Reviews & articles for shooting sport enthusiasts.

Beefier than an M16, the M21 is a formidable piece for anyone to carry.

Everyone most likely knows at least  one other person who has the ability to narrate extremely well and has ability to draw a listener completely into a story they retell. How many plant the hook and slowly reel in the listener, who is captivated by the idea, and then surprise them as the entire story was about something completely different from what was originally believed? Here at TPF, we were offered a chance to test out a bigger brother to the M16. That was when TPF was provided an M21 to review. Suffice to say that the excitement level at TPF was excellent and when the M21 finally came from Columbia River Knife and Tool we were extremely pleased. The author wonders if any of our readers was caught in the hook of the title?

The MG21-14G

Designed by Kit Carson and manufactured and distributed by CRKT, the M21 is a heavy-duty version of CRKT’s famous M16 line of knives.

Unfortunately this M21 is not the famed military variant of the classic M-14, nor a Norinco clone version of that illustrious firearm. In this installment of TPF, the M21 reviewed is an enhanced cousin to the M16, a folding knife designed by Mr. Kit Carson roughly a decade ago. Using his decades of military experience, personal knife making skills and outdoor knowledge, Mr. Carson designed the M16 to be a true functional knife. In 2003 the M16 was voted one of the top 10 tactical folder knife designs by Blade Magazine. The M16’s legacy has continued to this day as it is still in production and is still used as a benchmark versus other knives.  The M21-14G, as stated before, is an enhanced brother to the M16, measuring an impressive 135mm (5.3″) long while closed and massing a fair 167 grams (5.9 oz.). These larger blades of the M21 series have also earned the nickname of ‘Big Dog’ for it’s overall size and sporting a 3.6mm (0.14″) thick blade with a length of 98.4mm (3.87″).  The M21-14G version in this TPF installment has a self-described as a deep-bellied spear point profile, measures 235.0mm (9.25″)  when fully opened and features a trademarked series of Veff serrations.

MG21 - by Kit Carson

Bigger handle, tougher blade, more carry options equate to a full redesign of the iconic M16 into the M21

MG21 measured

Open length of over 230mm

For those individuals who are unfamiliar with Veff serrations, they originated on commercial knives back in 2006 and TPF has quoted from Mr. Veff’s website the following:
Veff serrations are unlike traditional serrations which are usually small scallops oriented at 90 degrees to the blade cutting edge.  Veff Serrations are wide and cut at about 50 degrees to the cutting edge.  The resulting cutting points bite instantly and dig deep upon contact while the large surgically sharp valleys slice smoothly and effortlessly.  Unlike traditional serrations that tend to snag and stick while cutting rope and similar material, Veff Serrations slice through cleanly and easily.  This produces dramatically improved cutting ability on rope, webbing, strapping, hoses, leather and vegetation.  Veff Serrations have been extensively tested and have proven to be the most efficient and effective serrations to date.
CKRT has in fact exclusive manufacturing rights to this design, other than Mr. Tom Veff customizing the serrations onto selected knives. The orientation change creates an effect similar to a series of miniature gut hook style cutting surfaces. The profile increases the cutting surface length of the serration edges, the small ridges between help create the sawing effect and draw the item being cut into the edge.

MG21-14G Veff

Showing off the Veff serrations and Kit Carson’s signature knurled thumb studs, the M21-14G is a hefty folder

The blade of the MG21 is manufactured from 8Cr14MoV stainless steel like many CRKT folding knives and is one of the higher quality knife steels available from China. The metallurgical properties place it somewhere between 440B and 440C stainless steel characteristics. With the blade hollow ground and treated with a Titanium Nitride coating, the M21-14G is a very sharp and imposing  looking tool. To open the knife, a pair of knurled thumb studs are attached to the blade’s spine for ambidextrous opening, as well as the “Carson Flipper” incorporated in the blade itself. The Carson Flipper was introduced nearly 15 years ago and is a kick incorporated into the actual blade which allows for partial opening of the blade through use of a finger on along the back of the closed knife. Now a very commonly feature on SAO knives, this version of the kick is used in conjunction with a slight wrist movement to obtain blade opening speeds similar to spring assisted knives. When the knife is in open position the ‘Casron Flipper’ tab also serves as a means of preventing the user’s hand from sliding into the cutting edges during usage.

MG21 the guts

This M21 is a very large and beefy blade which is locked into position via a liner lock, and CRKT also utilizes an AutoLAWKS system on the blade which prevents inadvertent closing of the folder. The AutoLAWKS is a spring actuated lever which interposes itself behind the liner lock once the knife is fully opened. This prevents the liner lock from slipping out and having the blade close at inopportune times. In order to close the blade , the AutoLAWKS. lever must be shifted, which allows the liner lock to be disengaged. This can be done one-handed with practice, but would require time and repetition to make such a smooth manoeuver. The 14G blade version incorporates grips manufactured from black G10 and have a textured surface finish to allow a firm grip regardless of weather conditions and the grip halves are retained by a set of Torx-head screws. While the knife itself comes with a retention clip setup for tip down carry and located on the right side of the knife, there are provisions for mounting the clip on either side and in tip-down carry positions. The clip is also secured by a trio of Torx-head screws.

MG21 features

Closed position focusing on the Carson Flipper with CRKT’s AutoLAWKS lever along the spine of the M21. Also showing the default position of the pocket clip

Designed by Mr. Kit Carson to be a rugged, heavy-duty knife based upon the successful M16 predecessor, the M21-14G has an MSRP of $89.99 USD. Other options for this size M21 include double ‘Carson Flipper’ tabs to create a cross guard, colouration changes, and the option for a plain ‘Razor-Sharp’ cutting edge. TPF Online thanks CRKT for its support in allowing us to continue to review its product lines. The M21-14G which is available at many locations across Canada including Wholesale Sports which has numerous storefronts and an online store as well. The final decision on the knife’s classification of Tactical, Practical or Fantastical is up to you, the reader.

The box.

The M21-14G initially being opened for reviewing by the author. What a fine piece of kit with minimal fluff packaging

2 responses

  1. Ken

    The writer of this article has either not done their research on the knives he’s writing about or is very misinformed badly or just didn’t take the time to clarify that not ALL M16’s are “smaller” than the M21. While it is thought that the M21 series knives are supposedly “larger”, that assumption is definitely in error! This M21-14G knife is not larger or even better than the equally large M16-14SF. The truth is that the M21-14G is .06 ” shorter in the closed position than the M16-14SF while being .20 ounces heavier than the M16-14SF even though the M16-14SF has aluminum grips and while the M21-14G blade is a “bellied” drop point versus a nice tanto blade on the M16-14SF, the actual overall size of the two blades aren’t really that different in actual size (3.88″ on the M21-14G & 3.99″ on the M16-14SF), so truth be told, the M16-14SF is technically larger but only in blade length.

    As far as the open size of both knives, they are exactly the same, the M21 to the M16, both at 9.25″ with 0.14″ blades on both. Additionally, the writer stated the M21-14G in manufactured from 8Cr14MoV, this must’ve been the previously version as the current version is made from 1.4116 steel. The Veff serrations are a point of contention depending upon whom you talk with. Some like them, others loathe them, granted Veff’s might be a bit easier sharpen if you have the right gear being that there are only four serrations that have to be dealt with versus the standard Triple Point Serrations on the M16-14SF. In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences though.

    I won’t address the cringe-worthy statement, “Unfortunately this M21 is not the famed military variant of the classic M-14, nor a Norinco clone version of that illustrious firearm”, whom would ever think that the M21 was a reference in line with firearms? SMH

    February 10, 2021 at 11:47 PM

    • Lets address the last part of your comment first. TPF-Online is a blog for the equipment and items that firearm owners may desire. So of course there is a firearms theme in the post. The Springfield M-14 rifle was succeeded by the Colt M-16 rifle during the conflict in Vietnam. So yes, a reference to the M21 being a firearm variant as it is “a bigger brother to the M16”. So you missed the hook mentioned at the end of the first paragraph.

      I’ll also be honest in the fact that I am not then, nor currently, an expert on knives. This article was written in mid 2012. Now according to the 2012 CKRT catalogue, at that time both the M21-14G and the M16-14SF used 8Cr14MoV steel with the same blade lengths of 3.99″ (101mm). However, the M21-14G opened length at that time was listed as 9.31″ (236mm) versus the M16-14SF listed open length of 9.25″ (235mm). You chose to ignore the depth of the blade. So going by actual published specifications, the M21-14G is bigger than the M16-14SF. When doing comparisons if I do not have the other knives on hand, I use published statistics. Obviously my measurements do not correspond to the published numbers, that I’ll give to human measuring error or not to the same methodology as used by the manufacturer.

      I wholeheartedly agree that the Veff serrations are a matter of choice, I’d personally rather sharpen them than typical serrated edges. To end this reply, thank you for your initial comments regarding the author, it was obviously made with assumption that in 2012, no research was ever done on the subject matter.

      February 11, 2021 at 12:50 PM

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