Today it is unusual to have a manufacturer honor those who serve in uniform with one product, let alone with an entire line devoted to police officers, firefighters, and those in the military. But Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) takes pride in developing products to fit the needs of these public servants. The company's new line of knives, called "For Those Who Serve," is designed to be used daily by cops, soldiers, EMTs, and firefighters.
The top of the line is the M16 series of knives developed by Kit Carson, a well known member of the Knifemakers' Guild. Carson is a retired U.S. Army First Sergeant with 20 years of service in armor and cavalry units. He used his knowledge and experience to make CRKT's M16 family into true working knives.
CRKT M16 knives are available in three sizes and feature spearpoint or tanto-style blades made of high-quality modern steel and T6 hard anodized aluminum or G10 fiberglass composite handles. The handles are formed to fit the hand to yield a solid, safe grip.
A revolutionary aspect of the M16 family's design is the Carson Flipper. This is an extension of the blade that aids in opening and acts as a blade guard. Another safety feature of the M16 line is the Lake and Walker Knife Safety (LAWKS). LAWKS is an external safety that keeps the liner lock from being released and thereby prevents the accidental closing of the blade. If you've used a folding knife for duty, then you probably can attest to the painful experience of a blade closing on the backs of your fingers.
With safety in mind, each M16 blade is laser etched with Gary Paul Johnston's "One Ass to Risk" logo, 1*. Johnston is a retired cop who's served with several SWAT Teams and knows what it is like to be in harm's way. His logo reminds all who serve to "watch your six" and be careful out there. After all, as he says, you only have one ass to risk.
All three of the M16s LE/M/FD are available in three sizes: the 14 Big Dog, 13 Slim Profile, and 12 Little Bulldog. The Big Dog and Little Bulldog come with a modified tanto blade while the Slim Profile has a spearpoint blade to meet the user's needs. All three blade sizes are titanium nitride coated, which makes them corrosion resistant and non-reflective. They are also partially serrated to aid in cutting heavier materials. The size difference in the knives allows the individual to fit the knife to his or her unique body size, carry style, and mission requirements.
Having carried all three sizes of the M16s in a variety of methods, I can say the Big Dog is not meant to be carried in a hip pocket if you are driving all day. It tends to wear on your butt after about an hour. But the Big Dog does carry well in a lower BDU or EMT leg pocket and will easily slice through clothes, seat belts, and many of the other things you might encounter during a day on the job.
The Slim Profile and Little Dog carry well in a pocket or inside the waistband. Even though they are smaller than the Big Dog, the blades on these knives are strong enough to handle something as tough as three-quarter-inch hemp rope and still cut a tomato for your sandwich. So the old saying, "good things come in small packages," holds true and usefulness is not sacrificed by size.
Columbia River Knife and Tool has hit a home run for duty knives with the M16 family. All of the little things that these knives incorporate-from finish, to handle design, to the low profile pocket, show that these are work knives. For the financial manager of the house, the good news is the knives list for $89.99 for the Big Dog and $79.99 for the Slim Profile and Little Bulldog. Affordability, looks, function; that's a package that adds up to real value in a duty knife.
Columbia River Knife & Tool
M16 Big Dogac
Blade Length: 3.94 inches
Overall Length: 9.25 inches
Weight: 4.9 ounces
Blade Material: AUS8 stainless steel
Handle Material: Hard anodized aluminum
Scott Smith is a former military policeman and U.S. Army Ranger.