After many years on the top of the charts in sales, the Columbia River Knife and Tool M16 folder qualifies as a modern classic. Although CRKT has several different designs, and an extensive line up of quality knives, the M16 folding knife is far and away the most popular among the many offered. It seems as if all my close friends and acquaintances own one or more of the affordable M16 knives.
Kit Carson, the designer, designs his gear for function not fad. With this goal foremost, Carson succeeded with the design of the M16 series. Best of all, the wonders of mass production mean the CRKT knife is offered at an exceptional value. I obtained one of the first M16 knives and continue to use mine often. I liked the M16 from the first because it is slim enough to be carried in practically any position, without the danger of rebound from the weight causing the knife to be lost. The knife isn’t likely to be snagging on anything.
The M16 is Extremely Functional
The M16 is slim, trim, handy and full of features consumers have come to appreciate.
It is AUS 4 stainless steel and may be ordered with either a straight or serrated edge. A hollow grind and a spear point are all-around useful for everyday use. The serrations are particularly welcome when you are working with rope and other material.
All M16 knives feature the Carson Flipper. The Flipper is simply an extension of the blade that protrudes from the top of the blade when the knife is closed. This stud allows for easy opening when wearing gloves or by simply brushing the knife and the Flipper against clothing or a hard object. For those who actually use the knife in a workday environment, the Carson Flipper is a good addition.
The M16 also features the AutoLAWKS automatic blade-securing mechanism. This is a handy combination of features, increasing the functionality for an already lightweight, useful folding knife.
That’s a combination that is hard to beat.
The price point is always important: the M16 is usually available for around $30, which means a lot for those looking for an affordable workday knife. The knife is available with Desert Camo or black handles.
After using the knife for a while, it is obvious it is sharpened a bit more on the left side for right handed use—makes sense to me.
The CRKT M16 features two ‘flippers’ or rapid-assist design opening features. You can open it quickly with one hand by swiping the flipper against your pants leg or anything else available. When the knife is open, these flippers form a kind of hilt. A hilt is a good idea to prevent stubbing or allowing the hand to run forward on the blade you encounter a hard object.
Another design feature I approve of is the use of Teflon-coated blade pivot bearings. Coupled with excellent geometry and hand reach, the Teflon-coated bearings add up to a smooth operation when you use the flippers to open the M16. As for the AutoLAWKS lock mentioned, it is not complicated, but serves to turn the folding knife into a fixed blade for most purposes.
The AutoLAWKS basically backs up the liner lock—greatly reducing the risk of a knife closing under pressure. The AutoLAWKS is marked with a red dot for rapid visual acquisition. It only takes a little practice to manipulate the two locks at once. With the knife oriented with the open bottom upward, simply use the thumb to unlock the liner lock and the forefinger to simultaneously disengage the AutoLAWKS.
The Columbia River Knife and Tool M16 is overall among the most attractive inexpensive folding knives on the planet. Affordable, well designed and well executed, it is easy to understand why the M16’s is so successful.
Specifications and Features CRKT M16
- Overall Length: 8.25 inches
- Closed Length: 4.75 inches
- Blade Length: 3.5 inches
- Weight: 3.5 ounces
- Blade Material: AUS 4 with serrations
How do you use your M16? Share your story in the comment section.