It was thirty years ago this April that CRKT arrived on the knife scene. With a freshly-minted business plan and a heart full of ambition – Rod Bremer and former partner Paul Gillespie set out in 1994 to build the next great American knife brand. While we’re usually not the boastful type, there are a few times in a company’s history to pause for a moment of gratitude and appreciate all that’s been accomplished.

Ed Halligan, Kit Carson and Pat Crawford the Columbia River Knife & Tool booth

A Pioneering Spirit

From day one, CRKT has looked to work with the best custom knifemakers and designers in the industry. We were one of the early pioneers to embrace the custom-to-production model, and in many ways, helped shape the modern knife industry. The custom-to-production approach was so successful early on that it has become an integral part of who CRKT is today. We’re proud to still work with many of the knifemakers who first took a chance with us back in the early days – makers like Jim Hammond, Russ Kommer and Michael Walker. The list of collaborators have grown over the years and our deep bench of talented makers and designers affords CRKT the opportunity to bring truly unique knives to market.

True Innovation

We’ve been known to take a few design risks along our thirty year journey. In fact, it was the K.I.S.S. (Keep. It. Super. Simple.), designed by Ed Halligan, that helped put CRKT on the map. At the time of its release, this simple two-piece knife was truly an innovation in the market. Later, when Kit Carson incorporated the “Flipper” onto the now classic M16®, we introduced a new way to deploy a blade on a production knife. The M16® became the venerable knife carried by servicemen and women during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and as a result, we’ve sent thousands of the M16® downrange.

Soldier with CRKT M16 Knife
CRKT K.I.S.S. Knife

Complacency isn’t in our vocabulary and we never stopped innovating. From the revolutionary Kinematic® opening mechanism used in our Provoke® morphing karambit, to the incredibly strong Deadbolt® Lock, tool-free Field Strip take-down mechanism, and lightning fast Assisted Opening deployment – our innovations solve real world problems and push the boundaries of possibility.

CRKT Bona Fide with Field Strip Technology

Collaboration is Key

As an American company that’s still one of the few brands that is independently and family owned, we pride ourselves on collaborating with the best manufacturers in the world – including those here in the States. Our new Soldotna hunting knife, made to commemorate our 30th anniversary, is a good example of that. We worked with Vegas Forge to make the Damascus steel for the blade and partnered with TOPS Knives in Idaho to manufacture the knife. Add in the fact that the knife was designed by custom knifemaker Russ Kommer, and the result is a stunning fixed blade that not only is highly functional, but represents our commitment to collaboration, quality, and craftsmanship.

CRKT Soldotna being manufactured in the USA by TOPS Knives
CRKT Limited Edition Soldotna with Damascus Blade Steel and Walnut Handle

Looking Ahead to the Next 30 Years

As we look back on three decades in business, we’re struck with profound gratitude for our employees, friends, partners and customers who played a vital role in building this great company. We often hear from customers that CRKT was their first knife, or stories of how well the M16® served them while on tour overseas. There’s even a few tales of our knives saving the day, even saving lives. These stories and connections are what keeps us motivated to continue to serve this great community. And while the industry has changed over thirty years, our promise to bring confidence to our customers remains steadfast. 

Here’s to the next three decades. 

Three DecadesDistilled

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