Monday, November 8, 2010

Review - CRKT Drifter

One of the most impressive folding knives for the price that I have come across have been the Drifter series of knives by Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT). It offers a medium-sized, high quality knife that's razor sharp out of the box and super fast to open; the CRKT Drifter is a very good every day carry (EDC) choice.

The Drifter comes in two flavors, both excellent with their respective advantages. There is the light-weight Drifter G10, which is liner-locking and has G10 side scales. Then there is the Drifter Stainless, which is a frame-locking design with a stainless steel frame. It is heavier, but feels more solid in the hand.

(For those who do not know what G10 is, it is a material made of fiberglass impregnated with epoxy resin, a very good knife handle material.)

First, I'll cover things that the two have in common before I get into specifics for each model.

The CRKT Drifter comes in G10 and Stainless models.
The Drifter is adequately sized, 3.6" long when closed, with a 2.9" blade. The drop point blade is made out of 8Cr14MoV stainless steel. The blade holds an edge well and comes hair-shaving sharp out of the box. The lockup on both models is solid with no movement at all.

Opening the Drifter is easy, utilizing the ambidextrous thumbstuds. This knife opens very fast, surprisingly fast. The pocket clip enables the knife to be carried tip-down, right handed only. The pocket clip is removable but only has one mounting point. At the end of the handle, there is a lanyard hole for those who like lanyards on their pocket knives.

That pretty much covers the commonalities between the two models. Now I'll delve into the specifics between the Drifter G10 and the Drifter Stainless.

Drifter G10

The Drifter G10 the lighter of the two models. Weighing in at 2.4 oz, it is light enough to forget that you have it on you. The knife has stainless steel liners strengthening the frame, with G10 scales that go over the liners. The G10 offers a good amount of traction in the hand, not too much and not too little. The blade on the Drifter G10 has a gray titanium nitride coating, which matches the black G10 scales well, making the knife look very elegant.

One critique I would have is that the liner lock seems thin, however the blade locks open solidly. From my experience the lock has never failed. The jimping on the top of the blade is more or less non-functional, since it offer very little purchase for the thumb. The handle, however, still offers enough grip to make the knife very functional.

The Drifter Stainless is heavier but feels solid in the hand.
Drifter Stainless

The Drifter Stainless is the heavier, more solid-feeling version of the Drifter. It weighs 3.3 oz and has a stainless steel frame. This knife is a frame-locking design, with a very solid lockup. The blade has no coating, making it reflective and also elegant. It matches the stainless frame of the knife.

A critique against the Drifter Stainless is that the frame is smoother than the G10 version, making it a little harder to hold on to. However, the jimping seems to be sharper on the Stainless version than on the Drifter G10. The contours in the handle, combined with the jimping, still give you adequate traction in the hand for anything that you would realistically use this knife for.

Disadvantages to the Drifter

The pocket clip enables tip-up, right handed carry only.
I thought that it would be fair to list things that I do not like about the Drifter. While there isn't much, one thing that I do not like is that Drifter does not enable tip up carry. I prefer tip up carry on my blades, since from my experience it enables a faster knife opening.

Other than that, I do not have any criticisms on the design. I think it's excellent and I feel like any knife collector should own at least one CRKT Drifter. For those looking for an EDC knife, the Drifter may be just what you have been looking for. While there are a few criticism to the Drifter, as there are to all designs, it is still one of my favorites.

1 comment:

  1. How easy is it to remove the pocket clip? (I am a lefty)