(Photo/Josh Wussow)

A Pocket Knife for Blade Nerds: CRKT Attaboy Review

A collection of small touches and thoughtful design choices will only truly be appreciated by the most passionate knife knuts.

The CRKT Attaboy is a strange knife. Not in a manufacturing sense, or even a functional one. But as I pulled the review sample from its box, this weird fog of existential uncertainty came out with the packaging.

Knives are simple tools, made for separating one piece of material from another. So, why did this one need to be so complicated and strange?

The answer, when I glanced down at my phone, was staring at me right in the front-facing camera — the Attaboy is a knife for nerds.

Designed by Flavio Ikoma, this particular model is billed as putting “everything you need from an everyday carry into an ultra-compact folding knife that weighs just 3.5 ounces.”

I spent several weeks testing this thesis, from trips to the woods to chore-filled afternoons. And in the end, it warmed each half of my nerdy and practical heart.

In short: With its interesting feature set and thoughtful design, the CRKT Attaboy is a capable performer. But while it’s certainly useful for the general audience, it feels like a knife aimed at collectors and enthusiasts. The blade steel could be better, but the utility and fidget factor carry the day.

CRKT Attaboy Knife: Review

CRKT Attaboy Knife
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

Structurally, the Attaboy is an interesting beast. Its chubby handles and unadorned backspacer make it feel almost like something from the mid-2010s. The partial handle scales, too, represent a weird bit of retro-futurism.

But once you press that tab at its prow, this little time machine jumps to the present.

The Attaboy represents my first experience with an assisted front flipper. It’s a system that takes a few deploys to master, but once you’ve got it down, the action becomes mildly addictive. A firm press on the well-textured tab is all it takes to send the knife’s 2.73 inches of D2 steel rocketing into place.

I’m a sucker for a good sheepsfoot blade, and the Attaboy delivers. Over the course of its stay, I learned to treat it almost like an assisted boxcutter. But instead of the uncomfortable, all-metal chassis of your typical utility tool, CRKT’s 3.8 inches of glass-reinforced nylon provides a natural feel with multiple options for grip.

CRKT Attaboy Knife edge
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

I’m also a big fan of its chamfered edges, especially atop the blade. There are also two separate patches of jimping, each offering a pleasing texture for your thumb.

Lastly, there’s the Deadbolt Lock. This push-button setup (paired with the IKBS Ball Bearing system in the pivot) provides a uniquely entertaining experience.

To close this knife, you simply press in the oversized bullseye screw, and the blade will drop halfway shut. You then take it the rest of the way with your hand, pants leg, or whatever you choose. Sounds weird, I know, but trust me — it’s pretty fun.

Downsides

As much as I enjoy the sheepsfoot, the stock it uses is a little thick at 0.13 inches. It’s perfectly capable of opening packages and cutting through harder materials, but know that you won’t be getting any thin slices off an onion.

This girth issue carries over to the knife as a whole. Despite CRKT’s claim that the Attaboy is “ultra-compact,” it actually takes up a fair amount of space. Here it is at the center of several other popular knives.

Comparison Photo- left to right: Benchmade Bugout, CRKT Squid XM, Attaboy, Spyderco Chaparral LW, Spyderco Dragonfly2
Left to Right: Benchmade Bugout, CRKT Squid XM, Attaboy, Spyderco Chaparral LW, Spyderco Dragonfly 2; (photo/Josh Wussow)

While the knife certainly isn’t massive (6.5 inches overall), it doesn’t exactly disappear in the pocket. It rides just fine, and the deep carry clip is well-positioned. But in cargo shorts or light pants, you may feel this one slapping against your thigh — your right one, that is, since there’s no option to flip the clip for lefties.

Also, you might need to apply some Loctite to the combination pivot screw/locking button. After a couple of hundred opens and closes, mine managed to come almost completely loose.

CRKT Attaboy Knife & Squid XM
CRKT Attaboy Knife & Squid XM; (photo/Josh Wussow)

Lastly, $99 feels a little steep for D2 steel. It’s a solid performer in CRKT’s other applications, such as the outstanding Squid XM. But that knife retails for $47, less than half of the Attaboy.

That being said, my tester’s blade held up well under wet conditions and showed no issues with spotting. But Civivi and a few other companies are doing great things with more advanced steels in the $100 range, and CRKT could learn a thing or two here.

Conclusion

The CRKT Attaboy Knife - Review
(Photo/Josh Wussow)

The more I think about it, the more the CRKT Attaboy feels like a knife designed for blade nerds. They (and I really mean “we”) will appreciate the subtle things, like the dual jimping, and the Art Deco curves of the handle scales.

We also enjoy snappy actions and the novelty of things like front flippers and button locks. Your average knife user can learn to like these things, of course. But I don’t think they’re the kind of features that would prompt them to grab an Attaboy off the shelf.

Still, this is a wonderfully solid blade. So much so, that it naturally found its way into my pocket on nearly every day of its stay. I like the durable, utilitarian approach, and the snap of its lockup is semi-addicting.

If you’re in the market for something a little off the beaten path, you could do far worse than the Attaboy.

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Josh Wussow
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Josh Wussow is a writer and power sector worker based out of Wisconsin. He has degrees in English and video production, but you wouldn’t know it by his reviews and photos. Josh enjoys camping, hiking, and anything involving a campfire or grill. His work has taken him from Tennessee to New Mexico and Colorado. He misses the mountains very much.