CRKT Snap Lock Inventor Explains Advantages of Unique Mechanism

After 12 years out of circulation, CRKT is bringing back the Snap Lock, a folding knife with a totally unconventional action. The Snap Lock has had people talking ever since it reemerged at SHOT Show in January, so we reached out to the knife’s designer, Ed Van Hoy, to learn more about his unusual creation.

Van Hoy tells us the patented mechanism is more than a novelty and offers some practical benefits. Because the Snap Lock deploys its 2.6 inch blade from the side instead of folding out of a channel, there’s no chance a user’s fingers will get caught in its travel path. “The Snap Lock is really a safety feature,” he says.

Van Hoy goes on to explain the entire wish-bone shaped frame of the Snap Lock works like a spring to keep the blade locked in place. The mere act of holding the knife makes the lockup even stronger. “Most knives don’t increase in security with grip. And with two locking lugs and two cams it is a very, very solid lock,” Van Hoy says.

According to Van Hoy, the only downside is that operation of the knife comes with a learning curve. The Snap Lock mechanism can be sensitive to too much pressure during opening so it takes some practice to get the motion down.

Everyday carry is the Snap Lock’s primary calling, but Van Hoy is quick to point out its value as a self-defense tool. Its small size means it can travel unobtrusively where larger knives might be noticed. “It provides utility and it does have tactical ability even though it’s a small knife,” he says.

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The original Snap Lock, released in 2004, took home show awards at BLADE, SICAC, and IWA, among others. “It won more awards in the industry than any other knife I’m aware of,” Van Hoy says. He tells us these originals have become collectibles and often appear on the secondary market for upwards of $300. But Van Hoy believes this newest version, already available for under $40, is a straight upgrade, with a more versatile blade grind and refined mechanism. “I think it’s a much better knife than the original.”

Knife featured in image: CRKT Snap Lock