Explore America's Campgrounds
Knife makers use a variety of different mechanisms to lock a pocketknife in the open position, and each type closes in a different way. Most feature a small lever that you must press or move to allow the blade to close, although this lever may be in a number of different locations. The levers on many knives feature textured surfaces to provide better grip for your finger.
The most common type of locking mechanism -- called the liner, or Walker, lock -- works by pressing diagonally against the tang of the knife when the blade is open. To release the lock, push the lever with your thumb, which will disengage the lock, allowing the knife blade to close. Lockback knives are also popular. In contrast to liner locking knives, the lever to disengage a lockback knife is on the backside of the open knife. When opened, the spine of the knife engages hooks in the tang that prevents the blade from closing. To close the blade, press the lever in or to either side. Some lockback knives place the lever in the middle of the handle, and are called mid lock knives.