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Knife Review: Kershaw Knockout Spring Assist Knife

Knife Review: Kershaw Knockout Spring Assist Knife

Posted by SD on Mar 10th 2020

The Kershaw Knockout Spring Assist Knife

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 the Kershaw Knockout.

The Blade:

The blade on this Kershaw is made out of Sandvik 14C28N steel. When Kershaw explains this steel they say, “[We] 

Kershaw Knockout Assist Knife

worked with Sandvik Steel, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of stainless steel and special alloys, to produce this high-performance steel. Increased nitrogen in the formula enables 14C28N to provide both excellent corrosion resistance and the ability to be hardened to 58-60 Rockwell. Sandvik calls 14C28N the overall highest performing knife steel in the world that still maintains the productivity benefit of being fine-blankable. HRC: 58–60.” This steel is going to be incredibly tough while also being incredibly hard. This means that it is going to be durable, capable of taking on a wider variety of tough tasks and will keep an edge for quite some time. Really, Kershaw and Sandvik have done us well by creating this steel.

The blade has been finished with a stonewash finish, which is the perfect option for a heavy-duty knife such as this one. The stonewashed finish is going to provide enough of a textured look to hide the scratches and smudges that accumulate over time, which is one of the reasons this is such a low-maintenance blade and knife. The stonewash finish is also going to add a little bit of a rugged appearance to the Knockout, which elevates its simple look.

The blade has been carved into a classic drop point blade shape. The spine has the typical slow slant which creates the broad tip that gives this blade shape as much strength as it does. The only difference between the Knockout’s drop point blade shape and the standard one is that the Knockout sports a much broader belly. This is going to help it exceed all of your expectations when it comes to slicing.

The Handle:

The handle of the Knockout has been made out of 6061-T6 anodized aluminum. When Kershaw is explaining this material, they say, “Anodizing changes the microscopic texture of the surface of the aluminum so that a porous coating or film can be applied that will in turn accept a dye. Anodizing makes aluminum stronger and anodic films are much longer lasting than other surface colorations. Anodized aluminum knife handles are highly scratch resistant and fade resistant.” The anodization process works to enhance all of the good qualities of the base aluminum. Working together, they create a higher durable, tough, and corrosion resistant material that will be nearly as low-maintenance as the blade on this knife.

To add in the needed texture for you to feel confident while using this, there are a few different grooves running down the length of the handle, all curving toward the outside. There is a deep finger groove. Near the butt of the handle, there is a lanyard hole.

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on the Knockout has been drilled for 3-position carry. This clip can be carried tip-up for either the left or right handed carry. If you want to carry this knife tip-down, you can only do for right handed carry. All in all, the 3-positon pocket clip is going to be more user-friendly than a single position clip. This also is going to make it safer, as the more comfortable you feel with your knife, the safer you are going to be with it.

This is a deep carry pocket clip, which does mean that it is going to sit low in your pocket. This does two things. The first is that it is going to be better concealed as you go about your day. Coming from your pocket should really just be the clip and the very tip of the knife. The second thing it does is make it more secure. It is going to stay put as you move about your day. This lets you have the comfort of forgetting that the knife is even there.

The clip is black and kept in place by black screws, which match the rest of the hardware on the knife.

The Mechanism:

The Knockout has been equipped with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism, a flipper and a thumb stud, as well as a Sub-Frame Lock.

Kershaw is proud of the SpeedSafe mechanism; very proud. And they should be. This mechanism works to elevate any knife that it is put on. They say, “SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual push on the blade's thumb stud or pull back on the flipper.” This means that the assisted opening knife is going to feel nearly as smooth as an automatic, without actually being an automatic.

When explaining how it works, Kershaw says, “The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion bar. Closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by "gravity;" it creates a bias toward the closed position. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the thumb stud or flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into position, ready for use.” This means that it is going to be easy to use and easy to get the hang of. All you have to do is know how to operate either the thumb stud or flipper and the mechanism will do the rest for you. Simple. Easy. Smooth.

The Knockout has two options to assist you in opening the blade—the flipper or the thumb stud. Both have their advantages, and both have their disadvantages. Let’s start with the more common one: the thumb stud. While I assume most of you are familiar with the thumb stud, we can catch up. It’s a small stud that sits near the base of the blade where the handle ends. This stud can be accessed while the blade is closed, by pushing your thumb against it. This will swing the blade open, locking it into place, ready for use. The biggest advantage is that it is easy to use and easy to get the hang of. When it comes to disadvantages, there really are only two. The first is that some people feel that the stud gets in the way once the blade is opened. This isn’t how everyone feels, and it is definitely the smaller of the two disadvantages. The other disadvantage has more to do with safety—the swinging motion of the blade through the thumb stud actually puts your fingers in the path of the blade. If you aren’t paying attention, there have been plenty of stories of people accidentally slicing themselves. This is a tale of caution: focus on your fingers while using the stud.

The other piece on this blade is the flipper. Essentially, it is a small, triangular piece of the blade that extends out of the spien of the handle when the blade is closed. Instead of pushing against this one, you actually use one of your fingers to pull back on it. It is simple once you have the hang of it, but its biggest disadvantage is that it is trickier than the thumb stud to get the hang of it. The biggest advantage to the flipper is that it is an element of safety. For starters, it does not put your fingers in the path of the blade. This will reduce your chances of accidentally cutting yourself. The next aspect of safety is that it does act as a finger guard when the blade is opened. Of course, the flipper is going to do that even if you choose to open the knife with the thumb stud.

The Sub-Frame Lock Kershaw’s take on a regular frame lock. This one is going to support a lighter frame, instead of the typical steel. Instead, there is a piece of steel that hold its palce. The steel is going to act like the standard frame lock and give it a portion of the strength that the frame lock would. When the blade is opened, this piece of steel acts as a block, locking the blade open. If you want to close the knife, you are going to need to move this piece of steel, and then fold the blade into the handle.

The Specs:

The blade on the Knockout measures in at 3.25 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.65 inches long. This creates a knife that measures in at 7.9 inches overall when the blade is deployed, which is a pretty average size for a knife. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the knife is average; it is anything but average. This Kershaw weighs in at 3.4 ounces. It was made in the United States of America.


The Kershaw Knockout looks great and features a "knocked out" piece of the handle. In the knocked-out spot Kershaw has inset a stainless-steel plate to create a frame lock that they refer to as a Sub-Frame Lock® which gives the user the lightweight benefits of anodized aluminum handles and the strength of a steel frame lock with integral lockbar stabilization. The Knockout also features SpeedSafe® assisted opening and is equipped with a deep-carry clip and is drilled for three position carry.

The Knockout is in stock currently at BladeOps and can be purchased hereAs always, it will be sent with BladeOps’ free shipping.