Kershaw Scores a Knockout!

I’m pretty pragmatic when it comes to pocket knives. Looks matter but the knife must also be something I can use as a tool. For me, I am always having to cut down boxes, cut plastic, strip wires, and so forth and a knife may well get wet from rain, snow, or plumbing. Furthermore, I need something that I can readily carry in a pocket. Kershaw has made a knife I really like with their 1870OLBLK Knockout. Let me take a few minutes of your time to say why I am impressed.

Made in the USA

The first thing I noticed when the knife arrived was Kershaw’s proudly placing the USA label on the box. Many of Kershaw’s blades are made in China but the Knockout is made in the USA – Tualatin, Oregon, to be specific.

Usually, I get excited and forget to take photos right after I pull a knife from the bag. This time, I had the camera ready and took the following:

The olive drab handle and blackwashed blade really make a good looking combination. You can see the holes for the pocket clip if you wanted it positioned up front on the nose. There’s a generous thumb stud and the Speedsafe flipper lever protrudes from the bottom.
Here’s the reverse side with the clip plus use can clearly see the black colored sub-frame lock. The handle has three positions drilled and tapped so you can move the clip around. The stylized US flag is a nice touch just under the clip plus you can see “Made in the USA” on the blade through the sub-frame.


The Knockout has some nice stats:

  • The blade is 3.25″ long
  • The blade steel is 14C28N. I appreciate blade steels and this is a pretty decent middle-of-the road steel made by Sandvik. It can take a keen edge, is corrosion resistant and holds up pretty well.
  • The blade is colored black using the DLC – Diamond Like Coating – process.
  • The handle is made from 6061-T6 anodized aluminum
  • The handle is colored an olive drab green
  • When closed, it is 4.6″ long
  • When open, it is 7.9″
  • Overall weight is 3.4 oz.

The Feel

It’s fairly thin and light. I wear XL-sized gloves and the knife fills my hand very nicely. The combination of a relatively tall blade and the weight of the handle gives it both a good heft and a balance that I like. It does not feel cheap by any means.

The flipper mechanism is solid and does a good job. The sub-frame lock does its job firmly yet is also is easy to unlock. You can’t say this for all frame locks – some can be more cumbersome to move out of the way than others. By using the sub-frame they can get the right geometry and tension to do the job yet also be easy to move out of the way to unlock the blade. This cut out, or knock out, that they did in the frame to hold the riveted in sub-frame is actually where the knife gets its name.

Look carefully at the handle and then look at your hand with the fingers bent just a tad. The handle’s curve and the bumps will conform to most hands very nicely. Your hand will index on the big finger groove they made for your index finger – no pun intended. In other words, your hand’s position will begin by putting your big first finger in that groove.

Kershaw’s Overview Video

Kershaw actually has a short overview video so you can see the blade at different angles.

Comparing the KnockOut to my Hogue X5 with a 3.5″ Wharncliffe Blade

Now, so you have a comparison, here’s the Knockout next to my Hogue X5 with a 3.5″ Wharncliffe blade, which is my most frequently carried blade now. I’ve given up saying every day carry because I seem to be rotating through a few but more often than the others, it’s the Hogue. We’ll just have to see if Knockout dethrones the X5 over time.

The Hogue X5 3.5″ Wharncliffe is striking to look at but let me tell you something really cool – the CPM154 steel is really excellent and the profile of the blade makes it excellent for scraping a surface with a relatively straight edge.

In Summary

It arrived quite sharp and I just did a few test cuts. At this point, I need to see how the Knockout holds up over time. As far as first impressions go, I really like it and will keep folks posted.

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