Today, we are taking a look at the CRKT/Ruger Hollow-point Folder. It is a Ken Onion knife, and I’ll have more on that a little later.
Knives Are Tools
I love knives, all knives, big and small. They all have a use. I especially love well-made knives, because I don’t have a lot of use for junk knives. That is why our readers just won’t see me wasting my time reviewing junk knives. A knife is a tool, first and foremost. Many people forget that. Many claim that the knife is the first tool ever invented. I’m sure those first knives did not resemble what we consider a knife by today’s standards. But still, it did the job it was designed for— cutting!
Gun Companies Make Guns But Outsource Knives
Many gun companies offer up some knives with their name on it. And no matter how hard I try to convince people that those gun makers are not making those knives, they refuse to believe me for some reason. Gun companies are in the business of making guns! Knife companies are in the business of making knives! The machinery involved in making guns and knives are entirely different. So, that’s why companies that specialize in manufacturing certain products make those products and nothing more. One example is Smith & Wesson (S&W) handcuffs. They have been the first choice for law enforcement for many years. However, S&W doesn’t make those handcuffs. They are made by a company that specializes in this type of product and simply stamps the S&W name on the cuffs.
Still, it is like talking to a brick wall when I try to explain the above concept to some people All they know is that the product has the mark of that company on it, and they believe that company makes it. Another fine example are magazines for firearms. I don’t know of any firearms companies that make their own magazines. Instead, they leave it up to another company, who makes the mags to the specifications outlined by the gun maker. One of the biggest mag companies is MecGar, and they make handgun magazines for over 50 different gun companies and stamp that gun maker’s name on the magazines. I digress because many people refuse to believe it. The magazine is stamped “Ruger”, so they believe Ruger made it.
Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT)
I’ve been writing about CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) www.crkt.com cutlery almost from the beginning of their company entering this field, almost. However, I believe I have tested and written more articles about their knives than any other writer. And, a disclaimer is due here. CRKT manufactures my OC3 double-edge fighting knife that I designed and custom knife maker, Brian Wagner, made for me. However, I have no real vested interest in CRKT per se. I don’t know how many CRKT products I’ve tested over the years, but I believe it is safe to say, well over 500 different knives and other products have crossed my desk. I’ve watched CRKT grow, year after year, with better products. And, hands down, CRKT is the leader when it comes to doing collaborations. By this I mean that they take a custom knife, designed by a custom knife maker, and produce it at a price point we can afford. I don’t know of any other knife company that is doing more collaborations with custom knife makers/designers than CRKT.
CRKT Teams Up with Sturm, Ruger & Company
A little over a year or so back, CRKT teamed up with Sturm, Ruger & Company to produce a line, an extensive line, of knives. All the knives are designed by well-known custom knife makers, too. Ruger didn’t just dip their little toe into the pool. Instead, they went whole-hog and had CRKT produce a complete line-up of fixed blade and folding knives, all stamped with the Ruger logo and name on them. One of the things I really admire about Ruger is the fact that, in my humble opinion, they produce firearms, at least most of them, for the blue collar worker. They make guns that are affordable yet at the same time some of the toughest guns on earth. What’s not to like here?
So, it just made sense that Ruger went to CRKT, who makes very affordable knives that are right up there with the best of the best factory knives, and had them produce a complete line-up for us— the consumers who like seeing that Ruger name and logo— knowing we are getting some tough cutlery.
Ken Onion just might be the world’s more recognized and famous plus award-winning knife designer that I know of. At one time I was the West Coast Field Editor for Knives Illustrated magazine. I was testing one of his factory-made knives for an article, and I had the opportunity to talk to Onion. He lives in Hawaii, and I live in Oregon, but we had a great visit. I learned a lot about him and his philosophy when it comes to designing knives. CRKT approached Onion and asked him to design some of the CRKT/Ruger knives, and he jumped on it. And there is one thing that I can tell about an Onion-designed knife– it just flows. There’s just “that” something about his designs that I recognize.
Onion’s Hollow Point Line-up for CRKT and Ruger
Onion designed the Hollow Point line-up for CRKT and Ruger. It consists of three folding knives, one being bigger or smaller than the other, depending on how you look at it. I tested the medium-sized Hollow Point folder. It has a 3.17-inch long blade made out of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, with a Rockwell hardness of 58-59. This folder has the IKBS ball bearing pivot system. If you’ve never tested a folder with this, you are in for a treat. This ball bearing system allows the knife to open as smoothly as smooth can be on the tiny ball bearing system. It is almost effortless to flip open a knife with this system. And, the Hollow Point comes with a flipper on the blade as well as a thumb stud. However, the flipper works faster and easier.
The Hollow Point Handle
The handle is made out of stainless steel. However, it has some black molded plastic inserts in the handle on both sides, with the Ruger logo in it, which is a very classy touch. There is the frame lock mechanism for locking the blade open, and it locks the blade open solidly. There is also a oval-shaped lanyard ring in the butt of the handle scales, which is another nice touch.
The blade itself kind of reminds me of a Persian-style blade with the curve and flow of the design. On the other hand, it also reminds me of some old timer type of folding knives that doubled as a blade for dressing out game after a day’s successful hunt. It’s a very cool design, indeed! The knife is only 4.40 oz, and closed it is a compact 4.25 inches. Open it is 7.50 inches. There is also a two-position pocket/clothing clip for carrying with the blade tip up or blade tip down in your pocket.
A Folder For Dress or EDC
I can see this folder being used to dress out some game or just for EDC (every day carry), because it can take care of most of your cutting chores. The knife just fits the hand perfectly for some reason. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised, since Ken Onion designed it. The blade came hair-popping sharp out of the box, too.
Over the course of a week or so, I carried and used the knife for everyday cutting chores around the homestead. The knife performed exactly as I expected it would. I had no problems cutting open UPS or FedEx packages, and it never lost its edge, either.
Other Hollow Point Options
Now, if this Hollow Point isn’t to your liking, CRKT/Ruger have the Hollow Point +P with a 3.60-inch long blade, or a smaller Compact model with a 2.75-inch blade. One is sure to be to your liking. While this isn’t a hard-core survival knife, per se, it can sure help you get home from the mean streets of America’s big cities. And it will do yeoman’s duty around the camp fire or when out fishing.
I like to save the best for last. The full retail on this CRKT/Ruger folder is only $69.99. Make sure you shop around, because you can find it deeply discounted on the ‘net. And, it would make a nice addition to your Ruger gun collection, too.
– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio
Editor’s Addenda: Part of CRKT’s product line is manufactured in the USA. But the rest are made in mainland China. All of their Ruger-branded knives are made in China.