Santa Clause brought me a great little knife that I've been meaning to blog about. It's the M4 Stag made by Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT). It's a really well made, great looking, handy little knife, that retails for under $50 online. The blade is spring-assisted (if you can get your thumb under the thumb studs on the sides of the blade) which makes for quick one-handed opening. One-handed opening took me a little practice, and some tootling from my knife-nut of a little brother. But, when you get your thumb under the stud and pry outwards, the blade quickly flies out and locks with a satisfying snap. The handle is made of stag (antler) which I really love and the steel (8Cr13MoV) is a Chinese made stainless. A little web research tells me that this grade of steel is typically used in budget knife lines of quality knife manufacturers. I'll have to report back, after I get more use out of this knife to let you know how well it holds and edge. Dimensionally speaking, it's what I'd consider the perfect size. Closed, it is 3.75" long. Open, it is 7" long. The blade is 3.25" long and slightly less than 1/8" thick.
One really cool thing about this knife is that, in addition to a locking liner, which you push to the side to close the knife, it also features what CRKT calls their LAWKS manual safety system. Shown above, this manual safety system is a simple physical lock that prevents the locking liner from disengaging. This is a neat little feature that comes at no expense to the operation of aesthetics of this knife.
I have but one gripe about this knife; while it sits comfortably, clipped in a pants pocket, it is very uncomfortable when you try to fish other items out of that pocket. The stainless steel bolsters, though attractive, flare to a jagged point which catches the back of the hand when digging into the pocket. However, overall, the knife feels great in the hand and will be great for cleaning squirrels and other critters taken in the field.