The ever-popular Swiss Army Knife is known for its strong slip joint. But you may need a knife that actually has a locking blade. Will a Swiss Army Knife suffice?
Swiss Army Knives have locking blades in some of their bigger models, especially the Victorinox 111mm range. Anything smaller than that usually does not have this feature.
However, there are some exceptions and hard-to-find special edition models of smaller Swiss Army Knives which do have locking blades.
Popular Swiss Army Knives with Locking Blades
If you are on the lookout for a Swiss Army Knife (SAK) with a lock-blade, then have a look at the following models. These are some of the most popular and functional SAKs that have this sought after feature.
1. Victorinox Soldier: The Original Swiss Army Knife has a Lock-blade
Yes, the Soldier is the very first knife designed by Karl Elsener for the Swiss Army. Since then, the model has been redesigned many times.
It is not known whether the first design of the Soldier had a locking blade, but the current design certainly has one. After all, what use is a knife to an army man if it doesn’t lock?
The Victorinox Soldier has a strong liner lock that keeps the blade locked in place.
If you are looking for a SAK that has the least chance of lock failure, this is probably the one.
Remember? Victorinox is the official supplier of pocket knives to the Swiss Army. They have refined the Soldier model for the last 100 years. If the lock is good for a soldier, it should be good for you too.
The Victorinox Soldier is available on Amazon pretty easily and the perfect 5-star rating speaks volumes about its popularity.
2. Victorinox Ranger Grip has a Lock-blade as well as an Ergonomic Grip
The Ranger Grip has a lock-blade just like any other big SAK, but what makes it interesting is the super ergonomic handle. This SAK probably has the best grip of all in the entire lineup of Swiss Army Knives.
The original Ranger was designed by Wenger. If you don’t know about Wenger, the erstwhile make of ‘The Genuine Swiss Army Knife’, do read this article.
In fact, Victorinox has not only retained this Wenger design, they have also improved it a lot.
The Ranger Grip also has a lot of variations with different toolsets. The one I particularly like is the Ranger Grip 58 Hunter. It is not only a super performer but also very good looking.
Note that the Ranger Grip is a 130mm model, and hence bigger than the Victorinox Soldier. The extra comfortable grip is due to the longer handle and the rubberized implants in the scales. In fact, you will find such grippy scales in all SAK modes that have the word ‘Grip’ in its model name. 🙂
3. Victorinox Work Champ is a Full-featured SAK with a Lock-blade
This is my favourite big SAK. It has almost all the tools that you will need in a Swiss Army Knife. Naturally, this makes the model quite hefty. But inspite of its thickness, it is very comfortable in the hand.
If you want just one Swiss Army Knife, that you can use both indoors and outdoors, this is probably the one. In addition to having a long blade that is lockable, it has a hefty set of other tools that can prove useful in various situations.
I can go on and on talking about this model, but that will probably require a complete article. In fact I have already done it in another post.
If you want to know more, don’t miss the full detailed review of the Victorinox Work Champ. It may just answer all your queries about this awesome model.
I have had my Work Champ for a few years now. I bought it pretty cheap from Amazon during a sale. It is still available on Amazon in this listing.
4. Victorinox Hunter Pro packs a robust Lock-blade in an Alox Body
If you need a simple strong folder with a locking blade and nothing extra, the Victorinox Hunter Pro may just suit your needs. Yes, Swiss Army Knives are known for their assortment of tools. But. In the Hunter pro, Victorinox keeps it simple, and robust.
In fact, the design of the Hunter Pro is unlike any other SAK. For instance, it has no scale tools! Yes, there are no tweezers or toothpicks hidden inside the scales.
You can get the Hunter Pro with synthetic, wood, or alox scales. The one that really catches the eye is the one with alox scales, called the Hunter Pro M Alox.
Apart from how good the alox model looks, the most important benefit is that it has a pocket clip on the reverse side. This feature is a rarity in Swiss Army Knives! No wonder, Hunter Pro gets a perfect 5-star rating in the Amazon listing.
5. Victorinox Rescue Tool: Special Purpose SAK with a Lock-blade
The Rescue Tool is a well-known model among SAK lovers, especially because of its special toolset and the fluorescent color of its scales. But in addition to its other tools, it also packs a large lockable blade.
The knife blade is often overlooked in this SAK because of its other special-purpose tools like the seatbelt cutter, window breaker, and the disc saw (yes, it cuts through the glass!).
But make no mistake, the Rescue Tool has a very useful and capable blade that is lockable.
The fact that Victorinox markets this SAK as designed for both left and right-handed users may just give this model an edge, especially to the lefties (like myself).
If you are wondering how useful this SAK is in real life, well, the Rescue Tool is another of those SAKs that gets a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon.
6. Victorinox Evolution Grip S18 is a Pocket-size SAK with a Lock-blade
If the above models do not interest you because of their size, you are probably looking for something like the Victorinox Evolution Grip S18. Yes, this is one of those few models in the mid-size category of Swiss Army Knives that still has a locking blade. It is often referred to as the EvoGrip S18.
If you are wondering about the origin of the Victorinox Evolution series of Swiss Army Knives, well, you have every right to do so. Just like the Ranger Grip, the Evolution is another Wenger design that Victorinox has retained.
Read more about Wenger in this article.
Victorinox markets this model as part of their Delemont Collection, which consists of original Wenger designed SAKs with slight modifications done by Victorinox.
In fact, Wenger was the first to introduce a lock in Swiss Army Knives. They did it in one of their 85mm models. Victorinox never offered any locking mechanisms in any models smaller than 111mm.
However, note that not all Evolution series SAKs have a locking blade.
The Evolution series has many variations with different toolsets. The one you would really want is the Evolution Grip S18. This is one of those rare models that has a lock-blade, and a nice assortment of other tools, all packed in a compact form factor that is easily pocketable.
If you are looking for a pocketable SAK with a locking blade, the Evolution series is probably your only choice. As far as I know, the EvoGrip S models are the only SAKs that are smaller than 111mm but still have a lock-blade. In fact, the length is only 85mm, even shorter than the most popular 91mm SAKs.
There is no guarantee for how long Victorinox will continue with the Delemont Collection. These are already harder to find nowadays and are quickly becoming a collector’s item because of their Wenger legacy.
I see the EvoGrip S18 disappear from the Amazon listing quite often. If you are sure of getting one of these, do not wait for a sale. As Victorinox stops production, it is only a matter of time that these models disappear completely from the stores.
Types of Locks used in Swiss Army Knives
Over the years, Victorinox has used various types of locks in the blade of their Swiss Army Knife.
In the smaller models (read: the Evolution series), Victorinox uses what some people call a ’tab lock’. It is basically a slip joint spring lock where the spring gets locked when you open the blade, and the tab is used to push the spring back to unlock it.
In the 111mm models, Victorinox has used a slide lock, operated with a slider button that is integrated into the scales of the SAK. This slider lock actually locks the slip joint spring once the blade is open thereby locking the blade.
This slide lock is a pretty secure locking mechanism that Victorinox has used in most of their SAKs.
Victorinox has also introduced liner lock in many of their SAKs. The liner lock is considered to be the most secured knife locking mechanism.
In fact, Victorinox uses a double liner lock that is used to lock both the blade as well as the large slotted screwdriver at the other end of the SAK.
Interestingly, you may find the same 111mm SAK model in both slider lock and liner lock variations. It looks like Victorinox is slowly phasing out the slider lock in favour of the liner lock.
How safe is a Non-locking Swiss Army Knife?
I would say, pretty safe. I never had a Swiss Army Knife blade accidentally close on my fingers. The 91mm range of SAK is perhaps the most popular range of Swiss Army Knives, and none of them has a locking blade.
SAKs probably have one of the strongest slip joint implementations you will find in a pocket knife. I have 10-year-old SAKs. Their slip joints are still strong. I haven’t experienced any failure yet. But I also use the blades carefully, and I do take care of my SAKs.
Note that if dirt accumulates in the square notch on the tang of the blade, the slip joint spring may not work properly and eventually fail. This is the reason why larger SAKs have locking blades. Those blades are big and sharp and any accidental failure can cause serious damage.
Victorinox SwissTool And SwissTool Spirit have all Locking Tools
Victorinox has a large collection of Swiss Army Knives that boasts of a locking blade. The models mentioned above are some of the most sought after.
However, if you are a bit adventurous, you may also have a look at the SwissTool models, especially the SwissTool Spirit. The Victorinox SwissTools are not SAKs, but they possess the same built quality and capability in a different design.
The main advantage is that not only the knife blade but all the tools in a SwissTool (or SwissTool Spirit) are lockable.
Swiss Army Knives are popular the world over because of their functionality and how easy they are to carry in the pocket. This is mostly true for the 91mm knives and the models smaller than that.
However, the bigger SAKs are far more capable, and almost all of them have locking blades to prevent accidental closure.
The strong slip joint mechanism found in most non-locking Swiss Army Knives are usually adequate for most tasks that you can (or will) do with a small pocket knife. However, if you need to exert more force on the knife, a Swiss Army Knife with a locking knife may be more suited for the task.