CRKT M21 Aluminum Folder Review

10 Best Utility Knives Video
10 Best Utility Knives Video

The CRKT M21 Aluminum Folder was designed as a variation to the highly popular Kit Carson Big Dog Deep Bellied. The design looks more simplistic, but it is nevertheless purpose-driven and custom-made. This CRKT M21 aluminum folder review will discuss the several aspects of this knife.

CRTK Background

CRKT M21-14SFG EDC Folding Pocket Knife


  • Blade Length: 3.99 inches
  • Blade Thickness:  0.14 inches
  • Total length (open): 9.25 inches

CRTK stands for Columbia River Knife & Tool. The company is based in Tualatin, Oregon, and has been making some of the most in-demand custom knives and accessories since 1994. If it’s a CRTK knife, it has to be custom, cutting edge in design, and uses the advanced tech to manufacture.

CRKT M21 Aluminum Folder Blade Variations

The M21 has several variations. Some have a spear tip edge, deep-bellied, recurve, and serrated. There are also models that are razor sharp, semi razor sharp, combined, serrated, and triple point.

CRKT M21 Aluminum Folder Materials Used

The M21 was designed to be an everyday knife; hence, the blade uses high-grade AUS 8 stainless steel. This holds an edge longer and is low maintenance. The handle is made of thick 6061 T6 anodized aluminum, hence the term “aluminum folder.” There are color variations, to match the blade (e.g. grey, charcoal, desert tan).

CRKT M21 Aluminum Folder Safety Features

Folding knives have at least 3 main weak points. First, there is the risk of the knife closing on you while stabbing at an awkward angle.  The second is the lack of a hand guard which puts your hand in danger of getting cut. Third is the fact that the folding mechanism is a weak point, and it’s usually the part that breaks first.

In the first case, the M21 has a patented “AutoLAWKS” system. This ensures that when the knife is fully open, it will not close accidentally or by force. In the second case, the M21 incorporates the highly popular “Carson Flipper” blade extension. This small protrusion in the blade allows for easy opening and doubles as a hand guard. In the third case, the M21 incorporates sturdy design, the best materials, and skilled craftsmanship. As a result, you have a blade that can withstand abuse.

CRKT M21 Aluminum Folder Lifetime Warranty

Nothing says “highest quality” better than a manufacturer that provides a lifetime warranty. However, there are conditions. The warranty takes into consideration even the toughest jobs and the worst conditions.

Expert Reviews

Most experts cannot find fault in the basic construction of the blade and aluminum handle. They do, however, find a few points of improvement for the accessions. For example, the pocket clip is placed at an awkward location. This seems to have been made for shirt pockets, not pants pockets.

Consumer Reviews

The M21 is just the right size for everyday use. The belly is razor sharp, and the blade can be opened and closed safely with one hand. The price is also reasonable considering the materials used and the craftsmanship. The color combination of the particular type of stainless steel and anodized aluminum is also one of its selling points. It’s just too unique to pass up!

Again, consumers don’t like how the pocket clip is positioned. CRKT should have allowed for adjustments or, at the very least, made it easier to remove. Standard screwdrivers should have been used. The good news is it is removable, but you need specialized screwdrivers—Philips head screwdrivers to be more exact.

There are also some consumers who want it a little bit heavier. In which case, their go-to blade is the CRKT M16. So there really is no issue here.

Overall Rating

Overall, this knife gets a 4.5 out of 5 rating. There is no problem with the knife and handle itself, but the author of this article actually owns one and he knows exactly how annoying the clip position is. If you liked this article, check out KnifeUp’s best survival knife article.

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