As I am sitting on my couch on my day off, eating FunYuns and watching Naked Gun, I realized I haven’t yet done a “Gear” post. So off goes the TV, and on goes the Mac, here we g
Columbia River Knife and Tool (hereafter referred to as CRKT) is an Oregon-based manufacturer of knives, tools, and accessories was founded by Rod Bremer in 1994. They manufacture all sorts of tactical styled stuff, with a focus on knives and tools. Many of their products are designed by renowned custom knife makers, and as such, have their own distinct fashion sense about them, as well as a utilitarian ruggedness.
The particular knife I am going to review today is the M16-14SFG. That sounds very official and military-like, but I have no idea what it stands for. The knife was designed by Kit Carson who retired from the U.S. Army and has been making high-quality custom knives since, so no surprise on the name I guess.
Like many of my reviews, this is a long term review. I purchased this knife from the PX on Fort Leavenworth about five years ago, and it has tromped around in my pants pocket since then, so I think that should qualify as long-term. Let’s get started
This pocket knife is a biggun’. It measures 9 1/4″ long when open, and almost 5 1/2″ when closed. The black G10 handles feature tiny scallops all over to provide extra grip. This has saved me on multiple occassions when my hands were wet, or I had thick gloves on.The body has a pocket clip that can be adjusted with into four different positions, sort like a holster, by replacing the allen head screws. However I just stick the thing in my pocket; I have lost probably half a dozen knives over the years to that blasted clip, and I do not wish to repeat that with this one.
The blade locks in place with a conventional locking liner, that when depressed into the frame, releases the blade. CRKT takes that to the next level. They have also implemented the AutoLAWKS, which stands for Lake and Walker Knife Safety. It is a little red lever on the back on the knife handle, that is automatically activated whenever the blade is opened and prevents it from being closed accidentally, which is very useful when the knife is being used for a difficult job. To release it, you just pull on the lever and depress the locking liner. It can be a bit confusing at first, but it is second nature for me at this point and is easily done with one hand. It always confounds people whenever they borrow it, so I just close it for them instead of explaining how-to.
The blade is nearly 4″, just a scoche under, and features a pointed Tanto-style blade with scalloped serrations CRKT calls “Veff Serrations”. The blade features your conventional thumbstuds for opening, but I prefer to use the “flippers”. The flippers are these lumps of steel that hang out from either side of the base of the blade. They serve to help open the knife quickly, especially when you don’t have the dexterity or fine motor skills( e.g, when its wet and you have gloves on) to use the thumbstuds. They also serve as a very fine hilt, so you don’t cut all your digits off when involved in cutting or thrusting into something.I like most of my fingers, so I find this to be a very neat feature.
The blade is made from 8Cr14 MOV steel and according to the website, has a Rockwell hardness rating of 58-59, which if you don’t know, is pretty stinkin’ hard. but not yet brittle. Because of the steel involved and the hardness, the blade will sharpen up to literal razor sharpness and will stay that way through extended and rough use. The serrations are deep and uniquely scalloped. I am not sure sure if that was by design or for cosmetic reasons, but I have found, that it is a vast improvement when I am cutting wire or thick rope over conventional serrations.
Regardless of how tough a knife it is, you still need to take care of it. Mine gets sticky, dirt covered, lint covered, and after a while the edge will dull. For maintenance I typically take the whole knife apart and clean every part like I would my CCW pistol. I then sharpen the blade with lubricant and a diamond stone. Looks brand new after every cleaning.
After five+ years of owning and using this knife, I can say that I am very much a fan. It is apparent that this knife was designed, from the ground up, for hard work and rough jobs. It eats up abuse with aplomb. It has opened up everything from mail to MRE boxes to steel banded-bundles of rail road ties. it has served a screwdriver, a saw, and a fork. It has taken care of hangnails, and even helped me butcher a hog last year. It is my EDC knife and has definitely been a live saver on a couple of occasions. If in a worst case scenario, I were thrust into a self defense scenario, and all I had was my CRKT, I’d be alot more worried for the other guy. Granted, it’s not the best bushcraft knife, or fighting knife, or field dressing knife, or multi-tool. It is not the be-all-end-all knife that will do everything. But boy, is it close!