Pat’s Product Review: Columbia River Knife Tool / Crimson Trace Tool

As many SurvivalBlog readers know, I like getting as much value for my hard-earned dollars as I can. One of my favorite knife companies that provides value for my dollars is Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT). CRKT has been value driven since their inception about 16 years ago. Their owner, Rod Bremer, continues along those lines today. On top of it all, CRKT has one of the biggest selection of knives and tools on the market today, just check out their latest catalog of more than 95 pages of goodies.
Another thing I like about CRKT is the fact that they were one of the first knife companies to do collaborations with custom knife makers. Rod Bremer is always asking me to keep an eye out for some hot new talent out there, that might be of interest to CRKT. I’ve introduced Bremer to a couple custom knife makers, and they are now doing collaborations with CRKT. What do you, the consumer, get in a collaboration of this type? Well, you get the opportunity to purchase a knife designed by some of the top talent in the knife making field, and you can get that knife or other tool at a price point that is very affordable. Certainly when compared to buying a custom made knife, at hundreds of dollars more. And, make no mistake, CRKT is producing top-quality knives, at very affordable prices.
CRKT teamed up with Crimson Trace Corporation a year or two ago, to produce a couple of quite handy tools. Crimson Trace is the leader in lasers for firearms, and their lasers, unlike some other makers lasers, are all turned on “instinctively” – meaning you don’t have to “think” about turning the laser it – when you grip a firearm properly, the laser comes on. I’ve tested dozens of Crimson Trace products over the years, and have been very impressed with ’em all. And, for those of you who are aware, the guy handling the PR/Marketing for Crimson Trace these days is Iain Harrison – if his name sounds familiar to you, its because he was the winner of the television show “Top Shot” a couple years ago. I’ve talked to Iain and have found him to be a very down-to-earth guy, who loves shooting. And, he’s doing a great job at Crimson Trace promoting their products.
I chose to review the Crimson Trace/Columbia River Knife & Tool, Picatinny Tool for SurvivalBlog readers for this article. My only regret is, I didn’t review this tool sooner than this. Sometimes, reading the copy in a catalog or looking at the photos just doesn’t do it for me, so I passed on requesting a Picatinny Tool sample when CRKT first came out with them. That was foolish of me!
If you own an AR-15 style rifle, with (or without) a Crimson Trace laser on it, you need this tool. I’ll quickly go over what all is on this tool, there is a knife blade, partially serrated, AR ejector pin punch, 8mm wrench, scraper, hex bit driver with small flat head, Phillips, Torx 20 and Hex 3.32 bits .028 and .50 Allen wrenches and a pocket clip. All of this is in a very compact folding knife that easily clips to your pants pocket. And, you don’t need to have a Crimson Trace laser on your AR-15 style rifle to appreciate this Picatinny Tool, either.
If you have a scope on your rifle, the 8mm wrench will help you keep the screws tight on your scope mount. The interchangeable driver bits will also help keep things tight on your rifle as well. If you happen to have a Crimson Trace laser on your AR, then you have two Allen wrenches available to you to adjust the laser’s aim.
One part of an AR that most folks completely neglect is keeping the tail portion of their bolt cleaned up. Now, I have lost track of the number of ARs I’ve seen, that have been well-maintained and properly lubed, with the exception of the tail of the bolt – where carbon builds-up. Sooner or later, that carbon build-up is going to cause a serious malfunction, putting your out of action. I’ve seen some AR bolts where the carbon build-up on the tail was so thick and so burned on, I couldn’t clean it off, no matter how hard I tried – when that happens, it’s best to simply replace the bolt. Honestly, it only takes a minute or two, to scrape the carbon off the tail of the bolt each time you clean your guns, so there’s no reason not to do it. One thing I’ve seen people do is use a brash bore brush for cleaning the carbon off the bolt. Don’t do this! Many folks have lost their gas rings on the bolt – the brass brush catches on the gas rings, and sure enough one or more of the gas rings goes south, never to be found again – putting your AR out of action until you replace the gas rings – and everyone who owns an AR should have three or more spare gas rings.
The Picatinny Tool’s scraper makes quick and easy work when it comes to scraping the carbon build-up off an AR bolt. I know, some folks like to use a fired piece of brass – and it works – but the new Picatinny Tool, with the scraper tool makes the job faster and easier. For this one tool alone, it’s worth the price of the Picatinny Tool.
I’ve also had Crimson Trace lasers get out of adjustment – it doesn’t happen often – but it does happen. And, for the life of me, it takes me forever to find the Allen wrench in my pile of Allen wrenches, to find the right size to adjust the aim on the laser. I have several dozen Allen wrenches, and its a chore to find the one I need. With the Picatinny Tool, you have the size you need on-hand, in your pocket, at all times.
The knife blade on the Picatinny Tool is a combo edge, as already mention. The blade length is 2.75″, which is handy for a lot of small chores. Ever drop your AR on the ground and get a burr on the pistol grip or the stock? Yeah, I’ve do it once or twice myself – I don’t baby my firearms, they are tools. When you get a burr on one of the plastic parts on your AR, you can use the knife blade to cut that little burr off, so it doesn’t irritate your hand or cheek. I know, you say you can take care of this when you get home with a small file – but what if you can’t get home? Yeah, that’s what I thought…
The fold out pin on the Picatinny Tool – great for clearing jams, or for pushing out stiff take-down pins, too. There’s just a lot of different uses for the Crimson Trace/CRKT Picatinny Tool, and you really should have one, if not in your pocket, then at least in your shooter’s box or tool kit when you go to the range.
I always like to save the best for last, and that’s full bolt retail – it’s only $50, and like all CRKT products, you can usually find them deeply discounted at various outlets. I plan on getting a couple more Picatinny Tools for each of my family members – I think it’s “that” important to have.