CRKT Squid Review & Blade Testing

I’m a huge fan of this knife’s authentically militaristic look and feel. But the factory edge on the Squid is the worst I’ve ever seen. It has terrible cutting performance, worse than all blades I reviewed before it. Even after sharpening and honing, the Squid fails to perform.

CRKT Squid Blade Specs

  • Edge Length: 2.25″
  • Blade Width: 0.90″
  • Blade Length: 2.38″
  • Edge Thickness: 0.024″
  • Spine Thickness: 0.10″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Grind: High Hollow Grind

Additional Specifications

  • Scales: None
  • Handle Length: 3.40″
  • Handle Width: 1.10″
  • Overall Length: 5.78″
  • Width, Folded: 1.20″
  • Handle Thickness: 0.34″
  • Weight: 3.38 Oz / 96 Grams
  • Lock: Frame Lock
  • Opener: Thumb Studs
  • Clip: Stainless Steel, Tip Up
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Model: CRKT 2490KS

CRKT Squid Review

First impression: I love the look, weight, and feel of the Squid. It’s the epitome of a knife you might find tucked inside a plate carrier. The stonewashed finish on the blade, handle, and belt clip looks fantastic. Stonewashing also further hardens the surface of the steel, and you can feel this difference against other bare-frame knives.

The machine work on the Squid is top notch, too. This is one of the most comfortable steel handles I’ve gripped. That’s probably thanks to its width and weight.

My long, skinny digits and big palm struggle to get a comfortable grip on short, fat knives like the Squid. But CRKT was thoughtful in how it shaped the frame, making it bulbous. There’s plenty of jimping for the thumb and a correctly sized cut-out for the index finger.

The fasteners and hardware are fitted well, too. I like the blacked out pins and screws, and the button head on the tang bolt keeps everything smooth in the grip.

The Action and Lock

The flipper action is nothing exciting, but it gets the job done. The bearings are smooth, and the thumb studs make it easy to flick the blade open with one hand. The action was tight out of the box, but fidgeting with the Squid for a few days helped break it in.

I prefer frame locks over liner locks. They provide a stronger connection with the tang, which means more blade stability. Frame locks also demand thick, heavy handles with good machining tolerances for proper function, and the Squid delivers on both.

The tip of the lock and the bottom of the tang are angled properly to allow for long-term wear without developing lock wobble. The lock offers a nice click, with no binding nor hesitation on the release. CRKT also machined a generous finger groove and some jimping on the lock. It provides good grip and leverage for closing the blade.

The Belt Clip

The clip on the CRKT Squid is solid. It manages to keep this relatively heavy, fat knife in place without allowing it to wobble or slide around on your pocket or belt. The clip is also comfortable when gripped in the hand; its chamfered edges and rounded tip prevent any palm pinching. But sadly, for us lefties, the clip isn’t reversible.

I like the lanyard loop on the Squid. It’s a standalone piece of black powdercoated steel, and its shape makes it great for smacking things. It could probably even function as a half-decent glass breaker.

The Blade

It’s tough to mess up a simple drop point blade, so I’m not surprised CRKT machined the 8Cr13MoV blade’s shape well enough. The hollow grind is consistent on both sides and the flats, swedge, and spine are ground symmetrical.

The spine and flats on the Squid’s blade are quite thick for such a short blade. This probably informed the decision to go with a high hollow grind — but the apex’s bevel is still thick in spite of it.

The cutting edge measures 0.024″. When it comes to knife edge thickness, the Squid’s on the extreme end of what’s appropriate for a proper slicing n’ dicing EDC folder. I’d expect this sort of apex and wide grind on a much larger fixed blade, like a Bowie or camp knife.

Yes, I am foreshadowing bad things to come. Let’s take a look at how the CRKT Squid’s edge performed (it’s not good).

CRKT Squid Edge Testing

As I do with everything knife, I threw the Squid atop my Edge-On-Up certified knife tester, and measured its out-of-the-box sharpness:

It rang in at 208 grams and 221 grams, for an average of 215g. Not terrible, but I like to see at least 199g or less on a brand-new blade made from a decent steel. Factory sharpness can be fixed, but edge retention is built into the steel and its heat treatment. So, how did the CRKT Squid do?

As usual, I attempted to dull the edge with 100 back-and-forth passes across a hard piece of ironwood with the blade pressed under five pounds of pressure. Then came some terrible news:

The factory edge on the Squid has horrible edge retention. It measured 372g and 378g, for an average of 375g. That’s plainly dull, not capable of cutting your own skin unless you stab yourself.

Edge Performance vs. Other Knives

Knife / ModelFactory SharpnessSharpness After TestEdge Retention
Spyderco Para 3 12026545%
Benchmade 940 EDC17529060%
SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II12520063%
S&W Extreme Ops SWA24S16526063%
Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter14522066%
Spyderco Tenacious15022567%
Ontario Knife OKC Rat II SP18527069%
CIVIVI Elementum20127972%
Opinel No. 1228037073%
CIVIVI Praxis18323080%
Zero Tolerance 0450CF24029083%
KA-BAR Dozier Folder27532585%
Cold Steel AD-1018520590%
CRKT Endorser23025092%
CJRB Feldspar21522596%
Cold Steel Recon 1 Tanto17721582%
Kershaw Link CPM 20CV23226289%
CJRB Ria Folder (12C27)19628369%
Gerber Paraframe 1 (ATS-314)18622085%
CRKT CEO18320490%
Kershaw Leek13319269%
CRKT M16-10KS22833468%
CRKT Squid21537557%
Vosteed Corsair16317494%

For context, this makes the Squid — and its 8Cr13MoV blade, which should’ve performed better — the 2nd-to-worst knife when it comes to edge retention: It retained just 57% of its sharpness. But by the numbers, it’s even worse than that. It’s the now dullest blade I’ve reviewed so far.

At 375 grams, this blade must be re-sharpened before it can be used again. Anything above 300g is unacceptably dull. The Squid lost to the Opinel No. 12, a tiny lil’ cheap pen knife that you’d find in a gift shop.

A close-up of the blade tells the story: It picked up loads of sawdust and there are visible glints. Pushing the blade through the wood was almost impossible, as it kept binding. That’s a sign of a very rough finish. CRKT must’ve used an incredibly low-grit sanding belt when it put the edge on this blade at the factory.

Fixing The Blade (Maybe)

I was so disappointed by the Squid’s performance that, for the first time, I decided to resharpen a blade during its review to see if it was a fluke. I know an 8Cr13MoV blade can do better. The CRKT CEO uses the same steel and, although its blade is way thinner, it retained 90% of its edge during testing.

I did my best to fix up this blade with 800- and 1,000-grit stones. I gave it a decent polish with 2,200- and 3,000-grit stones and honed it in with a leather strop and compound.

Was this enough to prove this blade can — and should — perform better? Sort of.

I was able to get the Squid to measure a better average sharpness of 162 grams. That’s still not as sharp as other factory edges I’ve tested. This was worrying. I have arguably the world’s best knife sharpener, and I know what I’m doing with it.

I was able to get my cheap CIVIVI Elementum’s D2 blade to measure 81 grams with the same stones. That’s straight-razor sharpness.

A second round of edge testing would determine whether the Squid’s terrible performance was due to a bad grind, or a bad heat treatment.

The Squid measured 249g and 272g after the second test. That’s 62% edge retention. Still pretty bad for an 8Cr13MoV blade that was honed with diamond stones and a strop.

Here’s the edge after its second test. Zero sawdust, with a shiny bevel. The blade cut through the wood smoother, too. I believe this knife received a poor heat treatment.

This would create a weak grain structure in the steel, with fewer edge-holding carbides filling out the apex. Although no damage is visible, I could feel the edge rolled way too easily for what this alloy’s capable of.

Is It a Good Buy?

I hate to say this, but the CRKT Squid is not a good buy. If you want an awesome, stout EDC pocket folder, this is not a candidate. Even at $30, its terrible cutting performance is inexcusable. It gives 8Cr13MoV, an excellent stainless steel found in hundreds of quality pocket knives, a bad name.

I love the look, shape, and feel of this knife. The CRKT Squid seems like a quality, issued military tool that I want to carry. That’s why I’m disappointed to say that if you want a knife that actually cuts, you shouldn’t buy it.