Pros: Overall Quality, Handle Feel, Ease of Opening, Blade Sharpness, Weight, Lock Ease of Use, Lock Type
Cons: Blade Sharpness, None
Unique Locking Mechanism
I purchased this knife from Knife Center. For starters, this is THE sharpest out-of-the-box knife I've ever seen! That's both a Pro and a Con, at least to me, because while it cuts through EVERYTHING like a hot knife through butter, I've already cut MYSELF four times! ... without even knowing it! This knife is scalpel sharp, I kid you not. I didn't feel a thing when I cut myself and only noticed it when I saw the blood. While I have no idea if my example of this knife is 'normal' or if it's just an unusually sharp knife, I have a few other Kershaw knives to compare it to and it simply does not compare. In fact, I have quite a few folders, some fairly expensive and a few customs, but NOTHING else I have compares to the sharpness of this blade. Moving on, the new locking system is pretty unique and while it doesn't look like it would be all that sturdy, it locks up tight and there's zero blade wobble in any direction. That surprised me because it just doesn't LOOK like it would be that sturdy. It is though so have no fear, in that regard. It's also quite easy (very low effort) to unlock and fold the blade, unlike a LOT of my lock-bar folders. The weight and feel of this knife is as close to perfect as any knife I own; not too heavy and not too light. It's a little bit thicker than my EDC knife but not appreciably. The curve in the handle lends itself to a very tight grip and the jimping on the butt-end of the blade gives you a bit of leverage when needed. While I'm not crazy about the recurve design of the blade (it looks like it would tough to sharpen), I'll ignore that because I can't imagine this thing EVER needing sharpening. I suppose if you try and cut nails with it it would, but not under normal use. The overall quality of the knife is very good, in my opinion, and while it's made in China, I think it's safe to say that in today's market, it is highly competitive. I have a few other Chinese made knives and while I wouldn't put them up against my American made knives, for construction and/or quality, price-wise the Kershaw knives are a bargain. As to the speed of lockup, for a spring assisted blade, it's not very fast opening. It arrived with perfect blade centering but the blade wouldn't lock up without a flick of the wrist. I adjusted the pivot pin tightness (loosened it slightly) and while the blade would lock up without a wrist flick, it's still rather slow to deploy. As I do with ALL my folding knives, I disassembled it to find out what sort of bushings are used (bronze, bearings or whatever). This knife utilizes two different diameter bronze bushings, along with what appear to be VERY thin and HIGHLY flexible plastic or nylon bushings. The plastic/nylon bushing are WAY less than paper thin and were difficult to keep in position when reassembling the knife. I'm guessing two or three thousandths thick. I use Tuf-Glide on all my knives and 5000-grit 3M Trizact polishing pads to polish bushings and all moving metal contact points; pivot pins, the pivot pin hole in the blade, the areas of the blade hole that contact bushing or bearings, etc. I also remove whatever stock 'goop' they apply on spring assisted blades and replace it with lithium grease. I've been doing all this for years and while it's a bit time consuming, it works extremely well. I typically get much smoother and faster blade deployment (versus stock, out of the box deployment), and it stays that way for a VERY long time. After doing all that with this particular Kershaw knife though, there was no difference versus the stock deployment speed, which leads me to believe that those super-thin plastic/nylon bushings are more of a hinderance than a help. Obviously, I could be wrong about that but I don't think so. I'll be taking the knife apart again and will remove those plastic/nylon bushings to see if it does improve the speed of deployment, which is uncharacteristically slow for a spring assisted knife. All things considered and aside from its rather slow blade deployment, I'm very impressed with this knife. A new locking mechanism (by the way, the parts are all metal) doesn't come around that often and it will be interesting to see if any other knife makers take a similar approach. It provides a VERY solid and firm blade lockup, there's no wobble in any direction and it's easy (almost effortless) to unlock. If you get one of these knives, be VERY careful when you're handling it and especially when you're deploying the blade. I'm right handed and all four times I cut myself with this knife, those cuts were on my LEFT hand. This knife is just to sharp to be an EDC knife. At least in my book it is. Don't get me wrong here; I like very sharp knives and my EDC knife is pretty sharp. That said, it's NOTHING like this new Kershaw blade, which to me is dangerously (scalpel) sharp!