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CRKT’s Deadbolt May Be the Strongest Knife Lock of All Time

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Three new knives from Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) are using one of the most innovative and strongest locking mechanisms that I've ever seen.

It's called the Deadbolt and was designed by Brazilian Knifemaker Flavio Ikoma.

When the blade is deployed, it's held securely in place by a series of steel bolts that interlock with the base of the blade. What would normally be the pivot is a button that allows the user to disengage the lock without putting their fingers in harm's way. It's similar in concept to Paul Poehlmann's Axial lock from the 1970s.

I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I heard these claims back in January at the 2019 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. CRKT sent me home with a Seismic Model and I went on a mission to see if I could make this lock fail.

Eight months later, the lock is still going strong despite twisting the blade under pressure, slamming the spine on a marble countertop repeatedly and using the knife as a pry bar. I have heard that many tests were performed by suspending hundreds of pounds of weights from the handle with the blade held in a vise.

CRKT is a company that has always worked hand-in-hand with custom knife makers. I had admired their designs, but the low price-point and overseas manufacturing used to put me off until I noticed that they had upgraded many of their steels and the makers who design knives for them will not allow a knife to go out to the public that does not meet their own specifications.


This semi-upswept blade design was designed by Flavio Ikoma of Brazil. The knife is a flipper design that deploys via Flavio's patented IKBS (Ikoma-Korth Bearing System) and allows the blade to pop out smooth and fast. The handles are G10.

CRKT Seismic

CRKT Seismic

The steel is 1.4116 Stainless Steel. This is the same steel found in your Swiss Army knife. It's a tough steel and corrosion-resistant, but it doesn't retain an edge as well as most other knives. However, it is soft enough that it can be easily honed to a razor's edge. Just keep in mind that you will be sharpening it a lot more often than most knives.

CRKT Seismic

CRKT Seismic

This is a good entry-level knife, especially if you want to learn the art of sharpening a blade properly. Most seasoned knife owners may balk at the steel, but keep in mind that you're really paying for the lock.

Blade Length: 3.969″
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Steel: 1.4116 Stainless Steel
Blade Finish: Satin
Blade Thickness: 0.148″
Closed Length: 5.457″
Weight: 6.3 oz.
Handle: G10
Overall Length: 9.438″
MSRP: $150.00


Another one designed by Flavio Ikoma, this one reminds me of an old school exhibition knife when manufacturers would show their full potential in a single blade. This knife is loaded with custom features that a blade connoisseur will appreciate. Spelled XOC, it is pronounced Shock and it is colossally overbuilt.



But don't write it off as just a big tank-like folder.

The steel used in this blade is CTS XHP. That is shorthand for Carpenter's Extra High Performance steel and it truly lives up to its name.

This premium steel is an alloy that boasts a corrosion resistance equivalent to 440C stainless steel and can be hardened to 64 HRC. So think of it as a hard stainless or a rust-free tool steel!



It may be the ultimate blade steel because it can be ground to a thin profile and its fine carbides make for an insanely sharp edge. For the real custom knife fans, it can be polished to a high luster.

Liners are titanium and the scales are carbon fiber with a titanium inset bolster. CRKT has made a limited run of these and MSRP is $750. The Deadbolt locking mechanism is the icing on the cake.

With all that said, this particular knife is a bit too big for most folks to carry it daily. It is extremely well-made but the price point is definitely in the realm of custom knife territory.

It's not CRKT's first foray into higher-end blades and a direction that I would like to see the company move toward.

Blade Length: 4.258″ (108.15 mm)
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Steel: CTS XHP
Blade Finish: Satin
Blade Thickness: 0.181″ (4.6 mm)
Closed Length: 6.25″ (158.75 mm)
Weight: 11 oz.
Handle: Weaved Carbon Fiber Inlay – 6Al4V Ti
Overall Length: 10.375″ (263.53 mm)
MSRP: $750

Clever Girl Folder

Lastly, you have to take a look at the Clever Girl folder. Designed by Austin McGlaun as part of CRKT's Forged By War program it incorporates the Deadbolt locking mechanism with a Persian style blade of powder-coated D2 steel and an IKBS flipper. Austin released a fixed blade version first that has been a huge hit with the fixed-blade EDC crowd.

CRKT Clever Girl folder

CRKT Clever Girl folder

McGlaun's philosophy is that a knife is more than a tool. It is a psychological deterrent that is very different from a gun. In a defensive situation, it tells your attacker very quickly that you mean business. The Clever Girl is a wicked orcish looking blade that fits that bill perfectly.

CRKT Clever Girl folder

CRKT Clever Girl folder

I found that it fits my needs as a basic everyday carry knife as far as cutting food, opening boxes, busting zip ties, etc. I love D2 steel and living in the desert means I don't typically have to worry about rust and corrosion, but the coating should help those in more humid areas.

The upswept style blade is not for everyone, but if you are a fan, take a look at it at your nearest knife retailer if they have one in stock.

Blade Length: 4.084″ (103.73 mm)
Blade Edge: Plain
Blade Steel: D2
Blade Finish: Black PVD Coating
Blade Thickness: 0.150″ (3.81 mm)
Closed Length: 5.422″ (137.72 mm)
Weight: 6.9 oz
Handle: G10
Overall Length: 9.5″ (241.3 mm)
MSRP: $160


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1 Comment

  • Richard Henry says:

    It might have been but it’s not the strongest!
    But they are over priced for material an craftsmanship. What you get is a way overpriced China made with budget steel even d2 is still just a gimmick checkout anyone that did cut test.
    I really like a few crkt designs but price is insane for what you get. I’ll stick with coldsteel

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  • It might have been but it’s not the strongest!
    But they are over priced for material an craftsmanship. What you get is a way overpriced China made with budget steel even d2 is still just a gimmick checkout anyone that did cut test.
    I really like a few crkt designs but price is insane for what you get. I’ll stick with coldsteel

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