CRKT - Pat Crawford's Point Guard, review

<center><font size=4>CRKT - Pat Crawford's Point Guard.</font></center>
<center><small>Patr 1 of 2</small></center>

When some weeks before IWA'2000 gun show (March, Nuremberg, Germany) I have received CRKT press release, catalog and photo-CD this knife attracted my attention with clear, elegant lines and light (especially in comparison to KFF) appearance.
<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>When visiting CRKT booth at IWA I had an opportunity to handle their new knives I just have made sure my first impression. Additionally I found this elegant knife well made and comfortable to hold, so I waited impatiently when I could to play with it. About three months ago this opportunity came but different reasons caused me to wait some time with my review.
Now I can share my impressions on CRKT - Pat Crawford's Point Guard.

The blade made of AUS-6 steel is shaped like noticeably elongated drop point with very gentle drop and quite flat belly. This design provides pretty good penetration when thrusting and shows clearly this knife's intended use: this is no doubts tactical knife. The name states the same. On the other hand very high hollow grind and very narrow false edge are causing this blade's very decent performance in push cuts and when slicing. So instead of the most dedicated stabbers with thick narrow grind and pronounced false edge the Point Guard blade is much more versatile and can be used efficiently both in weapon and in utility tool role. In my opinion this is a very good combination for tactical knife. Even knives what are carried for self defense purposes are very rarely used in weapon's role, so it wouldn't be the worst idea to use the same knife as utility tool as well.
Additional advantage, this blade doesn't attract unwanted attention and doesn't cause a redundant sensation when you are drawing your knife to open the envelope or for some similar peaceful purposes. I had a lot of probabilities to become convinced about this during these three months. I'm always curious about reaction, which my knives are causing among common people. So I have observed this meticulously and assumed that the Point Guard causes near neutral reaction as to it's size.

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>The blade opening device on this model is thumb disk. I'm rating it as my second favorite opening device (after round hole) due to it's ambidextrous nature and ease to engage in stress situations. It provides also quite comfortable thumb placement on the blade spine if additional leverage or better blade control is wanted.
The Point Guard's thumb disk works well for me; my only proposition would be to make it a small bit more aggressive, with coarser pattern or/and less rounded edges, especially lower edge.

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>The handle fits my hand comfortably. The forefinger notch, thumb placement area and the handle's butt are checkered pretty aggressively to provide secure purchase. On the other hand this coarse pattern doesn't affect grip comfort. Whittling hard wood branch I didn't experienced any unpleasant effects caused on my palm with handle shape.
The handle's butt is ended with quite aggressive point, however I couldn't find grip position in which this could affect handling comfort. On the other hand this aggressive point can be used as non-lethal weapon to strike an opponents sensitive points to cause an overpowering effect only, without wounding him. This matches my conception of knife use in hand-to-hand combat by all means: no "half-killing", no "less-than-lethal cuts" and similar questionable stuff. If the situation doesn't justify opponents killing - do not reach your deadly weapon, in this case - the blade.

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>The clip probably is not the strongest point of this knife. It is far too large for this knife dimensions and for carrying security. The only unpleasant effect I experienced on my palm whittling hard wood branch came from the clip side. In the hammer grip the lower (bent away from the handle's plane) end of the clip hits my palm directly near the rear edge, in the most loaded area. This causes quite unpleasant biting when the handle is gripped convulsively and/or during hard cutting work. At the same time the unnaturally large clip staying visible in publics causes improper appearance of the clipped knife dimensions...
My proposition would be to redesign the clip to make it at least 25-30 mm shorter. In this case the bent away end would hit palm's mid-part which is much less loaded when cutting. Nothing wrong if the clip would be about 1,5 times narrower. I think this could be done with minimal effort and cost.

<center><small>to be continued...</small></center>

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 10-10-2000).]
<center><small>Patr 2 of 2</small></center>

The action works smoothly and without any obstructions. This displays suitable execution quality but is not too important as itself, in my opinion at least. Much more important is that detent ball on the locking liner holds the edge in closed position reasonably securely and prevents knife unintended opening. On the other hand it doesn't increase the opening effort noticeable, so I have found the action very well balanced.

The lock up is secure and positive. The knife passed all my spine whacking tests both with engaged and disengaged Lake & Walker Knife Safety (LAWKS) device. Though I could cause lock failure twisting the knife in certain grip position it was far from knife's normal use. And I could to do it with LAWKS being disengaged only. Being curious how efficient this new device is I tried hard to cause unintentional lock disengaging with LAWKS being engaged but here I couldn't to achieve any success.

The LAWKS certainly is a very strong point of this design. This device is very simple in it's nature. The piece of pretty thin (about 0,6 mm) steel pivots around the pivot pin between the blade and the locking liner. It has the operating button in the thumb placement area and the locking cam bent under straight angle on the opposite side, in the locking liner's working end area. The operation button is clearly visible on the pictures, I have pointed the locking cam with the arrow.
<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a><a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=right SRC="" border="2"></a>Here are some pictures illustrating how it works. When the LAWKS is disengaged the operation button stays in position, which obstructs pretty efficiently comfortable thumb placement. In this position the operating button literally cries: push me forwards! The locking cam stays away from locking liner's path and doesn't obstruct to disengage the lock and to close the blade. Really it stays closely to front, unmovable part of the right liner. I intentionally moved it somewhat in engaging direction to make it better visible on my photo.

<a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=left SRC="" border="2"></a><a href="" target="_blank"><IMG align=left SRC="" border="2"></a>When uncomfortable thumb placement forces the user to move operating button forwards the LAWKS becomes engaged. The thumb placement now is very comfortable, the operating button provides additional support for thumb which protects the hand against sliding forwards even better. Locking cam in this position stays against locking liner preventing it from disengaging. Really it comes deeper into the handle but I intentionally didn't engage it fully to make the locking cam better visible.
Really genially simple!

Some time ago I have heard the proposition to make LAWKS device spring loaded to cause it's automatically engagement when the knife is opened and locked. I think it would be quite redundant for these reasons:
* The LAWKS engagement is so natural that I can't imagine situation in which I could forget to engage it. My thumb's uncomfortable position would remind me immediately.
* The additional spring would accomplish entire mechanism, it would be one thing more to break according Murphy's law.
* LAWKS disengagement and knife closing would became quite uncomfortable because it would require to use three fingers instead of two: the middle finger should pull back LAWKS operating button, the forefinger should push the blade into closing direction and the thumb should disengage the locking liner. Taking into consideration that most of us have only five fingers on entire palm and nobody has more - this could make knife closing pretty tricky.

Conclusions: a lot of knife for the money! With redesigned clip and more aggressive opening disk I really do not know what I could improve in this design.
Maybe CRKT could work out the more expensive version made of premium materials, G-10 scales and ACUTO 440 or AUS-8 steel blade?

Sergiusz Mitin
Lodz, Poland
Aug 8, 1999
Great review, the Point Guard is a knife that makes me feel ambivalent because it would be so much nicer with better steel etc. but the whole point of CRKT is too make custom style knives affordable. I guess we all can't be happy.
GOt my small point gaurd today. WOW, I was spoiled with my Whirlwind in the opening. But after several nicks to my thumb, I got back into the groove, this is ONE SHARP knife! and the way it sits in my hand gives it the same reach that my whirlwind provides, So I dont feel like it is amy smaller , although it is a three inch blade, which makes it a whole lot more legal a whole lot more places. and I thought my K whirlwind was sharp out of the box. This is the First knife I recieved EVER t5hat could push cut through a single sheet of TP without tearing it! Great knife!

OK< DAMMIT! now I am scared to use my PG, as I am sure I will NEVER be able to get an edge on a knife like this again!

I did a mini review of the Large PG about a month ago. This has been one great knife. Since then, I have just been more and more impressed. Thoughts: For those of us that do not oil the Aus 6 blades as often as we should, I am considering putting a bake on teflon moly finish on it. I did this with my CRKT Carson M-16 and it has been worry free. Another observation is the fact that the scales on the Crawford are truley scales. They are only screwed on to those incredibly durable liners. That translates to being able to put anything that can be shaped to the liners in their place. ie: Nice Rosewood, Ivory Micarta, even some Linen Micarta. It should be a quick project with a dremel tool and an evening to kill. Just like making a set of grips for a 1911 Colt.
If this works out I'll put a picture up. (Just as soon as my computer illiterate butt figures out how.)
Corpsman Up!! Answering the call for 120 years. US Navy Recon Corpsman
Semper Fi
Some good news from CRKT, here I'm quoting Rod Bremer:
A couple of points that you raised I would like to address.
1. The thumb disk - yes I would agree that possible more aggressive
grooves on the surface would assist in the opening. We are looking into it
with the possibility of a running change. Others have commented on this as
2. Regarding the clip - We duplicated the clip design from Pat
Crawford. You make some good points here and possibly down the line we
again may make an adjustment here.
3. We are considering the possibility of producing the Point Guard
with a CNC aluminum handle and a premium steel blade. Won't happen until at
least mid-2001.

[This message has been edited by Sergiusz Mitin (edited 10-15-2000).]