Having a sturdy pocketknife is integral to your EDC gear. There's a myriad of uses for a good pocketknife, from opening boxes or cutting your steak if the lunchroom is out of steak knives (BTDT).
The Otanashi noh Ken from Columbia River Knife & Tool (which the overwhelming majority of humans refer to as CRKT) takes the humble pocketknife to an entirely new level. Sharp, slender, and wicked-looking, this James Williams creation was designed by request from U.S. Special Operations Command as a concealable, handy knife. It's featured in best-selling author Brad Thor's new novel, "Act of War" which will be released July 8th. Pick up a copy of the August issue of Shooting Illustrated and read our feature article on the guns and gear of Brad Thor to hear Thor talk about how he chooses gear for his novels. You can also subscribe to Shooting Illustrated right here.
With a 4.5-inch blade and an overall length of 10.13 inches (open), you might think the Otanashi noh Ken is difficult to carry. However, the thin profile and light weight (6.4 ounces), combined with the end-mounted clip make for a large knife that doesn't feel large in the pocket. I was surprised at how easily it disappeared into the side pocket of my 5.11 Tactical Stryke pants.
In the hand, it's a different story. The Otanashi noh Ken is well-designed and ergonomic, with a finger groove and recess for the index finger and cross-serrations for the remaining fingers. G10 scales offer solid purchase, and should circumstances warrant, the blade can be locked in the open position with a manual lock. The thumbstud is mounted on the top of the blade and provides sufficient assistance for one-handed opening.
With an MSRP of $150, this is a specialized tool designed for warriors, but it is supremely useful for everyday use as well.