CRKT Clever Girl, by Pat Cascio

I can’t keep up with all the CRKT new knife releases that they come out with. Many come out mid-year, and I can’t spend all my time on the ‘net, searching all the web sites, that have products our that might interest SurvivalBlog readers. So, I was surprised when I heard from the CRKT public relations guy who told me about the new Clever Girl folder. This knife really isn’t aimed at the female market, not that a lot of our readers, who are ladies, wouldn’t love this folder…its massive and it will sure get the job done.

Most readers will know that when it comes to folding knives, I like the blade to be between 3.5 inches and 4 inches in length. And, more often than not, a blade on a folder that is 3.75-inches just seems about perfect in my hand for some reason. I’ve been testing and writing about knives for 27 years now. And needless to say, since I got my first knife, when I was about  five years old, I’ve had an interest in many types of knives.

I’m from a time, back in the 1950s, and even into the 1960s, when it was common for school age kids to carry a knife and not for self-defense…we often played games, like throwing a knife – not smart when it’s a folder – they broke – or played Mumbly Peg. And, teachers didn’t think anything of it, when you were on the playground, showing one of your buddies your new folder that you’ve been carrying. How things have changed!  Many states, including my state of Oregon, forbid school aged kids to carry a “weapon” like a knife – and it calls for an automatic one year expulsion if you are caught. Common sense has gone out the window.

My wife’s family runs a 2,000-acre ranch here in Oregon, and like most farm and ranch kids, they carry a folding knife because they actually need it every day for some chores. Now, those kids have to remember to remove a folding knife from their pocket or belt, before going into school. There are still many common sense teachers and school administrators these days, who recognize that farm/ranch kids need a knife, and if “caught” with it, simply confiscate the blade for the day and tell the student to not bring it to school again.

It used to be, that you could drive through the parking lot at a rural school in any farming/ranching community, and see .22 rifles in the back window of a pick-up truck, or a shotgun, that was used for taking birds and rabbits before or after school. Those days are long, long gone, sad to say. I live in a rural area – between two small towns, and we have some farming, and a lot of logging in our area, and it wasn’t all that many years back, that you could drive through the parking lot of Walmart, and spot pick-up trucks with long guns on a rack in the back window. Can’t do that these days, because someone will break the windows to get that gun. But a couple of decades back I would spy a lot of pick-up trucks with the windows opened and doors unlocked, with guns on the rifle rack in the back window — and no one gave it a second thought and attempted to steal those guns. My, my, my, how times have changed — and not for the better.

I Like a Good Folder

I like folding knives, for a couple of reasons, first of all, as a tool – for my own every day chores around my small homestead, it’s not big, but I can usually find a use each day for a good blade, and more often than not, I can be seen with a couple of folding knives – one in each front pocket – for testing for articles. Secondly, I good knife, even a folder, can be used for self-defense, and it doesn’t matter the blade length, even short blades on folders can be used to self-defense. Remember, I have 35 years behind me in the martial arts, and I used to teach not only knife self-defense, but knife attacks to my advanced Black Belt students. And I’m also a knife designer, so I know what knife designs are better than others for use in self-defense if you’re attacked. Not bragging in the least, just stating facts.

So, where did the CRKT Clever Girl come from? Good question. I found out that custom knife maker Austin McGlaun, from Columbus, Georgia came up with it – as well, and the twin – fixed blade knife by the same name. Some stats are in order, or course: The Clever Girl folder,has a blade that is made out of D2 tool steel, and it is 4.084-inches in length – and that is a bit outside the legal limits in some locales for a folding knife blade length, but I seriously doubt any law enforcement officer is going to be able to measure that every so slight longer than 4-inch blade – take it for what its worth. The Clever Girl has a plain edge – not serrated – and is PVD coated – a strong black coating that resists rust and helps give it a stealthy look.  The folding blade also has the Deadbolt locking mechanism, that locks this blade up like you wouldn’t believe…it is strong, super strong – I don’t see this blade ever closing on your fingers by accident.

A D2 Steel Blade

The D2 tool steel blade, opens with a flipper and it is smooth – the IKBS ball bearings make sure of that. And, this blade’s tension was properly set at the CRKT factory – no need to adjust it, when I got it. A simple push on the flipper and the blade flings open, and locks-up very tight – super tight, super strong. The handle scales are made out of black G10, that has serrations, that are milled diagonally, for a sure grip under any weather conditions.

The blade it upswept and the entire knife appears to have a “Persian” dagger look to it. The upswept and curved blade is wicked when it comes to slashing moves in a self-defense situation. Most of the time, a “stabbing” move isn’t what saves the day – if you can slash out at the hands, wrists and arms of an attacker, they will back-off in short order…in other situations, a slash directed toward the throat will end the attack – period! And, more often that not, these days, an attack that is directed at you, doesn’t come from one attacker, more likely, there will be multiple attackers.

I have one slightly negative comment on the G10 handle scales, that stuff is tough, no doubt about it. However, with the diagonal milled serrations in the handle scales, it makes drawing the knife out of your pocket a bit time-consuming because your pocket wants the knife more than your hand does. A simple solution, at least to my way of thinking, was to take some extra-fine sandpaper and take off some of the “sharpness” from the serrations – done deal.

A word on D2 tool steel, not many knife makers produce knives out of D2, it is hard, very hard to work with. However, if done-up right, and they put a good edge on the blade, it will hold that edge for a good long time – a very long time. However, some custom makers know how to make knives, but don’t know how to properly sharpen a blade – then you are stuck with a knife that has a lousy edge and won’t take an edge without re-grinding it. Furthermore, D2 isn’t a stainless steel, it will rust, not easily, but it will rust. So, I was happy to see the  PCD black coating on the blade…still some care should be taken – I like to put on a light coat of Barricade on all my knives and guns, to help fight off any rust.


The Usual Tests

My usual testing, consisted of cutting open cardboard boxes that arrive– almost a daily delivery thing. Plus chopping down those ever pesky blackberry vines…the Clever Girl, with it upswept blade had no problem cleanly slicking through those really thick vines. I cut all manner of rope as part of my testing as well. The D2 blade stood-up to all my testing, and I didn’t need to touch it up at the end of my testing. However, I did take a few minutes to touch it up on a diamond hone – just because. The Clever Girl also has an ambidextrous pocket clip – so the knife can be carried in either front pocket, and its easy enough to swap out, if need be.

I’m still not sure about the Clever Girl moniker that this folder carries, but that really doesn’t matter, does it? This isn’t a cheap, low-end in price folder from CRKT. The CRKT Clever Girl retails for $160. However, if you shop around you can find it for less on the Internet – if you can find one, since they are a hot-seller for CRKT. I’m going to order a second one for someone, very soon – I like it “that” much. Check one out, and I can assure you that you’ll really be impressed with this folder!


  1. I remember regularly carrying a Lone Ranger pocketknife to 1st grade in Washington, DC!

    Until someone stole it from my coat hanging up in the coat room, that is. Never will forget that…

    D2 is a rare, fine tough blade.

  2. I to carried a knife to school every day from the third grade thru college. I did get it taken away in basic training when I was drafted in the Army. The DI told me it was “too sharp”. He did return it when basic training was completed.
    I use a knife almost every day here on the farm. I have all types and sizes for different work. I usually carry a couple of knifes in my pack when hunting. My “Greene River Skinner, “my old buck” that is almost indescribable and a smaller one that I made for caping.
    A man can never have enough good knives.
    It’s too bad we let these left wingers take our knives away from our Kids.
    A great article.
    The Gman

  3. In far suburban St. Louis, in my 6th grade glass, about 1970 we had show and tell on hobbies. The class had no prior knowledge of what one kid was to bring. His hobby was hunting.

    He obtained permission from the teacher that checked with the school principal to bring a double barrel shotgun to school for show and tell. The principal approved with the restrictions that the kid could not bring any ammo to school and the kid had to put the shotgun in the principals office in the morning for safe keeping until show and tell.

    Show and tell happened, the teacher and the kid left the room to retrieve the shotgun, then returned it to the principals office after show and tell. At the end of the school day the kid takes the gun home. No issues, no irate parents. Somewhere society lost discipline and respect for others. We did not have violent video games back then to teach a loss of values.

    If I tell this story to current day teachers, they turn colors and can hardly catch their breath.

  4. “Clever Girl” is a reference to the original Jurassic Park movie. One character (by accent) seems to be Rhodesian or South African, with a safari guide or professional hunter background. When the raptors and other dinos get out, he grabs a combat shotgun and tries to get to the shack where he can turn the power back on. On the way, he realizes the pack of raptors is ahead of him and starts to hunt along the way. As he starts to pull down on one of the males, he realizes the dominant female has circled back to take him from the flank and rear. His last words are an admiring “Clever girl!”

  5. My Dad gave me my first knife at the ripe old age of six at my momma’s protest. She knew me better than dear old Dad. So the first thing I did was to go in to my parent’s room and cut V notches in their window sill. What else are you suppose to do with a knife when your six years old? When I left home at nineteen the notches were still there. In grade school around 1965, I remember playing a game on the playground that we called chicken. Two kids would stand facing each other straddle footed with their legs stretched as far apart as possible and one kid would throw his pocket knife between his opponent’s legs and try to make it stick in the ground. If it stuck that kid would have to slide his foot over to the knife. Then it would be his turn to do the same with his knife. As this went on each kids feet would get closer and closer together making it more scary because if his opponent wasn’t careful his knife might stick into the other kids foot. Before long one of the kids would wind up with a knife sticking in the top of his foot at which time he would hop around yelling OUCH! That would get a good laugh from those involved as well as the onlookers. At that point one of the teachers who was standing nearby in a circle of teachers and smoking would look over and say “okay boys, put the knives in your pockets” and then go back to smoking. But we all survived it……… except the teachers who probably died of cancer. I sure miss America.

  6. I remember chicken 🙂 We would collect bottles for the $0.05 deposit . We’d save up enough money a buy a cheap little two-bladed folder at the local corner store.

    Quite the right of passage to have your own pocket knife ! Of course we did all the crazy kid stuff . Carve our initials in everything and of course play chicken.

    Still have a couple of very faint scars right around the ankles 🙂

    I too miss the country I was raised in 🙁

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