CRKT's M16 13 and 13Z

Aug 31, 1999
Let me preface this post by saying that I'm neither a professional reviewer nor writer. I'm merely trying to relate the experiences I had when dealing with these two knives. I also wouldn't recommend what I describe below as you risk stripping out screws and more importantly voiding warranties.


I recently got the chance to thoroughly examine CRKT's version of Kit Carson's M-16, specifically the spearpoint M-16 13 and M-16 13Z. My father purchased the "13" model after said they were out of the BM 840s he had ordered. Once the "13z" came out (Zytel/AUS6 version with Mr. Carson's blade flipper) he ordered one as well.

Almost immediately we both came up with the same idea... The flipper blade sure would be nice on the more upscale Aluminum handled model. :) After plenty of reassurances that I wouldn't destroy the two knives, and a complete understanding that this voided both warranties, he gave in and let me switch them out.

The first thing I did was spend some time looking over the 13Z. There are a number of differences between this more economical model and the original AL handled knife. First, of course, are the scales. The Zytel appears to be bead blasted and overall has a very nice texture. I would probably rate these scales over any other Zytel I’ve handled in both looks and feel. The Spyderco volcano or Benchmade Ascent patterns may have a slight edge in grippiness(?) but IMHO they don’t look or feel as nice.

Underneath the scales are dual stainless liners. They are not skeletonized like the AL scales, probably for added strength. They also lack the AL model's slight scallop inside the scale/liner. This scallop allows the thumbnail better access to the liner without compromising the lock's safety.

The clip on the “13z” is a slight bit higher on the knife and sits in a recessed cutout in the Zytel. After I had the knife apart I noticed that the clip screws had made it all the way through the liners and left a few indentions in the teflon(?) washers.

The next difference was the lack of a thong/lanyard hole in the "Z" version. The Z’s spacer is Aluminum(!), not the typical plastic material - a very nice touch. The spacer had a hole drilled through it for the lanyard as did the Zytel scales, but the stainless liners were not drilled. An enterprising DIY’er could easily take a small drill and… I also noticed that the Z's spacer was longer, extending further up the back of the knife than the older Al knife's spacer.

The last difference is of course the blade. While the Z version has Mr. Carson’s ingenious flipper it is ground from a lesser steel (AUS-6 vs AUS-8) so edge retention may not be up to the regular model. I haven’t used either model extensively so I can’t comment on either knife’s performance in that arena. But, I'll trade a slight loss of edge retention for the flipper any day - it acts as a finger guard when open, making the already secure knife even safer.

The Z’s liner stuck pretty bad out of the box. My dad carries a quarter to pry it loose if it’s opened too hard. Both blades appear to have a coating on the tang where they make contact with the liner. I think with time either the coating or the liner will wear enough that unlocking will become easier.

As I was disassembling the two knives I was surprised to find little rubber (neoprene?) O-rings on each side of the knife under the pivot screw heads. Whether they’re there to keep oil and grim out or to keep the screw from loosening over time I don’t know but it sure is a nice touch on these two very affordable factory knives.

Anyway, disassembly was a bit of a chore. The tolerances were rather tight and it took some work to get the blades off of their pivot pins. On the other hand the “innards” of both knives showed no tooling marks from the production process (except for the molding marks left on the underside of the Zytel scales) and I just happened to have all the right Torx drivers. The knives went back together very easily and the process didn't seem to create any blade wobble in either of the newly-bladed knives.

As I told my dad, the operation was a success. The flippered blade is perfectly happy living in the AL handled knife. It now exhibits the same sticking effect when opened too quickly but otherwise works as well, if not better, than the original blade.

I have a new found respect for Kit Carson and Columbia River - that they could come up with such stout and well made folders at such a reasonable rate is nothing short of amazing.


PS - If CRKT has come out with a flippered version of the AL handled M-16 13 please don't tell me.
I know you said not to tell you but, I believe CRK&T is putting the flipper on all of the M-16 models, including the aluminum handled ones.


Actually I just got some email from Carrie Trujillo at CRKT. Sounds like they don't really have anything in the works.

Carrie also mentioned that I wasn't the first person to inquire about it. I'll bet that if they were to receive an overwhelming number of requests they'd consider it more seriously...

Hello Ghecko,

First I want to thank you for your rewieving these knives.

I have only one notice - as you mentioned in your article
"...As I was disassembling the two knives I was surprised to find little rubber (neoprene?) O-rings on each side of the knife under the pivot screw heads..."

These O-rings are from Teflon which helps pivot for smoother action.

Marko Zekic
Prague, Czech Republic

Hello. I see this is your first post to the forums. Welcome!

I think you might be refering to the teflon washers. The o-rings are something I haven't seen on any other production liner-locks. They sit between the heads of the male and female pivot pin/screw and the handle material - they don't make contact with the blade at all. Unscrew the pivot and you'll see what I mean. :)


[This message has been edited by Ghecko (edited 01-02-2000).]
Marko and Ghecko,
In about March, 2000, all the M16s will be available with the flipper.
The neoprene washer is additional security to keep the pivot screw from working it's way loose.
Some new versions will be making their debut at the SHOT Show in a few weeks.
Wow, thanks for the personal response Mr. Carson!

Glad to hear the flipper will be on on the models. After using the Al handled "13" knife with the flipper a little it almost made me go out and buy one of each so that I could make the switch for myself!



PS - one last difference I've just noticed. The AUS-8 blade's thumb stud is a bit shorter on the the non-clip side as that side is liner-less and thinner. Makes the Zytel knife (the one that I modified) a bit more difficult to open but the Al knife is just that much easier. :)

[This message has been edited by Ghecko (edited 01-02-2000).]

Glad to hear the flipper will be on on the (CRKT M-16) models.

I'll be looking for the AL scaled M16-13
with the AUS-8 flippered blade, ASAP !!

Really like the mod M16-13Z AUS-6 blade
in AL scales but would feel better about
the (not yet available) stronger AUS-8
flippered blade
These knives are really exceptional, especially for the price point. Definately alot of bang for your buck.

Dennis Bible
Hello Ghecko,

you are right. I disassembled my M16-13 and saw what you mean.
Thanks also to Mr.Carson for his additional information. I never imagine that I will be in touch with inventor of one of my favorit knive.