Last year, news broke that top US gun manufacturer Sturm Ruger was working with Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) to create a completely new line of fixed blade and folding knives that would be licensed under the Ruger name. The knives would be designed by top knifemakers like RMJ Tactical, Robert Carter, and Bill Harsey – to name a few – and would be intended for every day carry, hunting, and tactical use. It wasn’t until the knives started hitting the market earlier this year that we really got an understanding for what they are intended to be. More specifically, roughed up!
The line is made up of eleven new designs, with a total of twenty-five possible configurations. All of the knives are made from either 8Cr13MoV or 8Cr14MoV blade steel which features a hardness of 58-59 HRC, is fairly corrosion resistant and will hold a good edge for a decent amount of time. Ten of the eleven knives are stonewashed to increase both corrosion and abrasion resistance, and none of them resemble the other, save for the Go-N-Heavy and the 2-Stage folders which both have a compact counterpart.
Gear Institute was given the opportunity to look over the line to see what these new knives were all about and overall; we were impressed. Not only was each knife unique in form and function, but they were all made from common and relied upon materials, which helped keep retail prices down and thus make them more accessible to more people as well.
Out of the line, two knives really stuck out based on their design, the way they felt when put to work, and their intended use.
2-STAGE: COMPACT (Folder)
The 2-Stage: Compact is a flipper-style knife that is big, thick, and anything but compact. Designed by knife maker Robert Carter, who is known for his unique, work-horse style designs, the 2-Stage: Compact is 8.5” in total length and features a 3.5” black-stonewash tanto style blade. Its body is comprised of a slab of aluminum and a slab of steel that has the frame lock mechanism cut into it. With the blade coming in at 5/32” thick, this knife doesn’t only look aggressive – but it truly is aggressive. Oh, and the glass breaker/back spacer really does work. Shhh. Retail: $69.95
ACCURATE – Drop Point (Fixed Blade)
The Accurate is a full tang, fixed-blade hunting knife that is pretty to look at and easy to use. Designed by award winning knife maker, Bill Harsey, the Accurate is well-balanced and comes in at around 9” long. It features a 4.40” long satin finished, drop point blade that slides through a variety of different materials with ease. The contoured handle features an over-sized guard and rubber over-molded inserts that work together to keep your hand in place during all types of work. The Accurate comes with a black, ballistic nylon belt sheath. Retail: $99.95
If I had to describe the whole line of Ruger Knives by CRKT in a single word, I couldn’t. I’m overly impressed to see a complete line of knives that share common materials but are all so unique to one another. Which is actually quite common to a company like CRKT who utilizes top knifemakers and designers for a majority of their knives. If pressed, I would call these knives affordable and utilitarian as they top out around $100, are built to last, and are easy to maintain. They’re not the type of knife that you’d stick up on a shelf to admire – they’re far too aggressive for that. It seems that Ruger knives were designed to be put to work, so feel free to treat them a little rough. They can take it.