With an overall length of 5.3 inches, I didn’t really know what CRKT’s MinimalX was intended to do. But considering the build and design, I get the feeling that it’s destined to do a lot. So, I took it out of its little green box and slid it into that weird little fifth pocket of my pants.
What followed was a month full of opportunities where I reached for the MinimalX more than my Leatherman Signal, or the entire lineup of folding knives in gear rotating cache.
In short: The MinimalX is a strong, durable, small form-factor utility knife. Made primarily from stainless steel materials, this knife tackles all manner of random tasks and missions.
- OAL 5.30”
- Blade length 2.19”
- Blade steel Sandvik 12C27
- Blade shape Chisel
- Grind Flat
- Hardness 58-61 HRC
- Lock type Frame
- Carry Right hand, tip up
- Weight 2.6 oz.
- Price $60
- Double-edged, chisel grind
- Stainless steel build
- The pocket clip was wicked tight at first
- Aggressive flicks can bugger up the frame lock
CRKT MinimalX Knife Review
Design & Features
The MinimalX is something of a departure from the standard CRKT fare as of late. But by no means is it unexpected. If anything, it feels very on-brand for a company known for making useful tools with overly sharp edges.
Modeled after his SpaceX knife, the MinimalX is designed by Darriel Caston. It is a small-form flipper made from stainless Sandvik 12C27. It features stainless steel handle scales, a liner lock, and an IKBS ball bearing pivot to aid in both the flipper deployment and lock up.
The blade is chisel ground, which gives it two cutting surfaces, making it ripe for slicing and scraping.
Based on its durable build, you should have no problem using the MinimalX for prying. But I’m not talking about old deck boards here. Think more like baseboard trim or popping the front screen off the Hi-Fi rack-connected speakers your old man never let you touch as a kid.
You don’t realize the scale of something until it’s in your hands. The MinimalX is a small knife, but it’s not so small that it’s a novelty. If anything, its size aids it as an effective utility tool.
You won’t demolish an old deck with it, but you sure as heck can break down all of those post-holiday Amazon boxes with ease.
Considering its size, the MinimalX is a wee heavy. But that reinforces the idea that this knife is meant to put in hard work and be wrenched on. Its blade is 1/8-inch thick, as is each handle slab. This results in an overall thickness of 3/8 of an inch, which in this footprint is fairly stout without being overbearing.
And the chisel grind here is excellent. The front is convex, with the top of the blade steel being 2.8 inches long (beyond the blade length alone, this includes the pivot material as well), and the bottom being 2.6 inches. This curve should allow for more precision work when compared to a flat-faced chisel.
Overall, this little bugger is quite impressive. I have a feeling that it’ll be a “nice-to-have” addition to any pocket or pack. It could even be beneficial in an office setting where you might not want to brandish a massive folding knife or belt knife. Sometimes being discrete goes a long way.
In the Field
Knives like the MinimalX really shine in a jam. Is it the first knife you should take with you on a camping trip? Probably not. But it would make a great backup in that setting.
With its small form factor, throwing it in a pack, pocket, or even toiletry kit wouldn’t constitute a burden — but could add tremendous benefit.
A lot of the things I wound up doing with the MinimalX would be considered “office work.” I opened a lot of mail and broke down a lot of boxes. I sliced down cardboard and the like for tinder. Plus, I live in an older house and the wood windows collect gunk in the corners. Cleaning up for the holidays, I let my OCD drive for a little while and cleaned that gunk out with the top and tip of the blade.
But why stop there and keep this little beast on a leash? I wanted to see what it could do for me outdoors.
So, I started a fire with it. I took down a few small branches and shaved them into a tinder pile. And, I used the MinimalX to pry some tinder fungus off of a few passing trees on the trail to save for later in my dump pouch.
There isn’t one specific thing that the MinimalX should be carried around to do. Being a utility knife means it’s meant to be utilitarian. And with all stainless materials — especially Sandvik 12C27, which holds a terrific edge — means you should get this knife good and dirty, and put a little stress on it.
CRKT MinimalX: Conclusion
Knives like the compact and durable MinimalX generally get swept aside for drop-point dandies with crossbar locks and MagnaCut steel. But in this case, the people who don’t embrace the wonder of the MinimalX are missing out.
And anyone looking for something a little larger, but in the same shape and design, should consider the Mbombo from Caston and CRKT. A bit more upscale, it has a Damascus steel blade and titanium. But it’s also just as utilitarian as its little brother.
I test a lot of knives each year. I get to work with all shapes and sizes, materials, and builds. When a knife like the MinimalX comes along, I get tripped up because I am used to knives and tools built with specific tasks in mind. The MinimalX could scrape the skin off the pelt of a rabbit, cut flowers for mom, and then clean the gunk out of the corners of your old windows.