Blade Steel AUS 8, with black titanium nitride coating
Length Blade 3.12” 7.9 cm
Blade Thickness 0.13” 3.5 mm
Edge Type Half-serrated, refined Tanto shape
Hardness 57-58
Handle Material Zytel
Length Closed 4.37” 11.1 cm
Length Overall 7.67" 19.50cm
Weight 5.7 oz. 162 g
From CRKT Web Site:

Another high performance Lightfoot design, with his Millenium Tanto blade, sharkfin flipper, asymmetrical handle for grip, wide paddle style clip and LAWKS® knife safety.

Greg Lightfoot’s new tactical work knife is the result of his personal search for the ultimate in strength, utility and secure grip.

Those who have browsed through this site, are aware that I have already a Greg Lightfoot's knife, his legendary (and pretty expensive) 458 Magnum Millenium Tanto. One of the reasons I bought it for, was because I just fall in love with its blade shape, of course the rest of the knife was very close to what I personally like in a folder, so the 575 US$ price tag was paid, during an ... insanity crisis. A couple of months ago, I noticed an advertisement in a gun-related publication, of a knife with the familiar blade shape of my 458. The knife in the publication look very much like my 458 Magnum. I flipped the magazine sideways (the ad was running on the right edge of the page, from top to bottom), and read it, just to make sure that this was a Lightfoot knife. Well, it wasn't, it was a CRKT collaboration with Lightfoot, which gave birth to this model, CRKT M1.

A thought crossed my mind then, that it would be a great idea to get it and do a side-by-side testing between this one, and the real Lightfoot. However, CRKT has been very kind to us, they have already send us some of their knives for testing, so I didn't want to ask them for another. So, the idea of a Lightfoot comparison test died in my mind.

Well, today (December 31st, 2003) I was passing from my Kopis (a local blade store, in Athens), and I stopped by to wish my friends there, a Happy New Year. While the owner was serving another customer, I went browsing throught their displays and my eyes got fixed on a CRKT M1 they had in a display. Now this particular model had a serrated blade, which is something I do not like, the blade was coated black (this is standard with the M1) which again I do not like, and finally it had that silly bladeguard which I totally hated at first sight. I took it in my hands and tried to close the blade. It was then that I found out about a second safety mechanism that this knife has (more below) and which I immediately disliked. I would normally have rejected the knife right there, however, the idea of a side by side test was reborn in my mind, and about 10 minutes later, I was walking out of the shop, with the black CRKT box in my pocket.

As soon as I arrived home, I opened the small box and browsed through it contents.

First impressions : As I said before, there were too many things I do not like on this knife. The blade is a bit too small for my taste (like the one on the real Lightfoot), but I can live with this. The clip was mounted the wrong way, allowing tip-down carry, which I do not like, but thank God, the handles are pre-drilled in order to reverse the clip if you so want. Actually CRKT ships two clips with this knife, making it a fully ambidextrous knife, for either tip-up or tip-down carry, whatever the user likes. All these I could live with, what I couldn't live with, was the Mako Flipper (that bladeguard I mentioned), and the additional safety, which CRKT calls "the patented* Lake And Walker Knife Safety (LAWKS®)". These two things are shown below:

So if I were to add this knife to my EDC collection, I had to do some work, to eliminate those things I didn't like.

Details : First of all, the knife is HEAVY! Well, maybe it felt heavy, because during the last few days, I was carrying a knife weighting only 92 gr., while this one tips the scale at 162 gr (5.7 oz)! It's definitely heavy!

The M1 is also strong. Every component, every part looks and feels solid. The liners are made from 420J2 stainless steel, and are connected with two spacers at the back of the knife, which remains open (another thing I am not thrilled about, folders with open back). Even the thumb studs are the biggest I've seen. The one on the left side, is a bit taller than the one on the right side. The blade goes through its travel with quite a bit of initial resistance, but the rest of the travel is fluid and smooth. It locks securely in the open position, with no movement either sideways or vertically. Going the other direction, the blade snaps closed by itself, during the last few degrees of its travel, something I like on my knives (finally one thing I liked). There is also a high-resistance point, right after you unlock the blade and start moving it to the closed position. This is caused by a small bearing ball that is installed on the locking part of the liner, to secure the blade in the closed position. That same ball, when the blade starts closing is catching at the rear of the blade, causing the binding. I can rectify that, by creating a small channel, in which the ball will enter, during the first few millimeters of the closing movement, easily done with a curved file or the good old Dremel.

Blade : And let's come to the blade itself, the main feature that attracted me to this knife. The blade looks similar to the 458's one, not counting of course the fact that the 458 has an uncoated one, contrary to the black-colored, coated blade of the M1.

It is of a hollow ground design, which however is much more sharpened on the left side than at the right, I guess because of the serrations found on that side. The difference is so noticeable that it makes the blade look like a chisel-ground one.

Here is what CRKT's site says about this blade shape "It is a refined Tanto shape with a custom-style hollow grind, slight belly and recurve and a hint of a drop point. It's called ‘Millennium Tanto’. The false edge on the spine improves penetration while maintaining strength.". Whatever you want to call it, it was not sharp when I got it. Some of my knives came from the factory razor-sharp, this one did not. I have to take out the Lansky kit and do some passes on it, with the finer stone. One more thing, the blade's curve makes its cutting edge 0.4" longer than its length (7.9 cm vs 8.3 cm), which is an advantage of the curved blades.

Finally, on the blade you can find the CRKT logo on the left side and the model number, Greg Lightfoot's name and a patent number on the right, etched in white letters. Oh yes, the word "Taiwan" is also marked on the blade, indicating where this knife is produced. Of course, the rear, upper part of the blade is serrated, to facilitate your thumb indexing, when stabbing.

Handle : The knife's handle is made of Zytel, a hard polymer material and is dimpled in order to provide a secure gripping surface. Its edges are quite smooth, and it is quite thick, enough to properly fill my hand, when grabbing the knife. It is a bit curved towards its rear, and this is something that I am not very fond of, but it is in no way detrimental to the handling characteristics of the knife.

Mechanics : As mentioned above, the locking and unlocking of the blade are very solid. What I would like to discuss here, is the LAWKS. This secondary safety device consists of a circular piece of metal, like a thin washer, which fits around the blade's axis. The tumb piece found on the upper, forward, right part of the handle, is connected to this washer and when moved forward, moves an extension of the washer, under the tongue of the locking liner. In that way, even if you press on the liner, this does not give, so the blade stays locked. I wish I had my Nikon with the close-up lenses to show you exactly how that works, unfortunatelly, the small Sony digital camera I use, cannot focus close enough to show the details of this mechanism.

CRKT advertises this feature, as something which makes the knife as solid as a fixed blade one. Initially, I though that this was a hasle, and I planned to have it deactivated somehow. As I am getting used with the knife though, I do not think it is a big problem. It has no effect on opening the knife, so there is no way that it will interfere in an emergency, it just does not allow you to close the blade, until you move the thumb button to the rear. On a second thought, I might leave that device intact.

Bits and pieces : I liked the attitude of CRKT, they provide the knife with two clips to suit every user preference. Thumbs up for that. I also like the fact that the knife uses Torx headed hardware, not rivets etc used by some other manufacturers.

Mods : As I said above, the Flipper had to go, it just didn't work right with my hand, so I took out the Dremel. After 15 minutes of work, followed by some filing, I got the results shown below:

Using the knife : After the annoying Flipper was gone, I proceeded to some presentations tests from my jeans pocket. The knife was coming out just fine, but the blade opening is not flawless. The distance between the thumb stud and the blade's axis is small, thus your thumb has to put significant pressure on the stud to move the blade from its initial position. Maybe a small detend on the left-hand handle would allow the thumb to get a better purchase on the thumb stud.

I then did some cartboard cutting. I have some pieces of really thick cardboard, which I used for the test. Below you can see the thickness of the cardboard and the cuts done.

When I did the cutting with the non-serrated part of the blade alone, the cuts were rather shallow, shallower (didn't cut as far down) than doing similar cuts with the 458. This is understandable, since the blade of the 458 is rasor sharp, but also because the cutting edge of the 458 is almost double that of the M1, due to the serrated part of the M1 blade. However, when I used the serrated portion as well as the non-serrated part of the blade, then the cardboard was cut much more with the M1 than with the 458. This is also understandable, as the serrations are quite capable of slicing cardboard. I usually do not like serrations on my blade, since they are not ideal for a self defence situation, when they get easily caught on the fibers of the clothing and drag instead if cutting. So cutting cardboard was a success!! :-)

Then it was time for the ... Ukrainian Sala (pork smoked meat) cutting. This time, I had two different pieces, one which was relatively thin, about 5 cm each side, and ... squarish, while the other was more like a normal meat piece, with about 1/3 of its mass being fat. This last one had a diameter of about 10-12 cm.

The M1 cut through the thinner piece fine, without requiring significant pressure on the knife. The second piece though was a bit thick for the blade's length, so I had to do more than one cut to completely slice a piece. The serrated part of the blade was a big help cutting through the outer pig skin, which covers the fat part of the meat. So, this test was a success as well.

I also took the risk of doing the back-snap test on this knife. As I have explained in other articles and tests, I do not consider myself a knife expert, Brownie is the one having that role in our team. So, I usually omit some of the tests that Brownie does with the knives he tests, because I am afraid I would end up the test with fewer fingers than what I began it with. However, this time I decided to do the back-snap test (brave me!). The setup was simple, I used a mouse pad on the edge of my desk and while holding the knife so that if the blade snapped it wouldn't cut my fingers, I hit it hard several times on the pad.

The blade (thank God) didn't snap, nor was the locking affected by the test. The blade kept locking just fine after four or five hits, so I think the liner lock is plenty strong. On the picture above, you can also see the protrusion of the LAWKS mechanism, when you push the thumb button on the top of the knife forward, this protrusion goes underneath the linerlock, thus preventing it from disengaging. The back-snap test was performed without the LAWKS engaged.

Finally, I decided to remove LAWKS. After some time with the Dremel and a file, it was gone. The Dremel, also helped me cut the slot on the left handle, to facilitate finger placement, when swinging the blade open. Here is how the M1 looks now.

Conclusions : With only one day of experience using this knife, I can say that after all, I do like it. It's a sturdy little knife, which can be used as your EDC (Every Day Carry) knife, capable of being used as a last-chance weapon against an aggressor. I would feel happier if it had the plain, unserrated blade, but maybe, for a daily-carry, the serrated part is important (what if I want to cut some more Ukranian Sala or what if a piece of cardboard attacks me?), since it can be used to severe materials that require its cutting power. I'll update this test with more details, after a few days have passed, using this knife.

Comparing the M1 to the 458, one cannot but notice the weight difference between the two knives. The 458 feels like a feather in your hand, while the M1 is like a boat anchor, something understandable, since the 458 uses titanium liners and bolsters vs the steel ones of the M1. If you do not count this difference, the two knives are not that much different, something you would expect, since they share the same blade shape. The major difference is that the 458 opens so much easier than the M1. However, if I were to buy a Lightfoot knife today, I would prefer to get the M1 with the non-serrated blade and save myself about 500 US$. With a Dremel and some free time, you can make this knife almost as good as the original design, at a fraction of the cost. I guess the 458 is the last custom knife I bought, the more I try the factory models, the more I believe that they are pretty satisfactory, and that there is no reason (apart from the aesthetics) to go to an expensive custom knife. Of course, I'll keep the 458, it is a nice little knife, which I like a lot, but for that money, I could get four or five excellent factory folders, which for me, makes more sense (and is more fun).

Closing this article, I would like to wish to each and every one of you, a very Happy New Year.

Purchased from : KOPIS (Athens, Greece)
Overall impression : Very good, after some mods.


P.S. : After carrying the knife for some days, I decided it was time to sharpen it. It took about 60 passes with the Medium, Fine and Extra Fine stones of the Lansky kit, to make the blade sharp enough to shave hair from my arm. Guess what? The blade is indeed sharpened on the left side only!!!

Visitor's opinion (January 21st, 2004)

Dennis Wilcox , from Rochester, NY, USA, was kind enough to send us the followings, regarding this knife.

I have recently purchased the plain edged version. I have been carrying it exclusively for about 2 wks. now. I have to say that out of the box the edge was similar to a straight razor as for sharpness. I mean an absolutely hair popping edge with very good bite to it. Extremely high polish to the edge too. I agree with your comments on the flipper gizmo. I just don't care for it as it cramps my index finger to much. But you do seem to have to have it on the knife to open it with any reasonable speed. The thumb studs aren't so much thumb studs for opening the knife but blade stops to stop the blade.

I have opened the required meat packages and have trimmed up chicken pieces, read that as separated them at the joints with no problem whatsoever. I have finally cut a significant amount of nylon rope now with it too to test edge retention. The rope is .25" nylon rope my brother had and he let me use. It was old boat rope from his fishing boat. Made 29 pull cuts with a soft wood backer board before the edge started to slide and a more significant amount of pressue had to be used. It made a very nice smooth cut to the rope too. I find this excellant performance really. Resharpened the blade on a fine hard white Arkansas stone relatively quickly. Less than 5 minutes work on the edge. Stropped it on my jeans and now if it can be believed it is even sharper now than when I rec. it. It seems to be a harder edge too. The factory edge was a bit fragile or at least seemed to be but the big thing is that it didn't chip or fracture. I will say that the opening smoothness could be alot more smooth. Also that the damn ball bearing in the liner lock is a real pain when using the blade stops to open the blade and close the blade. I don't see the use for the LAWKS either as mine locks up dead nuts solid without it.

Again for less than 50 bucks American here in the state through an internet dealer I don't think you will find a better or more robust knife for edc type of usage. I am no martiliast either when it comes to a knife prefering as all who know me my Colt CCO, but this thing passed my paper bag test with ease and seemed to make some pretty decent wrents in the bag without undue collapse of the bag or movement of the bag. Use a paperback book for a weight in the bottom of the bag. In other words it seemed to cut bigger(snap type of cuts) than what the blade size would indicate. Hope this all helps when choosing this fine knife for an edc for at under 50 bucks I don't think you could beat it with a stick. Keep'em sharp

Thanks Dennis!

Visitor's opinion (February 19th, 2004)

Joe Bethlehem, from NJ, USA, was kind enough to send us the followings, regarding this knife.

Can't agree more with the review. Have really put the knife to work and the blade holds up well and with a little touch up from time to time. Great knife great price.

Thanks Joe

Visitor's opinion (March 5th, 2004)

Tony, from Trenton, Tennessee, USA, was kind enough to send us the followings, regarding this knife.

I just purchased the Lightfoot M1 from CRKT today as an early birthday present for myself...(with wife's blessings of course). I have the model without the serrations. As with any new product that I may have to stake my safety on...I like to do lots of reading and I appreciate your reviews.

Mine too, was razor sharp out of the box. But, I agree the thumb stud, though large and with a good degree of traction on it, was way too high. I have probably somewhat small hands compared to the average guy, so I suspect this might be a chief complaint amongst those who use this knife. However, if it weren't for the "flipper" I wouldn't be able to open this knife very least without some addtional practice. I did like the dual clips available giving me the option of ambi carry as well as tip up or down. In closing I think I likely got a good deal after reading some reviews and various price lists here and there. Now I just need to learn how to properly sharpen this little beast! Thanks for your reviews and comments!

Thanks Tony

Visitor's opinion (March 22nd, 2004)

Jonas Malmoe, from Sweden, was kind enough to send us the followings, regarding this knife.

I got my M1 a few months ago and have used it as one of the edc's. I like it, the grip suits my hand almost perfect. Since Im a lefty the way the lock is constructed is made for right handed use but I cant say I notice the difference. I too was a bit dissapointed with the grind but I have not noticed any problems with it. Have done some carpentry and cooking and it works fine for both. I enjoy the modified tanto blade because it gives you a lot of 'cut' from a rather short blade. Cut at a 45 degree angle to whatever you are going to cut, meat, veggies etc and it works at a large seration cutting both ways.

The flipper, yes it took some minutes to figure that one out. The one thing I find a bit bothering is that the edges of the flipper were you grip it with your finger is rather square so it can hurt after a wile of opening and closing.

It's a lot of knife for the money. I live in Sweden so good knives are expensive here. But considering that I paied the same amount for my Spyderco Delica this deffinetly feels like a better buy. Yes its heavy by comparison, and I don't like the black blade. But still it is a good knife. Both for EDC and work.

Thanks Jonas

Visitor's opinion (July 22nd, 2005)

Mark Monteleone (, from Carl Junction, CO, USA, was kind enough to send us the followings, regarding this knife.

I recently purchased a M1-13k from my local dealer (July 2005)and found it familiar to my hand. At first the round tanto blade shape was offsetting, but it feeds into the cut better than expected. The zytel handle texture and shape are less likely to slip from my grip than my last EDC, which had slick hard anodized checkered aluminum grips. It shared the black Ti blade treatment which I have found to be scratch resistant, preserving a clean look. Overall, I'm quite pleased with it's performance so far, including the flipper, a feature I have used on other knives and find convenient at work and home. I see the opportunity to add a Wave to the blade and reverse the clip to allow opening on draw, but the shorter blade length tends to the utility role rather than self defense.

Thanks Mark

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