I picked up the Kershaw Blur in S30V steel (1670S30V) as a replacement to my recently broken SOG Flash II folder. This is my new EDC (every day carry). I went a few weeks without a pocket knife, which left me feeling naked, useless, and well, altogether unmanly. I find that the times when I could truly use a pocket knife are the times when I don’t have one. For example, I would’ve really liked to carry a pocket knife on my recent trip to Peru. But of course, my SOG was broken and my newly acquired Kershaw was sitting in an Amazon box on the front porch at home.
The knife came in a spartan paper box. At least it wasn’t in plastic packaging. I hate knives that come in a plastic clam shell package. You shouldn’t need a knife to open a knife. It also comes with a small foldout product manual that explains the warranty, care instructions, etc.
At first glance, the Kershaw reminded me of the SOG. Black polycarbonate handle with a folding, assisted-opener blade. But in the hand, it has quite a different feel. There is a good amount of weight in the blade, but it balances the knife perfectly. Also, this is a Ken Onion design so it has quite a bit of subtle style and architecture.
I opted to get the Blur in S30v steel. There is a lot of contention on the benefits of S30V. Some say its just the latest “wonder steel”, propped up by hype and marketing until another better knife steel comes out. Others say it really makes a difference over the standard steel used in the regular Blur, both in ease of sharpening and edge retention. Either way, I don’t really care if its the flavor of the month, there will definitely be a better steel to come out eventually. But as an EDC, I need something that will hold an edge, get very sharp, and be moderately corrosion resistant. So I opted to pay the extra $20 for the S30V version to give it a try and see if it lives up to its name.
The stone-washed finish on the blade steel (only available on S30V) is excellent and an added treat over the standard polished stainless. Personally, I think the satin look adds a nice depth to the knife overall. The 3 3/8” blade profile has a subtle complexity as well, not noticeable until you take a closer look in person. The cutting edge profile of the blade is re-curved, as you can see it bends out but then back in. I think this will come in handy for delicate tasks such as whittling. The overall profile of the spine is almost a slight drop point to comes up like a slight trailing point. The spine varies in thickness, thicker at each end than in the middle. This thickness follows contours of the grind line on the side of the blade. However, the grind line that rises up from the cutting edge does not flatten out to the same thickness as the spine. I think it almost acts as a fuller, to lighten to the weight of the blade, but it may also have some effect on the rigidity or flexibility. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know. It’s hard to describe but can be seen in the photo on the right.
As mentioned before, there is a bit more weight in the blade than the handle, but balances well. The 4 1/2” handle, made of 6061-T6 aluminum, is CNC machined and of excellent quality. They feature Trac-Tec inserts, which appear to be a rubber particulate material applied to panels on the grip. They almost remind me of the surfaces of high school tracks, made of tiny bits of chopped of tire. They are much firmer than tire rubber, but offer a nice grip. They are not rough on the hand, but not slick either. The overall handle length fits my hand well, even though slight on the large size. However, I have smaller hands. The handle also has a belt clip on the back side, which is tighter than a drum. Although a loose, bendable belt clip is bad, this one is so tight I can’t even pull it back hand. It does accept a jean’s pocket fairly well, but requires a significant amount of downward force to seat fully. Enough that I have to hold my pants with the other hand to do it. Also, when pocketed with the clip, the knife rides pretty high. High enough that it definitely makes it known you are carrying a knife. Both good and bad, I suppose.
This Kershaw, as opposed to my SOG, has no safety switch for opening and closing. This is both good and bad. I did like the fact that I could completely lock out my Flash II from opening, especially if I was handing it to someone, or had to put it down or drop it somewhere. However, it was sometimes a hassle to unlock the safety if I wanted to open it quick (the safety was placed in a slightly inconvenient spot for one handed opening). The Kershaw employs a “SpeedSafe” opening mechanism. If you’ve ever fired a revolver or handgun without a safety, its very similar to that. The pressure required to pull the trigger on a non-safety handgun is actually more pressure than the weight of the gun. You could actually lift the handgun by the trigger (I don’t advise trying to). Therefore, the trigger requires definite, intentional pressure to fire. The same goes for the SpeedSafe. The pressure required is more than the weight of the knife. I can hold the knife by the thumb release screws and the blade won’t open. Atleast from the factory. I think that the pressure is a tad too high for my liking, but the added weight means added safety. I can live with that until I find a way to reduce the required pressure. The knife closes with the traditional liner lock mode, which can be done single-handed.
Along with the knife riding high when pocketed, the thumb studs used for opening the knife are very sharp . The studs have machined steps that face toward the handle of the blade. Although they provide a good grip when opening, they have a harsh edge all the way around. These edges rub against your hand if you have your hands in your pockets while carrying.
I’ll post a deeper diving review once I get some more mileage on this knife and a few sharpening’s. For just under $75, it’s not top-end but is definitely leagues above bottom of the barrel. I think it sits at a nice price point for the quality of materials, if not a slight bargain. Does anyone else have it? Let me know what you think!