While a folding knife is great for carrying in a pocket, the introduction of a mechanism complicates the oldest tool. For field and tactical use, the fixed-blade knife is superior.
The F.T.W.S. (For Those Who Serve) from Columbia River Knife & Tool is not a true tactical knife, but it does serve a purpose at a fair price.
The F.T.W.S. is nearly ideal for opening packages, cutting pallet bands, clearing vegetation and searching. Gloves are good, but when searching under vehicle seats and in secret places where I do not wish to put my hands, a fixed-blade knife that I have complete control of is useful. Many of you have seen dead rodents in children’s rooms during searches of drug houses. Under vehicle seats are combinations of used needles, chicken bones, and full diapers. Nothing you or I wish to touch.
The F.T.W.S. is a field knife, useful in any application in which the knife must not fail. I have tested knives, broken a few, respected some, and been disappointed by many. Th e F.T.W.S. is now in my Go Bag for alarms and excursions. At a suggested retail price of $159.99, it outperforms most in its price range and is as good as a number of more expensive knives.
Allen Elishewitz is a designer with a reputation for designs that give the person on the point an advantage. The F.T.W.S. has a full-tang 6.3-inch blade and features a spear point. The knife is 11.6 inches long overall and weighs in at 10.8 ounces. The blade is carbon steel.
I like the edge retention of carbon steel. The blade is powder coated to resist wear and corrosion. A section of the blade’s spine is sharpened for increased utility. Each of these edges features a double bevel cutedge. The secondary edge on the spine is about four inches long and offers good control.
The handle is well-designed and has a slight angle to the blade. This gives the F.T.W.S. excellent geometry in cutting, presenting the edge to the surface to be cut. The Zytel grip offers a good gripping surface with plenty of adhesion. Hexhead screws secure the scales to the full-tang handle.
The CRKT sheath is black nylon with a hard plastic insert. The sheath has a utility pouch on the face to carry a sharpening stone, and a Fastex buckle cover. An adjustable (and removable) leg strap is attached at the lower end for securing the sheath to your thigh. When the sheath is properly adjusted, there is little movement. The belt loops are height adjustable via hook-n-loop closure backed up by two snaps.
There are two removable security straps. I think one strap is enough, but that’s just my preference. I like the lower one that holds the knife close to the sheath insert. The top one seems unnecessary, but I’m not jumping with the knife or climbing obstacles. Those who do will appreciate the dual straps.
The back of the sheath’s body is slotted so the sheath itself can be mounted on MOLLE webbing. On the lower portion of the sheath are five grommet holes per side along with a length of paracord if you need more options for securing the knife to your gear.
The taper-ground F.T.W.S. is heat treated to 57-58 RC. The integral guard protects the hands. There are finger grooves and the heavily abrasive Zytel handle always affords the user good adhesion. The knife handle offers good purchase, with little shock on chopping, and remains comfortable on the palm in doing so. The handle is a great fit to my hand and feels good in all gripping styles.
The small choil in front of the guard allows a good hold for close work or for leverage in extracting the blade after a tough chopping chore. The secondary edge on the spine is more than adequate for scraping use, cutting kindling and the like.
I have subjected the F.T.W.S. to a number of tests. The knife has chopped kindling, cut boxes and even dug in the garden.
However, the F.T.W.S. is not without controversy. Some consider the upper edge a safety hazard, while others see it as a feature with little use for the mundane chores most people will perform with the knife. However, this knife is For Those Who Serve, and they know what they need.
The F.T.W.S. has the mettle for many chores and situations and would be good to have in a diffi cult situation. The second edge could be an important asset. The F.T.W.S. is lighter than most combat knives and has excellent design features.
The handle is among the best designed and executed I have hefted in some time. The knife is neither handle heavy nor blade heavy, with the point of balance just about where the blade meets the handle.
The F.T.W.S. is up to the task For Those Who Serve.