That is a lot of the alphabet hanging on the top of this sheet. The Columbia River Knife and Tool knife named For Those Who Serve (FTWS) is a first class addition to the line up and one that favorably impresses me. The knife is a great field knife, a go anywhere do anything knife, a useful knife in any endeavor in which the knife must not fail, and a passing fair service-grade chunk of steel.
Over the years I have tested many knives, broken a few, stood in awe of a handful and been disappointed by many more. The FTWS is one going into the go-bag for alarms and excursions. It outperforms most in the price range and is as good as a number of much more expensive knives. Allen Elishewitze is a knife designer with a reputation for intelligent designs that give the person on the point an advantage in every situation.
The knife is about 11.5 inches long and weighs in at about 8 ounces and has a full tang, carbon steel 6.5-inch long blade with a spear point. Although everyone’s blade seems to be stainless these days, I like the edge retention of the carbon steel blade. In any case, the blade is powder coated to resist wear and corrosion while being attractive and durable. The spine of the blade is also sharpened for increased utility and each of these edges features a double bevel-cut edge. The secondary edge on the spine is about 4 inches long.
The well-designed handle features a slight angle to the blade, which gives the FTWS excellent geometry in cutting, presenting the edge to the cutting surface in a proper manner. The Zytel grip offers a good gripping surface with plenty of adhesion and hex head screws secure the grips to the full tang handle. The Pommell is—you guessed it—the Skull Crusher type.
The CRKT proprietary sheath is black nylon with a hard plastic insert, fastex buckle cover and a utility pouch on the face to carry a sharpening stone. There is an adjustable (and removable) leg strap attached at the lower end for securing the sheath to your thigh rather than having it swing freely. When the sheath is properly adjusted, there is little rebound. The belt loops (dual side-by-side) are height adjustable using a hook-n-loop closure backed up by two snaps. The security straps to retain the knife are both removable. This is just my preference but I think one is enough. Two is good insurance. I like the lower one that holds the knife close to the sheath insert. The top one seems unnecessary to me, but I’m not jumping with the knife or climbing obstacles; those who do will appreciate the dual straps. The back of the sheath’s body is slotted so the sheath itself can be mounted on MOLLE webbing. Also on the lower portion of the sheath are five grommet holes per side along with a length of paracord if you need more options for securing the knife to your gear.
CRKT tells us that the knife is heat treated to 57-58 RC, which is a serious number for a knife that is over six inches long. There is an integral guard and a swell to protect the hands and the finger grooves and heavily abrasive Zytel handle always gives you good adhesion. The FTWS also features a taper ground tang, which I do not recall seeing before in a factory production knife, and I like this custom grade feature very much.
The knife handle offers good purchase, with little shock on chopping and remains comfortable on the palm in doing so. The handle is a great fit to my hand and is comfortable in all gripping styles and tactics. The small choil in front of the guard allows a good hold for close work, or for leverage in extracting the blade after a tough chopping chore.
The secondary edge on the spine may be finished and highly sharpened if needed. As issued, it is more than adequate for scraping use and cutting kindling and the like. I have put the FTWS to a number of tests, such as chopping kindling, cutting boxes and digging a bit in the garden, all with smashing good results.
However, the FTWS was not without its detractors around the household. Some see the upper edge as a safety hazard. This imminently formidable feature is not exactly dagger-like and the FTWS isn’t a true dagger by any means. Just the same, some see the sharpened upper edge as a feature with little use in the mundane chores most of us will perform with this knife: point well taken. All the same, this is a knife For Those Who Serve, and they know what they need. I have tested the knife and it has the mettle for many chores and situations. It is a good choice to have in a difficult situation. The second edge could be an important asset.
The FTWS is a lighter knife than some full-blown combat knives with excellent design features. The handle is among the best designed and executed that I have used in some time, with both good heft and balance. The knife’s point of balance is just about where the blade meets the handle, so the FTWS is neither handle heavy nor blade heavy. This balance makes for a fast handling knife and even more importantly a knife with a natural point and a good balance in most any situation.
This knife just may be good enough for who it is for.
CRKT FTWS Specifications
- Blade: Length: 6.30″ (160 mm)
- Thickness: 0.23″ (5.8 mm)
- Steel: SK 5, 57-58 HRC
- Overall length: 11.63″ (295 mm)
- Weight: 10.8 oz. (306 g)
What are your thoughts on the CRKT For Those Who Serve blade? Share in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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