Columbia River Knife and Tool, or CRKT, was founded in 1994. This is an American company that is known for its distinction in design, selection, and quality. For over 20 years now, CRKT has put innovation and integrity first, making a commitment to build products that inspire and endure. They operate on a simple principle: that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand. To accomplish this, they collaborate with the best designers in the world. Some of these designers 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 about fifteen patents and patents pending. Some of these patents are the Outburst assist opening mechanism, Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff Serrated edges.
CRKT was founded by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer, both of whom used to work for Kershaw Knives. The company did not truly take off until 1997 at that years Shot Show. This was when they introduced the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) knife. This knife was a small folder that Ed Halligan designed and it was a raging success. Within the opening days of the show, the years’ worth of product was sold out. CRKT produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems.
They recently released a brand new folder called the Directive. There are two different versions of this knife, but both of them are game changers. Let’s begin.
The blade on both versions of this knife have been made out of 8Cr14MoV steel. This is a Chinese steel that comes from a series of steel. In the series of steel, the highest quality is the 9Cr steel, however 8Cr is close behind. This steel is most often compared to AUS 8 steel, however AUS 8 is the superior steel by a little bit. The biggest feature that this steel boasts is how inexpensive it is. It is a softer steel which does have some drawbacks, but with this formula, it is an advantage. This steel is easy to sharpen, can get a very fine edge on it, and surprisingly, the edge does hold for long periods of time. This is a stainless steel, so it does resist rust well. While this steel is can stand up to many tasks, it is still considered an average steel. So while it does hold its own, it won’t excel at any of the tasks.
Both versions of the blade sport a black oxide finish. This finish is also sometimes known as a blackening finish and is used to add the sleek black look that you can expect from this blade. This coating is a conversion coating for ferrous materials that is used to add mild corrosion resistance and for an appealing black appearance. However, it is a coating finish which means that it will scratch or peel off over time.
Like I previously mentioned, the knife does come in two different versions. The first version has a drop point style blade. The drop point style is a shape that can stand up to almost any task, is a great all-purpose shape, and is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is used on the market today. One of the most common places that you are going to find this lade shape in use is on hunting knives; however, it is also used on many other knives. To form the shape of this knife, the back edge of the knife runs straight from the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner. This creates a lowered point and the lowered point provides more control over your cuts and slices—this is one of the reasons that it is so popular on hunting knives; the hunter does not have to worry about nicking any of the inner organs or damaging the quality of the meat. The lowered point also adds strength to the tip, which gives this blade shape the ability to hold up to heavy use. Because of that, this is a very popular blade shape on tactical and survival knives. One of the last reasons that this is such a popular blade shape is because it sports a large belly. This belly makes slicing a breeze, making this knife a fantastic option for your everyday carry knife. One of the only disadvantages to this blade shape is that it does have a very broad tip. The broad tip is what gives this blade shape so much strength, but it also reduces your stabbing abilities. If you are looking for a knife that can easily stab, I would recommend checking out the clip point style blade. When you choose the version of the Directive that has the drop point blade shape, you will be preparing yourself for not only all of your expected tasks, but also the unexpected challenges that accompany your adventures.
The other version of the Directive sports a tanto blade shape. Something funny about the two options that you have is that the drop point is designed to be able to take on almost any task, while the tanto has been designed to take on one task and one task only. The tanto has been designed for piercing tough materials. This blade shape was designed after the Japanese long and short swords and was popularized by Cold Steel in the early 1980’s. The original style was designed to pierce through armor, so you know that this knife is going to be able to get through some tough things. The tanto is formed with a high point and a flat grind, which leads to an extremely strong point. The thick point of the tanto has a lot of metal near the tip, which makes it able to absorb the impact from repeated piercing that would cause many other knives to break or snap off. Something else that is unique about this blade shape is that the front edge of it meets the back edge at an angle, rather than the traditional curve. Because of this, the tanto blade style does not sport a belly. In this case, you sacrifice the belly for a stronger tip. This lack of belly is the biggest reason that this knife has not been designed for everyday use or as a general utility knife. By choosing the version of the Directive that has a tanto blade shape, you will own a knife that has been designed and tailored to pierce through those tougher materials.
Both of the versions of the knife have a plain edge. The plain edge has been designed to take on a wider variety of needs. The plain edge is the more traditional edge that excels at push cuts such as slicing, peeling, or skinning. Another one of the major benefits to the plain edge is that it is easier to sharpen and you can get a finer edge on it than if it were a serrated or combo edge.
The handles on both of these knives have been made out of Glass Reinforced Nylon, or GRN. This is a thermoplastic material that is crazy strong, resistant to bending, abrasion, and also practically indestructible. As a total bonus, it’s pretty cheap. What makes this material so strong and durable is that the fibers are all arranged haphazardly, as opposed to in one direction like the similar materials G 10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta. Those other materials have the fibers arranged in one direction, which means that if the material is stressed in any other direction, it is going to be brittle and prone to breaking or snapping. With GRN’s fibers being arranged so haphazardly, it doesn’t matter which direction the handle is stressed—it is going to stand up to it all. This is an inexpensive material because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of ways in the production process, this leads to high volume manufacturing and low cost. Many knife lovers did not love this material at first because they felt like it felt cheap and almost hollow. One of the other drawbacks is that it is not as grippy as G 10 is.
To help add texture, there are four slashes going diagonally across the palm of this knife. Near the butt of the handle, there is a row of deep, thick jimping. Here is also jimping on the bottom of the handle, which allows for plenty of grip security in both the traditional as well as the reverse position. There is a finger groove as well as a finger guard to protect your fingers from sliding and getting cut.
On the butt of the handle, there is also a lanyard hole. This offers you a variety of benefits, from being able to fold your lanyard across the palm to provide you more texture to simply wanting a taste of your own style on this knife. The lanyard lets you easily attach this knife to your belt or pack strap; giving you easy access when you do need it, but keeping it out of the way when you don’t need it.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip, as well as the hardware is all black making this a completely black knife. On the middle of the pocket clip CRKT has stamped their logo. The pocket clip is kept in place by two small screws. This is a 4-way positional pocket clip, which means that you can carry it tip up or tip down as well as carrying it on either side of the handle. This is a huge benefit because you can carry it in whichever way feels the most comfortable to you.
This is a folding knife that sports a flipper opening as well as a locking liner mechanism. The flipper mechanism is a small triangular portion of the blade that juts out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. To deploy the blade, you pull back on this flipper which gives enough resistance to flip the blade open and lock it into place. This is an efficient way to open it quickly, and you don’t have to worry about your fingers getting sliced, because the flipper opening mechanism keeps them safe and out of the way during the whole process.
The liner lock is one of the most common mechanisms that is seen on folding knives. The key component to this mechanism is a side spring bar located on the same side as sharp edge of the blade, “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When fully opened, the tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. To disengage a liner lock, you have to use your thumb to push the spring bar down so that it clears contact form the butt of the blade. This lets you use your index finger to push the blade just enough so that it keeps the bar pushed down so you can remove your thumb from the blade path, then continue to safely close the knife. One of the advantages to this mechanism is that it allows a knife to have two true handle sides.
Drop Point Version:
The blade on this knife is 3.624 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.136 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.438 inches and has a closed length of 4.828 inches. This version of the knife weighs in at 4.4 ounces.
The blade on this knife is 3.614 inches long with a thickness of 0.148 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.375 inches long and sports a closed length of 4.829 inches. This knife weighs in at 4.8 ounces.
These knives were designed by Matthew Lerch. The blade will hold a very sharp edge for long periods of time and the handles are durable as well as completely ambidextrous. The locking system will guarantee that the blade doesn’t fold on your hand while in the middle of use and the 4 way positional pocket clip is the cherry on top of it all. Pick yours up today at BladeOps.