Pat Cascio’s Product Review: CRKT Ken Onion “Outrage”

I’ve personally been designing knives for about 30 years. I commissioned various custom knife makers to produce my designs, most of which were for my own personal use. However, several of my designs are being produced by Mil-Tac Knives & Tools and Columbia River Knife & Tool for retail sale. I’m honored that these companies thought enough of my designs to produce and sell them to the public at large.

I make no claims to being any sort of world famous knife designer. I just know what I like and what works. I wish I had the talent to actually make handmade knives, but, alas, my hands and brain won’t work together. I’ve had a professional custom knife maker try to teach me to make knives, all to no avail. It’s no easy task, designing a knife that has all the elements that most people will like. Everyone’s hands are different sizes, and we all know what we like in a knife when it is in our hands. A knife design has to flow. If it doesn’t, then it is nothing more than a sharpened crow bar of sorts, and at that, a poor substitute for a crow bar. My only claim to fame as a knife designer is what I learned in my high school drafting classes. However, if you were to see some of my original designs I put down on paper, you’d wonder how the final product turned out as well as it did.

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Ken Onion, who is a world famous knife designer and custom knife maker, is one of those knife designers whose designs always seem to flow. No matter what knife he designs and has made, they all have that “flair” that is distinctly a Ken Onion design. Onion has collaborated with several knife companies over the years to produce some of his designs so that we all could afford to purchase them. I wish I could afford one of his custom hand-made knives, but they seem to start at about $4,000 and go up from there, and there is a waiting list to buy his knives. They are always in great demand. If you’re lucky to catch Onion at a knife show and you want one of the knives on his table, don’t put it down; write him a check on the spot. If you put the knife down, the odds are that someone next to you will buy it.

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Enter the Columbia River Knife & Tool’s Onion “Outrage”– one of Ken’s newest and hottest designs in a folding knife. The Outrage is produced in China; however, as I’ve stated over the years, you get as good of a knife as you want made in China or Taiwan. So don’t let that “made overseas” moniker scare you away. The Outrage is 7.88 inches in overall length when opened. Closed it is 4.67 inches, and it weighs 4.5 oz, with a blade length of 3.19 inches made out of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The Rockwell hardness of the blade is 58-60, which is about perfect for this stainless steel. It has a nice satin finish on the blade with a hollow grind, and the blade is a drop point design. The handle material is 6061 aluminum with some beautiful sculpting on it for a sure grip, and there is a small lanyard hole in the butt of the blade. The locking mechanism is a locking liner, and the liner is made out of 2Cr13 stainless steel.

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The aluminum handle scales are dark gray in color– gun metal gray! The blade comes out of the handle with a simple push of the “flipper”; there are no thumb studs at all. The blade rides on the IKBS ball bearing pivot system that deploys the blade ever so smoothly (effortlessly). With just a light push on the flipper, and the blade is out and locked. It is butter smooth, for lack of a better description. We also have the pocket/clothing clip, which allows for tip up carry in the right pocket. However, the knife can also be deployed from the left front trouser pocket as well.

I like to call the Outrage a “Gentleman’s folder”, but I’m not making any claims to being any sort of world recognized “gent” of any sorts. Still, the Outrage has that certain style and flair, and when you pull it out of your pocket to do some serious cutting chores it just screams “Gent’s” folder to my way of thinking. It’s very classy looking, to say the least. CRKT is so proud of this newest Onion designed folder that they have featured it on the front cover of their 2016 catalog.

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Now, don’t let the term “Gent’s” folder fool you into believing that the Outrage is only meant for pulling out of your pocket at a meeting and cleaning your finger nails with it. Such is not the case. To be sure, when working corporate security, I’ve seen guys pull their pocket knives out and clean their finger nails. I don’t know if their fingernails were dirty, they were just showing off their folding knife, or they were just bored to death, like I have been in many meetings that produced no results.

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For the better part of a month, the CRKT Outrage rode in my right front pocket. I actually do carry all the folding knives I get for testing, sometimes for a week and other times, if time permits and I don’t have too many folding knives on-hand for testing, for a month or so. I hardly knew the folder was in my pocket; it rode nice and low, with the somewhat wide pocket/clothing clip, but it was still readily accessible for fast deployment.

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During the course of my testing, the knife was used around the kitchen, even though it wasn’t designed for this sort of work. It did fine cutting veggies and meats. I also tested it against some poly rope, which is super tough stuff to cut, and I did have to cut through the rope twice to cut completely through it. It is thick rope. However, the blade didn’t slip off the poly rope; it dug right into it. Almost daily, I have either USPS, UPS, or FedEx bringing me packages that need to be opened. They’re usually boxes, and this is always a good test of any knife. Cardboard is really tough on a blade and will dull one in short order, too. The Outrage had no problem handling any of the daily tasks I set it against.

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Many people tend to forget that a knife, any knife, is a tool first of all and can substitute as a weapon secondly. Now, I wouldn’t want to go up against someone who is armed with a firearm, or for that matter a baseball bat, armed only with a folding knife. However, there are circumstances where I can see a folding knife used for self defense, especially in some of the big cities where there are restrictions on carry handguns or they are flat out prohibited from being carried. If stopped by the police for whatever reason and they spotted the Outrage, the knife doesn’t scream “tactical” to my way of thinking; it is just a very classy looking folder. Some folding knives look vicious, and the police might really start to question you as to why you are carrying such a knife. With the Outrage, if questioned, you would simply state you use the knife to open your mail at work or for daily cutting chores. The Outrage really grew on me during the long-term testing, and I hated to put it aside when several other folding knives arrived that I needed to test for future articles. The Outrage feels really good in the hand, and I let a lot of people handle it. They all commented on how good it felt, and said it’s not too big or too small, either. I prefer folding knives with blade of 3.5 to 4.0 inches for the most part, but this Outrage just really caught my attention.

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Full retail on the CRKT Outrage is only $69.99, and it is a bargain. If you shop around, you can often find most CRKT products discounted deeply. Now, here’s the bad news; I checked the CRKT website while working on the article and found that the Outrage is currently out of stock, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. Ken Onion knives, either factory produced or his hand made versions, are always in great demand. Check out the Outrage at your nearest knife or gun shop. I’m expecting you’ll break the wallet out and buy it!

– Senior Product Review Editor, Pat Cascio

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