Columbia River Knife & Tool began making knives in 1994. The Oregon-based company was formed by two former Kershaw staffers.
They hit their stride a few years later at the SHOT Show, when they introduced their KISS knife – Keep It Super Simple.
The first time I got my hands on a CRKT product was in 2003, while I was working as an investigative reporter on St. Thomas, USVI.
I’d received some threats, which come with the job. Peter Burlingame gave me a CRKT M21. I’ve carried it faithfully for 10 years with zero complaints.
Since then I’ve purchase around a dozen CRKT models. None have ever failed.
I’ve carried knives professionally for 30 years: Gerbers, an Emerson Specwar, a Randall “Attack,” a variety of autos and other models that cost far more than any CRKT product.
In my opinion, Columbia River Knife & Tool offers the best value for the money. The amount of knife you get far exceeds its cost.
One of the things that sets the firm apart is their collaboration with some of the country’s best knife makers and designers: Pat Crawford, Allen Elishewitz and James Williams, a former Army officer and police trainer who designed my favorite CRKT knife, the Hissatsu.
Williams drew upon his sword making and martial arts background to create the Hissatsu, which CRKT cautions is “intended for us only by trained law enforcement and military tactical team professionals.”
I own fixed blade and folding models. They’re fearsome weapons – something you realize about two seconds after you heft one.
CRKT makes a model for any need, tactical knives, skinners, hunting knives, multi-tools and a host of accessories.
Some of their detractors have pointed out that while the knives are designed here, they’re made overseas. I don’t care. The firm’s quality control is sound. They’re products have never let me down.