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CRKT (small) Mirage, a (big) surprise?

Nov 13, 1998
"MIRAGE", on the one side of the blade. "6702 Taiwan", on the other. TAIWAN, arrrgh!? But read on, you'll in for a treat.

The Columbia River 6702 is a small, plain edged version of the generic Jim Hammond design, "modified spear point" (saber grind with a very slight hollowing, downward slope, more a thinning than a false edge at the spine), blade length (measured, from the handle) 72 mm, cutting edge (measured) 69 mm, blade about 2.125 mm thick, steel AUS6M (easy to resharpen, good corrosion resistance, not very good edge retention), hardness 55-57 HRc (not measured by me), closed length 104 mm (measured), weight 2.8 oz. (79 g, not measured by me). Adjustable pivot (Torx T8). Zytel (glass filled Nylon) handles "backed on both sides by grayed stanless steel liners, one of which forms the locking mechanism". The "spacers in the back spine of the knife are aluminum instead of plastic as in other knives" (quotes taken from http://www.knifecenter.com/knifecenter/crk/mirage.html, where you can find some pictures too). Can be disassembled (six T6 screws). In addition, the knife has dual thumbstuds, removable (not reversable) metal pocket clip (three T6 screws), and a lanyard hole.

The specifications look good? The TAIWAN shouldn't? But this knife really has affirmed itself to me in spite of my preconceptions (and I do not have any commercial connections to any knife company).

Take the small Mirage in your hand, closed, squeeze it really hard. It's like a Benchmade! Due to a positive blade stop, you can really use this one to strenghten your fist. Feel it. Kind of heavy, ain't it? Really, there are liners on both sides, and the spacer sure ain't no plastic. Wait a moment! I've had this (size-to-weight-ratio) feeling before. That was when I got accustomed to my Benchmade Leopard Cub. And if this is Zytel, then what are we having with other makers' plastic knives? This one is very hard, though it can be worked easily with, e.g., sandpaper, and doesn't seem to be brittle.

Now open the knife. If you're left handed, the clip will interfere (as usual). For a right-handed person it's mostly OK, except that the whole area of thumb purchase needs a bit dremeling or sanding; otherwise it won't open very easily.

Now it's open. Grasp it with all the furiosity you'd ever need, go through the Talmadge/Barr liner-lock tests (see http://www.bladeforums.com/reviews/faqllock.html [Thanks, Joe, for pointing this out to me]), try it in front- and reverse-grip. Try it hard, realistically. Especially with the smoothing-out mentioned above, I'll bet you feel that something essential is (about) RIGHT! Taiwan, yes, but it really doesn't show.

The blade has a pleasant shape, though the thinning of the spine with a large (unsharpened) false edge feels unnecessary. Nothing exceptional or alarming in the performance of the blade thus far (haven't really tested this thoroughly yet, just some whittling and thick cardboard cutting and stabbing). Of course, I have no way of knowing about the heat treatment etc. of the blade, if it doesn't break some day. At least it takes a keen edge easily with, e.g., the Spyderco TriAngle Sharpmaker.

Now close the thing. Not very much different than with, e.g., the BM AFCK? But what's that 'SNAP' in the end? Well, that's ONE OF THE MOST POSITIVE (closed) DETENTS I've ever met in a liner-lock folder! Unbelievable! If it weren't for the first 3-4 millimeters (from closed), which is a bit loose, this would be the BEST detent that I've met in a liner-lock. Very much like the BM 401 Panther (designed by Les DeAsis), one of the three-four really well-DESIGNED knives of Benchmade.

Basically, and in execution, A VERY SOUND DESIGN, indeed! Simply amazing for the price (retail $40, street $30). With a bit of dremeling or sanding, could work this one even to a personal carry-favorite (perhaps in certain environments, where the possibility of loosing the knife is high). It would follow such knives as BM AFCK and Spyderco Endura 98. This alone may tell a lot to some of you.

The GRIPES? The clip-side thumb stud snags in your (at least jeans) pocket lid. A common problem with ambidexterous studs. Don't know yet what I should do about that (the left, actually right, stud may not be removable by itself). Due to the unusually strong detent, the knife won't open sans thumb, with a (reasonably non-violent) flick of the wrist (unlike even the BM Panther). And I already mentioned the necessity of some sanding/dremeling.

Nonetheless, a humble bow to Jim Hammond, and a warm handshake to CRKT and "Taiwan" (I'd surely like to know the very hands that made my 6702). Now what were the OTHER models in this astonishing Mirage line?


[This message has been edited by Markku Huttunen (edited 23 November 1998).]
I recieved the large Mirage by accident, and I liked it so much I kept it. Real good bang for buck, but it doesn't eally excel in the utility department, I did find too that the thumbstuds hung up in my pocket.
I ended up giving it as a gift to my mom, I shoulda kept it and gave her the Apache I had ordered. What I really regret is that I should have bought an AFCK in the first place.....

P.S. Nice review....
Off is search of Knirvana....yek

[This message has been edited by Yekim (edited 21 November 1998).]
Great review,

I own it and 3 other CRKT's, no complaints about any of them. I think they give style and quality. One of the best value to price ratios. I don't do anythiing but paly with them.
Markku --

Another great review. Quick note, if you want to read the FAQs, you can now find them archived here at Bladeforums, at the front page of the forums. Spark has html-ized them, and as time goes by we intend to multimedia-ize them with pics and (I hope) movies.

Hi Markku,

Thanks for posting the review. You did a very good job of examining the knife. I have to admit that when I see/hear the words "knife" and "made in Taiwan", I shudder. All those I have seen are the cheesy knock offs of the Voyagers, Enduras, Delicas, and Applegates. But when I examined the Mirages up close, this really turned my thoughts around about Taiwanese made knives. CRKT definitely gives you more bang (um....cut?) for the buck
All features found on higher priced knives, a custom design, and all at great prices. What more can one ask for in a "low priced" knife? My hat is off to CRKT and Jim Hammond for producing quality knives at very affordable prices.

Now that I have seen the Mirages, I really cannot wait to see the S-2 frame lock folder and the Kit Carson folder!!

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

With the recent influx of products from Oversea's and major companies demanding better quality I think your going to see many
more positive comments like these. All knives has quirks that some like and others thing are ok no matter where or who made them.
Quality is the big issue from what I see .
I think the learning curve is about for manufacturers oversea's has come full circle.

Darrel Ralph / Bladesmith
Web www.infinet.com/~browzer
Take a look!!!!
I agree with Darrel. Those companies who manufacture overseas (e.g. CRKT, Spyderco, Beretta) use the same metal fabrication technology and techniques used here in the States. I guess the main difference in manufacturing overseas versus manufacturing here at home is the cost of labor (which in turn is figured into the MSRP of the knives). The bottom line, as Darrel said, is the quality. I don't care where a knife is made, just as long as the knife is well made and functions as it was engineered to do so.

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

[This message has been edited by Dexter Ewing (edited 22 November 1998).]
Hey the really cool thing is since the Mirage obviously ROCKS the US manufacturers will now have to stay ahead of the oncomming pack! So look for some really cool stuff at the Shot Show and some really good knock offs!

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
Lead - Follow or get out of the way!

Interesting to see how much of a threat CRKT can make the Mirage. It sounds like a killer product, you guys have convinced me I need to go check one out. But as we know, having good product isn't everything. The Mirage thus far reminds me a bit of the Benchmade Panther, just by the description: great knife that performs well and is way less expensive than it should be, unfortunately no one seems to consider it seriously.

This will be an interesting market study. In a market that's already somewhat saturated (high-quality lightweight folders), a little-known company that doesn't have a particularly strong marketing campaign and that manufactures its folders in a "bad place" brings to market a superior knife at a great price. Unfortunately, this knife has no particular gimmick, like a different kind of lock, and does have the baggage of being made in Taiwan by a lesser-known company. In addition, not only does the "Liner lock vs. lockback" question seem to be a non-issue at the low end, it may actually favor the lockback there.

At this point in time, if I were Spyderco's marketing director for the delica, I wouldn't be too incredibly worried, regardless of the Mirage's merits. What's your take, Mike?

Wait till you see the CRKT/Carson M16 series, sat with Paul the other night in Chicago and played with them and the Mirage. You are in for a treat, watch out Benchmade here comes CRKT

Blue Skies

I've talked with both Rod Bremer of CRKT and Kit Carson in regards to the forthcoming CRKT Carson M16. Both parties are very excited with th eprogress of the project and are thrilled with the prototypes. Though I've yet to see them, I'm looking forward to getting my mitts on one of these!

Also, could there be more CRKT/Jim Hammond knives in the future? Hmmm....only time will tell....

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator

"The keystroke is mightier than the sword"

I'm suprised to discover the last post to this thread was almost 2 years ago, but I'll try to revive it a bit with an update, and it seems the most generic place to do it...

I just got my CRKT Mirage. First off let me say, what a marvelous piece of work for $25! Yes I know that isn't the cheapest I've heard it can be had, but I'm not going to complain too much as I didn't shop around much and the vendor did me well (see below). This does seem to set a pretty good standard for engineering and implementation on the low end.

Relative to comments above, I should like to say the following...

I got mine with a Warncliff blade, really the reason I got it in the first place. I don't need another folder, inexpensive or otherwise, but I got this one as it seemed a good reason to try a Warncliff which I've not had before.

I like the blade shape, though I don't think it will become my favorite, but I think its thickness is a little excessive. The blade has something of a hollow ground starting a 3/8 or so (at the base) from a 3/32(I believe) spine. That makes the blade likely stronger than the pivot. I would have much preferred a flat grind from the spine and a somewhat thinner blade, maybe 1/16, or even 3/64, enough for a folder with this over-all strength and would make for an even better edge and handle profile.

The handle material is nice, the liners, and the lock are thin, but I've seen thinner. The lock recess is sufficient to prevent accidental release with the knife gripped hard, but reasonably easy to access with one hand when you want to close it. Action is VERY smooth, and lockup is tight, no wiggle either up/down or left/right, at least in the first hundred or so openings...

Clip is well up on the handle making for low profile carry. The ambidextrous stud is set flush with the indent on the handle in my model. So far I haven't notice it hang up on my waistband (my preferred carry site). Given the very strong detent keeping the knife closed, I wish CRKT had engineered it to carry point UP and not down, but it seems everyone but Spyderco and then the more expensive makers put the point down, so its no worse in that respect than most of the other low end knives.

As for the vendor, I've bought knives from three or four vendors advertising here on BF. This time it was Cumberland Knives turn. John of Cumberland Knives told me in an email that he shipped on Monday two weeks ago (that would be a day after I placed my order), but the knife never arrived at my door. I wrote John about that, and he responded promptly offering to send another or refund my money. I chose to try him on the reship, and he did, the following Monday, with the knife arriving safely at my location three days later. THANK YOU John...

What I liked best about this service was not just John's immediate willingness to resend the knife without argument, but that he kept in touch by email within 24 hours of each email I sent him throughout the process, even on weekends!

Take care all. Hope this helps.

[This message has been edited by matthew rapaport (edited 10-27-2000).]
Matthew, great idea to bring this thread back to the top. It's interesting to hear what was said by some of our regulars here 2 years ago, about knives we still use. So how has CRKT done? Everyone agrees that their products and prices are great, but they are not regarded as highly as BM, Spyderco, MT, & REKAT - due half to quality of materials and half to reputation??? I don't really know where I'm going with this post, I'd like to see an updated continuation of the conversation above between Darrel, Dexter, Mike, & Joe. Any more thoughts on the issue?

Jason aka medusaoblongata
"I have often laughed at the weaklings who call themselves kind because they have no claws"

- Zarathustra
IMO, I rate CRKT and OE for that matter higher in generating interest and excitement than spyderco. Why? CRKT and OE have been innovating at a higher rate, and holding their prices down.

Was looking for a small gents folder and got the BM330, BM850, BM856, and (just to see what CRKT was about) the CRKT Mirage Gray Ghost. After a couple of days of handling and using, I've relegated all the BMs to the drawer.

The only problem I had with mine was the slight blade play at closed position. Since I carry mine in a pouch, I wasn't too bothered. Hell, those BM's costing 2x or 3x the cost look and feel unfinished compared to this knife. Best buy I've ever made. I'm gonna get the Mirage Titanium next.

Anybody wants to buy a couple of hardly used BMs?


"Praise not the day until evening has come;a sword until it is tried; ice until it has been crossed; beer until it has been drunk" - Viking proverb
I've bought 2 Mirages in the last month. The zytel Wharncliffe - excellent knife for the price.

And today, the titanium Mirage: stupendous value for the price - I got it for $50.

CRKT is definitely one of the front runners in the value for dollar field. Hope they keep up the great work.
Must say that I have been pleasantly surprised by the both the quality and the performance of the CRKT Mirage Grey Ghost. The only negative comments I have, are regarding the slightly less than rock solid lockup of the blade when open. Having said that it, it does not appear to have any detrimental effect upon actual usage. The blade shape for me, is pretty much ideal. There is a fine point for delicate work, whilst a deep enough belly for most any every day task. All in all, I can thoroughly recommend it as an everyday carry knife. Its size shouldn't get you into trouble with the Law whilst still being more than useful.

[This message has been edited by Brian McL (edited 10-29-2000).]
Here we have discussed CRKT Mirage Gray Ghost some time ago.
In my honest opinion it is real challenge to find the knife which could offer more knife for each your dollar!
I bought my first CRKT knife some years ago. I've always thought they put out solid quality for their price point.

I have three BM knives (two of them more than three times the price of the CRKT Mirage). One (my Leopard) I love, the other two I can live without. I really like the last couple of Spyderco's I bought, but they are very specialized (small sized suited for special requirement situations, and not my favorite for general use where size is less of an issue). I don't know who "OE" is, but I know I like CRKT's work at the lower pricepoints, and will continue to consider them in the future. The Mirage sets a very good pace!
I own few CRKT blades. They are great value for money. I wish they would do a KFF in ATS-34 or better. AUS-6m sucks.


"To strive to seek to find and not to yield"
Ranger motto