CRKT Strafe Fixed Blade Knife Review

Born in Oregon in 1994, Columbia River Knife and Tool is an American company known for distinction in design, selection, and quality. For more than 20 years, CRKT has put innovation and integrity first, making a commitment to build products that inspire and endure. CRKT operates on a simple principle: that the greatest thing they can give their customers is Confidence in Hand. To do this, they have been collaborating with the best knife designer sin 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, Steven Ryan, and the Graham Brothers. Out of these collaborations have been born plenty of groundbreaking and innovative inventions. CRKT now owns fifteen patents and patents pending. Some of these patents include the Outburst Assist Opening Mechanism, the Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff Serrated edges.

CRKT was founded by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of these men had been formerly employed by Kershaw knives. And while they did found this company is 1994, it took until 1997 to truly take off. It was at the Shot Show of 97 that they introduced the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) knife. This was a small folder that Ed Halligan had designed and it was a massive success. Within the opening days of the show, the years’ worth of the product had sold out. They sold at 4-5 times the original production numbers, resulting in a tripling of production efforts. They now produce a wide range of fixed blades and folding knives, multi tools, sharpeners, and carrying systems.

CRKT has a fixed blade called the Strafe. This is the knife that we will be going over today.

 

The Designer:

The man behind the Strafe is Lucas Burnley. He is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. When you ask Lucas what drew him to the knife world as a teenager, he’ll tell you it was stories of survival, off path adventures with his father, and a healthy dose of action movies. Over the years, he has experimented with a broad range of styles to artfully combine classical examples with modern materials and techniques, such as with his Obake knife. Luas believes knives are a personal expression of independence, and CRKT couldn’t agree more with him.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Strafe is made out of 8CR13MoV steel. This is Chinese steel that comes from the Cr series of steels. Out of all the formulas in the series, 9Cr steel is the highest quality, with 8Cr steel falling shortly behind it. If you were trying to compare a steel with 8Cr steel, the most similar would be AUS 8 steel. However, out of the two, AUS 8 is the higher quality steel. 8Cr steel is considered a stainless steel, but it is not as premium as some stainless steels. This means that while it will work to resist rusting or corroding, you will have to keep up on your maintenance after working with your knife. It is a softer steel, so it will be easy to sharpen. And, as a bonus, it does maintain an edge for long periods of time. The hardness level that this steel has is HRC 56-58.  The biggest advantage that this steel boasts is how inexpensive it is. Keep in mind that you do get what you pay for though, so while this steel is a tough steel that is going to be able to tackle many tasks, it is steel an average rated steel.

The finish on the Strafe’s blade is a stonewash finish. This finish is created by tumbling the steel around with an abrasive material, which is usually small stones. After the blade has been tumbled around, it is removed, smoothed out, and polished over. This finish creates a very textured, well-worn look. It gives you a classy style while still looking rugged. The biggest advantage about the stonewash finish is that it preserves the look of the blade over time. Because this finish looks so textured, it easily hides scratches and smudges that the blade will accumulate over time.

The blade on the Strafe has been carved into a drop point blade shape.

CRKT Strafe Fixed Blade
CRKT Strafe Fixed Blade

This is one of the most popular blade shapes on the market today and for good reason: it is a great all-purpose knife that can stand up to almost anything. One of the most common places that you are going to find this style of blade is one a hunting knife, but you will also find it on many other types of knives, such as Swiss army knives. To form the shape of the knife, the back, or unsharpened, edge of the knife runs straight form the handle to the tip of the knife in a slow curved manner, which creates a lowered point. The lowered point is what gives you such great control over the knife and it helps to add strength to the tip. And while the tip on a drop point is definitely not as sharp as the tip on a clip point, it does have exponential strength. Because of the tip strength and ability to hold up to heavy sue, drop point blades are a popular option on tactical and survival knives. The reason that drop point knives are so popular on hunting knives is because of how easily controlled the blade is. The lowered, controllable point makes it easier to avoid accidentally nicking internal organs and ruining the meat. One of the reasons that this blade shape is such a versatile blade shape is because of the large belly area that provides plenty of length for slicing.  There are almost no disadvantages to the drop point blade except for its relatively broad tip, which makes it less suitable for piercing than the clip point blade shape—which is a similar shape. But, you do need to keep in mind that it is that point strength that allows it to stand up to such heavy duty tasks that the clip point blade shape would not be able to withstand. When you choose a knife with a drop point, you are choosing a knife that can be used in almost any situation, whether it is the expected or the unexpected that you are facing.

The edge on the Strafe is a plain edge. This is the more traditional edge style that you can get and it is easier to sharpen and you can get a finer edge on it.

 

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of Glass Reinforced Nylon, or GRN. This is a thermoplastic material which is super strong, resistant to bending, abrasion, and is practically indestructible. And even more, it’s super cheap! This is such a strong material because in GRN the nylon fibers are arranged haphazardly throughout which results in it being strong in all directions. This is a similar material to G 10, carbon fiber, and Micarta, except that the fibers in those other materials are arranged in a single direction. This is the reason that those other materials are so brittle, when the fibers are stressed in any direction other than the one that they are arranged in, they break down and fall apart. You don’t have to worry about that problem with GRN. With the fibers arranged in all different directions, it won’t break down when it is stressed in any direction. However, many knife lovers did not warm up to this material because they felt like it was cheap and somewhat hollow. Another drawback to this material is that it is not as “grippy” as G 10. This is an inexpensive material to produce because it can be injection molded into any desired shape and textured in a multitude of way in the production process. All these characteristics lends well to high volume manufacturing and hence the low cost. One of the other major benefits about GRN is that it has almost zero maintenance.

The handle is black and has been textured with extreme grip. This grip will give you a secure hold even in the wetter environments. While there is not a big finger groove, there is a finger guard to protect your fingers from slipping and getting cut. The handle is not as curved as other handles that you can find, but it does have a small curve to fit well in your palm to provide you with a comfortable grip over long periods of time.

 

The Mechanism:

The Strafe is a fixed blade. There is a definite battle going on between whether a folding knife or a fixed blade is the correct way to go. In all honesty, it really does come down to preference and what tasks you are expecting to perform with your knife. And while a fixed blade comes with a wide array of advantages, let’s be candid about the disadvantages for just a second. For starters, they are harder to carry and conceal. Secondly, fixed blades are usually regarded as tools for violent causes instead of a tool to help get jobs done. Third, a well-constructed folding knife is just as tough as a fixed blade would be.

But now, let’s talk about all of the crazy benefits that you are going to gain when you choose to carry a fixed blade. For starters, they are strong and big. You can really find a fixed blade in any size that you are looking for—from a small, handy knife to a monster blade. No matter what size you choose though, the same strength is going to be behind the blade. The second advantage is that they don’t break down easily because there are no moving parts on a fixed blade. Third, they are easier to maintain—cleaning is straightforward and simple. All you have to do with a fixed blade is wipe it down, because there is no moving, small, or inward parts on a fixed blade. Fourth, the blades on fixed blades are longer, but still stronger than on a folding knife. Fifth, they can be used for superior tactical use. Fixed blades can be brought into play much faster than a folding knife during tactical situations. Sixth, fixed blades make for a superior survival tool. This tool can perform much more than just cutting, they can dig, split, prepare food, be used in first aid, be used as a hunting weapon, hammering, and even as a prying tool.

While you might not be quite warmed up to the idea of having a fixed blade knife being your go-to, there are so many reasons to choose the Strafe as your favorite knife.

 

The Sheath:

The sheath that comes with this knife is made out of Glass Reinforced Nylon, just like the handle is. This will provide you with a very strong, durable sheath that will last as long as your knife. The sheath comes in black.

 

The Specs:

The blade on the Strafe is 4.612 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.184 inches long. The overall length of this knife is 9.5 inches long and it weighs in at 6.5 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

When CRKT was talking about the Strafe they said, “Stealth like a ninja, power like a .50 cal. The Strafe tactical fixed blade is born of both an admiration for sleek Japanese designs and a fascination with US military combat blades. The blade shape is influenced by a classic tanto style and the slight design makes this knife swift in motion and extremely lightweight to carry. The field is full of unsuspected variables; the Strafe is built to address every last one. Lucas Burnley of Albuquerque, New Mexico built the Strafe to be the ultimate modern filed knife with traditional, classic undertones. It’s first and foremost a field utility knife, but it’ll always be there to run sweep. The lean, angular blade shape is rooted in its Japanese tanto heritage and is finished with a sleek stonewash finish. When matched with diamond cross section grip and shadow boxed scales, it looks like a relic fit for a display case, but this is a powerful and capable beast that doesn’t belong in a cage. The tough polypropylene sheath features a j hook accessory so it remains poised and at the ready at all times. In a combat situation, every second counts. The sleek, swift Strafe eats milliseconds for breakfast.” Pick yours up today at BladeOps.

 

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