Sunday, July 29, 2007

CRKT M16-13Z Review

Well, I noticed when I looked at my blog today that it seems devoid of pointy, edgy things. So I've decided to give a review of my most commonly used and carried knives, starting with the CRKT M16.
I bought this knife about six months ago, in the dead of the winter while living in Western NY State. I've carried no other folder since then. It has become my favorite EDC folder--of all time. Here's a few reasons why, with photos to accompany them.

  • Solid lockup. And I mean SOLID. When it becomes loose or wobbly, just tighten the pivot screw with a flat tip screwdriver.
  • BEEFY build. BEEFY. This thing is not your everyday "Wallyworld special" cheapo plastic and aluminum job, this is a great knife for the price. The liners are quality steel, cut thick and flush with the handles, and the scales themselves are of a nice texture that aids in retention. And though some complain that the Zytel handles on the model I own are too thick and bulky for their pockets (usually the people who prefer the thinner profile of aluminum handle scales), all I have to say to them is "well, it fits my hand better, it's grippier, and it's cheaper. Did you ever try to hold onto an aluminum-handled knife when it's slick with water, sweat, or blood, or when it's negative 10 degrees outside?" Most people don't argue that point.
  • It has AUS series steel for the blade material. Most knives in this price range are either 420 stainless or carbon steel, not AUS. And though CRKT recently dropped their production standards a hair by producing this (and other) knives in AUS-4 rather than AUS-6 or AUS-8, I don't care. It's better than the alternative, and it's easy to sharpen. If you do it right, you don't have to worry about the edge not lasting long enough for you to have a chance to hone it again before you next need it.
  • Spearpoint blade--I love spearpointers. Tanto blades that can "stab through a car hood" or "pierce body armor" are not something I really need or care for. They're attractive (I won't dispute that) and although I've owned one or two in the past I don't really like them. The grinds are easier to bugger up with a careless swipe of the whetstone, and most don't have enough "belly" to the blade shape to accomplish everyday cutting tasks quickly and efficiently. At least, that's MY take on it, for what it's worth.
  • Heavy-duty pocket clip--I've not yet been able to accidentally bend this clip--it just doesn't happen. Other knives I've damaged in this way by catching the clip on a door, couch, etc., but not this one. It's as indestructible a clip as you're going to find on any other low-cost production folder.

  • The bead blasted finish on this knife is a certifiable rust magnet. There's nothing I can do to prevent this except to clean and coat it once in a while with some WD-40 or other type of rust preventative. Silicone would probably work, too. On most of my knives and other tools I use what's called "White Lightning." It's a dry wax lube that repels, rather than attracts dirt. But when I put it on this knife, it gunked up (I think because of the LAWKS supplemental safety feature). All I have to say is that if you buy this knife, you're going to want to keep it dry. And I mean BONE-dry. Don't, for instance, dump it into the pocket of a sopping wet pair of pants and leave it till the next morning. This, like all other knives of this type of finish, needs periodical maintenance and attention. Expect to see a few light spots here and there, but don't fret--they're the beauty spots of cutlery. Give it love, and it will love you. "Have you loved your knife today?"
  • This knife is almost impossible for me to open safely using the thumbstud. If I use the thumbstud, my thumb almost invariably ends up on the serrations (NOT a good thing). This is due to the fact that there isn't much of a "cutout" or "choil" where your thumb is able to rest behind the stud before flipping it open. To circumvent this, I have taken to using the flipper. This is a faster method anyway, so it doesn't bother me. In fact, I'd rather use the flipper than the stud. It's pretty neat looking and inspires looks of awe and "ooohs" from bystanders when I whip it out to cut tape or cord. (Either oohs or expressions of horror, depending on the audience).
  • This doesn't apply to my knife, but since last year the new model of this knife includes the new LAWKS (Lake and Walker Knife Safety)--AutoLAWKS. Some people really hate this feature on the new M16s, and would rather go with another manufacturer than carry a knife that locks in two different ways the moment the blade is deployed. Some say it's nearly impossible to learn to safely close the new models one-handedly (and that's pretty sad, considering the fact that it's a one-hand opening knife). So if you're thinking of buying this knife and think that would bother you, try to find the old model (the one I have in the photos). It'll be pretty hard to find one now--but look for the plain LAWKS switch with no red plastic insert in the knob. If you find one online that has a photo of the LAWKS mechanism and it has the red knob, call the retailer and ask about it. If it has the red knob, it's AutoLAWKS. If it's plain, it's the original LAWKS mechanism.
All right, here's the photos......

Showing how thick and beefy each and every part of the knife is......

Reverse grip......

I sliced through this clamshell packaging material in no time at all!

A view of the clip-side.......

And of the other......

Cutting through double layers of a cardboard box with ease.....

And sticking into the corner boards.........

Materials: 420J2 SS Interframe liners, AUS-6M SS blade, Zytel handle scales, Teflon washer at pivot point, Adjustable pivot screw, Torx fasteners (to hold it all together).
OAL: 8.25"
BL: 3.5"
Price: 30.00 at Wal-Mart on up to 50.00 from online retailers.
Manufacturer's Website:
Berserker's Overall Rating: Five Stars.

For an unbeatable knife at an unbeatable price, buy from the CRKT-M16Z series!


Matthew said...

Hey! I just ordered that knife, and came across your blog! Thanks for a great review, and I can't wait to show it off. I too love to worship God and like sharp objects and things that go BANG. =p

Amy said...

Hi, I just ordered this knife too (I currently have the original M16-13). I find the original has a significantly better build quality and feel. The "Z" version is still really good though but I think I'll be gifting it away. Too bad they don't make the M16-13 original anymore.

Berserker said...

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the input!
Yeah I've heard the newer versions are pretty crappy compared to the originals, this was one of the original Z models, I got it on clearance so I doubt the newer ones are as well-built. I've been told that CRKT is using AUS-4 or 6 rather than AUS-8 like they used to.

Mark said...

Bought one yesterday. Went back today and bought a second one. Sweet.