Pros: Materials, Overall Quality, Weight, Sheath/Scabbard, None
Cons: Blade Material, Blade Sharpness
Excellent RMJ design hampered by one poor choice
The CRKT Utsidihi is essentially an exact copy of Ryan Johnson's terrific RMJ Tactical Utsidihi, minus the excellent Notro-V stainless steel used in his version. Even the sheath and Biothane webbing are identical in design, although RMJ uses Kydex while CRKT uses GRN for the sheath. Not a problem, as this is a budget offering compared to $199 for the RMJ, and the CRKT's sheath works just fine. In hand, the CRKT Utsidhi feels lightweight and lightning-fast and is perfectly balanced (as expected for an RMJ design), and although it is quite thin, it is still very effective in use as a backup blade for self-defense, duty, or in the backcountry. There are no hot-spots to be found, and the handle falls perfectly into your hand when used for multiple holds and positions. The blackwash finish is utilitarian, and won't win any awards, but it is perfect for keeping a low profile. The cord wrap from CRKT is essentially a throw-away, but that is a non-issue, as you'll most likely want to wrap it with the cord of your choice anyway. Personally, I ditched the wrap and chose to use black grip tape to keep the thin profile but gain traction. It might not look great, but it works well for my purposes and can easily be replaced and or removed. So, in essence, the Utsidihi is lightweight and balanced in hand and in use, the shape of the blade is effective, the gimping is perfectly placed, etc., and overall, it is quite a wonderful backup fixed blade... except CRKT chose to use commonplace 8Cr13MoV Chinese stainless steel. Why oh why did you do this, CRKT??? D2 would have been a much better choice for this excellent RMJ design, with its excellent strength and edge-retention compared to the exact opposite for the bargain basement 8Cr13MoV, where edge retention has been less than stellar in my particular sample and daily resharpening is essentially the norm. Such a shame, especially since D2 has become the budget darling for many manufacturers. If CRKT had chosen to utilize it, I would give their version of RMJ's excellent Utsidihi 5-stars. Without it, I can only muster an unfortunate 3-stars. If nothing else, I now drool for RMJ's currently out-of-stock version of the Utsidihi, and can only hope it will become available at some point. Yes - I like the design so much that I'd happily pay $199 for the real deal, or another $20 (hint hint) if CRKT can use D2 instead.