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Knife Review:  Kershaw Oblivion

Knife Review: Kershaw Oblivion

Posted by SD on Jun 15th 2020

The Kershaw Oblivion

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.”

Today we will be talking about one of Kershaw’s newest releases: the Oblivion. This knife is set to release sometimes this year and you better believe that it will be coming to BladeOps. Let’s discuss why this is going to be such a great knife.

The Blade:

The blade on the Oblivion is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. When Kershaw discusses this steel and how they use it, 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.” This is a budget steel, but because of Kershaw’s high end heat treatment, it is going to act as if it weren’t a budget blade. It still won’t measure up to those premium or super steels, but you are never going to have to question whether or not it is going to get the job done. The steel can be hardened to an HRC level of 57-59.

  • Budget steel keeps the cost greatly reduced.
  • Kershaw’s heat treatment is exceptional, making this stele act less like a budget steel.
  • HRC: 57-59.
  • This steel is going to get the job done well, but not excel at much.

The blade is then finished with a bead blasted and stonewashed finish. The bead blasted finish is created when small ceramic beads are blasted at the steel at a high pressure. This creates an even, matte, gray surface. However, it does also create micro-abrasions in the steel, which does make it more prone to rusting.

The stonewashed finish is creating when the blade is tumbled with small stones, which creates a textured looking surface. The combination of these two things creates a very unique and rugged look to the blade. It is a darker gray and looks well-worn, which is going to hide the scratches and smudges that do accumulate over time.

  • Bead blasted finish makes the blade more susceptible to rusting and corrosion.
  • The combination of the two finishes creates a textured look that will hide most scratches and smudges.
  • Darker gray.
  • Unique finish that you won’t find elsewhere.

The blade has a lowered point for control. The point is fine enough that you will be able to stab with it, but it is also broad enough that you won’t have to worry too much about it breaking during use. The blade does sport a large enough belly that you will be able to slice easily with the Oblivion.

The Handle:

The handle is made out of stainless steel that has been finished with the same bead blasting and stonewashed 

Kershaw Oblivion

finishes. This creates an effortlessly cool look while also being low maintenance and durable.

The handle does have FRN inserts to add the texture that the stainless steel wouldn’t be able to fully offer. This also adds an extra element of durability, because FRN is practically indestructible. On the butt of the handle, there is a larger lanyard hole that is going to fit most lanyards that you have. Overall, the handle is angular to look edgy, but designed for comfort.

  • The handle is durable, strong, and corrosion resistant.
  • The FRN insert is going to add the texture that you need.
  • There is a larger lanyard hole.
  • The stainless steel finish matches the blade finish.

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a deep carry pocket clip that can be attached for either left or right handed carry. However, it can only be attached for tip up carry. The clip is bead blasted to match the back handle scale.

The Mechanism:

The Oblivion has been equipped with both a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism as well as a frame lock. It also has a flipper, which is used to help open the knife.

The SpeedSafe was brought to the market by Kershaw, which revolutionized the cutlery industry. Along its journey, it also won plenty of industry awards. This mechanism was designed by Ken Onion, who is a great in the Hall of Fame for knife makers. At this point, almost all companies have a mechanism that is similar to the SpeedSafe, but we know that you can never go wrong with the original mechanism.

The SpeedSafe works because of its torsion bar. When the knife is closed, the torsion bar helps to prevent he knife from swinging open. When you want to open the knife, the user is going to apply manual pressure to semi-open the knife, which will overcome the tension of the torsion bar. This, in turn, will swing open the blade. Kershaw says, “SpeedSafe® was specifically designed for sporting, work, or everyday situations where one-handed opening is preferable and safer. It’s safe, efficient opening has made it a popular choice for hunters, fishermen, and those who require the one-hand opening function on the job-site.”

  • SpeedSafe is easy to use.
  • SpeedSafe is reliable.
  • SpeedSafe is quick and durable.
  • SpeedSafe makes a non-automatic feel more smooth without the legal issues.

The frame lock is a locking mechanism where the knife handle has two plates of material on either side of the blade, which is its frame. At least one of these plates is going to be metal, which is going to give you a secure lock-up as well as a more durable mechanism. When the Oblivion is opened, one of the metal sides, which is known as the lockbar, is going to butt up against the back of the blade, which will prevent the blade from closing. If you are hoping to close the Oblivion, push the frame to the side, which will unlock the blade, and then you can fold the blade closed again.

One of the benefits of the frame lock is just how durable it really is. Because it is made out of metal, it is going to be one of the most reliable blade locking mechanisms on the market. This does mean that you can take on those tougher tasks with confidence.

  • Frame lock is thick, which is going to make it tough as well.
  • Frame lock is easy to use and very reliable.

The flipper is a small protrusion that extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. On the Oblivion, the protrusion is rectangular. The user is then going to pull back on, or flip, in order to move the blade easily out of the handle. One of the benefits of a flipper is that it is safer to use than a thumb stud, because the flipper does not put your fingers in the path of the blade when you do swing it open. It also acts as a finger guard once the knife is opened, which adds an extra element of safety. Lastly, the flipper is ambidextrous friendly because you can access it on either side of the handle.

  • Easy to use.
  • Ambidextrous friendly.
  • Acts as a finger guard when the knife is opened.

The Specs:

The blade on this measures in at 3.5 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.6 inches long. This creates an overall length of 8.1 inches long when the knife is opened. This is definitely on the heavier side of the spectrum when it comes to a pocket knife; weighing in at 5.1 ounces.


When Kershaw is discussing this knife, they say, “The Oblivion is prepared to obliterate any cutting task in its path. With its industrial look, this modern folder is bound to impress in both style and performance.

“For style, the Oblivion combines stainless steel and glass-filled nylon in a two-piece front scale—not easy to do. What's more, since the Oblivion opens with SpeedSafe assisted opening, there has to be a place for the SpeedSafe mechanism to go. Usually, it's positioned in a small, internal hollow in the handle. But to date, we had only placed that mechanism in single-material handle scales. With the Oblivion, for the first time, we integrated SpeedSafe into a two-piece front scale. The result is a unique "split profile" look, plus smooth, one-handed SpeedSafe opening.

“The Oblivion's substantial 3.5-inch blade of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel offers top performance, too. This quality steel takes a sharp edge and re-sharpens easily when needed. And while the Oblivion's cutting edge is fairly straight, it also has enough belly to make it a reliable multi-tasking blade. The angular handle has been smoothed for a comfortable grip and a small finger contour enhances grip even more.

“A sturdy frame lock secures the blade open for safe use. We also added an over-travel stop to keep the lock from moving too far—or "over traveling"—when closing. The Oblivion also features a reversible deep-carry pocketclip, or left- or right-handed carry. A large, trapezoid-shaped lanyard hole adds to the aesthetics and makes it easy to secure a lanyard to customize your knife.

“Packed with features, the Oblivion shows what a modern flipper knife can be. A value price just makes the Oblivion sweeter.”

Shop all Kershaw brand knives here.