Blades and Knives

CRKT’s “For Those Whose Served” Knife Review

Black CRKT For Those Who Serve Blade lying on a background of bark.

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.

Black CRKT For Those Who Serve Blade lying on a background of bark.
Black, tactical and sharp, the FTWS has much to recommend.

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.

Wilver handle of CRKT FTWS blade lying on bark background.
This handle offers excellent adhesion for many cutting chores.


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.

Focus on the choil of the CRKT FTWS in a person's hand, on a background of tree bark.
The Choil of the CRKT FTWS is large enough for the user to choke up an use it well in a variety of close cutting chores.

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.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (9)

  1. I own a CRKT M21, which sits beside me (along with my gun) in my SUV. I have never inspected it looking to see where it was made, but rather admired the innovation uniqueness of this knife. I am proud to own this knife.
    China has served a purpose in recent years. They are in the middle of an industrial revolution, and they have made some great stuff. Jeez you have to give credit where credit is due.
    Let’s look at the 100mw laser on my AR10, made in China. It can go out to 50 yards in broad daylight, and I shined it on top of a mountain at 600 yards at night. Other people buy the 5mw lasers. Why are they 5mw? Were the American companies just looking at their profit margins and not at exceptional quality and performance?
    Sure I like the idea of American products too, but these days it doesn’t always guarantee exceptional quality. How is the American company managed, and what is their reputation? Nothing is taken for granted anymore with American made products.
    My AR10 is a DPMS, made in America. I am proud of it , and I think DPMS is an excellent company. And I work for an American manufacturing company myself, in the auto industry. But China brings good products to the table too! I am happy about their industrial revolution!!

  2. The knife appears to be well thought out and lives up to CRKT’s reputation of creating quality tools, but where is the knife made? I believe every CRKT knife I have ever looked at(and not purchased) is made in China! A knife bearing the title” For All Those Who Served” should be made in America, by the very people who are protected by our service men and women! If this particular knife is, then my hats off to CRKT.

  3. To bad most of CRKT product is made in China! They have nice ideas, just no follow thru. I’d pay twice as much for your products if all made in USA.

  4. Nice knife. One I’d like to own. Gazza, I’ve got to tell you, the Aussies are a great fighting machine. I’ve worked with them back in the very early 70’s and I’d work with them today. They are honored at home and honored by us Americans who know what their core is. They are an honorable people and one hell of a fighting team. NO doubt.

  5. Only recently started back in collecting knives again, this time with a purpose. This particular blade seems to fall right in with what I’ve been spending my meager bucks on, being dedicated to those who served. Just picked up a knife from Cutlery Corner dot Net for $12.50… $6.25 goes towards a Veteran’s Education Program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga & $6.25 goes to a program sponsoring the Wounded Warriors Outdoors Adventures program. Of course, it is just a $12.50 knife, but it has good graphics on it, a nice look and feel, and best of all, helps out our Vets. It’s made by Tac Assault, has a rubberized grip handle, is 15″ overall & comes with a black nylon sheath.

  6. It is totally off queue here…but I so wish that Australians paid as much respect for their “those who serve” as the people of the USA do.

  7. Same here, Richard. It does look as though it was well thought out and designed, both the knife and the sheath. The closest thing I have is a couple of old Westerns, a stag handled Case, and some no name copy of a Kabar, as anything which might come close to the size and style of this knife, but these are the conventional hunting knives from the ’40s and ’50s. Since I haven’t hunted in this millinium, most all of my currently still logically useable knives, reside in a large see thru platic Sterilite box, which just fits under my bed. The rest have been well oiled, and are kept in an old wooden Remington ammo box in the garage. I really like the modern design features you mentioned Bob, about the sheath, and the carbon steel, and balance point. I can see where folks might be concerned about the sharpened upper edge for most civilian chores, but seems very fitting for a knife designed to commemorate those who served, and I suppose one could grind that part blunt, if that would be a deal breaker. Even though I’d have to blow the dust off all mine, I’m a bit curious to own one of these, and let me say a big thank you, to all who did serve, and inspire this design. Thanks Bob.

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