Gunblast.com has developed over the past five
years into the undisputed leader in the online gun and related
products test arena. Starting
as the first pure online gun test magazine, we established a
reputation of quality testing in real world circumstances, and
honest reporting of the test findings.
While we have opportunities to test a number of products
from a multitude of manufacturers, we try to only consume our
time with the testing of products that we know to be quality.
As Jeff has said many times, “We don’t test junk”. This holds true for knives as well as guns.
For years we at Gunblast.com didn’t pay much
attention to Kershaw knives, although we knew they made a
fine high-quality knife. With
the onset of their innovative Speed Safe opening technology a
couple of years back, and the design genius of Ken Onion,
we started to pay more attention to Kershaw. Now, if you were to stop one of the Gunblast brothers and ask
for a show of their carry knife, there’s a good chance that
it’s a Kershaw.
We have the opportunity to test a lot of
excellent knife products from outstanding manufacturers, Kershaw
being but one of these. We all have our favorites for whatever
reason, but in the evaluation of what separates a very good
knife from a great knife, Kershaw has done a marvelous job.
They manufacture a quality product with excellent
innovation and design features, that are attractive and hold up
very well to hard use, and that are affordable to most knife
most of their knives are made in the good ol’ USA (even though
Kershaw is owned by Kai Cutlery of Japan).
The quality of Kershaw’s manufacturing and design are
evidenced once again in the evaluation of the fine knife
products featured in this article.
Kershaw, with the help of designer Ken Onion,
has figured out how to make a high-quality knife with innovative
features and an attractive design.
For knives, Kershaws just look good.
In terms of innovation, they are about as cutting-edge as
anyone out there. In
terms of attractiveness of design, they surpass most of their
A great case in point is the Rainbow Leek
(1660VIB). A Ken
Onion design with their patented Speed Safe opening technology,
the Rainbow Leek is a very pretty knife.
Constructed of 440A stainless steel in blade and handle,
the Rainbow Leek’s blade and handle are coated with
titanium-oxide in a manner in which the knife blade and handle
are multicolored like a rainbow, hence the name.
The Rainbow Leek weighs in at 3.1 ounces, has a 3”
blade and is 4” overall.
It has a nice pocket clip for ease of carry, and comes
shipped in a nice cloth bag.
Retail pricing of the Rainbow Leek is $99.95. It won Blade Magazine’s 2002 Overall Knife of the
Year, and it remains one of my favorites in terms of beauty and
admittedly, it’s not a knife I carry often.
Heck, it’s too pretty!
While it is made for serious use, I have a hard time
bringing myself to scratch up a knife with this much beauty.
During the test period, however, even though I probably
wasn’t as hard on the Rainbow Leek as some of the other (less
pretty) knives, it performed admirably and would make a fine
everyday carry knife for someone wishing to do so.
If you have a hundred bucks to put down on a carry knife
that will accomplish the difficult mission of pleasing your wife
or girlfriend as much as performing routine knife tasks, then
the Rainbow Leek might just be what you are seeking.
A good number of months ago we performed some tactical
knife head-to-head competitions from various manufacturers.
The Kershaws tested did as well as any evaluated in terms
of performance. With the Rainbow Leek, Kershaw sent a couple of additional
tactical folders that we did not test during our initial
tactical knife comparison articles.
We have now had about 6 months to use these knives on a
regular basis, and I must say that we’ve been very pleased
with their performance. When we test a knife, we sometimes perform the various
torture-tests that most quality knife manufacturers put their
product through. We
at Gunblast, however, try to do our evaluations in real-world
circumstances, and we recognize that the good-ol-boys we know
will not spend $100 for a knife and then put it in a vice and
beat it with a hammer to try and break the lock. Instead, they’ll use the knife in real world scenarios,
from picking fingernails to dressing game to self-defense to
cutting everything imaginable to tactical police duty to prying
to cutting steak at our favorite restaurant to driving screws to
throwing in the ground to losing and running over with your car
or ATV. Over the
past 6 months, these other two tactical folders have been
through some if not most of these situations.
One, I have carried probably 60% of the knife-carrying
time over the past 6 months.
The other, I gave to one of my brother-in-laws, who
hasn’t had it out of his reach other than sleeping or
showering in six months. In
routine daily duty in a variety of test situations that any
knife owner would likely face, both of these knives have
performed flawlessly. These knives are the Blur and the Blackout by
The Blur is a knife that I tend to carry a lot.
I just like it. I have a variety of knives in my “daily carry knife
drawer”, but when I pull open the drawer and look for a knife
to clip in my jeans pocket, the Blur gets the nod the majority
of the time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s that much better
than my Benchmades or Spydercos or Bucks or
KA-BARs or whatevers or even other Kershaws, but for a
variety of reasons it’s just one of my favorites.
The Blur I carry is model 1670BLKST.
This designates the black blade, partially serrated
blade, black-handled Blur model.
It also comes with a non-serrated blade, and also comes
in both configurations in red.
Another Ken Onion design, the knife is attractive as well
as functional. It
is made of 440 stainless with a tough tungsten DLC coating.
The Blur has an anodized aluminum handle with a 410
stainless liner, and the handle has Trac-Tek inserts for just
the right amount of tackiness in the hand.
The blade is 3 and 3/8 inches long, and the knife is
4.5” closed. It
weighs in at 4.2 ounces and has a retail price of $99.95.
And, it has the Speed Safe opening technology that just
Speed Safe, as outlined in more detail in other
Kershaw knife articles on Gunblast, is their assisted-opening
technology moniker. Not
to be confused with “assisted-opening” or “switchblade”
knives, Speed Safe uses a torsion bar and once moved a slight
amount, this torsion bar takes over the opening of the blade
from the handle in a fast and efficient manner.
When closing the knife, the torsion bar in the liner is
moved and the knife is closed as most lock-blade knives of this
Safe opening is, according to Kershaw, safer than other
competitive “assisted opening” blade actions, and just as
quick. I must admit
that it works well. The
only flaw we found in any of the Kershaw’s tested with Speed
Safe was a very stiff torsion bar on one knife (Jeff’s daily
carry Kershaw Boa) but with
regular use it loosed up a bit and reliability has been
I knew that whatever lock-blade knife I gave my
brother-in-law Bill Williams, it would get very serious
action. Bill hunts
every day that there is a season (and I mean every day).
When there is no hunting season, then Bill is doing
something outdoors that could involve using a knife, so if
he’s up and around, a good knife will be clipped to his jeans
pocket or in his hand. I
gave him the Kershaw Blackout (#1550ST) to test, and told him
that if he broke it I’d get him another, so be as tough on it
as he liked. He
didn’t need my permission, but the boy loves this knife.
He uses it regularly, and he reports that he hasn’t
asked the Blackout to do anything that it didn’t do well.
I’d say that’s a pretty good testament to this blade,
and you’d agree if you knew Bill.
Another Ken Onion/Speed Safe knife, the Blackout
is made of 440A stainless, is tri-nitride coated, and has a
polyamide handle (a tough plastic-like product).
It has a 3 and one-fourth inch blade and is 4.5 inches
closed. It weighs in at 3.5 ounces, and is priced at $89.95 retail.
The 1550ST also has a partially serrated blade
configuration like the Blur.
Kershaw recently sent us another knife for test
and evaluation, the fixed-blade RMEF.
This stands for “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation”, and
this knife was designed by Kershaw for this group.
Sporting a nice Realtree polyamide handle, the blade is
made of AUS8A stainless steel, has a great hunting blade
configuration, has a 4” blade, is 8 5/8” long, and weighs
4.8 ounces. The
RMEF has a nice leather sheath, and retails for a modest $54.95.
The RMEF gets use on my hunting belt quite often, and
makes an excellent medium-game hunting/skinning knife.
The design is excellent, the fit and finish is
outstanding, and the durability of the knife is as good as its
winner for Kershaw.
Whenever we at Gunblast.com get in a box from
the “big brown truck of happiness” (Jeff’s nickname for
UPS) that is marked “Kershaw”, we know that it contains
knife products of outstanding design and quality.
We look forward to testing their other new products soon,
so stay tuned for other reports from Gunblast.com on fine
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