Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter’s compact RSK Mk5 fixed blade is once again available. The second generation of the RSK® Mk5 is being manufactured by the same factory as manufactured the original CRKT model. Discontinued by CRKT a number of years ago, Blue Ridge Knives, the world’s largest knife distributor, has stepped up to make this popular knife available again.
The RSK® Mk5 is a petite, lightweight fixed blade designed to some very strict constraints. As such, it really isn’t meant to be an EDC (Every Day Carry) blade, though many have used it as one. It was designed expressly as a back-up blade, and specifically to fit into a small survival kit tin or pouch. The RSK Mk5 is compact and light enough to fit in almost any small personal survival kit or stash-away location, yet robust enough that it’s still a knife you can bet your life on™.
The RSK® Mk5’s wide chord drop point 1.75-inch (44.5 mm) blade provides a nearly 2-inch edge (1.94 inches (49.3 mm) to be exact). Overall length is 3.80 inches (97 mm).
It is made from the same 3Cr13 stainless steel as before, hardened to 52-55 HRC. That’s comparable to “420-MOD” or 420-Modified” in U.S. nomenclature. It’s got just enough carbon (0.30% – 0.35%) to have acceptable edge holding and the relatively high nickel (0.5%) adds toughness. Many manufacturers of quality budget knives have used it extensively with good results.
In terms of edge retention, in my testing and that of associates, it performed adequately for typical survival chores such as making feather sticks, splitting wood, constructing shelter, etc. While the edge may roll when abused, we saw no chipping and it is very easy to sharpen, even just using a found stone. While higher carbon steel would have been nice for the improved edge retention it would offer, it would have increased the cost. I can live with this for the design point, a short term survival incident. It was certainly one of the key compromises we needed to make to keep the price in bounds.
The included riveted glass-reinforced Nylon (GRN) sheath weighs in at just a hair over one-tenth of an ounce. The sheath has a hollow rivet at the tip sized for the standard 3/32″ or 2.4mm ball chain used for dog tags and such.
You should adjust the position of the knot so that when you grasp the knife and lanyard, the knot fits snugly into the end of your fist. You can cut off excess cord if desired (remember to melt the ends).
The knot also serves to keep your fingers safe, by helping to lock the handle in your grip. Combined with the agressive jimping (slots) on the underside of the handle to retain your index finger and the jumped thumb rest, they help prevent your finger from slipping forward onto the blade’s edge. The two holes in the blade, besides lightening it some, provide a bit of extra purchase if you use a pinch grip.
The RSK® Mk5-G2 comes packed in a custom bright orange Survival Preparedness Tin, the same size as an Altoids tin. Included is an instruction sheet titled, “BUILDING YOUR POCKET SURVIVAL TIN AROUND THE RSK® Mk5” which I authored. The sheet provides a list of components that could be used to assemble your own Pocket Survival Tin using the RSK® Mk5 tin.