Ask the Gear Guy

Best lock-back pocketknife

knife-200x148Q. What is the best lock-back pocketknife (3- to 4-inch blade) for the money?
–Knifeless Joe, Licking, Mo.

A. Hey Joe. You should be able to get a good quality lock-back that will last many years for about $25 to $40 bucks. One of the best options out there is the Gerber EZ Out ($30; It’s a simple, strong knife with a 3 1/4-inch blade, solid plastic handle, easy one-handed opening — and it’s made in the USA. Gerber has sold more than 2 million EZ Outs over the past 15 years. Naturally there are lots of other good options out there.

Remember, when looking for a new knife, stick with well known brands like Buck, Kershaw, and Gerber and avoid cheap knockoffs made in China. When shopping for a new lock-back, make sure that when it’s in the open position there’s no movement of the blade. It should feel solid like there’s no chance of it folding on your hand. Hope that helps.

Comments about “Best lock-back pocketknife”

  1. B-29 SuperFortress says:

    I am thinking about getting the buck small bantam. is that a good choice? i hear its really good but is it small enough to fit commfortably in a pocket?

  2. Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

    That knife looks cheap! I expected better from Gerber!

  3. Mick says:

    My edc is a Buck 505 its real small though. Ive tested it in a junk yard and its Held up real good i love it. the edge gets dull kinda quick with steady use i sharpen it once a week. But sharpening only takes 2 mins it is a breese that edge straitens out real fast. i know this is to small to fit into the 3-4 in class because the blade is not even 2in long but it is a heavy duty cutter i recomend this knife to any body an need of a quality lock back pocket knife and who can complain about Buck’s wonderful garintee. Keep this baby lubed up and it will last u forever . The only downside is it is light because of its size and i thought i lost it one day at work but thankfuly it was just left in my pants pocket and went for a cleaning in the washer. I got it in NH in a town called Hooksett at an ausome little gun shop named Rielys Firearms. The price is 30-55 but definly worth it. i hope this helps anybody lookin for a quality USA made pocketknife

  4. Minibear says:

    No offense, but I would not take this knife. The steel is one of the most low-end kinds. If you purchase a Byrd Cara Cara 2, $25, you would benefit from the 8cr13mov steel, which is far superior to the “400 Series” (Gerber Website) steel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Buck 412 knife works great! It has a very ergonomic grip and the blade does not move at ALL in the locked position.

  6. snorkel says:

    check out Bear and Son Cutlery, they make nice lockbacks right here in the US.

    • louis says:

      Good luck finding a USA made knife. Even Buck and Gerber are now made in China.

      • KnifeFanatic says:

        Not all of the Buck Knives are made in China, in fact very few are. Their main factory is out in Idaho I believe after they moved from San Diego roughly 6 years back.

      • Wiseman says:

        You can find a Buck 110 in that price range and it is the best bargain in lock blades out there. It was the knife that made lock blades popular 30 some odd years ago and still made in the USA.

      • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

        Buck knifes makes 95% of their knifes in Post Falls, ID

      • Knife Xpert 157 (aka Chad 101) says:

        Never mind I just found out today that they make 75% of their knifes in Post Falls,ID. And Gerber makes a few knifes in Oregon.

  7. A knowledgable person says:

    If you can get over the made in the USA part,
    (which is rather silly because all that really matters is quality control)Spyderco knives has two very good lockback knives in their line. The best one for everyday carry is the delica and the one better suited for camping and heavier duty chores is called the endura. They both run about 60ish$ online and are much lighter than the buck and gerber options mentioned above. All spyderco knives are made in Seki City japan and are thoroughly hand inspected and taken off the line if they don’t pass quality control standards long before they ever hit the shelves.

    • KnifeFanatic says:

      I believe that Spyderco Line is made in USA, while their more economical line Byrd is made in China.

      I agree that the Spyderco Endura 4 FRN sabre ground is a tough blade, but if you want an even more economical option there is the Byrd Cara Cara2 (which is made in china).

  8. scout-man says:

    I have a 10-way from this web-site and boy does it work. Gear-guy has some cool stuff.

  9. killercam says:

    I have nothing but bad comments about the EZ out. I had two of them and the lock broke quickly on BOTH of them. It’s a shame because I really liked the knife.

    Your best best is the Gerber LST II. Greatest knife I’ve ever owned, hands down.

  10. knife guy says:

    well i have 2 things to say i just bought a kershaw leek and its most likly the best knife i own and i own 16 knives. and if you want a more good looking knife that is made in the usa check out case.

  11. SM says says:

    You should invest in a knife that will last a long time. before you buy check with an adult in your troop on the maxamum length your knife can be.

  12. good ole owl says:

    Can’t go wrong with a Buck. I carry the 412 and the 110. the 450 with a packet or belt clip attached is an easy carry also.

    • KnifeFanatic says:

      Also in addition to those Buck Knives, the Buck Vantage Series is VERY good You can get a knife that is S3OV with G-10 Handles for around 60 dollars WITH a lifetime warranty, and they have more economical options for the more fiscally minded among us.

  13. D says:

    i like the leatherman c33lx, but it isn’t a lockback. its liner-lock. in lock back, i would say go with BUCK.

  14. db says:

    i use a swiss army nife most of the time but i think i should get a lackback its safer

  15. knife owner pete says:

    i have several good knifes and one i tend to like is a BUCK 870. it is used by the u.s paratropers and is vary sturdy. also check out the BUCK 110

  16. Deer slayer says:

    I have a Boker and a Hen & Rooster pocketknife.They are both made in Germany but, they are really good knives.

  17. knife-dude says:


  18. Skyeagle says:

    Thanks for the cool infomation Gear Guy!

  19. Scout For Life says:

    Gear Guy I bought a BSA lockback knife but it is made in china was this a mistake?

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