6 Fan Favorite CRKT Knives: Unrivaled Precision Meets Artistry
Columbia River Knife & Tool, better known as CRKT, has an impressive reputation in the knife-making industry. Their cutting-edge designs, innovative technology, and uncompromising commitment to quality have made them a beloved name among knife enthusiasts and everyday users alike. In this article, we will delve into the top 6 CRKT knives that stand out for their superior functionality, design, and durability. Let's embark on this journey of cutting-edge craftsmanship.
1. CRKT M16-14SFG
The M16-14SFG, designed by the legendary Kit Carson, is a true gem in the CRKT lineup. Renowned for its versatility and durability, this knife is an excellent choice for demanding tasks.
One of the most compelling features of the M16-14SFG is its dual hilt blade guard, a patented* Carson Flipper* providing an extra layer of safety during use. The 3.99" dual grind Tanto blade is built from high carbon stainless steel and coated with a non-reflective black titanium nitride, resulting in impressive edge retention and resilience against corrosion.
The knife also features a G-10 handle that ensures a comfortable and secure grip even in harsh weather conditions. The Automated Liner Safety (ALS) is another innovation by CRKT, providing an additional layer of protection that prevents the knife from closing unexpectedly during rigorous use.
Craftsmanship, practicality, and design are fundamental elements of any quality tool. One brand that has earned its reputation in the realm of everyday carry knives is Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT). The CRKT M16-14SFG is an outstanding example of this brand's commitment to durability and efficiency. As a tool designed for military, security, and outdoor enthusiasts, it showcases remarkable strength and versatility.
The M16-14SFG, designed by the late Kit Carson, is a tactical knife designed for professional use. The Carson Flippers' innovative design allows for quick deployment and makes the knife a reliable option in high-pressure situations. This review will delve into the key features of the M16-14SFG, from its design and functionality to its blade quality and overall value.
To begin, the overall build of the M16-14SFG is impressive. The knife measures 9.25 inches when fully opened, with a closed length of 5.375 inches. This means the blade itself is 3.875 inches, a solid size for a wide array of tasks. The knife's full-size makes it a formidable tool while the compactness when closed allows for easy carrying.
The handle is built from durable G10 material, known for its excellent thermal and chemical resistance. The black scales offer a solid grip and the additional grooves further improve handling. These tactile elements significantly enhance the user’s grip, providing a sense of security when wielding the knife, especially in wet or humid conditions.
The M16-14SFG is considerably hefty, weighing in at 5.9 ounces. Some may argue that lighter knives provide a more comfortable carry experience, but the weight in this case adds a reassuring heft that underlines its robust construction.
The blade, made from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel, demonstrates a great balance between toughness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. The Tanto-style design, characterized by a high point and a flat grind, renders the blade perfect for puncturing and slicing. It’s not just the functionality but also the aesthetics that appeal, with the blade featuring a non-reflective black titanium nitride finish that reduces glare and adds to the knife’s stealthy appearance.
The dual hilt, a signature feature of this model, adds an extra layer of safety for users, ensuring that the fingers are kept safe from the blade during strenuous tasks.
The Carson Flipper feature is particularly noteworthy. It serves a dual function, acting as both a blade guard when the knife is open and an opening assist when it’s closed. This knife also uses CRKT's AutoLAWKS system, a proprietary innovation that transforms the knife into a virtual fixed blade when opened.
In terms of operation, the flipper provides a swift and effortless deployment. The liner lock mechanism, coupled with the AutoLAWKS, ensures the blade remains securely open during use. It's worth mentioning that some users may need some practice to get accustomed to this system, but it becomes second nature with time.
However, the M16-14SFG is not without its drawbacks. While the knife is undoubtedly robust, the 8Cr14MoV steel, although offering a good balance of features, is not top-tier. Some users might prefer superior steel varieties like the S30V or the VG10 for better edge retention, but that would come at a higher price.
Additionally, the G10 handle, while providing a good grip, is somewhat coarse. Some users might find it uncomfortable after prolonged use, particularly those with softer hands or when using the knife without gloves.
Lastly, while the AutoLAWKS feature ensures safety, it makes the knife slightly harder to close one-handed. It's not a deal-breaker but something potential buyers should be aware of.
The CRKT M16-14SFG, while not perfect, excels in what it is intended for - a sturdy, tactical folding knife. Its strength, ergonomics, and Carson Flipper design make it a reliable tool for both everyday carry and professional use. The knife is designed for individuals seeking a durable, heavy-duty cutting tool that won't falter under pressure. Despite its minor drawbacks, the M16-14SFG offers excellent value for its price, cementing its place in the world of high-performance knives.
The CRKT M16-14SFG is a well-built and versatile tool that serves as a testament to CRKT's commitment to functionality and quality. The thoughtfulness that went into its design and construction sets it apart from many competitors. With its blend of practical features, the M16-14SFG should be on the shortlist for anyone looking for a knife that's designed to perform and last.
2. CRKT Homefront
Ken Onion, a well-known designer in the knife community, collaborates with CRKT to create the Homefront knife. With its groundbreaking "Field Strip" technology, this knife stands out for its ability to be disassembled quickly and easily for cleaning and maintenance in the field, with no need for tools.
The Homefront features a 3.5" AUS 8 blade with a plain edge, a versatile blade steel known for its balance of hardness, toughness, edge sharpness, and corrosion resistance. Its vintage WWI aesthetic with a grooved aluminum handle adds a touch of classic charm without compromising functionality and comfort.
Among the vast range of tools that grace the world of knives, few manage to capture the harmonious intersection of form and function like the Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Homefront. It represents a paradigm shift in the portable knife industry, showcasing innovative features and a design aesthetic reminiscent of World War II era tools.
Designed by Ken Onion, an acclaimed knife designer, the CRKT Homefront is the first of its kind to incorporate CRKT's pioneering "Field Strip" technology. It's an innovation that allows users to disassemble and clean the knife without any additional tools. This review will delve into the critical aspects of the Homefront, including its design, performance, and overall value proposition.
At first glance, the Homefront evokes a sense of vintage charm, owing to its classic military style design. However, beneath its traditional exterior lies an assembly of advanced, cutting-edge features. The knife's length is 8.3 inches when fully opened, with a closed length of 4.7 inches, and it weighs in at a comfortable 4.8 ounces.
The handle, machined from 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum, is both durable and lightweight. It features tank jimping on the backside, providing a secure and comfortable grip. The green anodized finish and star embossment contribute to the knife's unique, vintage aesthetic.
The blade is crafted from AUS 8 stainless steel, boasting a decent balance between edge retention, hardness, and corrosion resistance. The drop-point blade design ensures versatility, making the knife suitable for a wide range of tasks. The length of the blade is 3.5 inches, and it features a brushed steel finish, which further contributes to the vintage aesthetics of the knife.
One of the main attractions of the Homefront is undoubtedly its Field Strip Technology. This feature allows the knife to be disassembled quickly for cleaning and maintenance, a rarity in folding knives. The system consists of a lever at the handle's tail and a rotating wheel around the pivot point. This intuitive system adds immense practical value, especially for those using the knife in environments where it's likely to get dirty.
The blade deployment is fluid and swift, thanks to the use of the flipper mechanism, which is smooth and efficient. It locks securely with a liner lock, providing a solid feel when the blade is open. The safety features, combined with the quick deployment, make the Homefront a reliable everyday carry.
However, despite the plethora of features and impressive design, the Homefront has a few areas that could be improved. Firstly, while AUS 8 steel is decent, it does not hold an edge as long as some higher-grade steels like VG10 or S30V. This might require frequent sharpening, especially if used heavily.
The handle, while aesthetically pleasing, lacks a bit in the ergonomics department. While the tank jimping does provide a secure grip, the handle can feel a bit hard and uncomfortable after prolonged use. The use of G10 or another high-quality polymer might have provided a more comfortable grip.
The last point of criticism is the price. The Homefront comes at a premium, mainly due to its Field Strip Technology and the design inputs of Ken Onion. For some, the pricing may seem steep compared to other models in the market with superior steel or more ergonomic handle designs.
Nonetheless, the CRKT Homefront shines in many areas where conventional knives don't. Its unique blend of a classic aesthetic and groundbreaking technology sets it apart. For those who value the ability to clean and maintain their knife easily, the Homefront provides an unrivaled solution. Its solid build, paired with a reasonable size and weight, make it a worthy contender in the realm of everyday carry knives.
The CRKT Homefront is a well-rounded tool that brings innovation and style to the table. It encapsulates a blend of vintage charm and modern technology, creating a unique niche for itself. Despite a few shortcomings, the Homefront, with its innovative features and sturdy design, offers good value for those who appreciate both aesthetic charm and practical functionality in a knife. Its distinctive characteristics make it more than just another knife; it's a conversation starter.
3. CRKT Drifter
The Drifter is one of CRKT's most popular everyday carry (EDC) knives, designed with practicality and affordability in mind. It's compact, durable, and delivers an exceptional performance, making it the go-to tool for daily tasks.
The Drifter sports a 2.875" gray titanium nitride-coated drop-point blade made of 8Cr14MoV stainless steel. This steel choice provides a balance of hardness, corrosion resistance, and edge retention. The G10 handle is robust, lightweight, and offers an excellent grip, making the Drifter comfortable to handle. Its frame lock design ensures the blade stays in place when in use, making it safe and reliable.
The allure of an everyday carry knife often lies in its simplicity, utility, and reliability. Among the multitude of knives in the market, one particular model stands out in these aspects – the Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Drifter. It's an affordable and functional knife that doesn't compromise on quality or performance. This review will explore the various aspects of the CRKT Drifter, from its design and materials to its performance and overall value.
The Drifter is the epitome of simplicity and functionality, boasting a design that is both unassuming and efficient. It's a compact folding knife with an overall length of 6.5 inches when opened, and 3.6 inches when closed. The blade length is 2.875 inches, making it an ideal size for an everyday carry. It’s lightweight too, weighing in at a mere 2.4 ounces.
The handle of the Drifter is constructed from durable G10, a high-pressure fiberglass laminate. It's an excellent material choice for a knife handle, providing a secure grip and resisting moisture, chemicals, and extreme temperatures. The handle has a non-reflective black finish, and the textured pattern not only enhances grip but also adds a subtle aesthetic appeal.
The blade is crafted from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel, a popular choice for budget-friendly knives. This Chinese steel is similar to AUS 8, offering a balance between hardness, edge retention, and corrosion resistance. The blade features a drop point design with a hollow grind, a versatile profile perfect for a variety of tasks. The gray titanium nitride coating on the blade reduces reflection and increases durability.
The Drifter is a liner lock knife, which means it has a side-spring lock that can be opened and closed with one hand without repositioning the knife in the hand. This makes the knife easy and safe to use, enhancing its practicality as an everyday carry tool.
One of the main selling points of the Drifter is its price-to-quality ratio. Despite its budget-friendly price, the Drifter doesn’t cut corners on quality or performance. Its solid build, comfortable handling, and sharp blade make it a worthy contender against more expensive counterparts.
That said, no knife is without its flaws. The Drifter, for example, while offering decent edge retention, will require more frequent sharpening than knives made from higher-end steel. Some users might also find the G10 handle slightly abrasive after prolonged use. However, these are minor setbacks that don't significantly affect the overall performance of the knife.
Another aspect that could potentially deter some buyers is the lack of a thumb stud or flipper. The Drifter employs a small oval cutout in the blade for one-handed opening, which might take some getting used to, especially for those accustomed to thumb studs or flippers. But once mastered, it's as smooth and efficient as any other opening mechanism.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the CRKT Drifter is a standout knife in the budget category. Its combination of sturdy construction, practical design, and affordability makes it an ideal choice for those looking for a reliable everyday carry knife without breaking the bank.
The CRKT Drifter is an exemplary piece of craftsmanship that delivers impressive performance at an affordable price point. It’s a testament to the fact that a good knife doesn't have to be expensive. With its excellent build quality, comfortable handling, and sharp, reliable blade, the Drifter is a perfect choice for anyone in search of a practical, budget-friendly everyday carry knife. It's a true testament to CRKT's dedication to delivering quality products that cater to a wide range of needs and budgets.
4. CRKT Squid
For many, a knife is more than just a tool—it's an extension of one's self, a reliable companion that stands by in every situation. The Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Squid fits this description perfectly, offering compact functionality that earns its place in any everyday carry collection. This review will cover the key attributes of the CRKT Squid, exploring its design, functionality, and overall value.
Designed by Lucas Burnley, a celebrated name in the knife industry, the Squid is a compact folding knife that focuses on practicality and ease of use. It's built to be sturdy and reliable while offering the simplicity and convenience of a much smaller tool. The Squid, with its closed length of 3.5 inches and an overall length of 5.71 inches when open, is a genuinely compact tool, making it a seamless addition to any pocket or bag.
One of the Squid's standout features is its blade. With a length of 2.16 inches, the blade is constructed from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, a budget-friendly material known for its respectable edge retention and corrosion resistance. The drop-point blade design, characterized by a slow convex-curved drop in the point, presents strength to the point and the ability to hold up to heavy use. It's particularly suited for tasks that require a strong point and includes plenty of "belly" for slicing or cutting tasks.
The Squid's handle is stainless steel with a frame lock mechanism. It gives the knife a clean, sleek look and contributes to its overall compactness and robustness. Despite its small size, the handle provides a comfortable and secure grip, with the framelock design ensuring the blade remains steady during use.
The Squid also features a low-profile pocket clip, which is both functional and unobtrusive. The clip can be tip-up only but is reversible for left or right-hand carry, a feature that adds to the knife's practicality. It also includes a lanyard hole for those who prefer that method of carry or want added security against loss.
The Squid stands out in its balance between size and utility. Despite being a small knife, it doesn't compromise its functionality. It offers a solid grip, a sturdy blade, and an overall build quality that makes it suitable for various tasks, whether it's opening packages, cutting cordage, or preparing food.
However, the Squid isn't without its downsides. While the 8Cr13MoV steel is a practical choice considering the knife's price point, it does not hold an edge as well as some premium steels. Users may find themselves needing to sharpen the blade more frequently, particularly with heavy use.
Also, while the stainless steel handle is durable, it does not offer the same level of grip as materials like G10 or micarta. However, given the Squid's size and intended use, this isn't a significant drawback.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the Squid presents excellent value, especially considering its affordable price point. It's an ideal entry-level knife for those new to the world of everyday carry, and its solid performance and compact design make it a worthy addition to any seasoned knife enthusiast's collection.
The CRKT Squid is an excellent compact knife that balances size, functionality, and affordability. It's a testament to CRKT's ability to deliver high-quality tools at accessible prices. Despite its small stature, the Squid is robust and capable, embodying the saying, "don't judge a book by its cover." This compact dynamo is more than capable of handling your daily cutting tasks with ease and reliability.
5. CRKT PILAR
The PILAR, designed by Jesper Voxnaes, stands out for its minimalist design combined with sturdy construction. This compact EDC knife punches way above its weight class in terms of performance and durability. It's a reliable choice for precision tasks, with a design that provides excellent control.
The PILAR features a 2.4" flat ground blade made from 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, offering great edge retention and easy sharpening. The handle, a combination of stainless steel and G10, provides a solid grip. Its frame lock design ensures the blade stays secure during use.
In the expansive world of everyday carry knives, a few models stand out for their unique blend of design, functionality, and durability. Among these, the Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Pilar has gained a strong reputation as a compact and affordable knife that punches well above its weight class. This review will provide an in-depth look at the Pilar, evaluating its design, performance, and overall value proposition.
The Pilar, designed by Jesper Voxnaes, draws its name from Ernest Hemingway's boat—a testament to its strength, durability, and utility. It's a compact, heavy-duty folder with a design that puts functionality at the forefront. When closed, the knife measures a compact 3.530 inches, with an overall length of 5.938 inches when open. Despite its size, the Pilar weighs in at a sturdy 4.2 ounces, imbuing the knife with a feeling of robustness.
One of the standout features of the Pilar is its blade. With a length of 2.402 inches, the blade is made from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel. This Chinese steel is known for its decent edge retention and corrosion resistance, making it a practical choice for an everyday carry knife. The blade's sheepsfoot design, with a straight edge and rounded tip, is ideal for slicing and chopping tasks while reducing the chances of accidental piercing.
The Pilar’s blade sports a brushed steel finish and a flat grind, a combination that not only enhances its aesthetic appeal but also contributes to its cutting performance. A small thumb slot on the blade facilitates smooth and easy opening.
The Pilar's handle is constructed from stainless steel, providing durability and strength. It includes a frame lock mechanism that securely locks the blade in place during use, enhancing safety and stability. The minimalist design of the handle complements the knife's compact size, and despite its simplicity, it offers a comfortable and secure grip.
A low-profile, stainless steel pocket clip is included, offering tip-up carry. The clip is not reversible, which may be a minor drawback for some left-handed users. However, the Pilar does include a lanyard hole for those who prefer an alternate carry option or like to personalize their knife with lanyard accessories.
Despite its compact size, the Pilar offers excellent ergonomics. The finger choil and spine jimping ensure a comfortable and secure grip, allowing for precise control during use. This feature makes the knife suitable for a wide range of tasks, from opening packages to preparing food or performing detailed work.
While the Pilar excels in many areas, it's not without its shortcomings. The 8Cr14MoV steel, while serviceable and well-suited to the knife's price point, may not hold an edge as well as some higher-grade steels. Thus, frequent sharpening might be necessary with heavy use.
Additionally, while the stainless steel handle is sturdy and durable, it may not provide as secure a grip as handles made from materials like G10 or micarta. However, given the knife's size and the included ergonomic features, this issue should not significantly impact the knife's functionality or comfort during use.
In terms of value, the CRKT Pilar presents an excellent proposition. It's an affordable knife that doesn't compromise on quality or functionality. Its sturdy build, functional design, and attractive aesthetics make it an ideal choice for those in need of a reliable, compact everyday carry knife.
The CRKT Pilar is a noteworthy entry in the compact everyday carry knife category. Its blend of functionality, durability, and affordability, coupled with its unique design, make it a standout offering in CRKT's lineup. Despite a few minor drawbacks, the Pilar delivers a level of performance and value that easily rivals many of its pricier counterparts. It's a testament to CRKT's commitment to producing quality knives that cater to a wide range of preferences and budgets.
6. CRKT Ivory Micarta Ritual Spring Assist Knife
In the realm of knives, it's rare to find a tool that blends the appeal of traditional artistry with modern functionality as seamlessly as the Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Ivory Micarta Ritual Spring Assist Knife. This unique knife is an intriguing blend of old-world style and 21st-century innovation, and this review aims to explore its every facet.
Designed by legendary custom knife maker Alan Folts, the Ritual is an expression of classical aesthetics crafted with modern materials and mechanisms. Its prominent, undulating blade and intricately detailed handle make it an immediate eye-catcher, yet beneath this attractive exterior is a practical, high-performing tool.
The most striking feature of the Ritual is its blade—a sizable 4.37 inches of 12C27 Sandvik stainless steel. This Swedish steel is known for its superb balance of hardness, toughness, and corrosion resistance. It is easy to sharpen and holds an edge remarkably well, making it a practical choice for an everyday carry knife.
The sweeping, Persian-style blade of the Ritual lends it a dramatic, almost artistic presence, yet it is entirely functional. The slight recurve along the cutting edge enhances the blade's slicing capabilities, while the acute point allows for precision tasks. A satin finish graces the blade, contributing both to the knife's aesthetic appeal and to its corrosion resistance.
One of the Ritual's key features is its Assisted Opening mechanism, which allows for swift, one-handed blade deployment. A gentle press on the flipper tab engages the spring assist, smoothly and rapidly swinging the blade into a locked and ready position. This makes the Ritual as practical and user-friendly as it is visually captivating.
The handle of the Ritual is no less impressive than its blade. Crafted from ivory micarta with stainless steel bolsters, the handle is as durable as it is attractive. The micarta scales provide a solid grip and are resistant to the elements, while the steel bolsters add to the knife's overall structural integrity.
The handle's aesthetics are further enhanced by the turquoise and brass backspacer, which adds a pop of color and an extra touch of elegance to the knife's overall design. The incorporation of a deep-carry pocket clip makes for convenient carry and easy access, ensuring the Ritual is always on hand when needed.
Ergonomics is another area where the Ritual shines. The handle's curved design nestles comfortably in the hand, providing a secure grip that facilitates precise control during use. The ample handle length accommodates a variety of grip styles, making the Ritual adaptable to a broad range of cutting tasks.
However, the Ritual is not without its shortcomings. The size and weight of the knife—weighing in at a substantial 7.6 ounces—may be a deterrent for those seeking a compact everyday carry. The Persian blade, while stunning and effective for slicing, may also pose a challenge to sharpen due to its curved cutting edge.
Additionally, while the Assisted Opening mechanism provides swift and easy blade deployment, it may require some practice for those not accustomed to using spring-assisted knives. Furthermore, in certain jurisdictions, knives with such mechanisms may fall under legal restrictions, so it's crucial to check local knife laws before purchase.
Despite these minor drawbacks, the CRKT Ritual is a standout knife that offers excellent value for its price. It combines an undeniably alluring design with solid performance and quality construction, making it a worthwhile addition to any knife collection.
The CRKT Ivory Micarta Ritual Spring Assist Knife is a testament to CRKT's commitment to producing innovative, high-quality knives. Its blend of old-world charm and modern functionality makes it more than just a tool—it's a statement piece. For those seeking a knife that captures the essence of traditional craftsmanship yet satisfies contemporary performance standards, the Ritual is a choice that's hard to overlook.
Each of these top 6 CRKT knives offers something unique. Regardless of your specific needs and preferences, CRKT offers a knife that not only meets but often exceeds expectations.
Whether you're an outdoors enthusiast, a professional requiring a reliable tool, or a knife collector, the craftsmanship and innovation behind these CRKT knives make them worthy additions to your kit or collection. When you choose CRKT, you're investing in a legacy of quality, creativity, and an unyielding commitment to innovation.