COLUMBIA RIVER KNIFE AND TOOL (CRKT)
First up we are going to talk about the CRKT M1614DSFG. The reason we are starting with the M16 style is because, in it’s many styles, it is reported as one of the best selling tactical knives to military personnel.
There are many good, and a few bad, points to this tanto knife. I like the size, it’s bigger than the regular M16 and it has good balance. It is heavier so you may want to keep that in mind if weight is a concern. It is razor sharp out of the box, opens quickly, and comes with CRKT’s autoLAWKS safety locking system that keeps it from closing on your hand. The other thing I really like about this folder is the 4-position pocket clip that you can move to your favorite carry position, left, right, tip up, or tip down. These are also some of the best affordable folding knives as they are in the 45-60 dollar range.
Ok, that’s the good, so here’s the bad. A small drawback to this knife is all the holes in the handle. I’ll admit, I like the way they look. They have a classic retro airplane rivet look to them that appeals to me. However, these holes attract lint and dirt, and I can see them filling up with mud in wet weather so keeping this knife clean is going to be an issue. The autoLAWKS system, while keeping your hand safe from the blade closing on it, is kind of a backup to the liner lock on this knife. You have to flip down the autoLAWKS to disengage it to close the knife and it takes some getting used to. Especially if you’re wearing gloves.
One other thing to remember is that CRKT knives are counterfeited a lot and the counterfeits look and feel real but they are made with lesser products. Be careful where you purchase your knife and make sure that you’re getting the real thing.
Finally I want to address the serrations on the blade of this folding knife. I’m not a fan of the Veff serrations. I have to agree with several other reviewers I’ve seen that the serrations are just too thin and fragile. Too many people have reported too many problems with them bending and chipping for me to order a knife with them on it. I’ve also seen them first hand on my buddy’s My Tighe and his were bent and chipped. I think they look really cool but I would take standard serrations that work over these.
My personal preference for a folding knife in this style is the M1614D. It has most of the same features as the above knife and it has the standard serrations on the blade. It does only have one flipper though, not two. My issue with the second flipper is that it catches on things I’m trying to get out of my pocket but I have to say I love the fact that the M1614DSFG has a true hilt.
For the price range that these folders fall in, all things considered, both of these knives are solid excellent choices in a tactical folder. Yes, I have issues with the serrations, but if the serrations aren’t something you think you’ll use much then I certainly wouldn’t let it hold me back from buying this knife.
Next up we have the Spyderco Military G-10. As the story is told by Spyderco, This knife came about after someone asked Spyderco’s owner Sal Glesser, “If your son were going into the military what folding knife would you send him with?” His answer to that question is this knife.
The blade is one of my favorites, CPM-S30V and it comes razor sharp and ready to go to work. The other thing I really like is the texture they put on the G-10 handle. It’s just rough enough that it doesn’t get slippery when it gets wet and not so rough that if you carried it inside your waistband it would be uncomfortable. This knife is also nice and light weighing in at just 4.2 ounces. You can get it in a carbon fiber handle with Crucible Steel’s CPM-S90V exotic alloy blade that weighs just 4.0 ounces as well.
As incredible as this military tactical folding knife is, there is one thing you need to consider before you purchase it. This is a LARGE folding knife, perfect for a bug out bag. The overall length on this big boy is 9 1/2 inches and even closed it’s still 5 1/2 inches long! That means you’re going to have to take into account how deep the pocket is that you want to carry it in.
One final cautionary remark about this knife, there is a number of people out there that have cut themselves learning how to open it. Remember… let’s be careful out there.
I recently bought a SpeedSafe equipped Kershaw Blur with an S30V blade. I love this knife. The rough texture of the trac-tec inserts really help you keep a good grip. This thing was razor sharp right out the box and when you open it, it has a satisfyingly solid “thwack” sound.
I really like the no-nonsense thumb studs. They have a ribbed pattern cut into them and you place your thumb on the flat part of the thumbstud to push the blade open. Very effective and very secure feeling.
When researching this knife before I bought it, I read some reviews that said they felt that the pocket clip was too tight. I can verify that it is pretty tight, and with the rough texture of the inserts I can see it tearing up the pocket on my jeans with repeated use. I’m hoping that with use it will loosen up a bit.
This knife also comes with a tanto style blade and with different styles of handles. But these have blades made from Sandvick 14C28N steel not S30V.
I’ll be posting an update on this knife the more it gets used in a real world environment so stay tuned.
UPDATE: After a year of use this knife is still holding up great. The pocket clip did loosen up a little over time but it did scar up the back pocket of my jeans a bit. Even though it’s been beat up some it still feels new and the blade stayed sharp a long time. I’ve only sharpened it twice. I highly recommend this knife and now it’s even cheaper than when I bought it.
AL MAR KNIVES
The ALMAR ALS2K Sere 2000 Stainless Steel knife is an excellent choice in a tactical folder. The original design of this knife was done by AL Mar and Col. Nick Rowe in the early 80’s for the U.S. Army’s SERE school.
These came out several years ago but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who owns one of these and doesn’t love it. They may not be as flashy as some of the newer knives, but they still have some excellent features, such as:
- Smooth action with one handed opening
- Solidly built
- Deep pocket clip with right or left carry
- Dual thumbstuds
- Razor sharp out of the box
- A VG10 Steel blade made in Japan
It is a liner lock style, it weighs about 6 ounces and has a blade length of 3.6 inches.
I’ll be adding to this list as I test out other knives, don’t forget to check out our Top Picks For Combat Survival Knives as well!