Hissatsu Folder Review by Phil Elmore

Posted by James Williams on

The James Williams-designed Hissatsu folder carries on in locking, folding form what the original Hissatsu fixed blade started. Specifically, these are guardless, needle-tipped fighting knives produced by Columbia River Knife and Tool, based on a design that is in turn based on an original design that was created by Williams and originally marketed as a much more expensive fixed-blade. The allure of this Japanese-inspired blade rests largely in its lethal aesthetics, for there is no doubt that this is a fighting blade and not a utility knife.

According to the official CRKT website, the Hissatsu folder has a 3.875-inch blade of AUS 8 steel, with a 5-inch handle. The locking mechanism is a stainless steel “InterFrame” with 420J2 liners. The knife has black Zytel (textured plastic) handle scales, a Teflon-plated stainless steel pocket clip, and a thumb disk for ambidextrous opening. When opened, the knife blade springs through the remainder of its travel arc thanks to the “Outburst” assisted opening system. CRKT’s patented AutoLAWKS safety backs up the locking liner by blocking the mechanism automatically when the blade is opened. The company claims this makes the knife a “virtual fixed blade, which is important in high-stress rapid-deployment situations.”

In day-to-day carry, the Hissatsu is a fairly impressive and hefty folder that could do double-duty as both palm-stick bludgeon and fighting blade. It is large, no doubt, but its nice, wide pocket clip helps it to ride comfortably in my pocket. The clip had good tension out of the box and is curved properly for ease of draw and replacement, though it will shift a little in its housing (due to the single-screw design). I put some sandpaper-texture stair tape on my daily carry Hissatsu’s clip to make the draw from the pocket more secure, but this is not essential. The light texturing on the Zytel handle scales is sufficient to provide a fairly secure grip in the hand without being distracting. While the handle itself is basically square, it is nicely rounded at the corners and feels reasonably ergonomic.

Opening the knife requires a very firm push on the thumb disk. Once started, the blade travels the rest of the way open thanks to the Outburst system. The blade locks open firmly, with absolutely no play, and the liner (or frame, depending on how you look at it) engages the blade tang fully and with room to spare. The knife is configured for tip-up carry only, but the clip can be reversed for left-hand use. The knife is held together with Torx screws.

The blade shape and needle tip make this knife an excellent slasher and deep penetrator. It is ground on both sides. I tested it against a variety of heavy cardboard stacks, plastic barrels, and even some hollow-core doors. It performed well, cut deeply, and retained its edge sufficiently for use as a tactical folder. I also used my knife to open mail and packages (by far the most common knife-related activity for me, as I get a large volume of mail that has to do with my various projects). It resharpened easily with the diamond rod hone I keep on hand.

As a “tactical” blade, the knife just feels good. It moves well, though the lack of the guard (and anything that can substitute for one) will pose a concern to some users who do not like that style of knife. Its weight makes it a great pocket or palm-stick, and it hits hard when closed. The rounded ends are perfect for these techniques.

The AutoLAWKS is a reassuring feature and of course I could not make the lock fail no matter how hard I tried. The Hissatsu can still be closed one-handed, though it is a little awkward to do so. You must use one finger to disengage the AutoLawKS while using another to disengage the primary lock, then start the blade closed before releasing either locking mechanism.

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