CRKT Ramadi Knife, by Pat Cascio

As a knife designer myself, I know what goes into designing the “perfect” knife, be it a folder or a fixed blade. When you take a close look at many of the CRKT knives, you probably say “Gee, nothing special about this one…” Well, nothing could be further from the truth. A knife has to have a certain style, and it must perform as designed, and that is easier said than done.

I designed a specialized fixed blade fighting knife – a double-edge fighter…and my friend, Brian Wagner made the prototypes. Again, easier said than done. However, I had a lot of faith in Brian – I saw his many designs and I knew he was the man for the job – we were of one mind, as to what I wanted. After several prototypes, Brian had nailed my design. From start to finish, it was two years from start to finish to get the design on the market – through CRKT. They marketed it as the OC3.

I like big fixed blade knives, however, they aren’t always needed for some tasks at hand. So, we reach for a folder, and that will get the job done. However, a smaller fixed blade knife can usually get the job done better. Enter the Ramadi, designed by custom knife maker, Darrin William Sirois, out of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Sirois, is a former Green Beret, who retired with the rank of Sergeant Major – no small task to be sure. It is difficult to get this rank in the Special Forces, where promotions are notoriously slow.

The Ramadi, is, as mentioned, a fixed blade knife, that has a 3.37-inch blade, made out of SK-5 carbon steel. Used to be a time, many years ago, I only wanted knives made out of 440-C stainless steel, and it is still a good choice. However, the SK-5 carbon steel takes and holds an edge a good long time, plus it is much easier to re-sharpen. CRKT has a black coating on the blade, that will help repel corrosion.

The Ramadi has a blade thickness of 0.17-inches, and it is 8.50-inches in overall length. It weighs in at 5.6-ounces and the handle scales are G10, and are desert sand in color – great looking knife. The sheath is polymer and should last a lifetime. The blade design is a recurve drop point, and this is one of the best blade designs you can have for a multitude of different tasks. My OC3 – was a double edge blade and was meant for combat. However a lot of purchasers loved it as a hunting blade – go figure. The Ramadi can be used for a variety of cutting chores and even though the blade is short, in a pinch, it can sure be used for self-defense.

When I turned over the OC3 design prototype that Brian Wagner made, I specified that the blade be made out of carbon steel, and I also wanted the knife to sell for $150 or less, so it would be affordable to our men and women in uniform. They surely are not paid enough for all they do to keep us safe, and CRKT came in with a full-retail price of $125 – excellent!! I wish it were still in production, as I continue to get requests from military personnel for this knife. Such is life!

The Ramadi has a full-tang blade – it runs all the way through the handle scales, and when the blade meets the handle scales, it has friction grooves, for a sure hold on the knife, with the thumb on top of the blade. There is also a lanyard hole on the rear of the handle – on top – and adding a lanyard to a fixed blade knife is never a bad idea.

Some Tough Tests

I don’t normally torture test knives and firearms, as they are built tough to start with. However, I put the Ramadi to some testing, when I threw it at a tree – numerous times – I only managed to get it to stick one time. It is not a good idea to throw away your firearm or knife. However, I did throw this dandy fixed blade knife more times than I could count. The tip of the blade did not get bent out of shape. I also placed the knife between two bricks, and jumped up and down on it – the Ramadi kept its shape – outstanding! I did a lot of cutting – the knife came razor sharp out-of-the-box, and it came through with flying colors, no matter what I used it on – the blade stayed sharp. However, at the end of my testing, I did touch up the edge of the blade – even though it didn’t need it.

I’m old school military – enlisted in 1969 and I trained with the old A.L.I.C.E. web gear – and I prefer it over much of today’s combat gear. One minor complaint that I have on the Ramadi and my own OC3 is the attachment set-up for the sheath on a pistol belt. The attaching method is with an outstanding clip, that allows you to carry the knife is many different positions. However, it will not fit on an old-fashioned pistol belt. So, if you’re like me, you have to carry the Ramadi in a position other than on a pistol belt – easy enough to adjust to your needs.

On a personal note, there is just “something” about the Ramadi, that calls to you, and I find myself playing with it. It just seems to fit my hands in any number of knife fighting styles. The fencing grip is the most used, and your hand just hugs the knife, or maybe the knife hugs your hand. But once you pick one up, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

CRKT has a program that they call “Forged By War” and certain knife designs, by certain designers, contribute a portion of their royalties to this program. It is designed to help veterans overcome some of the trauma of war that they experienced.

I know that a lot of company Commanding Officers, or those with field grade ranks don’t like to see their soldiers carrying great big “killing” knives – and I have a real problem with this. If a military man or women wants to carry a big knife into combat, then why stop them? Many COs will allow smaller fixed blade knives to be carried into combat, and even big folding knives. However, for my money, a smaller fixed blade knife is better than a folder.

Now, when it comes to wilderness survival, you sure don’t need a great big “Rambo” fixed blade knife—oftentimes, a shorter blade will serve your needs a lot better—just my two cents worth. It all comes down to the user—and what matters most is your confidence in a knife—what feels better in your hand. Remember, ounces add up to pounds, and you don’t want to carry more pounds of gear than you need to carry.

Also, please keep in mind that, no folding knife, will ever be as strong as a fixed blade knife—and a fixed blade knife will only rarely come apart and loosen on you under hard use.

The Ramadi knife is produced in CRKT’s factory in Taiwan. That is Free China, at least for now, as the mainland PRC government keeps threatening to invade. It has a full retail price of $87. However, like most CRKT products it can be found for less money on the Internet. This really is a lot of knife, in a very small package at a great price. And, even if you paid full retail for one, then you are still getting a great deal. But shop the ‘net before you lay down your hard-earned cash. This is one sweet, fixed-blade knife for combat or survival use. Additionally, regularly carrying one on your belt is a good idea too—just know the laws in your own state, on carrying knives. Here in Oregon, I see guys carrying fixed blade knives on their belts all the time in the stores and parking lots—no one gives a second glance at this.

An aside: My oldest daughter, who is the security manager, at a big box store, early in her career, stopped a shoplifter, and he was determined not to return back inside the store, and he pulled a fixed-blade knife and was ready to use it. My oldest daughter holds a second-degree Black Belt and knows how to defend herself. She had this guy on the ground in no time at all. But this particular chain of stores does not allow this sort of thing…she had to have a “coaching” before she was allowed to come back to work… “don’t do that again…” sort of thing.

Not much more to report about the Ramadi, other than it really caught my attention when I took it out of the box. I now have a twin to this knife—I like it “that” much.

This is a brand-new design this year for CRKT—I had read nothing about it—just told ‘em to send it to me, before they sold out—and I’m sure this one will be a hot seller for CRKT, as word gets out about it. Get your hands on one before they sell out and you have to wait for a new shipment. You’ll be glad that you did!