Renowned knifemaker Kit Carson sadly passed away in 2014, depriving the world of the designer of revolutionary systems like the "flipper" opening system that carries his name and great classics as the M16 knife. Here is his new design for 2020: the CRKT M40-15.
We are obviously talking about a posthumous collaboration. This knife was found in a private collection and brought into production as the CRKT M40-15, here in its variant with Veff serrations.
Even at a glance, the knife has all the "genes" of Carson design: the Carson Flipper, a spearpoint blade that seamlessly flows into a sleek grip, with the flipper itself doubling as handguard when the blade is deployed.
The blade is milled out of 1.4116 steel, a german stainless steel with about 0.5% carbon, 15% chromium, 0.8% molybdenum and about 1% each of manganese and silicon. It's a very elastic, resilient and tough steel often used in high end german kitchen knives, and is conceptually similar to 440A and Thyssen-Krupp 4116.
Not a wondersteel for sure, but certainly a good material for a heavy duty knife, and one that can easily be resharpened, even with improvised tools. Unfortunately the Veff serrations make it impossible to resharpen the serrated portion of the edge without specific equipment.
Serrations have become very common today, and almost all manufacturers carry serrated blades versions in their catalogue. The Veff serrations have specifically been designed to bite hard into rope and similar fibrous, tough materials.
The grip is steel with 6063 Aluminum alloy bolsters and panelled in glass reinforced nylon, a very tough material, textured with a pattern that, if at first glance seems to grant very good grip, it's actually too shallow to offer real friction: the hard plastic is too sleek to offer significant grip.
The handle's generous proportions and overall design more than compensate for that, though, and ther user's hold on the M40-15 is good enough. A reversible clip allows left or right handed carry, tip up only (which is anyway the only one that truly makes sense for a flipper knife like theM40-15). A small panel secured by a screw covers the recess for the clip base on the unused side.
Locking of the blade is ensured by CRKT Deadbolt system: a large stud in the left hand side of the blade pin actuates two steel bolts that run through matching half-moon slots in the blade's tang, solidly securing it either closed or open.
The Deadbolt system allegedly offers the speed and ease of one-handed operation of the liner lock, without the weaknesses implicit in this system, such as accidental lock disengagement.
Many CRKT knives sport a locking safety for this purpose, but with the Deadbolt system no safety has been deemed necessary. The chance of accidentally pushing the lock button and disengaging the locking system during hard work has been averted by something similar to the AR-15 magazine latch "fence": the push button that disegnages the Deadbolt lock must be pushed well under the rised rim of the surrounding ring, and deliberate, forceful action is required to achieve that.
I've not yet been able to personally perform tests in this regard, but the lock looks solid enough and secure enough. My only other concern about the deadbolt locking system concerns dirt and lint the mechanism could accumulate during carry in a pocket.
I've already had issues with the blade guide system in some other knife, which required frequent cleaning. Fortunately, the CRKT M40-15 can be disassembled with the CRKT Maintenance Tool.
Disassembly is made slightly more difficult by the IKBS system, which if on the one hand ensures greased-lightning-smooth blade deployment, on the other is another lint-catcher and leaves the user with a lot of tiny steel balls that try to run away everywhere, never to be seen again, as soon as the knife is disassembled. To avoid this I suggest to use some kind of working mat or tray to disassemble the knife in, so that no part gets lost.
Washing the knife periodically and avoiding excessive use of lubricants (in these cases, less is better) should reduce the need for disassembly and cleaning to a minimum.
The blade is large enough to offer decent cutting length even if almost half of it is taken up by the Veff serrations. The good grip-to blade ratio avoids undue stress to the user's wrist even during extensive use.
The spear point, perfectly in line with the grip axis, the blade length and the grip profile make for a very good tool and defensive implement, should the need arise for such use of the CRKT M40-15, which can be gripped equally well in a hammer, saber or reverse grip, even if due to the characteristics of the blade and grip, and the knurling on the top part of the grip and blade's spine, the saber grip appears to be the ideal way to hold the M40-15.
For the price it commands on the market, this is a good knife that can serve its owner well for years, thanks to sturdy materials, solid build and versatility of use.
Marca Modello - Specifiche
101.57 mm (4”)
4.14 mm (0.16”)
6163 Alloy, GRN
238 mm (9.38”)
176 g (6.2 oz)
119.99 $ (MSRP)