One Liner: The name might be a mouthful, but it's a fantastic little everyday carry (EDC) knife.
The Kershaw Ken Onion Leek is a folding knife featuring a 3" blade and made entirely of steel (well, except as noted below). The knife is approx. 4" closed and 7" overall when opened. Also, made in the USA.
The handle itself is steel and not particularly "grippy" like other folding knives may be. This doesn't necessarily present a problem as the handle is very well designed and fits well in my hand, and has ridged bits where the thumb and forefinger grip the blade, but sweaty or wet conditions will require extra diligence on your part.
The first thing many people are likely to notice and be surprised about with this knife is the speed at which it opens. This is not a switchblade, nor an "automatic" opening knife, rather using Kershaw's Speed Safe system. The short version is that a torison bar provides resistance when you initially open the knife, but once the you pass a certain point, the bar slides out of the way and the blade whizzes open with little resistance, coming to rest lock and stay in place with a stiff frame lock.
Even though the torison bar really cuts down on the likelihood that the blade will open when you aren't actively operating it, Kershaw includes a tip safety lock. The only bad part about the knife is that the lock comes a little loose straight out of the box and might need to be tightened.
Note : The Amazon page mentions the blade being 440A steel and Kershaw's own site calls it 13C26 steel. Both are outdated information. The copy I have (and all the ones you're likely to come across) is made of 14C28N steel. The nice people at Kershaw explained the history of the different steels to me which was interesting, but completely over my head. The end result is something to the effect of: the new steel is like the old steel but has much better rust resistance and is comparable to the original steel.
Update: 10/7/10: I tired to reverse the belt clip on the knife and it appears that the threading on the handle is incorrect because the screws won't bite. We'll see if a new set of screws solves the problem.
- This knife opens fast! You'll probably have to explain to your buddies that it isn't an assisted-open knife.
- The knife can be opened by either the thumbstuds (which are probably shorter than other knives you're used to) or the "blade protrusion." Using the thumbstuds, you can open the blade at your leisure (but be sure to open it far enough to lock!) and the blade protrusion - Kershaw's term - opens the blade somewhere between really fast and fast as hell.
- The little tip safety lock latch is plastic so it won't chip the blade should you close it with the lock engaged - something I've done a couple times.
- Frame lock is tight when locked and stays out of the way when the blade is out but still operates smoothly and easily when you want to close it.
- The tip safety lock as shipped is a little loose and tends to end up in the position you don't want it in more often than not. Fortunately this is easily fixed with the proper Allen wrench.
- The largely smooth finish on the handle can get a little slippery if you're working in dusty/oily/wet conditions.
- Blade is a little thinner than competitors so don't go thinking that you can use it to pry things open. Not that you would do that. Would you? Seriously, it's a knife, not a chisel.
- Reversing the pocket clip didn't go so well....