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The CRKT OC3 Knife

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Article first appeared at Cheaper than dirt.

The CRKT OC3 is designed by sixth-degree black belt Pat Cascio and knife maker Brian Wagner. The result of this meeting of the minds is an extraordinary knife with excellent capabilities. During the past few years, CRKT has brought together the best and brightest knife designers and makers, and the result is a number of interesting knives including the BT-70 and FTWS, to name just a few.

The OC3 is a combination of experience, design maturity and practical manufacturing experience. The blade is just over 6 inches long and finished in a high grind with a plain edge leading to a drop point. There is a false edge on the upper part of the blade as well. The blade in finished in a black powdercoat that seems durable. The blade averages .182-inch in thickness with heavier construction near the handle. This knife doesn’t have much of a choil, but it does have a finger stub, a small sub-hilt, near the handle. The blade is a full-tang design and is straight from the tip to the pommel.

The OC3 is made of good steel and seems sturdy. The steel is SK5, a variant I am not familiar with, so I did my research. SK5 is similar to 1080 steel. It’s about .80 percent carbon and up to .90 percent manganese. On the HRC scale, it rates 65 or so, which is pretty hard. Finished temper is usually around 54-56 RC. This is a good combination of strength and cutting ability. Knives make poor crowbars, but the OC3 is as tough as a knife need be.

The OC3 would be useful for many camp chores and certainly could serve as a skinner for game in a pinch. Using the scalloped handles and serrations properly for control, even food preparation isn’t difficult. It isn’t a hacker well suited to making a hasty shelter, but this is a strong knife. The OC3 is designed for combat, but there are many uses a good knife may be put to.

tang of the blade on a CRKT OC3 knife

The full-tang OC3 is straight from tip to tang.

The handles are a great advantage of the OC3. They are of modern resin-infused fiber and are riveted to the full-tang knife in a sturdy manner. The handles feature a roughened surface that offers excellent abrasion. There are scalloped depressions running along the axis that aid in proper adhesion during handling. A pronounced hand swell makes for good hand fit and retention. Overall, the ergonomics and geometry of the knife are excellent. The OC3 blade is presented properly for cutting by the knife geometry.

The OC3 is well balanced. It is neither handle heavy nor blade heavy. The heft is such that the knife easily balances on one finger. I can work with knives that are not as well balanced, but this knife’s heft is a great part of the design. It is well balanced for slashing or thrusting moves. A design feature of the OC3 is that all of the force of the thrust is concentrated on the point of the blade.

The blade is as razor sharp as any production knife, and it features excellent edge retention. It may be brought back to shaving sharpness with a minimum of passes by the stone. In all personal defense drills, the knife is lively in the hand, showing good balance and hand fit. The knife is easily maneuvered by trained users.

CRKT OC3 knife laid across sheath and Glock handgun

The primary intent of the OC3 is to serve as a first-class defensive knife.

The diagonal cross-section palm grip that is so secure is easily affected with the OC3. The deep, scalloped depressions in the handle give excellent adhesion during drills using the gorilla grip. The pommel features scallops similar to those on the long axis of the handle. The butt of the knife may be used for a violent upper cut if the situation is offered.

The sheath offers a variety of carry options and features excellent retention. There is some effort required to clear the sheath. While the draw is as fast as you like, the knife is secure at all times. There is a slight snik characteristic of the type as the knife is drawn and a satisfying click as the knife is sheathed. Some practice in deployment is needed for the best speed. The sheath is free of rebound when properly worn. A Quick Lock Clip attachment is provided. This isn’t a cheap knife, but it is affordable and worth every penny.


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