How to Close a Pocket Knife [Guide to Most Common Types]

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Written By Logan Adler
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Wondering how to close a pocket knife? Seems simple enough, right? With all the different types of pocket knives out there, understanding how to properly close your knife is an important part of owning one.

If you want to ensure your pocket knife remains clean and sharp, keeping the blade protected when not in use is essential.

Correctly closing your pocket knife can also protect you from injuries because leaving one laying around with the blade out is dangerous.

There are dozens of pocket knives available, and we are going to take you through a handful of the most common types and provide you with steps for closing them.

While we can’t cover each pocket knife, most pocket knives fall into the categories below:

Slip Joint

Slip Joint

Slip joint pocket knives are typically utility knives like a Swiss army knife. These knives typically have a handful of tools that are attached to them.

For this reason, slip-joint pocket knives have become popular. Slip joint knives also vary in size. Some are small and others are designed for specific tasks and situations.

While slip joint knives have unique designs, they’re one of the simplest pocket knives to close.

This is because they don’t lock in place and only require pressure to the black of the blade to close it.

To close a slip joint knife, simply place your thumb on the non-sharp side of the blade and push it into place.

While this design sounds dangerous, the blades are usually held down by pressure so they don’t open in your pocket.

Frame Lock

Frame lock knives have locking mechanisms that hold the knife open. When the blade is fully extended it locks into place from the outside; they’re called frame lock knives because the locking mechanism is on the frame.

These knives are common and some may feature additional tools like screwdrivers, scissors, and even nail filers.

Closing frame lock knives is simple but depends on the knife. Most locking mechanisms are on the back of the knife, so you can push the button in and apply pressure to the back of the blade to close it.

For this reason, you typically need two hands to close a frame lock knife. One hand to press the button in and another hand to apply pressure to the non-sharp side of the blade.

Liner Lock

Liner Lock

Liner lock knives are similar to frame lock knives. This is because both knives lock in place when the blade is fully extended.

The difference between a liner lock knife and a frame lock knife is that liner lock knives have an internal locking mechanism, while frame lock knives have an external locking mechanism.

Therefore, the method for closing a liner lock pocket knife differs from the methods used to close a frame lock pocket knife.

That said, closing liner lock knives is not challenging.

First, you have to locate where the inner liner lock is. In many cases, it’s found at the bottom of the handle.

To close the knife, push the tab to the side with your finger. Then, apply pressure to the back of the blade to close the knife.


Case 7205 Executive Lockback Knife

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Lockback pocket knives have a unique design. These knives feature a spine made of metal that holds the knife open.

The spine is located along the handle of the knife and has a place for your finger. While these knives are less common than other types of pocket knives, the design is safe and easy to close.

When it comes to closing a lockback knife, it’s important to locate the position of the spine where you can place your finger. Once you find it, press on the exposed part of the spine. This will release the locking mechanism and give you the ability to close the blade.

To close the blade, apply pressure to the non-sharp side until it’s back in its original non-extended position. You’ll know when the knife is closed because you’ll hear a clicking sound when the blade is locked in place.

Button Lock

Button Lock
CIVIVI Cogent Button Lock Pocket Knife
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Button lock knives are popular pocket knives because of their flashy design and simple locking mechanism. These knives typically feature stiletto-style designs.

The locking mechanism is found on the handle but its location varies depending on the knife you have.

Because there are so many variations of button lock knives, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the lock will be on your knife.

To close a button lock knife, the process is simple. Begin by placing the knife in your dominant hand and use your dominant thumb to press the button release down. Keep your thumb on the release and then use your other hand to fold the blade towards its closed position.

When some of the blade reaches the handle, release the button and continue closing the rest of the blade. This ensures it remains locked in place.

Bar Lock

Bar Lock
Benchmade Mini Bugout 533 Knife

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Bar lock knives have reliable and safe designs. These knives are typically higher quality than other pocket knives and feature unique blade styles and designs.

That said, the process for closing one is similar across the board. The bar lock knife is also durable and features one of the most secure locking mechanisms around. Therefore, it’s a popular choice for people who carry knives daily.

Closing a bar lock knife is simple. There is a locking mechanism located on the handle of the knife that you need to press down with your thumb.

This locking mechanism is the bar and holds the knife in place when the blade is fully extended.

With your thumb on the bar, apply pressure to the back of the blade until it’s about a quarter of the way closed.

Then, release the locking mechanism and finish closing the blade.

You’ll know it’s locked when you hear the blade click into place.

Compression Lock

Compression Lock

Compression lock knives are almost identical to liner lock knives. They have similar designs, blades, and even handles. However, compression lock knives have a few key differences that make them harder to close.

The biggest difference is that the internal locking mechanism has unique components and is more durable than liner and frame lock knives.

That usually places compression lock knives in the mid or high-tier quality of knives.

Still, closing a compression lock knife is similar to the process used to close frame lock and liner lock knives.

Use your dominant thumb to push the locking mechanism in (button found on the handle).

Then, apply pressure to the non-sharp side of the blade with your other hand.

Once the knife is about a quarter of the way in place you can release the locking mechanism and continue pushing the blade in the handle the rest of the way.

You’ll know it’s locked when the blade clicks in the handle.

Stay Sharp!

There are hundreds of pocket knives to choose from. That said, each one has a unique mechanism and requires specific closing techniques. While there are many makes and models, most pocket knives available fall into the categories listed above. Learning to close your pocket knife can help you extend its lifespan and keep you safe, so always make sure you keep that blade sheathed!

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Logan Adler
I enjoy good bourbon, cool gear, and well-made clothing. When I'm not writing for The Bullfighter, you can catch me playing chess or practicing jiu-jitsu. Happy to connect on Instagram or drop me an email at

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