CRKT Amicus Compact Knife Review

CRKT 5441 Compact Amicus

Columbia River Knife and Tool company, or CRKT, was founded in Oregon in 1994. This is an American company that is known for distinction in design, selection, and quality. For over twenty years now, CRKT has put innovation and integrity first, making a commitment to build products that inspire and endure. CRKT believes that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand. To do this, they collaborate with the best designers in the world, some of which are Ken Onion, Harold “Kit” Carson, Allen Elishewitz, Pat Crawford, Liong Mah, Steven James, Greg Lightfoot, Michael Walker, Ron Lake, Tom Veff, Steve Ryan, and the Graham Brothers. They also own fifteen patents and patents pending, which include the Outburst assist opening mechanism, the Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff Serrated edges.

CRKT was founded by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. In the past two decades, they have gained a serious reputation of long lasting, ground breaking knives. But, it wasn’t that way all the time. It wasn’t until 1997 at the Shot Show when they introduced the K.I.S.S, Keep It Super Simple, knife. This knife was designed by Ed Halligan and is a small folder. CRKT sold out of the entire years’ worth of product in the opening days.

CRKT has recently released a new knife to the Amicus series. This is the Amicus Compact.


CRKT 5441 Compact Amicus
CRKT 5441 Compact Amicus

The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Jesper Voxnaes. He is from Loegstrup, Denmark and when he needs to test a design, he only has to step into his own backyard. The harsh elements and conditions of the fjords and forests in his native Denmark do the rest. When he was starting out, no one was making the knife of knives he wanted to design so he learned by trial and error. Apparently his efforts paid off given his IF Award in 2013 for one of the Top European Designs. Now he creates and uses knives like the Amicus as he sails, camps, and drives off road.


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 8CR13MoV steel. This formula of steel is form a Chinese steel that has many different versions of the steel. The highest or best formula of the steel is the 9Cr formula, but 8Cr falls quickly behind. The best steel to compare this steel with is AUS 8 steel, however 8Cr is the inferior steel out of the two. 8Cr is a stainless steel, so it does resist rust fairly well, but you do have to make sure that you are keeping up on maintenance. This is a softer steel, so it is extremely easy to sharpen—many beginners can pull it off. And, you can get an extremely fine edge on 8Cr steel that does last quite a while. The biggest feature that this steel boasts is its low price. You get a steel that can stand up to most tasks for a very inexpensive cost. However, you do have to keep in mind that you do get what you pay for when it comes to steel, so while it will stand up to most tasks, this blade steel is not going to excel at anything.

The blade has been finished satin. This is one of the more traditional finishes. It is created by continuously sanding the steel in one direction with an increasing level of abrasive material—usually a sandpaper. The satin finish’s main purpose is to showcase the lines in the steel. In terms of how shiny this steel is, this is a fairly medium finish. It is not as shiny as a mirror finish, but it is more reflective than a matte finish. If you are looking for a very classic look, this finish is going to be your best bet.

The steel on the Amicus Compact has been carved into a tanto blade shape. This style of blade was originally designed for armor piercing because it was designed after the Japanese long and short swords. In the early 80s Cold Steel Americanized and popularized the tanto blade shape and now you can easily find a knife with this style of blade. This blade is for when you don’t want an all-purpose knife, but instead you want a knife that does one thing and does that one thing extremely well. This one thing is piercing through tough materials. The tanto style is formed with a high point and a flat grind, which leads to a crazy strong point that is perfect for stabbing into those hard materials. The tanto style also has a thick point which contains a lot of metal near the tip. Because of the extra metal, it can absorb the impact from repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to crack under the pressure. The front edge of the tanto knife meets the back edge of it at an angle, instead of the traditional curve. Because of this, the tanto has no belly, which is why you can’t use this for slicing or general utility purpose. But, by sacrificing the belly, your receive the extremely strong point. This style of knife is perfect for those unexpected moments while adventuring or even just going through your daily life.

The edge of this knife is a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge that you are going to find on knives and is tailored for excelling at push cuts. This means that the plain edge is going to be perfect for slicing, peeling, and skinning. As more benefits, the plain edge is the easier edge to sharpen because you don’t have to worry about all of the small teeth while sharpening. And, you can get your plain edge sharper than you could get a serrated or combo edge. Some people are worried that without the teeth of a serrated edge, they aren’t going to be able to saw through the harder and tougher materials. For the most part, you are going to want a serrated edge for those tougher materials, but if you get your edge sharp enough and with the benefits of the strong tanto shape, you will be able to get through those materials.


The Handle:

The handle on the Amicus Compact is made out of stainless steel with G 10 scales covering one side of it. Stainless steel provides the user with durability that is out of the park as well as crazy resistance to corrosion. However, it is not lightweight and is going to weigh the knife down. It is also quite slippery. To combat both of these problems, CRKT used less stainless steel and added G 10 scales.

G 10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fiber, but with the slight lag of qualities, you can get it for a much cheaper price. To create this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin. The manufacturer then compresses the layers of cloth and bakes them under pressure. The material that comes out is extremely tough, very hard, quite lightweight, and very strong. G 10 is even considered to be the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and stronger than Micarta. However, this is a brittle material because the fibers are all arranged in one direction, so when it is stressed in opposing directions, it will break down. One of the drawbacks that many knife users express is that the G 10 does not have much character and lacks elegance.

To provide you with exceptional grip, CRKT has added intense checkering as texture on the G 10 scale. There is also a row of shallow but thick jimping near the butt of the handle. The finger groove on this knife is shallow and elongated to provide you with a comfortable grip. There is also a finger guard to protect your fingers from getting sliced in the event of slipping.

As a cherry on top of the design of the handle, there is a lanyard hole on the butt, carved out of the stainless steel. One of the best reasons to keep a lanyard on your knife is that it makes it easier to attach to your belt or backpack strap, while keeping it out of the way when you aren’t using this knife, but giving you easy access when you do need your knife. The lanyard will also protect your knife from loss while you are out and about. I’ve come to realize that the preference for a lanyard is really a love-hate type of thing with people either loving it or see no point in it. Either way, it is always great to have the option.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a low carry clip that is made out of stainless steel. It is held in place by two small silver screws that match the rest of the hardware on this knife. The pocket clip is attached on the back of the knife, or the stainless steel side of the two toned handle. In the middle of this pocket clip, CRKT has stamped their logo.


The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that uses a thumb slot blade deployment. This type of mechanism has been around since the 1980s and is exactly what it sounds like—a slot cut into the knife that gives you a spot to gain purchase on and flip the knife open. One of the first companies to use this style of mechanism was Spyderco, but most other knife companies have jumped on the train, and for good reason—it works excellently. Using it is basically like using a thumb stud and by its design, it is extremely ambidextrous. One of the advantages that the thumb stud does not offer is that the slot does not protrude from the blade and get in the way like the thumb stud sometimes does.

The Amicus Compact sports a frame lock locking mechanism. The frame lock is very similar to the liner lock is except that the frame lock uses the handle to form the frame and therefore the lock. The handle on knives with a frame lock is often cut forma steel that is much thicker than the liner of most locks. Just like the liner lock, the frame lock is situated with the liner set inward and the tip engaging the bottom of the blade. The frame lock is released by applying pressure to the frame to move it away from the blade. When it is opened, the pressure on the lock forces it to snap across the blade, which engages it at its furthest point. Frame locks are known for their strength and thickness.


The Specs:

The blade on the Amicus Compact is 3.004 inches long with a thickness of 0.124 inches. The overall length of this knife is 7.313 inches long and it sports a closed length of 4.249 inches. This knife weighs in at 3.8 ounces.



Designer Jesper Voxnaes has done it again with a redesign of the popular CRKT Amicus folder knife–the Amicus Compact. The word “amicus” actually translates to “friend” or “comrade” which is fitting considering how this knife will deliver whenever you call upon it. From basic chores to demanding tasks, the 3″ tanto style blade is ideal for cutting and piercing and the G-10 front scale and stainless steel back scale provide a secure grip and quick and easy access. Just like its larger counterpart, the protruding back spacer provides jimping for multiple carry options and the lanyard hole make carry options almost limitless. The pock clip is designed for tip up or tip down carry. The Amicus Compact is the perfect size for when you want a knife with you that is going to be able to take on the majority of your daily task, but still preparing you for taking on those unexpected situations that tend to pop up in your everyday life. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.


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