Knife Locking Mechanisms: Spring Assisted Knives

A couple of weeks ago on Blade HQ’s main blog (Knife Blog), I shared a couple of infographics on different knife locking mechanisms. Locking mechanisms are pretty interesting, but not all of them can be found in your everyday spring assisted knife. To view the full infographic, you can head on over to, but in this post I’m just going to go over the locking mechanisms you’ll find in spring assisted knives. Enjoy!


Knife Locking Mechanisms

First, let’s go over some brand-specific knife locking mechanisms.

knife locking mechanism AXIS

The AXIS® Lock is a locking mechanism that you definitely need to be familiar with. The AXIS® is Benchmade’s patented locking mechanism, and it’s one of the strongest locking mechanisms in the knife world right now. The AXIS® can be found on Benchmade spring assisted knives as well as other Benchmade folding and automatic knives.

The AXIS® features a steel rod (sometimes referred to as an AXIS® bar) that goes through the handle, from one steel liner to the other. (This is the part you see in the image above that releases the blade when pulled back.) The rod is spring loaded, thanks to the omega style spring you see pictured above. After the rod has been pulled beck, the blade is released and the rod lodges in place in a notch located at the blade’s tang, and a stop pin wedges the blade in place as well. The rod has to be pulled again to unlock and free the blade in order to close it.



The Arc-Lock ™ is SOG’s locking mechanism. It is similar in concept to the AXIS® lock, but rather than sliding horizontally, the steel rod in the Arc-Lock ™ rotates back and forth on a pivot in an arc-like fashion, which is quite possibly where the name “Arc-Lock ™” came from.

The Arc-Lock ™ actually takes on two different forms—one in SOG’s folding knives and one in SOG’s spring assisted knives. The graphic you see above shows the spring assisted version.


Both of the knife locking mechanisms you see above are used exclusively with the brands that made them. Now let’s move on to generic knife locking mechanisms that you will see in spring assisted knives of all brands.




The liner lock is one of the most common types of locking mechanisms around. It’s really simple to operate, too. As you can see from the picture above, a liner lock utilizes a portion of the liner inside of the knife’s handle that has been partially cut out. When the blade is opened, the liner gets locked in place under the blade’s tang. To close the blade, the liner must be pushed to the side to unlock the blade and allow it to close.



A frame lock is very similar to a liner lock. It was actually developed by Chris Reeve and its technical name is the Reeve Integral Lock, but most simply call it by its generic name: the frame lock. Rather than utilizing the liners, the frame lock uses a partial cutout of the handle, or frame, to secure the blade in place.


What’s your favorite locking mechanism?

Iconic Knives: Spring Assisted Style

Kershaw Leek

On the main blog I update—the Knife Blog—I did a post on the most iconic knives. There were a lot of historical knives included in addition to iconic knives from specific brands. For this blog though, I wanted to include knives that are iconic of the spring-assisted branch of the knife world. I didn’t do a full-on survey, but I asked some trusted employees at Blade … Continue reading

What is a spring assisted knife?

Kershaw Leek

Even if you’re really into spring assisted knives, chances are you don’t know much about their background or history. In fact you may have even found yourself thinking, “What is a spring assisted knife?” The truth is, I didn’t really know much about the history of spring assisted knives either until just recently, and it’s pretty interesting. Take a look at the history and mechanics … Continue reading

Kershaw Leek Composite


You know the Kershaw Leek. You might even have one in your pocket right know. You’ve probably never seen a Kershaw Leek quite like this one before though: This is the Kershaw Leek Composite. The whole knife, blade and handle alike, feature Kershaw’s BlackWash finish. This Leek has a 3-inch blade that’s made of Sandvik 14C28N and D2 steel. The overall length is 7 inches … Continue reading

CRKT Cobia Matthew Lerch Spring Assisted Knife


If you’re really on top of things in the knife world, then you know BLADE Show just happened. Shot Show happens in January and that’s where manufacturers typically showcase most of their new product for the year. However, BLADE Show is obviously more geared toward knife manufacturers, and there’s still some new product that’s released at the show. This year, there was actually quite a … Continue reading

Limited Edition Benchmade Mini Barrage – New for 2014


You’re probably already familiar with the Benchmade Mini Barrage, but this is a new, limited edition Mini Barrage that’s pretty awesome: This Mini Barrage is new for 2014, and it’s got all of the nice features you’d expect to see in the Mini Barrage—like the AXIS locking mechanism—but its handle is a little bit different than what you find on the original Mini Barrage. On … Continue reading

H&K Nitrous Blitz


The H&K Nitrous Blitz is a pretty sweet spring assist. Honestly, my favorite thing about this knife has got to be the swedge—it looks sick, and it sets the knife apart from your normal everyday folding knife in terms of looks. In terms of function, though, the Nitrous Blitz is equally amazing. The knife uses a “spring assisted Nitrous mechanism” that is “built directly into … Continue reading

Zero Tolerance 0770


I don’t think I’ve met a knife enthusiast who doesn’t like Zero Tolerance. Zero Tolerance knives are extremely tough and functional, and when you pair that with a great design, you’ve got yourself a pretty amazing blade. While I’d say that ZT makes more manual folding knives than anything else, the company also makes some really great spring assisted knives. Some of them you’ve already … Continue reading

Teal Kershaw Leek


We just got this new Leek in at BladeHQ: (Image from Instagram. Follow us!) You’re probably pretty familiar with the Kershaw Leek, so I’ll skip over most of the specs. All you really need to know is that like all Kershaws, the Leek is a terrific bang for your buck. It has excellent action and materials, and it’s a great option for your everyday carry. … Continue reading