Home > Knives

How to Close a Pocket Knife

Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Pocket knives are popular tools in the outdoors. These multifunctional knives can be used nearly every day whether you’re camping or working.

Caring for your pocket knife is as important as knowing how to effectively use it. Part of that care is being able to close it. Knowing how to properly and safely close your pocket knife can help maintain the quality of the knife and ensure it lasts a long time. Plus, closing the knife and storing it safely is important for your safety and to avoid any potential accidents.

There are several different types of pocket knives, and each one requires a slightly different process to close it. The four different types of pocket knives we focus on here are the slip joint, frame lock, liner lock, and lockback. Read on for our how-to guide for closing a pocket knife!Victorinox Limited Edition knife

How to Close a Pocket Knife

Slip Joint

Knives with a slip joint lock are one of the more casual and popular types of pocket knives. While not intended for heavy-duty tasks, these non-locking folding blades are still great for basic everyday activities. It’s very easy to close this type of pocket knife.

To close it, you’ll simply apply pressure on the back of the blade. Basically, any type of downward pressure on the back of the blade will close the knife.

Frame Lock

A frame lock is a type of pocket knife that has a mechanism on the outside that serves as a lock to hold the knife open. When the blade is pulled out all the way, it locks automatically. The locking mechanism is usually located behind the blade.

To close this type of knife, use your thumb to push the locking part of the frame out of the way of the blade. Once you move the locking part out of the way, you can simply apply pressure to the back of the blade to move it down to the closed position.

Leatherman Free K4 Pocket Knife

Liner Lock

This kind of pocket knife is similar to a frame lock. The main difference between a liner lock and a frame lock is that the liner lock has a different inner mechanism that holds the knife blade open.

The way to close a liner lock is similar to how to close a frame lock. But instead of pushing the frame lock aside, you’re going to look for the inner liner lock, usually found at the bottom of the handle. There will be a tab on this part of the liner that you can push aside with your thumb. That will free the blade, allowing you to push it down into the closed position.


This kind of pocket knife has a metal spine along the handle that locks the knife blade into place.

To close a lockback knife, look for the finger cut along the spine of the knife. Press on this exposed part of the spine to disengage the locking mechanism. This will release the spine and allow you to easily close the knife.


What should you check on a pocket knife before using it?

Whether you’re closing or opening your pocket knife, always be on the lookout for rust, damage, and any broken parts or malfunctioning locking mechanisms. These are things that could cause the knife to not work, be less effective, or even cause harm to the user.

Should you clean a pocket knife after each use?

The simple answer to that question is yes. You should always clean your pocket knife after each use. If your knife becomes dirty or wet, it can become dangerous to use. After you clean it, make sure you thoroughly dry it as well before you close the pocket knife.

What safety precautions should you take with a pocket knife?

There are many precautions you need to take when using a pocket knife. Make sure you educate yourself on knife safety before operating a pocket knife, as even the smallest ones can still be dangerous.

When you close the knife, make sure all your fingers are away from the blade. Remember that the blade will swing closed toward the handle of the knife, so be aware of where your fingers are when closing any pocket knife.

A hand holds a Benchmade Raghorn hunting knife with orange blade

The Best Hunting Knives of 2023

A hunting knife has a single purpose: processing meat after a kill. We did the research to help you find the best hunting knife for your needs and budget. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.

Subscribe Now

Sign up to receive GearJunkie content direct to your inbox.