Sometimes the situation calls for a monstrous knife, preferably with Crocodile Dundee DNA on board. It is a safe bet that if any one of us had to choose an edged weapon for a defensive tool, and then immediately use it, Bowies would be among the first selected. But an excessive amount of steel isn’t exactly fun to carry and is often frowned upon by polite society. Much like guns, for discreet carry purposes, smaller is better.
In searching for carry-friendly fixed blades, I stumbled upon the Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) Minimalist line. Rules vary by state, and often by county, but I am fortunate enough to live in a place where a fixed blade is legal to carry concealed. Hold tight while Idaho high fives Florida and all the colonial states turn green with envy. If you can do it, I much prefer fixed blades for EDC. In my experience, they are faster to deploy and more reliable in a pinch.
The Minimalist line has a variety of blade options. For testing, I chose the “Wharncliffe.” I am new to this blade design, and therefore absolutely fascinated with it. Other options include the “Drop Point,” “Bowie,” and “Tanto.”
Pictures often don’t do knives justice, in terms of getting a feel for dimensions. To be fair, I was specifically looking for small in this case. When I first opened the box, though, the knife inside looked like it belonged to a G.I. Joe doll. Sometimes “small” can be too small… Hesitantly, I picked it up.
But first impressions can be deceiving. Because I can happily report that the Minimalist has really grown on me. While the knife is tiny, it is absolutely functional.
My Minimalist test model has a 2-inch blade, with a 3-inch handle. That doesn’t sound particularly small until you also consider how narrow the handle is. In living up to the Minimalist name, CRKT shaved off every bit of unnecessary steel on this bad boy.
Functionally, however, you see some excellent design at work. While the handle is narrow top to bottom, it packs just enough girth to give one a firm grip. The finger grooves look small, but in practice, they actually fit just fine, even with my large hands. The overall result is a surprisingly solid grip on a knife that would almost fit in your wallet.
The sheath has some nice qualities. CRKT bills this as a neck knife, and it comes out of the box with a neck lanyard ready to go. I don’t care much for neck knives, so I was prepared to make a paracord belt slide. On this front, CRKT did me one better. Included is a belt loop, and the hardware to attach it. Excellent initiative with one minor drawback.
The belt loop was obviously designed for belts you get from the slacks section of J.C. Penney. If you wear a real boy gun belt, like mine from CrossBreed Holsters, it doesn’t fit. Thick leather just won’t work on the included attachment. Knife retention is adequate if a little on the light side. I give the sheath an overall rating of “C+.”
As a defensive tool, there is a lot to like about the Minimalist. Its tiny size makes it easy to conceal, even on frames that wouldn’t support anything else. While the 2-inch blade lacks enough reach to hit anything vital, it is an excellent slasher. It isn’t exactly a Rambo knife with a compass in the hilt, but it does the job well. Would I prefer it to just my fists and a chain belt in a Kung Fu fight? Absolutely.
Overall, I give the Minimalist a “B+.” It is well designed, functional, and really easy on the wallet — a true “budget” blade. With an MSRP of $39.99 and with a street price of $23, I recommend you get one in every blade design. LOL.
For more information visit CRKT.com.
- Blade Length: 2″ (50.8 mm)
- Blade Edge: Plain
- Blade Steel: 5Cr15MoV, 55-57 HRC
- Blade Finish: Bead Blast
- Blade Thickness: 0.1″ (2.54 mm)
- Weight: 1.1 oz
- Handle: Polished Resin Infused Fiber
- Style: Fixed Blade Knife w/Sheath
- Overall Length: 5″ (127.0 mm)