Review: CRKT M16-04KS Tanto
December 12th, 2022
6 minute read
Among those who carry a handgun for protection, many also tend to carry other tools with them in case of emergency. Medical supplies, spare magazines, mini flashlights and a myriad of other gadgets and gizmos are often incorporated into the everyday carry routine of armed Americans.
While many of these tools tend to focus strictly on utility in a specific circumstance, a well-made knife provides versatility and a further means of defense in dire situations. The most commonly seen type of knife for this role is the folding knife, and it comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Weight, deployment method, and the length and profile of the blade all determine the ideal usages/roles of a particular knife.
The Right Tool
If you’re looking for a general-purpose folding knife that can easily serve as a back-up weapon, the CRKT M16-04KS — available on the Springfield Armory Store — is an excellent option. This mainstay folding knife shares the characteristics of famed knifemaker Kit Carson’s renowned design, which has remained extremely popular over the years.
The knife is both a substantial defensive tool and a workhorse cutting implement. With a blade length of 3.87”, and an overall length of over 9”, it’s on the larger side of everyday carry pocket knives. The knife sports a tanto blade made of 12C27 Sandvik. This solid steel is known for good retention of sharpness and corrosion resistance. This 12C27 blade is finished in black oxide finish. If you purchase the one offered in the Springfield Armory Store, that black oxide is adorned with the Springfield Armory logo on the blade just below the CRKT logo.
The M16-04KS makes use of what many knife enthusiasts refer to affectionately as “The Carson Flipper.” This means that the knife is smooth and quite fast to deploy, despite the absence of spring assistance. The knife also makes use of a frame lock system. Frame lock knives are known to handle tough cutting and prying substantially better than liner lock knives do, with a portion of the knife’s frame locking the blade in the open position. This should mean better long-term durability of the knife’s locking mechanism.
The physical characteristics of the knife certainly point towards defensive use. With the blade closed, the knife is over 5” long. Weight of the knife is 6.20 oz. Though this is on the heavy side of EDC folding knives, for its size, it’s not outlandish. In fact, a lot of material has been cut away from the grip to save as much weight as possible, something that can’t be said of all large carry knives. The cutaways in the grip look great and are perfectly comfortable on the hand while using the knife.
The one caveat with the cutaway is that it may not be a great choice for those new to owning or operating folding knives. The presence of the gaps allows those who don’t yet have a full understanding of safe knife handling to accidentally come into contact with the blade while closing the knife. This is highly unlikely if common sense is used in the handling of the knife, but certainly a consideration. Those with even limited experience using folding knives would have no problem deploying and closing the blade without incident.
Speaking of deployment, the Carson flipper makes it considerably easy to open for a non-spring-assisted knife. The texture on the flipper is perfectly grippy and provides excellent leverage to quickly open the knife, even with sweaty hands. The material of the grip itself has some texture to it, further increasing control over the knife during manipulation and use.
The bigger size of the M-16-04KS is advantageous for defensive purposes, offering increased blade reach and a larger area where the carrier can grip the knife. Getting a handle on the knife during deployment is never difficult. The size and texture of the grip, the smoothness of the mechanism and the inclusion of the Carson Flipper all contribute to the knife remaining stable in the hand before and after deploying the blade.
The CRKT certainly feels like it will take up a decent amount of vertical real estate clipped into a pocket, but it never feels invasive. The knife’s larger overall size may raise some doubts as to the comfort of carrying it, but I can honestly say that it sits in the pocket quite comfortably after carrying it. The knife is long, but its relatively thin, and does not take up so much space that other items can’t be placed in the pocket around it.
In fact, one pocket of my LAPG jeans can comfortably fit my many keys, wallet and the knife, without any discomfort. I wouldn’t necessarily walk out the door with all of those things stuffed in the same pocket, but it’s an interesting measure of the knife’s potential for carry, nonetheless.
The CRKT M16 in Practice
Cutting with the M-16-04KS is what you might expect from a quality CRKT blade. I’ve found the tanto profile especially helpful for opening up or cutting down boxes. I would have loved to have had one of these back when I worked at a gun store and had to do a lot of careful unboxing. Paper, cardboard, tape and rags used for gun maintenance all cut cleanly with the CRKT.
The lack of serrations on the blade doesn’t handicap it much at all, even when cutting some harder materials like solid rubber and rope. Serrations definitely can help with the “sawing” needed to cut certain harder materials and fibers, but the M-16-04KS has done a great job of cutting those materials thus far and has remained quite sharp after doing so. The blade feels very sturdy overall and inspires confidence while using it to pry or cut those harder objects.
The knife itself has performed very well for me over the course of testing. It’s a capable tool you can use every day for a wide variety of tasks, and it could easily fill the role of a defensive weapon if needed. It benefits from the utility of its larger size without suffering from some of the pitfalls of many similarly sized knives. It wears comfortably and fits well into the menagerie of items that make up a solid everyday carry system.
Available from the Springfield Armory Store, the M-16-04KS lets you express the pride you take in your Springfield carry gun with a high-quality EDC knife that will last just as long.
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