CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife Review
“A Small EDC Built like a Tank…”
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While I enjoy reviewing all different kinds of knives, I get the MOST joy out of reviewing the midsize EDC “working man’s” knives…
I find that these midsize EDC’s are what I personally spend the most time with, and thus have the most experience handling.
That being said, the Squid isn’t your typical everyday carry folding knife. This is one little compact hunk of metal, and it really isn’t shy about showing off its hidden potential.
A compact, affordable knife for every day carry; it’s constructed excellently with a decent blade, especially for the price. If that sounds appealing to you, give the Squid a shot. I’m glad I did.
WHO IT’S FOR?
Anyone looking for a high-value budget EDC folding knife OR someone looking to get into the knife game with a small, minimalistic yet effective knife.
The CRKT Squid is a good thrifty option for anyone, really. It may be small, but it’s built like a fortified tank.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve done a number on this knife, and for the most part it has held up impeccably. For the low price point of this knife, you’re gonna be hard pressed to beat it.
So, my first impression of this knife was that it wasn’t anything particularly extraordinary to look at. It’s not flashy by any means, and it has a remarkably straightforward design. Long story short, it’s kind of boring in the looks department.
THAT BEING SAID, there are a TON of qualities this knife has that make up for its lackluster look…
Fundamentally, the CRKT Squid embodies everything a minimalist knife should. As soon as you pick it up, you’ll get an immediate sense of how strong and dense of a backbone this little guy has.
I mean, it really is a solid-feeling knife, and it doesn’t feel flimsy in your hand at all- something that’s not too common with knives at this price point.
Another valuable characteristic of this knife is that it’s not threatening or intimidating in appearance.
Lets face it, they’re just some knives that you CAN’T carry on you in certain public places – like an office, for instance – so this knife is perfect for low key carry. The knife is friendly-looking enough that your friends and co-workers won’t be wigged out.
One other thing you can’t help but notice is that the Burnley design is very well executed. Size-wise, this is the perfect secondary EDC size, and not a bad main EDC size either, albeit a little small.
For general dimensions, the short 2.25” blade is housed in a 3.5” long handle. That makes the total length of the blade 5.75″.
That being said, it’s small enough that you wouldn’t even have to use the pocket clip. You really could just throw it in your pocket with some spare change or you keys.
Of course, I wouldn’t recommend that because this is a stonewash finish, and I should have to tell you that stonewash finishes can get scratched.
I’m not really a guy that cares about scratching my knives, so that’s not a big deal for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal for you so just keep that in mind.
As a compact knife, the Squid might be small, but it’s also dense. Listed below are the specs for this powerful knife.
Overall Length: 5.75″
Blade Length: 2.25″
Blade Thickness: 0.11″
Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
Hardness: 58-60 RC
Blade Style: Drop Point
Blade Grind: Hollow
Finish: Acid Stonewash
Edge Type: Plain
The CRKT Squid‘s blade is short and fat. It sports a drop point with a high Hollow Grind. The blade, just like the handle, is covered with a dark gray stonewash coating.
I like how short the blade is, mainly because a shorter blade provides you a generous amount of leverage AND control when making a hard cut or applying a lot of force.
As far as steel goes, the blade is made from 8CR13MoV- a budget steel.
All things considered, 8CR13Mov is a very capable steel. It’s a budget steel, no doubt about it, but you definitely get your money’s worth with it.
I have tons of knives that use 8CR13, and I confidently say that it’s never done me wrong. So for the price point of this knife, you really can’t go wrong with this steel.
Over the past few months I’ve beat up pretty hard on this blade, and the steel has held up miraculously for a knife at this price point.
To push the limits, I even put this knife through a torture test where I cut through aluminum cans, and the blade held up surprisingly well.
The steel dulled a bit of course, but like I said, this is a budget steel, not a fancy-schmancy premium steel. Be realistic.
In terms of the blade’s design, there’s a small detail that I like, and that is the mild jimping on the spine of the blade. It’s nothing too aggressive, but it’s just enough to effectively dig your thumb in and latch onto.
Despite being so small, the handle is pretty heavy. It single handedly accounts for most of the overall weight of this knife.
A heavy handle could be good or bad depending on your preference…
Personally, I like the feel of a heavy handle because it actually allows you to feel like you’re holding on to something sturdy.
The funny thing is, the handle makes this knife feel 1/2 an ounce heavier than it actually is.
Sometimes a heavy handle can throw off the weight distribution and balance of a knife, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with the Squid. Somehow it manages to keep a nice equilibrium of balance.
I should also tell you that in the palm of your hand, this thing feels like a little metal tank. Despite being so small this knife has a very dense feel due to its all-steel construction.
Honestly, if you’re the kind of person who prefers your knives to be light and airy like a feather, this probably isn’t going to be a good fit for you. If, on the other hand you like your knives to be short, stocky and well built, it will be a good fit.
In terms of width this knife is actually relatively thin compared to a lot of my other EDCs this size. It’s thin enough to forget it’s even clipped to your pocket. In other words, it’s not obtrusive at all.
This knife also has a little lanyard attachment on the end of the handle. I’ve actually used a lanyard on this knife many times, as this is the kind of knife that can benefit heavily from a little lanyard action.
There’s also a little choil for your index finger and I found it to be very useful in getting a good grip. One negative thing I will say about the choil, however, is that it forms a little hotspot there when gripped with a lot of pressure.
I’m not gonna lie; when I first clipped this knife to my pants I wasn’t a big fan. It wasn’t until I carried it for a couple of weeks that I started warming up to the clip.
Also, I came to appreciate that this is the shortest knife I’ve had that also has a pocket clip. So that’s pretty cool.
The pocket clip allows for relatively discreet carry. It doesn’t ride as deep as it POSSIBLY could, but it’s pretty dang close. The clip allows the majority of the knife to fit within my pocket. The only visible thing protruding from your pocket is the lanyard hole.
As for size, the pocket clip on the Squid runs half the length of the handle. Another potential thing to consider is the fact that the clip is tip up (non reversible) carry only. Yes, it’s only available one position.
I’m gonna get straight to the point: this is not a knife for those of you who are looking for a flashy opener.
The Squid doesn’t have any kind of spectacular deployment system; it’s just a blade with two thumbstuds.
It doesn’t deploy particularly quickly, and it’s not the kind of knife you endlessly fidget with for fun. Once you get that through your head, you can see this knife’s deployment system for what it is: a boring yet reliable one.
The blade’s deployment is easy, smooth and straightforward. Simple as that. The main takeaway? It gets the job done well. If you’re looking for a more fancy-deploying EDC, maybe consider an alternative such as the Kershaw Cryo.
If you’re able to get past the fact that this is a simple knife with a simple deployment, you’re definitely going to be able to see the massive value this knife offers.
The ergonomics on this knife are okay. For everyday purposes, they’re more than fine, but you’re going to want to watch out for the choil hotspot.
If you’re doing mild cutting tasks like cutting open some cardboard boxes at the warehouse or just chopping up some fruit on a camping trip, the knife’s gonna be comfortable and you won’t feel any hotspots.
When you start to firmly grip the knife doing heavier cuts though, you might benefit from wearing some light gloves.
The ergos are definitely good enough that you can GET BY without gloves doing heavier cutting, but that hotspot might catch up with you after a good 30 minutes of cutting.
As for the slick stainless steel handles, you’re not going to run into any hotspots there. The rest of the knife is (as far as I can tell) hot spot free.
So, in terms of graspability, this is definitely a three-finger knife, but that isn’t to say you can’t get four fingers nicely wrapped around it.
I have big fat sausage fingers and even I’m able to get all four fingers on it with a good grip. My pinky hangs off a little bit, but it’s not the least bit uncomfortable.
The lock on the Squid is definitely one of its shining features. It comes equipped with a sturdy, robust frame lock that is not too late OR too early- it’s right on time.
As I said earlier, I pushed this knife to its limits with several torture tests- one of which I repeatedly tried to get the lock to fail, and it passed with flying colors.
I batoned with the Squid doing relatively hard hits using a rather large piece of wood, and it did what I needed it to do.
Of course, I would NEVER reccomend batoning with an EDC folding knife if you can’t help it, but it’s good to know it can pull it off if it needs to.
I put the squid through several practical cutting tests- everything from cardboard, aluminum cans, paper, boxes and rope.
I found that for a knife of this price point, it performed surprisingly well on each of these tests.
Push cuts with the paper were smooth, boxes were cut relatively easily, aluminum cans were cut and ripped apart, and rope was cut effortlessly.
Of course, the Squids edge didn’t hold out for as long as some of my more expensive knives, but it held out longer than I had expected. Good job, CRKT.
(+) Great Cutting Control Due to Short Blade
(+) Dense, Powerful All-Steel Construction
(+) Durable Frame Lock
(+) Very Comfortable Clipped in Pocket
LEAST FAVORITE FEATURES
(-) Boring Look
(-) Hot Spot in the Finger Choil with Heavy Cutting
So, how does the Squid stack up to the competition? Well, that’s a tough question to answer, but I can confidently state that I love my CRKT Squid. I definitely would rank it high among those the running for the best budget folders.
Overall, the Squid is well made, especially considering the price point. Blade centering is on point, the grinds are even and clean, and there aren’t any noticeable factory marks.
The steel, 8Cr13, is a steel that I use often in my knives, and I’ve grown fond of it. It’s an amazingly capable budget steel, especially how well the heat treats are being done on these blades nowadays.
To state the obvious, no, of course this knife isn’t going to be able to compete with more expensive folders that are in a different class, but that’s besides the point.
The point I’m trying to get across about this knife is that it’s GREAT FOR THE PRICE POINT. To me, the only thing that matters in knives is the value they provide relative to their price point.
If a knife is inexpensive, so many people are so quick to prejudge it as low-quality, but that is absolutely not true. Even if a knife has a low price point, it can still provide a MASSIVE amount of value, and this knife just goes to prove it.
At the end of the day, I’m happy to say that I jumped on the bandwagon and bought into the Squid’s unquestionable popularity.
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