There’s something about the aesthetics about the CRKT Hissatsu Folder that just drew me in initially. In my humble opinion, it’s one of the most badass tactical knives still in production. Whether or not it’s a viable tool is a different story, but in terms of aesthetics alone, this knife is a jackpot winner.
The first thing I noticed when I held the CRKT Hissatsu Folder, even before I paid attention to its wicked tanto blade, is its overall feeling of heft when it’s in your hands. From a distance, you might be inclined to think this a regular folding knife. In hand, however, its presence sure is felt.
If I had to sum up the Hissatsu in one word, I’d choose: “operator.” The folder is very tool-like in appearance, with a gorgeous oversized pivot, molded glass filled nylon handles, and a very nicely textured tacky-rubbery finish. Tactical is an understatement. This knife screams bad intent before you even deploy the blade.
With the blade deployed, CRKT’s Folding Hissatsu really takes on a life of its own. This knife is truly defined by its very aesthetics. In no shape or form will anyone ever confuse this knife with anything other than a tactical tool: I mean look at it. Who could take one glance and think this was an everyday carry? Impossible.
The hissatsu is 22.2 cm (8.75 inches) of mean. Period.
The blade to handle ratio is not quite balanced on the CRKT Hissatsu Folder, as it has oversized scales. In the hand, however, this doesn’t feel unnatural.
The CRKT Hissatsu Folder actually reminds me of an old school tactical knife, even though it’s quite a modern one. The reason why is there’s just no pretense here – it’s essentially pure vicious lines on a clean James Williams design. Now, his designs have always stood out to me as having a very definite old Japanese and American tactical influence. That’s really clearly seen in the Hissatsu Folder.
The thickness of the blade is 4 mm (0.16 inches), and for a 9.8 cm (3.8 inches) overall length, that’s pretty meaty. The grind tapers to a very acute, yet strongly supported tip. I would say that this knife is the ideal for piercing cuts, and I wouldn’t change much about it.
The lock on the CRKT Hissatsu Folder is a relatively thin stainless steel liner lock by modern standards. I do wish it was thicker, and that it engaged with more authority, but functionally the knife feels sturdy. If I notice any blade play later on down the road, I will update this review, but for now it’s perfectly functional.
The pocket clip is not discreet in the slightest. Objectively, it works, but the knife is heavy, bulky and screams, “Look at me. I am a scary knife.” Doesn’t bother me too much, but be advised that this is not a discreet carry in the slightest.
The pocket clip is a single screw construction with a recess in the scales to stop the clip from moving around. Nicely designed and implemented, with the option for left or right carry, but in both cases, tip down only.
The CRKT Hissatsu Folder hilariously dwarfs my Fenix LD20. I cannot emphasize how much pocket space this baby takes up.
Fit and finish is above average. The centering is perfect, and the knife screams quality with its fully blacked out everything. Nothing on this knife looks out of place.
The CRKT Outburst assisted knife technology is similar to the Kershaw Speedsafe system, like in Kershaw’s Tremor or Volt SS knives that I reviewed a while back. When you nudge the blade past 30 degrees using the thumb stud, the built up tension from the torsion bar takes over and whips out the knife like a demon out of hell.
It works. I don’t like assisted knives very much in general, but I can’t complain about the ridiculous speed. I will say that I found the tension to be a bit hard to overcome at times, but after opening and closing the knife a few hundred times, it has broken in quite nicely.
Helpfully, CRKT does give you a guide on the Outburst system, which includes detailed photographs on the optimal way to deploy this knife. The pressure on the thumb disc has to be straight forwards for the blade to overcome the tension. It takes a few tries to get used to.
Based on photographs you might be inclined to think the folding CRKT Hissatsu is a pretty light knife. However, at 164 grams (5.8 ounces) there is no way you will forget this blade is in your pocket.
The bulk of the weight comes from the recessed stainless steel liners that go across the whole scales on both sides. This makes the knife extremely rigid, and no matter where I push, I cannot sense any flex whatsoever. Good for a tactical knife but not so ideal for an EDC. I do wish they skeletonized the liners, as I think it would have really helped the balance and made the knife far more flexible in terms of application, but in a lot of ways James Williams really did design a mean vintage tactical folder in his trademark aggressive style with no regards for any everyday carry applications.
The CRKT Hissatsu Folder is completely unapologetic, and just like the Buck 110, I kinda like that about it.
The Outburst assisted system is pretty simple both in design and implementation. I can’t see the basic torsion bar ever failing or binding up due to dirt or sand.
You can remove the torsion bar by simply unscrewing one screw. The choice to effectively have an assisted opening or fully manual knife is awesome. Really well implemented, too.
The torsion bar does stick out of the butt of the handle. I originally thought that they should have sharpened the bar to be used as a glass breaker, but upon further reflection, I realized it’s not a good idea for the opening mechanism to be used as a striking surface. So no complaints here either.
The Auto-Lawks system is both genius and very very annoying (for me). I am used to standard liner locks, and my muscle memory is so used to simply pushing a liner to unlock a knife that when faced with 2 stage locks, like CRKT’s AutoLawks system, I must admit that drives me nuts at times. That being said, the Hissatsu has no choil, so should the liner slip I would find myself eternally grateful to have this other safety feature.
The way the Auto-Lawks system works is that the Autolawks pushes a tab out when the blade is deployed, which prevents the liner from travelling all the way to the other side unless the autolawks lever is disengaged. Very smart two-step procedure; unlock the lock to unlock the lock (good luck saying that five times fast!).
As I mentioned earlier, no choil whatsoever on the CRKT Hissatsu Folder.
In terms of quality control, I noticed two issues. First, the grind is uneven at the tang of the knife – functionality, though, the knife is not impaired. The other issue I spotted was at the apex of the tanto. As you can see in the picture below from the reflection of light in the middle of the tanto – it arrived dull from the factory. That being said, this problem is easily remedied. Overall, the CRKT Hissatsu is a very well made and well put together folder.
The blade profile is very obtuse. It’s not a great slicer, but for penetrative cuts, slashes, and stabbing, the wound diameter would be nasty. I keep saying, but it’s really true that the Hissatsu is a thoroughbred tactical knife. As such, discussing anything beyond tactical applications would do this knife a disservice.
The steel CRKT chose to use is the venerable Aus-8, and whilst it’s no supersteel, the corrosion resistance is above average. For its intended purpose (which I hope by now I don’t have to reiterate) it’s perfectly acceptable.
The bevels and tanto transition are flawlessly ground. The powder coating is uniform, and I really can’t spot any flaws. Very impressed.
Stylistically, as I”ve mentioned before, one of my favourite aspects of the CRKT Hissatsu Tactical Folder are the oversized pivots that are completely flush with the scales. I absolutely love them, and it really emphasizes the tool aspect of this knife.
Balance is handle-biased, not quite as significantly as on a Buck 110, but the bias is still strong enough to be noticeable for prolonged cutting tasks. This isn’t an everyday carry or a folding slicer, though, so I don’t find myself caring very much.
Saber grip on the CRKT Hissatsu Folder is neutral. The thickness of the scales and general mass of the knife makes me feel like I am holding a fixed blade instead of a folder, which is kind of nice. My grip is extremely secure, and no jimping is required.
Choking up theoretically works, but is less than ideal. Not recommended for actual use, both due to ergonomics and the less-than-optimal blade grinds for detailed cuts.
Reverse grip on the CRKT Hissatsu Tactical Folder is fantastic. If I had to pick one knife to stab with, it would definitely be this one.
Interestingly, a pinch grip would have been pretty comfortable if the thumb disc was removed, but once again this knife was designed with tactical applications in mind and so cutting performance is (rightly) sub par.
Very few knives in my collection illicit such a visceral reaction based on style alone; the CRKT Hissatsu Tactical Folder definitely high up on the list as one of those. If nothing else, I can safely say that this knife really hits all the right notes for me in terms of aesthetics, and that’s no mean feat as I literally can’t find anything I dislike about it visually. It really is a wicked folder.
Is it good at anything besides stabbing? No, not really. But it isn’t meant to be. I would never recommend buying the Hissatsu to be your sole knife, and I certainly don’t see myself everyday carrying it frequently, even when I carry something else along with it. Yet as a tactical backup, or badass show piece – to show off/terrify your friends with? Hell yes. Realistically it’s unlikely I will ever use this knife for its given purpose, but I don’t see myself ever regretting buying it considering the giant grin it puts on my face, and that’s good enough for me.
As long as you understand what you’re getting here, go for it. Just don’t expect a tactical looking EDC. I’ve said it enough, this is a tactical folder with tactical applications. If you try using it as an EDC, you’re going to be disappointed.