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10 Outdoor Knife Types

by Top Clicks on March 30, 2021


Whether you are hunting, camping, hiking, mountain climbing or cooking, you will need a quality knife that is best suited for the occasion.

When you are purchasing one of KnifeMaster’s high quality products, an important part of the decision is what knife locking system will accompany the knife. This is essential to make sure that your knives are secure both when in use and when they are stored away.

What are the different knife locking systems and are they suited to your knife of choice?


Knife Locking System 

Liner lock

The liner locking system is a mechanism made of a spring bar that lines the inside of the handle. This locking system is most commonly found on folding knives

To open the blade, simply pull it out from the handle until it is locked into place by the spring bar.

To close the blade, use your thumb to push the spring bar to the left and then use your index finger to push the blade back inside the handle. When the lock is closed, the spring bar applies tension to keep the blade locked away and out of sight.



Frame lock

Similar to the liner lock, the frame lock uses the handle of the knife itself as the locking mechanism. It is much more secure than the liner locking system.

As with the liner lock, you pull out the blade by its sides to allow the blade to spring out. When you are ready to close the blade, use your thumb to push the spring bar to the side and your index finder to push the blade inside the handle securely.




Stronger than both the liner and frame locking systems, the lockback system has a metal spin that occupies the back of the knife handle, resembling a hook.

To open the blade, pull it out until it is in line with the metal spin that has now locked it into place.  To close, press down on the piece of metal at the bottom of the spine and push the blade down until it locks closed.

The lockback system is simple, affordable and is one of the most well-known systems, most commonly used in folding knives.



Lever lock

The lever knife locking system uses a pin that prevents the blade from closing. It functions by flipping the lever up and down depending on whether you want the blade open or closed.

To open the blade, simply flip the lever down and then push on it and the blade will pop out. To close the blade, push the lever down to lift the pin and safely put the blade away.

This is a common locking system used on switchblade knives.



Clasp lock

This knife locking system does not have a lock or a backstring and instead has a strong piece of metal at the top rear of the handle to lock the blade in place. When the knife is opened, a clasp inserts itself into the piece of metal.

When the blade is disengaged, the clasp is pushed so that the piece of metal is automatically lifted until the post clears the hole.




Mid lock

Similar to the lockback system, the mid lock system locates its locking mechanism in the middle of the handle of the knife, rather than at the bottom. This is to produce more tension and lock strength so that the knife withstands large amounts of pressure.



Ring lock

Also known as a twist lock, the ring locking system utilises a ring located at the meeting of the blade and the handle. To open the blade, use your fingers to pivot the ring until there is a break in the ring and then turn it again so that the blade is aligned.

The ring lock system is durable, easy to use and is low in cost.



Slip Joint & Friction Folder

The slip joint knife locking system is a popular system that uses pressure from a backspring that applies pressure to the blade in order to hold it in place.

To open the knife, pull on the blade to overcome the pressure from the spring until it snaps into place. To close the blade, simply push the blade back down.

Friction folders do not have a spring bar but rather they hold the blade in place using friction between the blade steel and the knife scales. They are compact, great for light cutting; but make sure your fingers do not get in the way.




An AXIS knife locking system is comprised of a lever situated at the meeting of the blade and the handle. To open and close the blade, use your fingers to pull the lever up or down until the blade locks into place.

The AXIS lock can be used by both left and right-handed individuals and able to be used with one hand.

It is stronger and more reliable than other locking systems, such as the liner lock and lockback systems.



Arc Lock

An arc lock is similar to the AXIS lock, however the lever is pulled in an arc shape rather than a vertical one to lock the blade in place. It is able to be used by left and right-handed individuals and is extremely strong, safe and easy to use.



Tri-Ad Lock

The tri-ad knife locking system is the most secure and safest folding knife locking system that is currently on the market.

It is similar to the lockback system (use of a stop pin) but adds pressure to the spine for extra strength and allows more space to maintain its strength through normal wear and tear.

This locking system is best used when you are holding heavier weights regularly, or where you are piercing, digging or prying.