I wrote my last article about a knife with a Japanese-influenced design. Let’s do another. Columbia River Knife and Tool has produced a line of knives, envisioned by noted martial arts instructor James Williams, that deeply bow to the Land of the Rising Sun and distill the essence of the samurai.
CRKT’s Heiho and Hissatsu 2 are the same basic gentleman’s folding knives separated only in moniker. Heiho translates as “method of the warrior,” while hissatsu means “to kill with one strike.” Either way, this diminutive knife exudes a combative lineage.
With a 3.125″ satin-finished AUS-8 modified tanto blade, Heiho is at the minimum length for a defensive knife. But it’s not about the size, it’s about what you can do with it. Yeah, I said it. The blade, 58-59 HRC, sports two hollow ground edge sections with a very slight swedge on the spine. It results in the thick thrusting point for which a tanto is coveted.
CRKT’s Outburst assisted opening system flings the blade to its destination when brought out to 30 degrees with the thumb disk. A Walker liner lock mechanism smartly seals the deal. CRKT’s manual LAWKS safety can be used to snug the knife into a virtual fixed blade. My knife exhibited good lock-up and held closed well by the detent ball. I prefer the manual LAWKS to the Auto LAWKs simply because I want the autonomy to determine when it is needed. Call me a control freak.
A black tip up reversible pocket clip is bent for deep carry. At 4″ closed and 3.6 ounces, the Heiho will not drag down your kimono. It has a slim, squared up profile that is an easy tote.
To find a single bitch, I am not fond of the slickness of the G10 slabs. They are somewhat slippery and don’t inspire a confident grip, especially with the Outburst’s authoritative snap. This knife would benefit from the canvas Micarta furniture on the Boker I last reviewed or from a good rubdown with 120 grit wet/dry silicon carbide sandpaper.
I tried to dull the AUS-8 while breaking down some boxes at work. I then played sous chef with the Heiho in my kitchen. Neither activity challenged the steel. A few passes on the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker solved any edgy problems.
I bought my knife as a Hissatsu 2 for $39.95 from Grand Prairie Knives (gpknives.com). Its blade is marked Heiho. Knives sold as Heiho are also found bearing CRKT’s uniquely angled Tom Veff serrations. These seem to pull material into the scalloped sections for fibrous cutting potential.
Whether in Heiho or Hissatsu 2 guise, this little knife is a solid, upscale piece that comes at a laughably low price. I’m buying another one.