So since I’m looking for new knives, while I was running some errands this morning I stopped into a Sports Authority to see what they had.
They had a couple CRKT knives. That “Carson Flipper” feature is pretty nifty, mostly because it becomes some degree of a hand guard against slipping. That interests me.
The M21 was much bigger than I expected. It seemed almost too big. The length, the width (of the handle), big! I’m not sure how much it would lend to discrete carry, but it all depends on where you’re wearing it and what clothing you wear it with. That said, I did like having that larger handle in my hands. I’ve got larger hands so having the larger frame in my hand was more substantial. Using the pin to deploy the blade was a little awkward due to the pin being almost flush and touching the frame, but I think with practice that could be overcome.
The flipper feature is kinda nifty, and I can see how, with practice, it can become a fast and quick deployment motion. That said, I’m a little torn on it. It’s a special motion that no other knife has, so if muscle memory kicked in on a different knife that means failed deployment; given the size of this knife I might have to switch to a different knife (e.g. Delica) if I needed to carry something smaller thus keeping the same deployment motion is desired. As well, a few attempts at flipping didn’t extend the blade 100% and engage the lock. Speaking of the lock, I found the mechanism interesting. It’s not just a liner lock but there’s a little pin/bar involved as well to keep the liner lock from collapsing. Interesting thing, but it also feels like more little widgets to break or go wrong. If the liner lock notion has this weakness, might it be better to pick another lock mechanism instead of jury-rigging a problematic one? I’m not sure. I’ve always been partial to lock-backs since I grew up on Buck knives, so old curmudgeon me is just having to expand horizons. Back to the flipper, I can also see how the flipper can bump and snag on external things while the knife is in your pocket and partially deploy the blade… not sure I like that.
That all said, the M21 didn’t seem all that bad. Yes I’d have to learn the knife, from dealing with tip-down carry, to the deployment mechanism (I can see Wife quickly growing tired of me flicking the knife open and closed all day long), to how to disengage the lock and close the knife. It also didn’t have a tanto blade, but that’s not a total deal-breaker. I did like the size, the heft, and the deployed blade with the flipper acting as a guard did seem like it could help with hand slippage (I could only experiment with that so much with the sales guy standing over me and him not wondering what the heck I was doing). I’m not sure I’d get the M21, but it certainly has helped me refine my search.
I wasn’t able to fondle the M16 as it was in a blister pack, but the size seemed comparable to the Spyderco Delica. That was really all I needed to consider there. What I’m getting from my reactions to things is I in fact do want a larger knife. So while that M21 might have come across as “too big” it may actually be just the right amount of big.
The CRKT knives seem to be well-regarded and aren’t too expensive, but I’m thinking they’re not going to fit my bill. Still, checking a couple out in person did help me refine my search criteria a bit. Need to find some folks in town that sell Benchmade knives to do some comparison.