> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Review - Ritter RSK Mk5



Review - Ritter RSK Mk5

The top of most wilderness survival experts gear list is usually a fixed blade knife of some kind. With a knife and some skill, you can improvise and bushcraft much of the rest, whether it's building a fire bow, deadfalls or shelter. Unfortunately, most pocket survival kits are seriously lacking in the knife department--a razor blade of some sort is usually the standard.
The Ritter RSK Mk5 knife, along with other
contents of a pocket survival kit.

The CRKT/Ritter RSK Mk5 gives you a stout little fixed blade, small enough to fit into an altoids tin. It's made from a single piece of 3Cr13 Stainless Steel, which is a steel I know absolutely nothing about. It has a nice, wide bellied drop point blade, as Ritter is fond of, and looks to be almost fully flat ground. It has a great, wear resistant stone-wash finish. My Mk5 arrived arm hair shaving sharp.

The Mk5 comes with a lanyard attached to the handle, which I promptly removed. It's too long and bulky, taking up too much space inside my personal altoids survival tin. I may replace the lanyard with something lower-profile at some point, but for now, my Mk5 knife is lanyard-free.

The Mk5 also comes packaged in its own altoids tin, with some beginner-level tips on what to include in an altoids/PSK. The Mk5 will only fit in the tin sideways/diagonally.

The ergonomics of the Mk5's skeletonized handle leave something to be desired. It's pretty uncomfortable. I actually find the top of the handle too wide, given the bite-sized proportions of the knife. On a small blade like this, you really need to be able to choke up on the blade to get a solid grip with your first two fingers. The Shivworks Lil' Loco's handle is a good example of this; the narrow "neck" of the handle allows for a very solid grip. The edges could also be smoothed/rounded, but perhaps that's asking too much from a sub-$20 knife. A lanyard does help somewhat, and a cord wrap would help as well. However, neither would be necessary if the handle's shape had been designed better, and take up additional bulk inside a PSK.
With a quarter for size comparison.

Now for the sheath. The marketing materials claim that it's a "custom fitted kydex sheath", which is complete BS. There's no custom fitting, and it's not any kind of quality kydex that I've ever seen. The fit of the sheath is pretty lousy, allowing plenty of wobble while in the sheath. It's secure enough that I don't think the knife would fall out, though. There's one small eyelet for attachment, providing fairly limited attachment options (neck, key chain or pocket carry come to mind). It's fine for riding around in a PSK though, and it is pretty low-profile, with minimal unnecessary bulk.

Were this knife intended for any kind of regular use, the poor ergonomics and lackluster sheath would be bigger problems. But, because the Mk5 is intended to ride in a PSK, serving in a last-ditch capacity, those shortcomings are not such a big deal. If I'm using this knife in it's intended capacity, I'm not going to mind some cramped hands or blisters from the handle if the Mk5 is keeping me alive. It's certainly a better tool than a little razor blade, non-locking folding knife or what have you. You could beat the heck out of this thing if needed, with no worries of it breaking. 

 The price of the Mk5 is perhaps one of its greatest strengths--I got mine for around $15. That low price also makes the Mk5's shortcomings easier to overlook. There are better knives out there, for sure, but they'll cost you more. For a sub-$20, PSK sized fixed blade, the Ritter RSK Mk5 is a pretty good deal.

EDITED TO ADD: The spine of the blade will not throw sparks. I'm working on removing some of the finish, but so far, no luck. The edge throws sparks fine.