BLADE Show Winner: Ken Onion Swindle

I’ve been a Ken Onion fan for a while now. In fact, I was toting my Kershaw K.O. Blur when I sauntered up to the CRKT booth and chatted up Joel Bornzin who knows a thing or two about blades. That’s when he pulled out Onion’s latest aromatic effort for CRKT. And despite its name, after a few minutes of fondling, it seems a safe bet that you’ll get every penny’s worth out of these slim, slick Swindles . . .

Neither version of the new pocket folder is your usual EDC. Check out that spine-mounted pocket clip. I know, you’d think it would suck. So did I. But then I put it in my pocket and for some reason it works. Unfortunately, Joel made me take the knife out of my pocket and put it back on the counter.

There are two Swindle versions. The bottom one is the star here, with a 3.2″ blade made of 12C27 Sandvik steel and that seksi milled handle. The smooth-handled version has a more common 18CrMoV blade. And both come in at a svelte 3.3 oz.

The Swindle is a flip-open affair, but that’s where things get even more interesting. They feature what CRKT calls the Ikoma Korth Bearing System or IKBS. I’m not sure about all the mechanics involved, but can report that it takes only the barest flick of an index finger to fully and smoothly deploy the blade. No wrist snap required.

The grooved model has a groovy MSRP of $79.99. The more budget-minded will be drawn to the smooth-sided unit at $59.99. They’re due to hit retailers some time in March when you’ll be able to take a good 10-15% off those MSRPs to get a street price. I know I want one. Bad.


  1. Steve in MA says:

    RF, at least give Dan credit for his piece.

  2. Sam L. says:

    Dang they’s purty!

  3. Matt in FL says:

    Those are really, really nice. I’ve always carried either Spyderco or Kershaw, the CRKT knives have never appealed to me. These may very well change that.

  4. Pat says:

    Nice lookers.

  5. Out_Fang_Thief says:

    I’m definitely a fan of Ken Onion’s style. I have the CRKT Ripple and it
    opens like greased glass. But a surprising thing happened yesterday.
    I reach into my pocket for the car keys, also wherein hangs my Ripple,
    and when removing my hand, did a supreme job of slicing my finger,
    as the Ripple hangs with blade down. Cutting myself while using it?
    Sure why not, why should my other knives have all the fun? Cutting
    myself while reaching into my pocket? That falls on the WTF? side.
    Upon closer examination, after stopping the leaking with a bandage,
    I discovered that the blade retention when closed is not what I would
    call particularly strong. In fact, it’s particularly weak. I tinkered with
    the pivot fasteners to increase blade retention, but the greased glass
    opening was neither greasy nor easy. For a flick open knife, that’s bad.
    The Ripple has a small nub on the liner lock that acts with friction
    and I assume an opposing indent on the blade for its retention.
    Apparently, you can put pressure of the flicker tab when sitting or
    laying down, and it allows the blade to partially open. Not enough to
    notice, but enough to slice the side of your finger if you reach in.
    I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this on their Ripple, or if mine
    is the one off, but it would behoove anyone who buys any knife, to
    check the strength of the blade retention, or suffer a similar fate.
    Who wantts to cut themselves when reaching into their pocket?

  6. Dr. Michael J. Haines says:

    I just received the simpler(?) , smooth version of the swindle. It’s very simplicity engages me. No fuss, no noise, just an elegant knife and blade. Sometimes life seems too busy, overdone one might say. While I enjoy hoopla in many forms, the contrast the swindle creates is refreshing in a most pleasant fashion. Contrasts perhaps keep each other happy company. M

Leave a Reply to Steve in MA Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

BLADE Show Winner: Ken Onion Swindle

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email