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.

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