The karambit has become a very popular backup knife. Although it could be argued that it’s less instinctive than a straight-blade knife, the unique features of the karambit make it an outstanding knife for last-ditch self-defense at extreme close quarters, especially for those willing to train with it.
The forebear of the modern karambit can be traced to the Indonesian archipelago as far back as the early 11th century AD as a farming and utility tool. It quickly spread throught Southeast Asia. It’s believed to have originally been weaponized among the Miangkabau people of West Sumatra. The modern karambit is far removed from the ancestral agricultural tool and is available in both fixed-blade and folder versions.
According to tradition, the karambit was inspired by the tiger’s claw and functions in much the same manner. It’s one of the traditional weapons commonly associated with the Indonesian martial art of Pencak Silat and Filipino Arnis (Kali), along with several other Southeast Asian martial arts.
The blade of a karambit is primarily used in a slashing or hooking motion. The technique of the karambit is heavily focused on targeting the weaker points of the body. It’s very effective due to the curved blade, which allows for powerful cutting and ripping wounds, as well as for use with hooking and control techniques.
The safety ring of a modern karambit provides retention and also makes the karambit extremely difficult to disarm. The safety ring also offers quick access for blade deployment and can be used as an impact weapon with the blade closed.
One of the coolest karambits is the new Provoke™ from CRKT®. The brainchild of California custom knife designer Joe Caswell, it features a revolutionary patent-pending design that offers unique functional and safety benefits. It’s the large-production imported version of the custom Caswell “Morphing Karambit” (MKV2).
CRKT refers to the Provoke as a Kinematic™ manual knife. The mechanism is genius. In the closed position, the blade is nestled alongside the handle. Just apply gentle thumb pressure to the upper crossbar of the blade and nudge it forward to deploy the blade, while your other fingers grasp the handle.
The Kinematic mechanism represents a total rethink of folding knives. A key feature is that it keeps your fingers out of the rotational path of the blade. There’s no need to change your grip or remove your fingers from the handle to deploy the blade. It’s simple and requires only gross motor skills.
The Kinematic technology enhances the Provoke’s utility as a non-bladed impact weapon and allows you to change to a blade-deployed condition without compromising control or requiring a second hand. It also enhances safety since the blade’s conveyance path does not cross any part of your hand with typical use.
The Provoke is compact, light to carry, and built for functionality. It measures 4.96 inches closed and weighs in at 6.1 ounces. It has a 2.4-inch hawkbill blade that is 0.21 inch thick. The blade has a dual-bevel flat grind. The sub 2.5-inch blade and the fact that it’s a 100% manual folder make the Provoke legal to carry in most areas.
The knife is ruggedly constructed. It has only five principal parts, plus the pocket clip, springs, and fasteners. The handle and deployment arms are made of tempered 6061-T6 aluminum alloy with a black milspec Type III hard-anodized finish. Four black-oxide coated stainless steel chain-ring bolts attach the swing arms, which connect the ring-end handle to the blade. The retention ring has a one-inch inside diameter and is perfectly sized for use with or without gloves.
The blade is forged from D2 tool steel (60-62 HRC). D2 is a versatile high-carbon, high-chromium, air-hardened semi-stainless tool steel. It has high wear and abrasion-resistant properties due to numerous chromium-rich carbides in the micro-structure.
The blade has a black titanium nitride (TiN) coating, an extremely hard and wear-resistant coating that enhances lubricity and corrosion resistance and provides a discreet non-reflective finish.
A sturdy, discreet lever at the base of the finger loop serves as the locking mechanism. It is constructed of stainless steel with a black-oxide finish. To retract the blade, push the lever to the side and then grasp the back of the blade and return it into the closed position.
The Provoke carries via a unique zero-profile deep-carry stainless steel pocket clip mounted for tip-down carry. It lets you discreetly carry the knife without the inconveniences of a traditional pocket clip.
The pocket clip lies flush with the handle when not in use, providing improved ergonomics and minimizing hot spots when the handle is gripped. If you didn’t know it was a clip, you would assume it was some sort of ornamental design.
To use the clip, press down on the push grooves on the rear of the clip to open it up, so you can slide it right into your pocket or clip it to PALS webbing. By virtue of the Kinematic mechanism, the clip isn’t reversible.
The workmanship on the sample provided to me was excellent. The Kinematic mechanism operates very smoothly and requires only minimal pressure to deploy the blade. Lockup is solid. There was very slight side-to-side blade wobble on the sample (which was eliminated by a simple adjustment of a ring bolt) but no vertical blade play. The blade was razor sharp out of the box.
The Provoke brings the karambit into the 21st century, and the award-winning Kinematic mechanism puts it in a class of its own. Suggested retail price is $200.00. The Provoke has a limited lifetime warranty.
SPECIFICATIONS, CRKT PROVOKE
|STYLE||Folding karambit w/Kinematic mechanism|
|BLADE LENGTH||2.41 inches|
|BLADE THICKNESS||0.21 inch|
|CLOSED LENGTH||4.96 inches|
|OPEN LENGTH||7.36 inches|
|BLADE GRIND||Dual bevel flat ground|
|BLADE STEEL||D2 tool steel (60-62 HRC)|
|POCKET CLIP||Zero-profile, tip-down deep carry|