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Damasteel Beauty Meets Backcountry Brawn: CRKT Pursue Review

If you don't think a sturdy, hard-working knife can also be a singular thing of beauty, then you haven't seen the CRKT Pursue.

CRKT Pursue knife displayed on top of small branches(Photo/Nick LeFort)
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In the outdoor world, we don’t usually talk about sophisticated and fancy things. Most of us are more concerned with rugged and functional things — after all, we’re headed to places where we need to rely on the things we carry.

Generally, the EDC knife world works under the same mindset. But because the knife world, as a whole, is so vast, sometimes some of those fancy things bleed into the EDC space. When they do, chances are the manufacturer did its homework and the end result produces a functional anomaly that’s also pretty to look at.

One of CRKT’s latest releases falls into exactly this category.

Designed in collaboration with knifemaker Michael Walker, the Pursue would be considered a Gentleman’s knife if it wasn’t moonlighting in EDC land.

In short: Comprising Damasteel and carbon fiber, and sporting a mother of pearl inlay in the pivot, it serves as reminder that even outdoorsy folks may wear suits to work every day. The CRKT Pursue proves that a knife can be pretty and rugged, just like you.

CRKT Pursue


  • OAL 7.69”
  • Blade length 3.15”
  • Blade steel Super Dense Twist Damasteel (Seriously, that’s the name)
  • Blade shape Drop point
  • Grind Flat
  • Hardness 60 HRC
  • Lock type Button
  • Carry Right-hand, tip-up
  • Weight 3.8 oz.
  • Price $400


  • The mother of pearl inlay is mesmerizing.
  • Damasteel is damn good in the field.
  • The roller on the pocket clip is a nice add.


  • Not a lot of folks know the benefits of Damasteel and are hung up on Damascus.

CRKT Pursue Review

crkt pursue knife displayed over a wood table in front of two bottles
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Design & Features

Made in Italy and designed by Blade Magazine Hall of Fame knifemaker Michael Walker, the 4010 Pursue is a study in balance, between form and function.

Awesome to look at, the Pursue is made from “Super Dense Twist” Damasteel, and (I can’t make this stuff up) “Fat Carbon Dark Matter” handle scales.

These two materials alone make the Pursue tougher than your average pocket blade. But they also help make a long-lasting EDC knife with excellent cutting and slicing properties.

CRKT Pursue knife liner lock
CRKT Pursue knife liner lock; (photo/Nick LeFort)

The Pursue carries a liner lock and IKBS ball bearings for a strong lock-up and smooth opening operation. A mother of pearl inlay graces the pivot, and the pocket clip is enhanced with a roller at the tip so it can be easily stored or deployed.

What Is Damasteel?

No, Damasteel is not the same as Damascus.

Pursue knife damasteel blade
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Damascus steel has been around for centuries and is most notably found in collectible knives. It is created by hammering and folding specific steels together and then acid etching them to reveal pretty patterns. Depending on the steel being used, Damascus may or may not be stainless.

Damasteel, however, is stainless by design. It is manufactured by the eponymous company, Damasteel — a Swedish brand that has been processing steel since the 17th century. Damasteel is a powdered steel that has minimal imperfections when compared to standard Damascus.

Though both Damascus and Damasteel are known for their strength and durability, the fact that Damasteel is powdered and stainless makes it a better choice for an EDC-type knife.

That said, because it is an advanced stainless steel, it’s not cheap, which we see in the $400 price tag of the Pursue.

First Impressions

CRKT Pursue box presentation
CRKT Pursue box presentation; (photo/Nick LeFort)

Fancy-looking knives like the Pursue generally don’t get a lot of press at outdoors-focused publications. The reason is that it’s rare to find a knife that boasts patterned steel and a mother of pearl inlay that can hold its own in the outdoors.

However, knowing a little bit about Damasteel and the structural aspects of carbon fiber, I felt this knife was up to the task of a few outdoor adventures (more below).

crkt pursue blade
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

But these blade and handle scale patterns really make a visual statement. When the sun hits that mother of pearl inlay, it was like a college acid flashback: I got sucked in.

Looking at those handle scales, it’s not the woven carbon fiber we’re used to. CRKT used a variant of it on the Squid II, and it’s really wild up close and personal.

As far as fit and finish goes, the Pursue presents a long, slender knife that fits well in my hand. The back of the blade ramps up behind the thumb stud so you can really bear down on it. That pairs well with the shaping of the handle and the texture of the scales.

CRKT_Pursue Pocket Clip
That pocket clip tho; (photo/Nick LeFort)

I also really dig the roller on the pocket clip of the knife. It lets the Pursue slide in and out of your pocket with ease, amplifying all of the other ease-of-use features contained within.

If I may be so bold, this knife is about as close to a custom knife as you can get without breaking the bank. Which means you won’t be afraid to use it!

In the Field

crkt pursue knife displayed on a wood table
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

Honestly, I was initially a little concerned with the grip on the Pursue. Though it has great ergonomics, the Fat Carbon Dark Matter scales feel a little slick, almost soft. But when I started using the knife, the grip increased. I would even go as far as to say that the scales became a little tacky from the sweat of my hands. In the world of knives, a solid and secure grip is everything.

This time of year, I collect small pieces of dry and punky wood for making fires. I carry a dump pouch on my hip, and as I go down the trail, I collect bits and pieces. This ensures that I can always start a fire with dry wood. If I find a nice, dry branch, I break it down and whittle the pieces into tarp stakes.

With a dull knife, you can only shave and shape the wood so much before it breaks on you. But I made a handful of these stick stakes without fail using the Pursue.

I even used the Pursue to make top cuts in all of our pumpkins while carving with my kids. It might sound sacrilegious to subject a knife like this to all that mess, but it really wasn’t. It felt suited to the task, making smooth cuts through over an inch of pumpkin meat.

CRKT Pursue knife details close up
(Photo/Nick LeFort)

That same night, I played around with opening the Pursue. I found the protruding tab on the back of the blade works like a front flipper. I’m not sure if it was intended to be a secondary opening mechanism, but for a guy who likes to fidget, it offered a nice hidden feature.

CRKT Pursue: In Conclusion

I’m not sure backcountry purists who duct tape their old rain shells will accept the Pursue into the EDC world. Anyone who knows a lot about knives knows that Damascus isn’t the most desirable knife steel for outdoor activities. But most of those folks don’t realize that Damasteel is stainless and has great edge retention and abrasion resistance.

That said, this $400 knife has an air of sophistication. I think it would make a great holiday gift for someone special who enjoys a knife that looks as good as it works. I think a knife like the Pursue gets passed down to a younger generation so they can beat the snot out of it while that mother of pearl continues to shimmer and shine.

Overall, the Pursue feels like a knife my grandfather would carry with him. He was a stoic man who worked in a factory during the day and on the farm at night. But on the weekends, he got all dressed up for church on Sunday. He was a tough son of a gun who cleaned up nicely — just like this knife.

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