Adios Swindle

I've had three issues with my CRKT Swindle, two minor, one major.

First, the two screws at the back of the handle were not the same length, and one protruded enough to be uncomfortable. A sharp little piece of metal standing proud of the handle. Not good. I suppose I could have removed that screw and filed it down a bit until it was flush, but I shouldn't have to do that with a knife like the Swindle.

Second, the flipper verges on being painful to operate. It is short and has a steep radius where it meets the index finger when pulling it back to open the blade. I think the flipper should be a millimeter or two longer and have a more shallow corner, where the index finger meets it and applies most of the initial pressure to open the blade. I got used to this, but my finger still had a perpetual slightly tender spot from using the flipper.

The third, and major issue for me is the pocket clip. Many reviewers have waxed almost poetic about this clip. Its shape, how it blends into the swayback design, the fact that it is spring tensioned to open then grip the fabric of the pocket. It is well designed and integrated with the knife overall, and it doesn't sit on the side of the handle getting in the way of a comfortable grip, but it doesn't hold as securely as I was led to believe.

Clip the Swindle to the pocket in a pair of jeans with a nice seam sewn into the top edge of the pocket and it holds pretty well. But, clip it into the pocket of a pair of pants that has a thinner fabric, especially one with no large seam sewn into the lip of the pocket, and watch out. It may, or may not stay put. I know this because my Swindle is now gone.

As long as I was wearing my usual pair of Wranglers jeans, the knife clip showed a pretty tenacious hold as long as it was turned so that the knife was in line with the pocket. But, if the knife turns 90 degrees to the outside fabric of the pocket, the clip loses some grip. If you carry the Swindle in pants pockets that are not made of thick fabric, pants that are made for hot weather wear, especially of synthetic or a blended material, watch out. The clip does not hold as securely as it should. That is how I lost mine.

Wearing a pair of synthetic blend hiking pants for fly fishing, using hip boots that did not come up to the knife or pockets (so there was no interference), I started out the day with the Swindle, and ended with it missing from my pocket. Having not used it during the day, I can only assume the clip was not strong enough to hold it securely and it loosened and eventually fell out. I can only hope that someone appreciative of knives found it.

So, Swindles are lovely and extremely useful as EDC light-duty knives, but watch that clip.

PS: A brief post script since I posted the entry above. Wanting to get this feedback to Ken Onion and CRKT, I logged into the CRKT website and posted a review outlining the observations above. (Their site shows the Swindle as "coming soon." Funny, I got mine a few weeks back. I've been back a few times to see if it appears on their site. So far, nothing.)

Then I went looking for contact info on Ken Onion's sites so I could send him a brief email and point him to this entry. I could discover no way to actually contact Ken. I registered for his forums so I could try there but don't have access yet. Something tells me this is too hard. A customer should be able to quickly contact the maker, and in this case the designer, of a purchased product with feedback.

Perhaps this will eventually work out. Either way, I'll report back here later.

Later: nothing. Nada. After a while, I just gave up. Ken seems like a really good person from the interviews I have seen with him, but I wish he was a bit more accessible to his customers.