Pros: Materials, Overall Quality, Sheath/Scabbard, Finish, Weight, Blade Material, Blade Sharpness
Cons: Handle Material, None
My Choice - Columbia River Knife and Tool 2515 Bear Claw Sharp Tip
For much of my life I have religiously carried some type of knife or edged weapon with me as a last-ditch means of personal defense or survival, should the need arise. Over the past decade or so those knives have been quality lock-blade knives from various manufacturers. Several months back I became aware that a large Texas city that I frequently travel through prohibits the possession of any type of lock-blade knife within the city limits. That law is apparently seldom enforced, except "as needed" (or as wanted), and is all but unknown to most people, even the residents. Upon discovering this information, I decided I would alter my knife carrying habits and look into small, fixed-blade knives that would serve my perceived needs and would be legal almost anywhere in the USA.I'm a guy with somewhat large hands and fingers. I wanted a small, comfortable fixed-blade knife that would conceal easily and yet be ready for service in a short second. The knife would need to be strong, well built, and conform well to being used with either hand and drawn from any number of positions or locations I choose to wear it. After much research and discussing the issue with law enforcement friends, and others known to carry a defensive blade, I opted to purchase this knife, and two others, to personally evaluate.This review is for the Columbia River Knife and Tool 2515 Bear Claw Sharp TipColumbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) 2515 Bear Claw Sharp TipItem model number: 2515GENERAL OVERVIEW: Of the three knives I evaluated, this was by far the best, and head and shoulders above the others for my intended purpose. The knife and sheath work well as a unit and offer a wide variety of carry and concealment options. In fact, I like it so well that so far I have purchased a total of four; two for myself and one each for my son and step-son. My son's wife, upon handling his knife announced she wants one also.KNIFE OVERVIEW: This knife is easy to grip and almost impossible to lose from your grip, even with wet, cold hands. It is very small, almost too small in fact, but still "feels just right" when held. Even when held in a variety of positions it feels and acts like an extension of my own hand or fingers and it does not have a tendency to shift positions once your grip is set. My wife says it looks like a raptor claw from a Jurassic Park movie. I like it a LOT and it easily meets all of my personal requirements for a concealed carry, self-defense blade. I would not recommend this as a general utility knife but more so as a defensive, life-saving device. The blade design and edge lend themselves to defensive uses and also work superbly for cutting fiber objects like seat belts, rope, webbing, or similar materials. While I am very happy with this knife right out of the box, I have made and plan to make several changes to my second knife that will hopefully suit my needs much better. One knife I currently carry in my front pocket just as it arrived. It rides there well and provides instant access if needed. Modifications for the second knife are discussed below.GRIPS: It has a beefy, comfortable, well-contoured grip that seems to conform well to the palm and finger area of the hand when held in most positions. The butt end of the grips have a small hole to allow for some type of lanyard to be attached. To me, this is a nice touch that I frequently use. The blade and tang of the knife is one metal shank for extra strength from the blade tip to the butt end of the grips. The grips are held in place by 5 Torx screws on each handle. The finger hole is situated prominently in about the middle of the knife body, dividing the grip and blade area, and will accommodate virtually any finger or thumb size up to at least the 1st joint. Smaller diameter fingers may be inserted further. For me, my index finger will go in midway between the 1st and 2nd joint. My little finger will go in all the way. It can be grasped and deployed immediately using a variety of gripping methods, all of which are quite comfortable and secure.BLADE: This is a rather elegant piece of curved steel that is fully serrated on the inside cutting edge and ends in a pointed tip that is one of the finest and sharpest points I've ever found on any knife. In fact, as a diabetic, I've used the blade tip to prick my finger to obtain a blood sample to check my glucose level. It penetrated my skin and drew blood with very little discomfort. While the tip is extremely sharp, that is also a drawback in that the fine pointed tip can be bent rather easily if forced into a dense object like hard wood, metal, concrete, etc. Care must be taken to avoid bending the very sharp tip. While I have accidently deformed it slightly, it did bend back into the correct position with gentle side pressure. Friction grooves are placed on the blade spine near the finger hole and the tip for maximum blade control and safety, plus under the finger hole on the cutting edge side of the blade. These grooves are very helpful in holding and precisely controlling the blade during a number of grip styles and uses.SHEATH: This item is injection molded, strong, somewhat flexible, and very well designed. It offers a variety of ways to carry conveniently. There are 7 lanyard holes for a necklace or tie-on carry, slots that allow carry on a waist belt or similar strap, or you can attach a provided metal clip to allow the knife handle to be carried up or down in many clip-on scenarios. I don't care for the metal clip. It arrived uninstalled and shall remain so. The sheath secures the blade quite well through the use of an adjustable friction-locking screw on the blade itself just forward of the finger hole. Knife retention into the sheath does not depend upon the removable knife handles. The knife is held quite securely and the release from the sheath is simple, easy, and quiet from virtually any position. Reinserting the blade back into the sheath is just as easy, even with one hand. Still, the design makes it unlikely that the knife will become dislodged from the sheath by accident. I do not care for the fact that the sheath design makes it impossible to place a finger through the knife's finger hole prior to drawing the knife from the sheath. Still, that is just a minor inconvenience and I'll attempt to fix that in my later modifications of the sheath, mentioned below..MODIFICATIONS: I have or plan to modify the second knife to better allow me to carry it as a concealed necklace or otherwise with more stealth in a manner that makes it available instantly for access by either hand. To do this, the following changes are in progress..1. I removed the original grips and wrapped the tang/handle with one layer of paracord. This narrows the grip thickness a bit, provides a slightly wider handle, and provides a rougher, uneven surface that slightly breaks up the outline print on the clothing. It also lightens the knife a bit and provides about six feet of paracord for emergency use if needed. NOTE: This knife can be held well with all grips completely removed. However, the edges of the tang portion, normally under the handle, are quite sharp and could result in lacerations to the hand of the person holding the knife. Granted, the edges could be rounded slightly to reduce this threat, but then the original handles would not fit as well if reinstalled.2. The method of securing the knife into the sheath is effective and allows for many modifications to the sheath or knife without affecting the ability of the knife to remain secure in the sheath. Most sheath and knife combinations do not allow for these types of modifications. Fortunately this one does. I contacted the manufacturer and purchased two additional sheaths at a very low price. For now, I plan to modify one sheath to reduce it in size, weight, and thickness. This will include removing virtually all of the sheath parts not actually designed to safely secure the blade. It will allow the entire unit to lay much flatter against a surface. Since I plan to use this modified variation mainly as a necklace knife, I plan to cut a finger hole and slot in the sheath that will allow me to obtain a full, natural grip on the knife with either hand, using the finger hole as designed, before ever drawing the knife from the sheath. Once this modification is accomplished, it will allow me to safely carry the knife as a necklace, or in other configurations, and still have full access with either hand while gripping and deploying the knife as designed.IN CONCLUSION: I would highly recommend this knife, or one of similar design, be added to the personal effects of those in circumstances where the need for such a tool may arise..