Kershaw is renowned for being one of the biggest names in tough knives for workmen or just the average EDC. Kershaw owns both Shun Knives and Zero Tolerance Knives, each of which is as dedicated to quality as Kershaw proper. They have partnered with Ken Onion, whose SpeedSafe opening mechanism redefined pocket knives, making them safer for anyone. With manufacturing factories in the United States as well as China and Japan, Kershaw brings the best of knives from around the world.
Any old knife might seem like enough to the uninitiated, but Kershaw is constantly looking to push the envelope and craft a brand of knives that is good for every person in every situation. Started in Portland, Oregon back in 1974, the beloved brand has one of the widest and deepest benches of great knives on the planet, with no focus on a single type. They do fixed blade as well as bushcrafting, and most everything in between. They do it all and they do it in style, with some of the biggest, most innovative people in the business. Since their catalog is so varied, we’ve whittled it down to just the 7 best Kershaw pocket knives designed for everyday carry, so that you can pick which one is right for you.
Kershaw 8700 Shuffle
Pro: Lanyard hole for concealed neck carry
Con: Difficult to open for a while
Backup Blade: A bead-blasted handle made of glass-reinforced nylon and cut with deep finger grooves to prevent slipping or disarmament, the Shuffle has Kershaw’s unique K-Textured grip so it takes real dedication to drop this. A reversible clip lets you go tip-up or down depending on your mood. It’s got an odd, stubby little look to it, but once you actually pick it up, you see how naturally it conforms to the contours of your grip for an easier overall experience that really does make it feel like an extension of your hand. Made with 8Cr13MoV steel, it’s not going to be the greatest piece of hardware out there, but it can take and hold an edge respectably, especially for mundane, everyday letter-opening level tasks.
Kershaw 1990 Brawler
Pro: Extra thick piercing tip
Con: Steel dulls quickly
Cheap Combatant: We may say it is cheap, but that is merely because Kershaw wanted an inexpensive knife that brought their style and quality to anyone, regardless of how much they have in the bank. The rapid flipper opening lets the Brawler display its wicked Tanto blade with a minimum of effort. That nasty blade itself is 8Cr13MoV steel that’s as useful for menacing an attacker (or taking one on) as it is at cutting through twine or ropes. It’s a slender 4 ounces and only about 4 inches when folded up, making it a moderately sized EDC knife. The quad carry pocket clip and glass-filled nylon handle are good for just about every user of any knifing experience.
Pro: Complete titanium carbo-nitride coating
Con: Knife doesn’t center when closed
Middle Ground: The Cryo is a unique blade that seems to be one of the most polarizing pieces you can carry. At 6.5 inches with a 4.2 ounce weight, it is a little short for being a really strong long knife, and a little clunky for a really light knife. We feel that this mixture does fill a need that has been largely ignored by manufacturers. When famed knife maker Rick Hinderer designed the Cryo for Kershaw, he had a true vision. The hefty belly, hollow grind, and small swedge combine to give you a beefy blade that’s particularly handy for those with larger hands who want a shorter blade that still has some heft and grip.
Kershaw Ken Onion Leek
Pro: Stays sharp for ages
Con: Tends to hold fingerprints
All Business: The design of the Leek is meant for hunters or anyone who needs a one-handed knife that isn’t going to give them fits when they only have a few fingers free. With a wide variety of styles, you can always count on the 410 stainless steel handle, housing the 14C28N stainless steel blade. Totally ambidextrous, lefties won’t need to find a strange position to get this to flip out on a moment’s notice. The standard Leek comes with a metal handle, but if you need a little more grip, there’s a glut of coating options to choose from so that you can find the right level of grip for your job. Naturally it comes with SpeedSafe for easy and reliable opening that will never hurt.
Kershaw 1550 Blackout
Pro: Handle almost never shows wear
Con: Handle gets slick when bloody or oily
OG: One of the first Ken Onion knives and still one of the most popular, the Blackout is a tactical treasure. It features a Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel blade with full scratch-resistant Tungsten DLC coating, all wrapped up in a glass reinforced nylon handle. Stainless steel liners help enhance the overall strength of the Blackout so that the SpeedSafe opening mechanism stays smooth as silk even when the body itself is taking a beating. With a removable tip-down pocket clip, the Blackout is perfectly fine for everyday carry and the textured handle allows it to come out without a bobble time and again. With a classic black on black look, this goes with jeans and a tee-shirt as easily as your tactical flak jacket or Bond-esque tuxedo.
Kershaw Ken Onion Blur
Pro: Tip up or tip down carry options
Con: Pocket clip starts too tight, ends up too loose
Perfect Mix: The Blur is one of the most famous knives by a man who is known for little besides his knifecrafting and superb metalworks. The 6061-T6 anodized aluminum handle has a nice DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) coating so it can take more abuse and stand up to years of adverse weather without rusting out or breaking down. Trac-Tec inserts in the handle along with the SpeedSafe opening system allow this to come out quickly with one-handed flick that’s safer and won’t cause snags or delays. The end result is comfortable, blinding draw speed with a little wrist action.
Pro: Zero blade wiggle
Con: Doesn’t deploy when thumb stud and flipper are used in conjunction
Pocket Rocket: The pocket clip actually tells you almost everything you need to know about this knife: It’s a four way meant for deep pocket carry, and it is just that kind of pragmatism that defines the Knockout. Completely made in the United States, the cutting surface is Sandvik 14C28N steel set artfully into a 6061-T6 Anodized aluminum handle. Everything is given a good DLC treatment to keep it harder and longer lasting than comparable medium light knives. It’s meant for pocket EDC so you’ll find that even with a closed length of 4.6 inches, it manages to make itself scarce and avoids trouble getting to your keys, flashlight, wallet, or whatever else you happen to be lugging around.