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Knife Review: Kershaw Launch 10 Auto

Knife Review: Kershaw Launch 10 Auto

Posted by SD on Jun 16th 2020

The Kershaw Launch 10 Auto

Kershaw and their fans know that there is nothing that compares to a Kershaw. They have the award-winning technologies, they have the advanced materials, they have the solid sound of the blade lockup. All of this means that when you are carrying a Kershaw, you know that you are carrying the real deal.

So what does the real deal mean? Well, Kershaw says, “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.”

They were founded in 1974 with the mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users were going to be proud to own, carry, and use. This means that each and every one of their knives need to be made with the highest quality. From hunting knives to collectors knives, Kershaw makes sure that they choose the high-quality materials and pair it with intensive craftsmanship to get a top-quality knife.

Not only that, but they have a commitment to innovation. 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.”

The thing is, you know that you can fully rely on Kershaw knives, but not only that, you can rely on one of their newest releases for 2019: the Kershaw Launch 10. Let’s look at what makes it such a reliable, durable, and high-quality knife.

The Blade:

The blade on the Launch 10 is made out of CPM 154 steel. This is a relatively hard steel which is considered an 

Kershaw Launch 10 Auto

upgraded version of 440C through the addition of Molybdenum. This achieves superior edge holding compared to 440C while retaining similar excellent levels of corrosion resistance despite having less Chromium. IT has decent toughness good enough for most uses and holds an edge well. This steel is not too difficult to sharpen when you have the right equipment. This is a powder steel that has used Crucible Particle Metallurgy. The Particle Metallurgy process makes finer carbide particles resulting in a slightly superior steel that’s tougher and with better edge retention.

  • Hard steel.
  • Great edge holding capability.
  • High corrosion resistance.
  • Steel is relatively simple to sharpen, if you have the right equipment.
  • CPM process enhances all of the good qualities that the steel already has.

This blade has been finished with a stonewash finish. This finish is created by literally rolling the steel with pebbles. After the blade has been tumbled with the pebbles, it is removed, smoothed out, and polished. This creates a very rugged, well-worn look to your knife. There are a variety of benefits that come with it because the stonewash finish preserves the look of the blade overtime. The stonewash finish hides scratches and smudges, which takes maintenance time down significantly, especially when compared to other knife finishes.

  • Maintenance time is significantly lower because the stonewash finish preserves the look.
  • Well-worn look.
  • Rugged look.
  • The stonewash finish cuts down on some glares and reflections.

The blade that the Launch 10 has is in the shape of a Hawksbill. This means that the blade is going to curve inward and it is not a common blade shape that you do see. However, the blade shape gives the knife a large cutting edge.

The Hawksbill on this knife is even more extreme. The spine is more jagged than anything else. It starts off with a slight recurve to about a third of the way up the spine. At this point, it angles sharply downward to about two thirds up the knife. At this point, it angles even more sharply down to the point. Like I said, it creates a dramatic look that you aren’t going to find on any other knife and probably not many other Hawksbill blades either.

The belly is also a recurve, which does help the slicing belly extend slightly longer. The tip also extends further than the rest of the blade, which means that it can “snag” or “hook” onto things and give you a little bit better of a cut.

Some of the other benefits that the Hawksbill blade shape gives you is that it is going to excel at tasks such as cutting through thicker materials, such as wires and ropes. It is also going to have a very sharp point that is easy to control. This is one of the biggest advantages—you really can’t be beat when it comes to slicing with this blade shape.

Of course, it is going to have its disadvantages as well. For starters, it is a little bit harder to sharpen than many other blade shapes. This is because of the recurve, which means that you can’t have as smooth of a time sharpening it. Also, the recurve can limit some of the tasks that it is able to perform. That being said, on the tasks that it can accomplish, it is going to accomplish them really well.

  • Hawksbill gives the knife a dramatic shape that you aren’t going to find other place.
  • The recurve does allow you to “hook” or “snag” what you are trying to slice and gives it a little bit of a tearing motion.
  • There is a very large cutting edge.
  • It can easily slice through thicker materials such as ropes.
  • Sharpening this blade shape is going to be trickier than others.
  • The recurve does limit some of the tasks that you can perform with it.

The Handle:

The handle on the Launch 10 is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum. The aluminum has then also been anodized a matte gray color. When Kershaw is talking about 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.” What this means is that the anodizing is going to increase the lifetime of the aluminum. It makes it harder, stronger, and tougher. It also means that the color cannot peel off. While the handle can still be scratched, the color will never come off except in the places that it has actually been scratched.

  • Anodizing adds a matte dark gray to the handle.
  • Anodizing increases the lifetime of the blade, because it increases wear and corrosion resistance levels.
  • The color will never peel off, because the actual chemical composition of the aluminum is changed.
  • There is a large lanyard hole on the butt of the handle.
  • Aluminum is lightweight and durable.
  • 6061-T6 aluminum offers the strongest tensile yield of all aluminums.
  • There is a slight finger guard and groove to add comfort and increase the grip.

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this is a reversible, deep carry clip. It can be attached on either the left or right hand side of the handle, but it can only be attached for tip up carry.

The advantage of the reversible clip is that you can carry it in the way that is most comfortable to you, which means that it is also going to be in the way that is safest for you. The more comfortable you are with a knife, the more likely you are to not cut yourself with the knife.

The advantage of it a deep carry clip is that it is going to sit low in your pocket throughout the day. This does two things: the first is that it is going to conceal the knife better inside of your pocket. The butt of the knife isn’t to going to stick out as prominently as it would if it weren’t a deep carry. The second thing that it does is keep your knife more securely inside of your pocket. You can move about your day without worrying that it is going to fall out.

The clip has been finished with a stonewash finish. It tapers toward the tip of the clip and has the words “Kershaw” stamped in black down the middle. The clip is kept in place by two black screws, which do match the rest of the hardware on the Launch 10.

  • The clip can only be attached for tip up carry.
  • The clip is reversible for either left or right handed carry.
  • It is a deep carry clip.
  • All black hardware on the Launch 10.

The Mechanism:

The Launch 10 has been equipped with the Push Button Lock. Kershaw says, “Like Kershaw’s other locking systems, once the blade is open, a mechanism blocks the butt end of the blade and prevents it from closing accidentally. In this case, a spring-loaded lock is built into one side of the handle that must be depressed in order to unlock the blade.” This means that the push button lock is going to be reliable but simple.

  • Push button lock locks the blade open during use.
  • Reliable.
  • Easy release for when you want to close the blade.

The Specs:

The blade on the Launch 10 measures in at 1.9 inches long with a handle that measures in at 3.2 inches long. This creates an overall length that measures in at 5.2 inches long. This is definitely on the smaller side of the spectrum when it comes to EDC carrying knives. This is an extremely lightweight knife, weighing in at only 1.7 ounces. It was also made in the United States of America.


When Kershaw is discussing this knife, they say, “Small, but mighty. It’s obvious why the new Launch 10 earned the nickname of “The Claw” here at Kershaw HQ. It features an aggressive, hawkbill-style blade with angular planes on both blade spine and handle.

“Yet even with all that angularity, the Launch 10 is comfortable to carry, hold, and use. The curved blade and the positioning of the razor-sharp tip make it especially handy when opening or breaking down boxes. Rope or cording is also easily mastered with the superb pull-cutting capabilities of the Launch 10.

“The curved blade is made of CPM 154 steel with a stonewashed finish. The powdered metallurgy steel takes and holds an excellent edge, offers good corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and toughness. And while the claw-shaped blade curves downward, the handle—built of strong-yet-lightweight anodized aluminum—sweeps up. This balances the overall look of the knife and provides a secure grip.

“The integrated backspacer includes a large lanyard hole and the Launch 10’s deep-carry pocketclip is left/right reversible (tip-up). A push-button on the handle opens the knife quickly. Push the button again to release the blade and fold it back into the handle.”

Shop all Kershaw automatic knives here.