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CRKT Carbon Fiber M16 review

Nov 25, 1999
<center><h3>CRKT Carbon Fiber M16</h3></center><center><h6>part 1 of 2</h6></center>Kit Carson's M16 series knives have earned their opinion as true workhorses, maybe not too pretty looking but very strong and reliable. When I saw first time the pictures of new Carbon Fiber M16 knives I was not impressed too much. Another version of the same proven design, a bit another materials.

<center><h6>CRKT photo</h6></center>
But when I took live new knives into my hand at IWA'2000 gun show my impressions became much clearer. I do not want to say "sweet" about these miniaturized M16's to do not cause association with cheap fruit drops - this knife appearance is nothing to do with them. But they have something what caused me to wait impatiently when I could "play" with one of them somewhat more extensively.
Now this moment came and I can brandish with Carbon Fiber M16-01 as much as I want and here are my impressions of this brandishing.

<center><h6>Here is mine directly from scanner, front side...</h6></center>

<center><h6>... and clip side</h6></center>

General appearance is rather neutral. Slim lines, modest colors and holes in the handle are balancing quite aggressive blade shape (in fact spear point blade is designed mostly for straight stabbing). Think that for non-knife person it could appear more like tool than like weapon. To check this I asked some persons including my wife - my first advisor as to knife appearance and esthetics. All responses proved my presumption - it looks like tool.

Blade is flawlessly executed, I couldn't find any missing in grind lines, they are clear and even on both sides. Relatively thin edge cuts very precisely and is easy to direct and control. Maybe in edge retention this steel is not champion but it is closely comparable with popular premium grade steels. Please look here http://www.bladeforums.com/ubb/Forum3/HTML/001863.html for edge retention test results.
I don't know could Carson's flipper be useful for this light blade opening but it would be nice addition for handling security, especially taking into consideration pretty diminutive handle.

Thumb stud has checkered working surface and allows very firm purchase. At the same time it has limited access when knife is closed what makes knife shape snag-free. It is hard to imagine unintentional blade opening due to thumb stud snagging against clothing. This knife doesn't have stop pin, thumb stud stops the blade in both opened and closed position.

Handle is very comfortable in a bit smaller man's or medium sized woman's hand, my wife confirmed it. For my rather medium sized hand it is also quite comfortable. Working hard during edge retention test I haven't experienced any unpleasant impressions. Initially I thought it could be noticeable less comfortable in larger man's hand, so I asked my friend with hands larger than mine to handle this knife. He said: "Of course I would like larger handle, but as to these dimensions handling comfort is OK". I noted his three fingers were placed on the handle's "waved" part and the little finger was supported with flat notch on rear-bottom of the handle.
Textured carbon fiber scales and holes provide very sure and secure grip. After extensive cutting on abrasive materials and/or sharpening I'm always washing my knives in running water to remove abrasive particles from pivot and lock area what could extend knife's life. Occasionally I can evaluate how securely knife can be held in wet and soaped hand. Carbon Fiber M16 displayed here surprisingly minimal difference comparing with handling in dry hand.
Thick carbon fiber scales make the handle strong and stiff even without full-length back spacer. Pressing together scales on opened knife with full force of my one hand fingers I obtained hardly noticeable bend only. I saw a lot of knives with G-10 scales supported with double metal (steel or titanium) liners which was noticeable more flexible. I think also the steel locking liner "nested" into CF scale provides additional handle's strength.
<center><h6>to be continued...</h6></center>

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-08-2000).]
<center><h3>CRKT Carbon Fiber M16</h3></center><center><h6>part 2 of 2</h6></center>Lockup is secure and works flawlessly. Locking liner stops it's way at first quarter of blade tang regardless is knife opened calmly using thumb stud or with abusive wrist flick.

Knife passed spine hack tests without any fault. Making spine hack tests I noted curious property: locking liner tends to move somewhat deeper along blade tang and stops on the half of blade tang thickness. It looks like a sort of self-tightening, somewhat similar to self-tightening of frame/mono/integral lock in result of tighter grip. After this self-tightening is a small bit harder to unlock the knife, but really a small bit only.
Locking liner has limited access, so it is practically impossible to unlock knife unintentionally with any kind of grip. On the other hand checkering on locking liner area where it should be pressed provides trouble-free intentional unlocking.

Action smoothness sometimes is very nice thing to describe in situations when it is nothing more to write about. Quite frequently I'm admiring this trivial term "fluidly-smooth action". Loosen the pivot tension and each knife will display this kind of action, is this a reason to be excited? Another extremity - gritty action - can be somewhat unpleasant but does it really affect knife performance and security?
Here I could evaluate the action as completely normal without exciting on extremely smoothness side or despair onto opposite side.

Yes, I have to overcome some resistance opening this knife, it is simply necessary to hold blade securely in closed position. Sometimes people are confusing "action smoothness" (the lack of noticeable obstructions when opening) with "easy opening" - the lack of any noticeable resistance when rotating the blade open. First is good although not essential, second is bad because can cause knife unintentional opening. In my opinion this is pretty dangerous thing, knife unintentional opening can cause aftermath closely comparable with unwanted shoot aftermath, despite the lack of sound effects. The artery at the groin is fairly close to pant front pocket...
No, I can't notice any obstructions pivoting blade into opened or closed position.

Detent ball nested into locking liner works as it has to work and provides additional force necessary for blade's opening at the very first moment.

Pocket clip looks very gently but is enough strong to hold the knife of this weight firmly in any carry position. It is practically unnoticeable when gripping knife and no way affects grip comfort. Three screws holding clip are screwed into steel liner. My main reservation as to clip design - think it should be fastened above pivot pin but not below. In this case knife carry could be unnoticeable even if it would be carried in jacket or shirt front pocket - it simply wouldn't look like a knife.

Conclusions. Mostly due to blade shape I'm beholding this knife primarily as mini-weapon, very light and easy to carry in concealment. However it can serve as daily cutting tool as well.
Carbon Fiber M16 is extremely lightweight, comfortable to carry, quite strong and easy to use. Additional advantage - it doesn't cause needless attention. If someone do not want to show off with his (or her) knife but needs decent cutting tool in modest and lightweight form - this knife definitely should be listed among probable choices. In my opinion this knife is very reasonable choice for daily carry in handy tool and occasionally defensive weapon role.
For multi-knife carry enthusiasts it could serve as utility or/and backup knife, which supports powerful tactical blade.

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 07-08-2000).]

Nice review!

I've got an aluminum M-16 (small tanto) and love it. I remember really liking the spear-point M16 when I bought mine, but I was in a tanto mood that day. I guess I'm just going to have to get the spear-point in carbon fiber now!


Thanks for taking the time to do this review. Very nice job. I like my M16-04, but these look too small for my large hands.

Wow! You should have really big hands if M16-04's handle is too small for you. I have handled this knife, it is pretty large piece and my hand remained a lot of free space on the handle.
Think miniaturized Carbon Fiber M16 would be considerably too small for you. However try to handle this knife at least to admire it, it's worth to know it closer.
Excellent review as usual.

I would like to see Columbia River offer the upgrade on the KFF.

Dennis Bible