Columbia River Knife and Tool, Inc. or CRKT is an American knife company established in 1994. This company is currently based in Tualatin, Oregon.
CRKT was founded in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of these people were formerly employed with Kershaw Knives. The company did not truly take off until the 1997 Shot Show when the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) knife was introduced. The small folder, designed by Ed Halligan, was a success. Within the opening days of the show, the years’ worth of the product was sold out.
The company produces a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi-tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems. CRKT has collaborated with custom knife makers such as 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.
CRKT owns fifteen patents and patents pending. These include the Outburst Assist Opening Mechanism, Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff-Serrated edges.
CRKT says, “From day one, we put innovation and integrity first. We made a commitment to build knives and tools that would inspire and endure. We collaborate with the best designers in the world and operate on a simple principle: that the greatest thing we can give our customers is Confidence in Hand.”
Today we will be talking about one of CRKT’s newest knives, the M16-04KS.
This knife was designed by Kit Carson who is from Vine Grove, Kentucky. CRKT says, “Kit retired as a ranking Master Sergeant and ultimately became a high profile member of the Knife Makers’ Guild. Kit designed the successful M16 knife series named one of the Top 10 Tactical Folders of the Decade by Blade Magazine. Inducted into the Cutlery Hall of Fame in 2012, Kit’s industry influence was felt far and wide. He even mentored such greats as Ken Onion. Kit passed in 2014. The Carson family requests that donations be made to the National Parkinson foundation at Parkinson.org.”
The blade on this knife is made out of 12C27 Sandvik steel. The company Sandvik says, “Sandvik 12C27 is Sandvik’s most well-rounded knife steel with excellent edge performance allowing razor sharpness, high hardness, exceptional toughness, and good corrosion resistance.” This steel has a hardness range of 54-61 HRC, high toughness, extreme sharpness, and good corrosion resistance. This steel is the perfect option for hunting knives, camping knives, high-end chef’s knives, and tactical knives. Since this CRKT knife is designed to be your regular everyday carry knife, just imagine the quality that this steel will bring to the blade. It stands up well to liquids, is durable, is tough, is strong, and maintains an edge well.
The blade has been finished with a black oxide finish, which is a conversion coating formed by a chemical reaction. When the steel is heated to around 285 degrees F, there is a reaction between the iron of the ferrous alloy and the hot oxide bath that actually produces a magnetite on the surface of the blade. Some of the advantages to coating your blade is that it cuts down on glares and reflections while increasing the lifespan of the knife. This is because there is now a barrier between the high quality steel and the environment. Every challenge in the environment hits the coating and cannot touch the blade. The drawback to having a coated blade is that the coating is going to scratch off after time.
The blade shape is a modified tanto style. While an original tanto blade is not designed to work as an everyday knife, this modified version is. The tanto blade shape was originally designed for armor piercing, but was popularized by Cold Steel. The shape is still similar in style to Japanese long and short swords. Just like the regular tanto blade shape, this one does have a high point with a flat grind, which gives you a crazy strong point. The strong tanto point has been designed for stabbing into hard materials; this is because the point does have a lot of metal near the tip. Because of the excess metal, it can absorb the impact from repeated piercing or hard piercing that would cause most other knives to break. On a normal tanto blade, the front edge will meet the back edge at an angle, rather than a curve, which means that there is no belly. On this modified tanto, the blade does have a slight belly that you can use for some slicing. However, it does still meet at more of an angle than the blades designed for a belly, so you do still have a very strong tip. While this modified tanto does have the typical strength, it does have a very slight belly for your day-to-day tasks.
Like all the best EDC knives, this one does have a plain blade. Because of this, you can get a finer edge that will be easier to sharpen. You are also better equipped to take on a wider variety of tasks, which is ideal for your EDC knife.
The handle is made out of 2Cr13 steel. This steel is incredibly strong and because of how non-porous it is; it reduces the onset of corrosion easily. This style of steel is particle-reinforced for added strength and resilience. This is a tough handle that is going to be able to take a beating. No matter what comes your way throughout your daily life, there is not concern that the handle is going to fall apart.
The handle is very unique. It is skeletonized by having four large circular cut outs in the handle. These holes keep the weight of the knife down; without them, this large knife would be much too heavy to be considered an everyday carry knife.
The spine of the handle is straight until the very end where it curves to form the butt of the handle. The belly of the handle has one bulge that is in the middle of the handle. This creates good ergonomics that fit your hand comfortably, even if you are using it for long periods of time. While there is no finger groove or guard, the flipper is going to protect your fingers and keep them safe from getting cut if you do slip.
The portion of the handle that meets the blade is completely rounded so that when the knife is closed it looks circular. The pivot joint is textured differently than the handle to contrast.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is also black, which makes this an all-black knife. The clip is just as unique as the handle, with three large circular cut outs, similar to the handle. This is a more arrow shaped clip, so it will attach a little more securely onto your pocket. The top of the clip is rounded, and kept in place by three black screws that round with the curve. The black screws match the rest of the hardware on this knife. Unfortunately, the clip is not a deep carry clip, so it is not going to be as secure in your pocket as it could be. However, that deduction is quickly made up because the clip is four-way reversible. You can attach this clip for either tip up or tip down carry and for either left or right handed carry. This helps to make the knife more fully ambidextrous.
This is a manual folding knife that is equipped with both a thumb stud and a flipper opening mechanism. The M16-04KS also has a frame locking mechanism.
Because it is a manual knife, you don’t have to worry about the strict laws that surround automatic knives. However, you do still need to know all of your local laws. BladeOps is not responsible for any consequences. The thumb stud is what it sounds like—a small barrel shaped stud that sits where a nail nick would. You use your thumb to push this knife open. The flipper is a skeletonized circular piece of the blade that is part of the blade. This section extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. You can use your finger to pull back on, or flip, this knife opened, where it will lock into place. Since the knife is equipped with both of these opening mechanisms, I will compare and contrast the two, but you can still play around with both to see which you would prefer to use. The stud allows you to comfortable open the knife with one hand. However, the stud will also put your hand very close to the blade. There have been plenty of stories about people cutting themselves while trying to open the blade. Be cautious while you get used to this opening mechanism. The flipper also allows you to open the knife with one hand, but it does keep your hand at a safe distance from the blade. Plus, once the knife is opened, the flipper acts as a finger guard.
The frame lock mechanism is very similar to a liner lock, except that the frame lock uses the handle to form the frame and the lock. The handle will have two sides is much thicker than the liner of most locks. Exactly like the liner lock, the frame lock is placed with the liner inward and the tip engaging the bottom of the blade. To release the frame lock, you apply pressure to the frame to move it away from the blade. When the knife is open, the pressure on the lock will force it to snap across the blade, which will engage it at its furthest point. Frame locks are known for their strength and thickness, so you will know that they are durable, reliable, and won’t fail you.
The blade on this CRKT knife measures in at 3.871 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.134 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 5.337 inches long. When this folding knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 9.313 inches long. The M16-04KS weighs in at 6.2 ounces. While this is a heavier knife, it is also a lot larger than your typical EDC knives. For the size of it, because of the skeletonized handle, this is actually a lighter knife.
When describing this knife, CRKT says, “Homage: Paid. The M16 is the most popular series that CRKT has ever seen. We’re humbled to do right by the revered Kit Carson with this new iteration of a legendary tactically-inspire everyday carry folding knife. This one is more than just a fresh take on a classic. It’s a true tribute to one of the greats. The late Kit Carson designed this and many of his other groundbreaking knives in his shop in Vine Grove, Kentucky. Kit’s lasting legacy comes from his influence on the knife industry—he’s known for popularizing the flipper which is now a household component. Beyond that, he’s also remembered for his esteemed ranking as a Master Sergeant and his high-profile membership in the Cutlery hall of Fame. The M16-04KS keeps all we love of Kits original tactically-inspired everyday carry folding knife and adds a substantial tanto blade complete with a durable black oxide finish. With its hardy frame lock, it’s securely held in place in the midst of whatever job you put in front of it while the stainless steel handle bored with five holes keep clean and light. With the M16 reissue, we’re honoring a legend the best way we know how.” The Sandvik steel is going to be tough, durable, and very resistant to corrosion, which does keep maintenance down. The handle is made out of stainless steel that is very corrosion resistant, which means that the entire knife is going to be low maintenance. You can pick up this brand new knife today at BladeOps and have your new go-to everyday carry knife.