Pros: Pocket Clip, Ease of Opening, Handle Feel, Overall Quality, Weight, Lock Ease of Use, Lock Type
Cons: Handle Material, Blade Sharpness, Handle Feel, Lock Type, Blade Material, None
Split Personalities: To Be a Utility Knife, or To Be a Tactical Knife?
I have carried this model off-and-on for some time, and it's one of my favorite CRKT's. Due to it's price and materials, I consider it a "beater" or "workhorse" knife. But a very good one!The blade is AUS 8, which definitely leaves something to be desired in terms of edge-retention (most of all), and corrosion resistance (close 2nd), however the low price of the knife makes these shortcomings permissible. The design of the blade itself is beautiful and practical; a slight recurve and belly for extra slicing capability (but more difficult to sharpen), a great swedge, and a spear-like point which is a thing of beauty. It is very thick along it's spine, which is mostly intended for tactical reasons, and gives it extra strength. The frost finish is beautiful, and the high-hollow grind gives it great slicing capabilty while retaining the strength not seen in full-flat grind blades for torsional resistance. The blade does reflect somewhat, but not a lot. It arrives from the manufacturer somewhat sharp, but nowhere near razor-sharp, and this seems to be the norm for CRKT.The handle is Aluminum with a grey coating. It is slightly slick and not tactile at all, however its shape is very comfortable, although unnaturally straight, as is the norm for CRKT. A handle with a slight curve to it would make usage and handling both easier and more ergonomic. The liner-lock, flipper, and top-rear of the blade all have jimping for grip, but the flipper is the only thing that might actually stay the hand from touching the blade. Both the flipper and the thumb studs (also functional blade-stops) easily deploy the blade, but the thumb studs require a little practice because they are flush with the handle, however they do work fine for anyone with any skill. The handle is skeletonized yet still heavy, as the balance of the knife lies immediately to the rear of the lock, and it is a strong handle. No spacers or glass breaker. Either would be a welcome addition, but would throw off the great balance of course.The clip is situated right-hand, tip-down only. This is a big disappointment as CRKT is usually good about having at least two, often four, positions for pocket-clip carry. However, this knife deploys so fast as to make this a practical redundancy. Torx screws hold the knife together, and it is easy to take apart and clean as needed. The tolerances and washers inside the lock are very smooth for easy open and closing.The auto-LAWKS locking system is a thing of beauty. It is extra peace of mind, however it does not seem to be an absolute guard against failure, although an admittedly ingenious one. Much much better than the manual-LAWKS system, which seems to be just for show as it is easily forgotten/disengaged.The blade has some minimal play when it's open, and to cut down on it, the lock screw must be tightened almost to the point of impracticality. This is simply due to the design, and not the craftsmanship. However, it is very manageable and definitely within acceptable parameters. You get what you pay for with this knife, and it is a great design and of good make. However, for it to get 5 stars from me it'd need the "dual flippers" we see on the SPECOPS CRKTS, which act much like the wave feature on Emersons, deploying the knife "automatically" by catching on the pocket; it'd need a much better blade steel (154CM?); it'd need a more solid/more simple locking system such as Benchmade's AXIS or Spyderco's BBL; it would need holes for all four pocket-clip carry positions; and it would need a more tactile handle. I would be willing to pay twice for these improvements.This blade is just under 4", and it is "huge" to people who are not used to carrying a knife, but it is simply "large, I guess" to people who are used to carrying a knife. It is a hair's breadth under illegal length for concealed carry in most jurisdictions, thus barely legal. It would make an excellent tactical self defense knife, but it is also very much a utility knife. It does not accomodate deep carry and is blatantly obvious in the pocket, but it is easily concealable under clothes. For the price, you can't go wrong with it. I would recommend it for civilian urban utility-work usage & self defense usage, however military/LE/tactical types will likely want to go with a more blacked out blade, like the M21-14SF. I do not recommend it for any kind of serious outdoors/backcountry usage as due to its design, it fouls up and gets dirt/sand/mud in its workings in a blink of an eye, which render it much less useful in such circumstances. Take a fixed blade for outdoor adventures. I would recommend it; the shortcomings are permissible with it's low price, and it's a workhorse.