size
- Strong yet light
- Great edge retention
- 1-handed opening
- Easy to maintain
- Somewhat large for daily carry
- A bit costly
Klein Tools 44006 Lockback Knife
Are you an electrician? If yes, then this Lockback knife from Klein Tools could be the last knife to buy and use for years to come. According to the buyers, this knife is better than the cable skinning utility knife when it comes to stripping back insulation on big wires and cables.
The overall blade design allows applying much pressure to the tip for stripping insulation easily on a wire of large diameter wire. This is otherwise difficult to do with a tanto or drop-point blade. This Klein knife comes with a 2-5/8-inch hawkbill blade having a sheepfoot tip.
Made using the finest AUS 8 steel having a hardness rating of 58 to 59 HRC, the blade is of premium quality. It is admired for its superior edge holding and safe Lockback mechanism.
The sheepfoot tip is ideal for quickly opening packages, cutting pull chords, and splicing cables. The blade is nicely honed but it is also responsible for the easy distortion of the fine edge although without interfering with the sharpness.
The silver handle is made using anodized aluminum to ensure corrosion resistance. It is quite lean but comfortable in hand. On the handle, a reversible thumb stud facilitates effortless single-handed opening.
This knife also comes with a detachable pocket/belt clip for effortless access. You can conveniently hold it on your belt.
- Made in Japan
- Compact and light
- Super sharp
- 1-handed opening
- Does not stay sharp for long
Gerber Gear 06064N Gator
Whether it is wet or dry and whether you wish to baton or cut, this folder can get the job done with supreme comfort and ease of use. A portable folder convenes with the original Gator Grip handle to give you an amazingly versatile and durable knife without comprising value for money.
The 3.58-inch blade is made using 154CM stainless steel that is known to take and retain the edge far better than many outdoor knives. It is not that thick, the full flat grind and width result in a thin edge.
The factory grind was meekly polished and shallow, which is ideal for most users. However, this polish is not ideal for general use or if you are choosy.
The bead-coated finish has contributed to low cost but it does not make this blade fully anti-corrosive. However, this is acceptable at this price. The blade’s geometry adds to the commendable edge retention. It seems to work much like a slicing tool.
Although there is no hole or thumb stud, you can open it easily with a single hand. Thanks to the width of the blade and not-so-overwhelming spine.
The Gator comes with advanced thermoplastics featuring a skin texture of an alligator on the handle. This delivers an amazingly comfortable and highly optimal grip.
Usually, slim, flat knives are not considered comfortable for use for an extended period. However, the ovoid shape of the Gator’s handle makes it quite thick. This handle is perfect for carving notches, feathering wood, and doing minor chopping and batoning.
This knife is not for opening packages, as for that, a small and light knife is fine. It is ideal for EDC in your home or woods.
- Sharp edge
- Value for money
- Maximum grip
- Easy to maintain
- Ballistic nylon sheath included
- Not smoothly finished
- Prone to rust if not cleaned well after use
Camping, self-defense, hiking, EDC, or tactical; regardless of the reason for buying a Lockback knife, you can find one easily. The options are many but you should choose the one that is durable and versatile within your set budget.
Note: A few countries such as the United Kingdom have prohibited locking knives. Thus, check the local laws before you buy one.
Hi, I am Jay. I am the creator of Knife Guides, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I am a computer engineer by profession, knife aficionado by passion. Here I work with a group of people who’ve always had a passion for knives and blades. Over the years we’ve kind of become experts and decided to share our knowledge and ideas. I am also an avid hiker and enjoy offshore gamefishing.