The Kershaw Blackout Mini Natrix [BladeOps Exclusive]
Everybody knows that there is nothing like a Kershaw. Kershaw says, “From award-winning technologies and advanced materials to the solid sound of the blade lockup, when you’re carrying a Kershaw, you know you’re carrying the real thing. The real thing means value and plenty of it. With Kershaw, you get incredible bang for your hard-earned buck. Even our inexpensive models are impressive. In fact, everything about a Kershaw is solid, crafted, reliable. That’s why we can back each of our knives for the life of its original owner against any defects in materials and construction with our famous Limited Lifetime Warranty.
“And yes, people do own their Kershaw knives for a lifetime. (Although, occasionally, a Kershaw has been known to get accidentally left at a campsite, lost in the garage, or permanently borrowed by a friend.) The point is, you can always look to Kershaw for everyday carrying knives that can tame any cardboard box and liberate any purchase from its plastic packaging, sporting knives that make hunting, fishing, watersports, and camping even better, work knives that won’t let you down, and tactical knives that ensure you’re ready for anything.”
Kershaw was founded in 1974 with the mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collectors’ edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high-quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.
They also have a commitment to innovation and even pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advance materials that are today standard in the knife industry. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today's knifemaking industry and knife-using public.”
Kershaw is also a brand of Kai USA Ltd. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions.
Today we will be discussing one of BladeOps Exclusive Kershaw knives: The Blackout Mini Natrix.
The blade on the BlackOut Mini Natrix has been made out of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel. When Kershaw is discussing why this steel is such a great option, they say, “You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious ‘knife knut’ would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. 8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value. HRC: 57–59.”
This steel comes from a Chinese series of steels: the Cr series. The steel is known for being good enough. It is going to be tough enough to take on what you need, strong enough o takes on what you need, and keep its edge for long enough for what you need. However, this is not a super steel. It is not going to compare to those more expensive steels that really can take on anything.
In the Cr series, 9Cr is the best and is a great option. 8Cr is next and is a good option. It will get the job done without excelling at anything. However, the biggest advantage that this steel does bring is the cost—it keeps the overall cost of the knife down due to its inexpensive qualities. This is where Kershaw really comes in though—they have a fantastic heat treatment that is going to make this steel act much, much better than it would have originally. While it normally gets the job done, their heat treatment is going to make this steel a truly respectable option.
The blade has been finished with a black oxide coating. Kershaw explains that this coating is “a chemical bath converts the surface of the steel to magnetite. Kershaw uses this coating on some blades and pocket clips, mainly for appearance, though it does add some corrosion resistance.”
As you can see, this coating was mainly used for the look and it does deliver. The blade becomes sleek and black with minimal reflective qualities. But, since this coating is mainly used for appearance, it is not going to be the toughest of the coatings. It is going to scratch off after time and heavy use. While it is still on the blade though, it will make it slightly tougher, slightly harder, and even more corrosion resistant than it already was.
The blade has been carved into a modified drop point blade shape. The regular drop point blade shape is the most popular blade shape on the market. With it, you cannot go wrong. Kershaw took a phenomenal blade shape and decided to mix it up a little bit. This drop point does appear to be more elongated than your typical drop point—adding to the aesthetic of the BlackOut Mini Natrix.
For starters, instead of the spien curving gently downward in one solid swoop, the spine of the blade does dip slightly at the beginning. It also starts out with a row of fine jimping that is there to give you even more control over this blade. After the dip, the spien does curve toward the tip, which is going to give you the dropped, or lowered, tip. Not only is this where the shape got its name from, it also is going to give you added control. Perfect for that fine detail work that you desire to do.
The tip on the drop point is broad enough that it will add a significant amount of strength. You won’t have to worry about the blade snapping as you take on whatever tasks may come your way. That being said, it is going to reduce your ability to pierce.
The belly on a drop point is normally rounded got give you enough surface area to really thrive when it comes to slicing. On this modified version of the blade shape, you do still have plenty of surface area, but the curve comes earlier, which elongates the entire blade. You will still be able to excel at slicing.
The handle on this BladeOps Exclusive knife is made out of black G-10. Kershaw explains their G-10 by saying, “An epoxy-filled woven glass fiber; it is extremely stable, unaffected by temperature changes, and can be decoratively tinted, ground, and polished. G-10 makes excellent handles and handle scales for knives.” Some of the other benefits of a G-10 handle are that it is going to be lightweight, strong, and durable. The G-10 is going to ensure that this knife really can take on whatever you need it to. The G-10 is going to provide enough grip that you can feel confident in nearly any environment.
The handle has more angles than grooves, adding to the unique aesthetic of the Mini Natrix.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on the Blackout Mini Natrix is deep carry and reversible. It is designed for tip up carry only, but it can be attached for either a left- or right-hand carry option. This does mean that the knife is going to be nearly completely ambidextrous. Plus, when you can carry a knife in a way that is most comfortable to you, the knife itself is going to be safer, purely because you are going to be more familiar with it.
The deep carry aspect of the Mini Natrix means that you can move about your day without a thought of whether or not this Kershaw will stay in your pocket—it will. Plus, it lets the smaller knife sit incredibly low in your pocket, which does mean that it is going to be better concealed.
The clip is black and hardware on this knife are all black, creating a truly entirely black knife. This is where the BlackOut in the name comes from on this exclusive knife. The clip does taper toward the butt of the clip. It has been slightly skeletonized, so you do get a glimpse of the two screws that keep this in place.
This is a flipper knife that features Kershaw’s KVT ball-bearing system. Kershaw explains their KVT ball-bearing system by saying, “The Kershaw KVT ball-bearing system makes one-handed opening of your knife fast and easy—without the need for a mechanical assist. While SpeedSafe assisted opening uses a torsion bar to help move the knife blade out the handle, KVT relies on a ring of "caged" ball bearings that surround the knife's pivot. ("Caged" means the ball bearings are secured within a ring that surrounds the pivot. It keeps the ball bearings in place, while allowing them to rotate freely.) When the user pulls back on the built-in flipper, the blade rotates out of the handle as the ball bearings roll in place. KVT makes one-handed opening quick, easy, and smooth as butter.”
This just means that even though this is going to be a manual knife, it is going to feel nearly as smooth as one that is an assisted opening. Plus, you will be able to easily open the knife with the flipper.
The flipper is a small triangular protrusion that is made out of the same steel that the blade is. When the knife is closed, the protrusion extends out of the spien of the handle. To open the knife, you simply pull back on this protrusion, which will flip the knife open and lock it into place, ready for use.
The blade on this Exclusive model measures in at 2.75 inches long with a handle that measures in at 3.75 inches long. This creates an overall length of 6.5 inches long when the blade has been deployed. This is on the smaller end of the spectrum when it comes to your typical EDC knives—hence the name “mini.” Then, because of how lightweight the material is, this Mini Natrix weighs in at a mere 1.9 ounces. This knife is definitely not going to be the reason that you are weighed down by any means.
With the overwhelming popularity and demand of the new Mini Natrix it was only a matter of time before we rode the wave for our newest exclusive--the BlackOut Mini Natrix flipper. The Kershaw Natrix is one of many new models released by Kershaw in 2017 and was designed after the popular Zero Tolerance 0770 model but 2018 brings forth a newly revised size. This sub-frame lock designed model, which aids it in being lightweight, features the KVT ball-bearing system, instead of Kershaw's patented SpeedSafe™ assisted system, which quickly deploys the blade thanks in part to the ambidextrous flipper function. This model features black G-10 handle scales, all-black hardware, a modified drop point style blade in a black oxide finish and the deep carry reversible pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left- or right-hand carry option.