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Field Tested: Ruger Go-N-Heavy Compact

There are two types of guys in the world. There are knife guys, and there are guys with knives. I tend to fall in the latter group and while I love to geek out on gear, I don’t pretend to possess the acumen of a genuine blade guru. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good cutter like the new Ruger Go-N-Heavy Compact.

Over the years I’ve done my best to edify myself on all things knife and can now speak somewhat coherent blade-speak. I can appropriately apply words like, jimping, plunge-line, semi-swedge, thumb stud, and I even understand my way around the Mohs Scale. At the end of the day though, I find it best to evaluate any given knife the old fashioned way––by using it.

The Go-N-Heavy Compact is part of a newly launched line of knives made by CRKT for Ruger Firearms. With our offices located not far from one of the Ruger facilities, it’s a name I hear all the time. If I am not a knife guy, I am certainly not a gun guy, but I do like a quality product and the Go-N-Heavy is certainly that.

Designed by the legendary Bill Harsey, the most unique attribute of the knife is the pronounced machining of the aluminum handle plates. Created to emulate the Picatinny rail of a rifle, the handle definitely has a tactical aesthetic that evokes the Ruger brand mission. When you pick up the Go-N-Heavy Compact––you know it’s there. Despite a surprisingly low weight of just 4.5 ounces, it has a commanding presence in-hand. I wouldn’t say big, but it does fit within my palm securely. If big is what you seek, the Compact has a larger sibling which is genuinely––big.

Available without and with a Veff-serrated blade, I chose the Compact with additional toothiness. I was intrigued by the unique scallops of the four large serrations, each heavily angled like a saw blade. When applying hard cutting force to engage the serrations, most people pull down and back and the slant of the serrations align with that motion.

The design and finishing details are commensurate with a Harsey and CRKT product. The main pivot is smooth as silk and has a torx head for precise tension adjustment. The thumb stud is quite large and placed high enough on the blade to permit sufficient leverage to swing the 3.5-inch blade open in one fluid motion. Once open, my thumb and forefinger found their spots on the back of the blade and within the deep recess of the handle. The liner lock holds the blade snugly in position with no hint of slop or play. In a word, the overall experience could be best described as––precise.

The 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel blade scores a hardness of 58-59HRC, and with that I’ve exhausted the maximum of my knife-nerdiness and ability to copy data from the published specifications. So, what does that really mean to us guys with knives? Out of the box the blade was as sharp as I’d expect it to be and over the course of several weeks of regular use has demonstrated it should remain so like the other CRKT knives I’ve tested in the past.

When scrutinizing the pros and cons of the design, there are a few considerations I should pass along. There is no belt clip. The handle is rather thick, so it’s certainly not going to slip discretely into the hip pocket of your skinny jeans. Packaged with a heavy-duty nylon case, the only other portaging option is to just drop it deep in a pocket. For me, and I may not be the target end-user for the Go-N-Heavy Compact, I tend to not carry it on my person but rather have it at the ready in my car or pack. When I need it, I’m aways glad I have it. – CN


Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.