How To Close A Pocket Knife – 6 Different Locks & Closing Mechanisms

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Pocket knives are handy tools for many circumstances. They are great in self-defense, self-repairs, or all kinds of outdoor activities – such as camping or hiking. They come in a plethora of different styles, and each style has its closing mechanism. Believe it or not, most people who get injured do it by themselves. They fail to understand how to close a pocket knife, or they simply pay no attention while they do it.

Understanding how each locking mechanism works will help you understand how to lock your pocket knife securely, without risking to injure yourself. So the first step is to figure out what kind of locking mechanism your knife employs.

How to Close Frame Lock Pocket Knives

Kizer Cutlery Frame Lock pocket knife
Frame Lock pocket knife from Kizer Cutlery

Frame lock pocket knives come with a simple mechanism. The handle frame features a tiny part that will come out of place as the knife opens. This part will keep the blade open and rigid in the same position – no risks to close the knife accidentally and injure yourself. Such knives are usually easy to open with one hand only – they do not require any assistance or specific features.

Opening this type of knife involves pressing the lock. It is usually a small button conveniently located on the handle – usually by your thumb. As the part of the handle is removed, the blade can quickly come out of it. As it is out, that part will kick back in, securing it in place.

A similar process is applied as you close the knife. Press on the lock, and that specific part will leave room for the blade. You can then push the blade back in. Do it from the top – the dull side. It would not move if you tried to push against the edge anyway, but you have to keep it safe. Once the blade is past that small part, the knife will be secured. It is worth noting you can stop pressing the lock once the blade is past a specific point – past the moving part. Each knife has a different passing point.

Knives with frame locks can be risky. When closing them, make sure none of your fingers covers the area where the blade is supposed to get in. There are a few risks, so they do not make such a good choice for beginners.

Here is a video on how to close a frame lock folding knife

How to Close Lock back pocket knives

Buck Knives 726 Mini Spitfire Folding Lock Back Pocket Knife
Lockback pocket knife – Buck Knives 726

Lock back pocket knives work on some different principles. Simply put, the lock is based on tension. The opening and closing mechanism rely on a bar, which is powered by a spring. This bar is usually responsible for the tension against the blade. This is what keeps the knife open and secure – in some knives, the same mechanism keeps the knife closed.

If you end up with such a knife, you will have to find the tensioning bar. It is normally located by the back of the handle – quite close to the butt end. Different manufacturers come with different positions in an attempt to make their knives more convenient.

Closing the knife involves applying some pressure on this bar. The tension will release the blade, so you can then close the knife. There is nothing to be concerned about – you do not need too much strength to apply some pressure – a little of it is more than enough.

These are some of the safest pocket knives out there, yet they are not too common.

Here is a video on how to close a pocket knife with a lock-back mechanism

How to Close Compression Lock Pocket Knives

Spyderco Para 3 compression lock knife
Spyderco Para 3 compression lock knife

Compression locks are similar to frame locks – at least in the operating principles. However, the actual lock of the handle is usually placed in a different position – you are more likely to find it on the spine of the handle.

Just depress the lock – move it close to the edge. This way, the blade will have no obstructions on its way back to the handle. It will pass it with no issues, so your knife is locked. Once released, the lock will secure the blade into the handle.

The best part about this lock is the fact that using it right involves having your finger away from the sharp side of the blade. There are, of course, some wrong ways to do it. But generally, risks are extremely low, so these knives are excellent for newbies.

Here is how to close a pocket knife with compression.

How to Close Split Joint Pocket Knives

Benchmade - Proper 319 Knife, Slip joint
Benchmade – Proper 319 Slip joint knife

Tension bar pocket knives are some of the most popular options on the market – they are not the safest, but they are certainly convenient and easy to use. They are often referred to as slip joint knives. All in all, they do not come with a locking mechanism. However, the handle has a built-in tension bar. Plus, the base of the blade has a slightly unusual shape, so it can be moved without feeling loose.

If you end up with one of these knives on your hands, you just need to use some force. Apply pressure on the blade spine. Make sure the handle is securely held, so grab it tightly. You should do it from the back part. Pay attention to the case where the blade is supposed to go. If your fingers cover it, chances are you will slice yourself.

Given the high risk of cutting yourself, these are some of the most dangerous pocket knives out there. After all, while they do have a built-in tension bar, they lack a proper locking mechanism. As a direct consequence, there is a decent chance to end up in danger while using the knife if you apply too much pressure on the blade. It is not locked in this position so that it could go back in anytime.

Here is how to close a pocket knife with a slip-joint mechanism.

How to Close Liner Lock Pocket Knives

Spyderco Efficient Value Liner lock Folding Knife
Spyderco Efficient liner lock knife

You will realize that many pocket knives have similar mechanisms and locking features. The liner lock pocket knife is similar to the frame lock alternative. Operating principles are relatively similar. There is one major difference though – the locking mechanism comes as a separate feature and is not built into the frame. On the other hand, it is worth noting that lots of pocket knives come with this type of mechanism – it is more popular than any other lockin mechanism out there.

So, how do you close a liner lock pocket knife? The liner lock must slide against the frame. This way, the blade will go through without too much effort. While safer than other locks, this one can still expose the user to some risks. More specifically, your thumb is usually at risk.

Here is a video on how to close a pocket knife with the Liner lock mechanism.

How to Close Axis Lock Pocket Knives

Benchmade 391SBK SOCP Tactical Folder Knife
Benchmade 391SBK SOCP Axis lock folding knife

The Axis lock is not the most popular option in the world. However, if your budget has no limits, and you want a fabulous pocket knife, you should know that many high-end options come with this type of lock.

You have a pin, loaded by a spring. It fits perfectly into a depression, which is built by the back of the blade. It is relatively close to the hinge. If the spring is in the right position, the blade will stay open – it will be locked in this position until you close the knife.

Now, how do you close an axis lock pocket knife? Simply slide the release. Do it away from the blade. This way, the spring will lose the pressure so that you can close the knife. Pay attention as you do it and make sure there are no fingers in front of the blade, or you risk injuring yourself.

Here is how to close a pocket knife with an axis lock mechanism

Final words

No matter what you get, make sure you take a bit of time to understand the specific features of the knife and understand how to close it safely. It is even more important to do so if you are upgrading from another pocket knife, as you might already be used to another type of locking mechanism.