CRKT Folding Knives – Kommer Free Range Folding Knife Review

In Knives and Blades by Jesse Mathewson

free-range knife review

From the many manuals I have collected over the years, a truly solid hunting knife/ skinning knife is many things. Here are a few quotes from some of my favorites.

“Use a knife with a blade at least four inches long, a guard, and a large handle. A small knife can turn sideways in your hand when it hits bone. A butcher’s skinning knife is ideal.”

“A sharp knife will actually reduce bad cuts and will make the entire procedure easier. Take your time when dressing a buck, mistakes due to haste will often require you to make a trip to the hospital to get stitches.”

“A gut hook is a great way of opening the body cavity without cutting the intestines. If you do not have a gut hook, you can use one finger next to the knife to lift up skin giving you space between the knife blade and the intestines.”

Anyone who has dressed out a game mammal has learned valuable lessons in what works, and in my strict opinion, the following three rules apply.

Own a knife that will hold an edge, learn to sharpen your knives, carry a small set of stones or diamond hones and a strop, always. Learn what angles work best for which situations, shallow angles for flesh and light tasks, more intense angles for chopping and the like.

Know your knife, understand exactly how it will cut flesh before ever taking it into the woods, buy a steak or really BIG pork chop. And cut it, trim the fat, work it and use learn it.

Know your knife, understand exactly how it will cut flesh before ever taking it into the woods, buy a steak or really BIG pork chop. And cut it, trim the fat, work it and use learn it.

Stop thinking the only knife that will work is the one Bear Grylls or some other big-time boob tube star owns will work. There are literally hundreds of knives, I own over a thousand different brands, types, and sizes. Knives are purpose-built, if I could get away with it, I would carry 4 or 5 knives all the time. A fighter, a hunter, a woodsman and two solid folders (and that’s in addition to a primary handgun, backup and carbine at a minimum.)…but, that would make me the crazy guy on the block…not that I don’t already have that title. For the time being, get a solid knife that will do the job needed. Grow from there.

This review is on the Kommer Folding series from CRKT, a series of knives designed specifically for hunters. Russ Kommer has been a hunting guide in Alaska and the great North. His designs are based entirely on his observations and needs inherent. An amazing lineup designed by an American hunter from an American company.


My versions of these are the Kommer Free Range Gut Hook folder and the Kommer Free Range Hunter, both blades are 3.75” in length, though the suggested length is 4” these have been used on big game by Kommer himself and several varieties of medium game by myself. The handles are a mixture of grippy double injection molded materials, one hard and the other where the palm of the hand and the fingers rest are softer and very grippy. These are designed for hunting, NOT every day carry or use, they do not have belt clips, and come in nicely molded nylon over hard plastic cases.

A quick list of pro’s for these knives follows.

  • A quick list of pro’s for these knives follows.
  • The steel is 8Cr13Mov, with an average hardness between 58-60.
  • They hold an edge very well, I have not seen one chip yet, however, given that bone is often apart of the cleaning process, I expect someday to see it happen.
  • They are moderately priced for such an amazing package, at $40-$50 apiece on Amazon.
  • After abusing one using the cold steel wack the back of the blade while it is locked in place method, I was unable to dislodge the locking mechanism, they are solid, three years of active use I have had the knives pictured, and there is NO blade play and I have not had to tighten anything.
  • They are relatively lightweight, at 3.5 to 4 ounces per knife.

Now for the con’s, and there are always con’s in honest reviews. If you can find them.

  • They are made of 8Cr13Mov steel, while a superb steel and one I own in many knife formations, I would have chosen VG10 or something similar because overall edge retention is paramount in hunting knives.
  • The sheaths close and open with an audible SNAP, if you are good with leather or Kydex I am sure you can find a way around this small issue.
    And last but not least, they are too expensive for me to own a dozen of each, like I do with my Opinels, Moraknivs, and a few other fun blades. So, for now, I only have the three, well two, my daughter has one!
  • As always, comments welcomed and responded to as possible. I have enjoyed writing reviews and being able to share with you all and hope to continue doing so for the discernible future. Be safe, prep wisely and remember, always, be willing to change your mental approach to what you know now.