First off, let’s start this right up with a disclaimer. We are fully aware that Spyderco is one of the most visionary knifemakers in the modern industry and that they produce a lot – a lot! – of knives that do not have either linerlocks or lockback mechanisms. We’re also aware that Spyderco produces a lot of fixed blades that have no locks at all since they are, after all, fixed.
We are venturing forward with this topic precisely because, and only because, we know that many in the so called ‘knife community’ really only consider folders for EDC, and since Spyderco is one of the most popular brands in folders, we were figuring we’d take a look at whether a linerlock or a lockback constitutes the ‘best Spyderco knife.”
Liner Locks are affordable and practical for knife designers to produce, and for most intents and purposes, they provide a sure, sturdy lockup. Here are some of the benefits of a quality linerlock mechanism:
● Linerlock blades often move around smooth bearings and enable the knife to be opened very easily with one hand.
● Linerlocks can not only be deployed rapidly, but often engage very easily.
● Liner Locks are very easy to disengage with one hand.
● Some linerlocks, also known as “sub frame locks” stay well away from a user’s hands when the knife is open.
Now let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of the linerlock mechanism.
● Liner Locks are not particularly strong, as far as locks are concerned, and a lot of torsion on the frame of the knife can cause the lock to disengage, which can be very dangerous.
● Liner Locks can become loose over time.
By contrast, a lot of folding knives have what is known as a lockback mechanism, which in reality is one of a class of locking mechanisms that operate by pretense of a spring-loaded bar that holds (locks) the blade open. Here are some of the advantages of a lockback.
● Lockback knives are very often sturdily built, and lockbacks are some of the strongest locking mechanisms found in folding blades (if not the strongest).
● Lockbacks open and close with ease, and often provide a strong, sure lockup.
● There is very little risk of a lockback accidentally disengaging, without a catastrophic failure.
Now let’s consider some of the drawbacks of a lockback.
● Unfortunately, despite their inherent strength, it is very difficult to disengage a lockback. Most lockback knives require two hands to disengage.
● Some lockback knives do not allow for one handed opening (Spyderco’s thumb holes [Spyderholes] eliminate this on some models.)
That’s about it for lockback weaknesses, as really the only one lies in the fact that some cannot be easily disengaged with one hand. That does, categorically, make the lockback the stronger of the two mechanisms. Still, strength and convenience must be weighed together if you’re really going to try to identify the best Spyderco knife.
We can’t say for certainty which lock makes the better choice, but if you’re looking for a high quality pocket knife (or any folding knife, really) Spyderco knives offer a lot of representatives. There are enough high performance pocket knives in their lineup to satisfy anyone’s tastes, from fixed-blade fanatics to fans of folders.
Lucky for you, whether you prefer the linerlock or the lockback, Spyderco won’t let you down. Their super blade steels, innovative compression locks, and other user friendly features (like finger choils and pocket clips) will not disappoint you.
If you’re looking for some more information on what makes a quality locking mechanism, or you simply want to identify your next pick in a Spyderco pocket knife, visit White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com. There, you can read up in their blog or just pick out your next favorite.