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REVIEW: 5.11 Crew Cut

In a recent article I discussed tactical knives and offered some tips on selecting your next blade. As I stated in that article, I believe a good knife is one of the most important tools an officer can carry. Personally, I cannot remember the last time I was without one.

I recently had the opportunity to obtain a new knife – the Crew Cut by 5.11. I have been carrying it for several weeks now and would like to provide you with my opinion of how it stacks up against the others I have used.


The Crew Cut incorporates a 3.6” Tanto blade utilizing AUS8 steel and a subdued composite grip featuring ergonomic design & FRN scales with blood grooves for comfortable handling even when wet. The 4 way pocket clip can be positioned to best suit your style by way of the included torque wrench. An ambidextrous thumb stud, combined with the assisted opening feature, allows for quick deployment with either hand.

511 Crew CutFirst Impression

Out of the box I was immediately impressed by its sleek design and sharp lines. However, I was a bit concerned by the composite grip, which appeared much lighter than my last model, and the pocket clip – something I have experienced problems with on previous 5.11 designs.

As I picked up the Crew Cut for the first time I immediately found the weight to my liking. While feel is not always the best determination of quality, it does help build confidence in a particular blade. The Crew Cut is heavy enough to provide that confidence, but not too heavy as to be uncomfortable to carry daily. As I slid the knife into my pocket, I was surprised to find the pocket clip was thankfully sturdy and provided a secure hold without any sign of the screws being loose.

Thumb Studs

Flipping the blade open I encountered my first disappointment. The thumb studs, although sturdy and of an adequate size for use even with gloves, were not positioned in the best location for easy use. Furthermore, the blade did not release as easily as I would have liked. However, once the blade was released, the assisted opening did provide for strong deployment to full open position. While I cannot change the thumb stud, the stiffness on opening did decrease with repeated use.


The Recurve Tanto blade provides multiple edges, designed for either cutting or slashing. Mine was equipped with an optional serrated section at the rear of the blade; a plain design is also available. The blade itself is heavy enough to provide good balance and should provide the strength necessary for serious duty, including prying if need be.

511 Crew Cut ReviewGrip

The composite grip remains my least favorite feature. Although the material appears to be stronger than suspected during initial inspection, and the FRN scales do provide a secure grip, I cannot get past wishing it was a bit heavier. I would also prefer a darker color, either black or green, although I suppose the grey color may assist in locating the knife should I drop it at night. Plus, I guess I should be glad that if it were only available in one color, that the color is not coyote which seems to be the tactical color of choice today.

All in all I find the Crew Cut to be a quality knife of a design and material that is sure to hold up to most tasks, whether opening envelopes and boxes at the office or removing seatbelts and flex cuffs in the field. If it comes down to it, I have no doubt that it will also do what we all expect a tactical knife to do – provide you with a last ditch means of taking the fight to the bad guy.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell

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