Pat’s Product Review: CRKT K.I.S.S. Folder

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Don’t you just hate it when someone comes up with one of those “oh-so-simple” ideas, and it is an immediate hit or success. I don’t begrudge anyone success in their lives, but how come it’s always someone else who invents a better application of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle? I’ve been around long enough to know that keeping things simple is usually the right and smart way to go. I recently heard from one of my former martial arts students, who I hadn’t heard from in 25 years. He now holds Black Belt rank himself in several different styles of martial arts. He said he always remembered what I taught him– the “basics” are what work in a fight rather than all the fancy kicks and jumping around. If you did nothing except learn and instill the basic fighting techniques, you’d be a force to be reckoned with.

Now, as most SurvivalBlog readers will know, I prefer big knives. They seem to get the job done better than smaller knives, in many situations. Consider the Columbia River Knife and Tool Original K.I.S.S folder from the creative mind of Ed Halligan– a well-known custom knife maker and designer. It’s one of those simple designs that I wish I had come up with while designing knives over the years. Now, while the design is simple in context, everything had to fit together precisely for the design to function properly. This K.I.S.S. design has to have everything perfectly in balance, and CRKT and Halligan did an outstanding job.

By the way, the K.I.S.S. design actually stands for “Keep It Super Simple”, according to Halligan. I can’t find fault. The design is super simple. The K.I.S.S. is a unique two-piece construction, featuring an integral frame lock, and the design allows the cutting edge of the blade to seat against the handle rather than inside of it. It’s easier to see on the CRKT website, than it is to explain.

I first saw the K.I.S.S. during a visit to the CRKT offices many years ago and was amazed at the design. The closed length of the knife is 3.5 inches, and opened it is 5.75 inches. The blade is only 2.25-inches long and can be had partially serrated or plain edged. Both the blade and handle material is 420J2 stainless steel. The blade shape is a Tanto with the grind being chisel point and only sharpened on one side, like a wood-working chisel blade.

There is a thumb stud for one hand opening. However, I must confess that on smaller blades I simply can’t use the thumb stud to open blades. This is not unique to this knife. It’s the same on all smaller-sized folders; I just can’t open them with my thumb. My thumbs kind of work opposite of most folks’ thumbs; they easily bend backwards but not very far forward.

When you close the blade on the K.I.S.S., it folds onto the handle, NOT into it. My first impression was that a person is going to get cut or the point of the blade will stab them, when it is closed. Such is not the case. I’ve tried to intentionally cut myself with the K.I.S.S. folded and couldn’t do it. The blade is securely locked against the handle and you can’t cut yourself when the blade is closed. AMAZING!

Now, there are several ways you can carry the K.I.S.S. on your person. It can be clipped to your pocket with the pocket clip (my preferred way to carry it) or clipped to a shirt pocket. Since I only wear t-shirts, the idea of clipping to a shirt pocket wouldn’t work for me. You can also use it as a money clip, and it doesn’t draw unwanted attention when you pull the paper money out of your pocket with the knife clipped to it. I have to assume it works that way because I never have any paper money in my pocket. I only carry change, so my pennies and dimes kept slipping off the pocket clip. LOL! You can even use the knife as a keyring knife, and you won’t even know it’s there until you need it.

The K.I.S.S. came with a hair-popping edge on the blade. You can also get one with a partially serrated blade as well. Given a choice, I’d go with the partially serrated blade for opening mail and boxes . The serrations just rip through cardboard boxes with ease. I’ve also found that a small knife, like the K.I.S.S., doesn’t cause someone to express “that” look when you pull it out of your pocket in public. Whereas, a larger knife draws glares, and people wonder why you need such a big knife. The K.I.S.S. is a fun knife. When you show it to someone, they immediately comment on how simple the design is. I’m not sure how long this design has been in the CRKT line-up, but I’m sure it is probably their longest-selling design. It comes in many different flavors, too, so check out the website. You’ll be amazed at all the different ways they came up with this same basic design. Unlike many smaller folders, this is one stout, very well-made, little folder.

If you have a birthday coming up, either for yourself or a loved one, the Original K.I.S.S. would make a wonderful addition to your knife collection. You’ll find yourself using it all the time for those smaller chores that call for a knife. Now, while I wouldn’t dare call this knife a “survival knife” by any stretch of the imagination, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. Which reminds me, I just gave my K.I.S.S. sample to someone who couldn’t stop talking about it. So, I need to replace it because I miss it already.

The K.I.S.S. retails for $39.95, but can usually be found deeply discounted at many of the big box stores or online at knife dealers. Since the K.I.S.S. came along, there have been many, many imitators, but there is only one original. The imitators are all junk and have violated a patented design. Pick-up a K.I.S.S. for your loved ones, and I’m betting you’ll get a kiss in return. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat CascioPat Cascio

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