Fast Company! Kershaw Knives Fans Have a Need for Speed


Launch 13

RJ Tactical 3.0

The history of Kershaw Knives dates back to 1974, when Pete Kershaw started selling his first wares, but nothing prepared the company for the explosion that occurred in 1998. That was when Kershaw released the first SpeedSafe blade opening mechanism, widely known as the Assisted Opener. Skirting around Draconian laws against automatics (or switchblades), Kershaw’s rapid blade opening mechanism quickly opened a folding knife blade with the nudge of a thumb stud or flipper while being legal to carry in many jurisdictions. It was an instant success, and within a few short years, assisted openers were in every tactical/EDC manufacturer’s catalog. Kershaw never looked back and, relying on innovative designs, has had a considerable following since.


Launch 14

Future Bound

The RJ Tactical 3.0, a collaboration with popular custom knifemaker R.J. Martin, sports clean looks with plenty of cool design accents to kick it over the top. Sized perfectly to serve EDC duty, the RJ Tactical 3.0 is 7.0″ overall with 3.0″ dedicated to a sleek, saber ground Drop Point blade of black oxide-coated 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. The show’s star is Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism, engaged via an easy-to-operate flipper opener. The blade is disengaged with a Liner-Lock located between the frame rails.

The RJ Tactical 3.0’s 4.0″ handle, with its deep index-finger choil, is designed for a secure grip, further enhanced by jimping on the rear base of the handle’s frame spacer. The front handle slab is black GFN nylon with a swirled texture molded in. On the backside is a sturdy stainless-steel Frame-Lock for keeping the blade locked up tight as a drum when in use. Kershaw had toting options in mind when they designed the pocket clip, which can be mounted at three locations on the handle for right or left hand, tip-up or tip-down carry. If you’re looking for a compact EDC loaded with features, the RJ Tactical 3.0 will serve you well.

It doesn’t take an analyst to see the Analyst is downright edgy. For starters, Kershaw took the Japanese-inspired Tanto blade and turned it into 3.5″ of flippin’ fun. The Analyst’s black oxide-washed blade has a combo edge with toothy serrations and a bevel-ground spine for enhanced penetration. The goods are delivered by the company’s lightning-fast SpeedSafe assisted opening by a flipper on the rear handle.

Keeping with its wicked theme, the Analyst’s 4.25″ handle complements the blade with an array of angles and curves done up with black glass-filled nylon scales front and back. Inside the frame, you’ll find a liner-lock mechanism to keep the blade rigid when deployed. Keeping with their user-friendly access policy, the Analyst’s pocket clip can be positioned at either one of the four corners of the handle corners for tip-up/tip-down, and right- or left-hand carry. This is an EDC with an attitude!

The butterfly knife (often referred to as a balisong) originated in the Philippines and is most often thought of as a self-defense knife despite its original purpose as an EDC. Kershaw’s Lucha butterfly knife, 5.8″ with the blade packed away, has a clean, techy-looking handle befitting an upscale EDC. The two halves of the bead-blasted stainless-steel frame have a latch at the base to keep the Lucha safe during carry.

All hell breaks loose when the Lucha’s sleek 4.6″ 14C28N stainless steel Clip Point blade is unleashed. The blade leaps out on dual KVT ball-bearing pivots because, if you haven’t noticed, Kershaw has a thing for blades opening at high speed. The overall length of the fully deployed Lucha is 10.25″ and the handle sides are skeletonized to reduce weight to 5.9 oz. If you’ve never owned a butterfly knife, be prepared to go through a whole new learning curve to learn the tricks of using one, but the effort can be rewarding if for no other reason than to amaze your friends.


Auto Overdrive

Kershaw’s Launch series, introduced in 2015, was their first line of automatics and to say it was a hit would be understating the case. The Launch 1 was a curvaceous yet burly design that would propel the company’s automatic folder program to stellar heights. How stellar? Kershaw is already up to 14 models in the Launch progression. We bring you their two latest here.

The Launch 13’s futuristic design is straight out of a post-nuclear sci-fi movie. If you want to order the latest in tactical folder styling, look no further than this wicked 8.0″ slicer. The Launch 13’s 3.5″ blade is a streamlined, straight-edged Wharnecliffe with a deep saber grind leading to a row of jimping as a thumb rest. The blade has a satin finish with Black Cerakote on the ricasso. The black anodized 6061-T6 aluminum handle is 4.5″ and has nice curves, which complement the blade and is topped off with a cool triangulate pivot. To launch the Launch 13, there’s a snag-proof, low-profile button located behind the pivot. The pocket clip is a deep-carry reversible unit for right or left tip-up carry. At 2.4 oz., the Launch 13 is a lightweight EDC that won’t drag you down.

Not to be outdone in the design department, the Launch 14 is an enigma wrapped inside a 7.75″ beast of an auto. The folder’s 0.375″ black-washed CPM 154 stainless Cleaver blade gets your attention automatically. A deep index finger choil for a secure grip becomes part of the blade and an abrupt saber grind and jimped thumb rest grace the backside. Versatile Cleaver-style blades are excellent at both slicing and dicing. What you lose in a typical knifepoint you make up for in utility. The 4.375″ handle sports a second finger groove with two-piece grips of black anodized aluminum and Carbon Fiber. The push-button on the upper handle serves to both fire the blade and release it when ready to deploy. Carry is via a tip-up pocket clip, reversible for right- or left-hand carry. If you’re in the market for an EDC with loads of fighting savvy and utility — not to mention standing out in the crowd — the Launch 14 is your best friend.

You won’t find Kershaw Knives resting on its laurels. This company constantly strives to outdo itself — a big reason for its burgeoning fan base. If you’re wondering what’s next in the cutting-edge knife universe, keep an eye on Kershaw. They’ll be there.

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