The CRKT Otanashi Noh Ken (Silent Sword) was designed per a request from SOCOM for a large, thin combat folder that was easy to carry and conceal. The design is a collaboration between CRKT and James Williams. Williams, has designed many tools for Columbia River Knife and Tool, all which draw heavily on traditional Japanese blade design married with modern features, materials and technology. The majority of his offerings are informed by his martial arts training and work as an instructor teaching military and LE personnel.
The Otanashi Noh Ken is very much an extension of the Williams’ designed line for CRKT and fills a niche that other models in the series do not. More specifically the knife has a greater size than the other folders, along with features and a form factor to improve conceal-ability.
The 4.56″ x .157″ thick blade on the Otanashi Noh Ken is a tanto that is optimized for penetrating cuts. This is further augmented by a thin profile, slightly upswept point and swedged spine. Its geometry is essentially an Osoraku-zukuri style blade. This shape was made famous during the 16th century being favored by the powerful feudal ruler (diamyo) Takeda Shingen. The profile is defined by the tip (kissaki) making up approximately 2/3rds of the blade.
The blade steel used here is AUS 8 that is hardened between 58-59 Rockwell. AUS 8 is considered a mid-range grade steel that offers a great working edge and easy maintenance. The blade has a matte black finish that reduces glare and gives the knife a modern, aggressive appearance.
The handle on the knife is large yet very thin, designed with concealment in mind. On one side the handle has heavily textured G10 that provides an excellent grip. Additional traction comes from three deeply milled slots that also add a nice, subtle design detail. The opposite side is a stainless slab that includes the frame-lock and a unique variation on the LAWKS safety mechanism. Normally LAWKS is on the inner edge of the frame however this version is on the outside and doubles as a lock-bar over-travel stop. Lock-up is very solid and without play or rock in any direction. For carry there is a low riding, left or right handed tip up pocket clip. This, coupled with the handle thinness, does an excellent job keeping the knife comfortably out of sight.
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Over-all the Otanashi Noh Ken is an excellent offering from CRKT’s line targeted toward professional use. The blade design coupled with a quick, easy deployment and strong lock make for a formidable tool. In many ways this folder is the best yet from this line, providing excellent build quality and function in a desirable, aesthetic package. People who love big folders will easily find a home for this knife along with professionals and collectors of combat/utility style knives. CRKT has done an exceptional job keeping the Williams design style apparent while making improvements and adding something unique to the line-up.
Available at BladeHQ
Overall length: 10.13 in (257 mm)
Closed: Length: 4.57 in (116 mm)
Weight: 6.4 oz (181 g)
Shape: Osoraku zukuri (Japanese Tanto)
Material: AUS 8
Blade Length : 4.56″
Hardness (HRC): 58-59 HRC
Thickness: 0.16 in (4 mm)
Bevel Grind: Flat
Surface Finish/Coating(include color): Bead Blast (black corrosion resistant coating)
Length in the closed position: 5.56 in (141 mm)
Material: Black G10 & black coated 420J2 SS
Lock Mechanism: Frame Lock
Safety System: LAWKS
Carry: Low riding tip up reversible pocket clip
Surface Finish: Bead Blast
Made in Taiwan