CRKT Goken Knife Review

CRKT Goken

Columbia River Knife and Tool, Inc. or CRKT is an American knife company. This company was founded in 1994 by Paul Gillespi and Rod Bremer. Both of these people were previously employed with Kershaw Knives, which is where they really got their base for knife making. Their company did not really take off until the 1997 Shot Show when the K.I.S.S 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. They sold at 4-5 times original production numbers resulting in a tripling of production efforts.

Three years after their company really took off, US Customs seized a shipment of 80,000 CRKT folding knives worth more than $4.3 million. All of these models seized had always passed every Custom test in prior situations. The shipment that cleared once, but was then revoked was revoked because the inspector decided that the knives acted a little too much like switchblades. In the end, CKRT had to get a letter signed by an Oregon congresswoman and a Senator that petitioned the head of Customs to aid CKRT. CRKT did get their shipment back, but not before they lost $1 million in sales and had to spend tens of thousands on legal fees. After they overcame this roadblock, they have had a pretty smooth road ever since.

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. Some of the most popular patents include the Outburst Assist Opening Mechanism, Lock Back Safety mechanism, and Veff-Serrated edges.

Today we will be talking about the CRKT Goken, which is one of their newer knives.


The Designer:

The Goken was designed by James Williams, who is rom Encinitas, California. CRKT says, “You don’t want to mess with Sensei James Williams. Trust us. A former U.S. Army officer with more than 50 years of experience in the martial arts, he developed The System of Strategy. It’s a unique approach to unarmed combat that he teaches to Special Operations units and law enforcement worldwide. When he is armed, though, you’ll find him brandishing blades he’s created, like the Hisshou® and Hissatsu™ fixed blades, the Shizuka noh Ken™, and the now-legendary Hissatsu™ folder.”


The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of 1.4116 stainless steel. This steel is a softer steel, which has its benefits as well as its disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage that accompanies the soft steel is that it is not going to hold its edge for long periods of time or very well. However, the advantages are that it is an excellent steel for beginner sharpeners. And although you do have to sharpen this steel often, you are going to always be able to get a razor sharp edge on it. This steel is the steel that is always used in Swiss Army Knives. It is extremely corrosion resistant and very tough. While this isn’t a Swiss Army Knife, and while I wouldn’t recommend doing this, some people have reported cleaning their Swiss Army knives in a dishwasher. Even through the dishwasher, the steel stands up to the water. Again, I do not recommend doing this to the Goken. The steel can be hardened to a 55-57 HRC.

The blade on this knife has been coated with a black EDP Coating. This stands for Electro Deposit Primer. This coating is applied electrically and is almost like a plating process. This excellent rust-resistant coating can reach for every nook and cranny, which means that you are going to get unparalleled corrosion resistance. Because the blade has been coated, the life of the blade is lengthened considerably. Like all coatings, the EDP coating helps to resist wear and corrosion, while also cutting down on glares and reflections. The biggest disadvantage to coatings is that they do all scratch off after long periods of use or even just heavy use. At that point, you would lose out on all of the coating benefits.

The blade on this knife is unique. The spine of the knife is completely straight, reaching from the handle to the tip in a single, uninterrupted line. The knife does have a slight belly, although it is angled sharply. The blade starts in a straight line, to about one third of the way up the knife. At that point, it angles up toward the tip. You will be able to use this for some slicing, although not a ton. The tip is very fine and very sharp. Because of this, the Goken is going to be exceptional at piercing and stabbing.

The blade does sport a plain edge, which allows you to take on a wider variety of tasks and chores. The plain edge is also going to be easier to sharpen than a serrated edge, because you do not have to worry about the teeth on the knife.


The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of G10. This material is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made out of fiberglass. This material has very similar properties to carbon fiber, although it is slightly inferior to carbon fiber, yet you can get this material for a much smaller cost. Although this material is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, it cannot be injection molded like FRN handles, so it does still have some cost behind it.

To create G10, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in a resin, then compresses them, and bakes them under pressure. The material that they end up with is very tough, very hard, very lightweight, and still very strong. Out of all the fiberglass resin laminates, G10 is considered the strongest. It is even stronger than Micarta, although it is going to be more brittle than Micarta.

Texture can easily be added to the handle, which is going to give you a solid grip. Tactical folders benefit from G10 highly because G10 is durable, lightweight, and non-porous. All of these characteristics help to keep the maintenance time down on this knife.

The handle on this knife is simple. It is mostly rectangular, with the spine stretching from the blade to the butt in an almost perfect line. There is a slight inward curve to better and more comfortably fit inside your palm. The butt is rounded and flared slightly, which does give you a more secure grip on the handle. The belly of the handle is the same as the spine, with a slight curve inward. Although the belly also sports a small finger groove that gives you a comfortable place to rest your fingers and also improve your grip. There are three diagonal grooves slashed across the face of the handle which add texture. You get the majority of your grip from the intense checkered pattern across the entire handle.


The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is held in place by a single black screw that matches the rest of the hardware, the handle, and the blade on the Goken. The pocket clip is a matte black rectangle. The handle has been drilled for either left or right hand carry, although it can only be attached for tip up carry. Because you can switch it for either right or left hand carry, this knife becomes fully ambidextrous. This is also a deep carry clip, which means that it is going to stay more securely in your pocket so you can move about comfortably without worrying about it slipping. The clip bends slightly at the bottom, which further secures it inside of your pocket.


The Mechanism:

This is a manual folding knife with a flipper to help you open the knife. The Goken has also been equipped with a locking liner mechanism and CRKT’s Field Strip technology.

Because this is a manual knife, it will be slightly easier to maintain than an automatic knife. It will also be legal in more states, cities, and areas, because it is not an automatic knife. The flipper on this knife is a rounded sharks fin shaped protrusion that is part of the blade, but does extend out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. To open a knife using a flipper, you manually pull back on this protrusion, which will flip the knife open and lock it into place. The flipper is ambidextrous by design and because it doesn’t extend off of the knife, you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way. One of the biggest benefits to the flipper is that it keeps your fingers out of the way of the path of the blade when you are opening and closing this knife. However, the flipper is a little bit trickier to get used to.

The locking liner is a locking mechanism for folding pocket knives. The locking liner is a folding knife with a side-spring lock that can be opened and closed with one hand without repositioning the knife in the hand. The lock is also self-adjusting for wear. The modern mechanism traces its lineage to the late 19th century, but in the late 1980s the design was improved by American knife maker Michael Walker. The locking liner’s side liner is split form the top toward the bottom, similar to a lock bar, that butts up against the tango of the blade to prevent the blade from closing.

When CRKT is explaining the Field Strip, they say, “The award-winning, breakthrough, “Field Strip” innovation, comes from the shop of legendary knife craftsman Ken Onion.

This no-tool take-apart technology allows for practical and efficient tool cleaning & maintenance in the field. To disassemble: start with the knife in the closed position, push the front release lever up away from the blade, then spin the release wheel on the rear of the handle away from the pivot shaft—once you feel the handle release, pull it up and away from the blade. The knife comes apart in three sections. Reassembly is as easy as reversing the procedure.” This is the ideal technology to have on your tactical knife.

CRKT Goken
CRKT Goken

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.693 inches long with a thickness of 0.136 inches. The handle on this knife measures in at 4.854 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 8.563 inches long. The Goken weighs in at 4.2 ounces, which is an ideal weight for an everyday knife. This knife is not too heavy, but will still give the heft that people want in their knives.



CRKT says about this knife, “Grace of a falcon, grit of a warrior. James Williams is one of the most revered martial artists in America. He brings that discipline and unrivaled know-how to this sleek tactical knife. To round out its powerful capability, it’s privy to Field Strip technology and won’t slow down even in the grittiest conditions. This is what happens when a master takes to making.”

The blade on this knife is made out of a very corrosion resistant steel, which means that maintenance will be a breeze. The steel is also easy to sharpen and you can get a fine edge on it with ease. The blade has been coated with an ultra-corrosion-resistant coating, so you don’t have to worry about your blade rusting when you are in the field. The coating also prolongs the life of the blade while cutting down on glares and reflections. The handle is made out of G10 which is tough, light, and very durable. The pocket clip is reversible, and the flipper helps to make this a fully ambidextrous knife. The Field Strip Technology is just a cherry on top of it all.

You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.


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