Kershaw 7600 Emerson Launch 5 Auto Knife, CPM-154 Stonewash Blade

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SKU:
KS7600
An exciting new entry in Kershaw's automatic series is the Launch 5. Designed by Emerson and USA-built by Kershaw, this handsome auto takes Emerson’s tactical looks to the next level of refinement.

The Launch 5's CPM154 powdered metallurgy blade steel offers more uniform distribution of carbides—so it takes and holds an excellent edge. It also provides good corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and toughness. The blade is stonewashed for good looks and to hide use-scratches.

To lighten the Launch 5's weight, the handles and integrated backspacer are made of durable anodized aluminum. A machined texture on the handles provides a secure grip. The Launch 5 opens with a push button, recessed so that it is level with the flat of the handle. This is a safety feature and makes it harder for the knives to accidentally deploy. Left-handers can use their index finger instead of their thumb to press the blade-release/lock button. A reversible pocket clip is included and a lanyard tie-off is built into the butt end of the knife.

Specs:

  • Made in the USA
  • Designed by Emerson, Built by Kershaw
  • Automatic push button open
  • Push button lock release
  • Reversible pocketclip, (left/right)
  • Integrated backspacer
  • Steel: CPM154, stonewashed finish
  • Handle: Anodized aluminum
  • Blade length: 3.4 in. (8.6 cm)
  • Closed length: 5.1 in. (13 cm)
  • Open length: 8.5 in. (21.6 cm)
  • Weight: 4.1 oz. (116.2 g)
  • Launch Series

    As the name would suggest, the Launch 5 is the fifth installment of the Launch Series by Kershaw. Each knife is vastly different but contain similar elements. It is pretty neat to see the difference between these auto knives. To help visualize their differences below is a table to show how they all match up.

    Product

    Blade Style

    Overall Length

    Blade Length

    Closed Length

    Weight

    Launch 1

    Clip Point

    8.00”

    3.40”

    4.60”

    4.0 oz.

    Launch 2

    Drop Point

    7.75”

    3.25”

    4.50”

    3.4 oz.

    Launch 3

    Drop Point

    7.80”

    3.40”

    4.40”

    3.4 oz.

    Launch 4

    Drop Point

    5.10”

    1.90”

    3.20”

    1.8 oz.

    Launch 5

    Clip Point

    8.50”

    3.40”

    5.10”

    4.1 oz.

    Launch 6

    Drop Point

    8.70”

    3.75”

    4.90”

    3.8 oz.

    As you can see, the Launch 5 is one of the largest in the Launch Series. It is closely rivaled by the Launch 6. The Launch series ranges in a wide variety of sizes. From the itty-bitty Launch 4, at 5.10” and weighing in at 1.8 oz. to the substantial Launch 6, at 8.70” and weighing 3.8 oz.

    Specs

    As you saw above, the Launch 5 is a pretty big knife. There is a lot to grasp when it comes to this knife (pun intended). Its size isn’t the only thing that makes it impressive. As you will notice below, it is made to not only look good and be a convenient tool, but to work hard for you as well. Here are the specifications for the Launch 5.

    • Product Type: Automatic
    • Overall Length: 8.50"
    • Weight: 4.1 oz.
    • Handle Length: 5.10”
    • Blade Length: 3.50"
    • Blade Thickness: 0.12"
    • Blade Material: CPM-154
    • Blade Edge: Plain
    • Blade Style: Clip Point
    • Blade Finish: Stonewash
    • Handle Material: Anodized Aluminum
    • Handle Color: Black
    • Pocket Clip: Reversible, Tip-Up
    • Integrated Backspacer
    • Lanyard Hole Included

    One thing I will mention here is the knife’s plain edge. I appreciate a good combo edge every now and then, but if I saw a combo edge on the Launch 5 it would look goofy and unprofessional to me. The plain edge that is honed on the knife looks wonderful. Having a plain edge is versatile in most situations that a knife is needed.

    Another important note to make about the Launch 5 is the blade play. Better yet, there is none! Other auto knives on the market often have some blade play to them. The Launch 5 does not. It is as solid as a rock. Having a solid lock up ranks this knife higher than many other autos out there in the industry.

    Emerson Design

    Designed by Emerson and built by Kershaw, the Launch 5 takes Emerson’s tactical looks to the next level of refinement. Emerson Knives are regarded as some of the most efficient, effective, and formidable Tactical Knives. Ernest Emerson started making custom knives in his garage in 1979. He quickly rose as a prominent knife maker due to his expertise as a tool and die maker, his artistic eye for design, and his experience as a hand-to-hand combat instructor.

    Stonewash Blade Finish

    Whatever Kershaw is doing with their stonewash finishes, they need to keep it up. The Launch 5 has a fine stonewashed blade on it. I am a sucker for a nice stonewash blade. It is one of my favorite finishes out there. The process of getting a blade to look this way begins when the blade is rolled and tumbled with pebbles and an acid of sorts, then smoothed. In theory, it can hide scratches or other abrasions to the blade. This is a favorable characteristic that many knife owners desire. Because of the tumbling process to create this finish, it looks as if there are already hundreds of markings on it. Yet, the markings are done in a natural way to form a work of art. Similar to a snowflake, no two stonewashed are the same. The finish has a different look to it. It is able to reflect direct light off the surface blade. With all of the noticeable artistic markings on the knife, there is no need to worry about other markings that may come with using the knife. The knife can be used for its intended purpose of cutting and doing any other type of work while taking on any marking. Some suggest that because of the process, a stonewashed knife can become more resistant to rust as well. The acid oxidation it goes through in the process enhances a blade's rust resistance with a stable oxide barrier between the steel and its surrounding. Another benefit of stonewashing a blade is their low maintenance and their ability to preserve their original look over time. I am in love with this blade. It is amazing to look at, and it comes with benefits.

    CPM154 Steel

    There is often much confusion when it comes to CPM-154 steel. Many people mistake it for its similarly named counterpart 154CM. Crucible Particle Metallurgy 154 or CPM-154 differs from 154CM in a couple of ways. The CPM manufacturing process produces a more even distribution of the carbides in the grade though the chemistry of both is the same, giving CPM-154 an easier grinding and polishing abilities. Plus it provides a tougher steel than conventional 154CM. Both of these steels retain similar heat treat response and wear properties. CPM-154 offers better corrosion resistance, better wear resistance, and better hot-hardness than 440C. It also offers better edge retention and chipping resistance than 440C. The chemical composition for CPM-154 is Carbon 1.05% Chromium 14.00% Molybdenum 4.00%. Some additional advantages of CPM for the end user include improved wear resistance, improved toughness (less prone to chipping), consistent tool performance, and good grindability (better able to re-sharpen).

    Blade Style

    The blade that is featured on the Launch 5 is a clip point. A clip point blade is one of the more popular blade shapes used today. What defines a clip point is the back edge of the knife runs straight from the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. Then the angle bends and continues to the point of the knife. This "cut-out" area can be straight or curved, and is referred to as the "clip.” Some advantages of the clip point are its sharp controllable point, it is good for piercing, and there is plenty of cutting edge for slicing. One disadvantage of the clip point is that the point is narrow and weaker than other blade styles. In the end, though it is a great blade to have, especially if you will be doing a lot of slicing.

    Handle

    The handle on the Launch 5 is one of my favorites. The design is highly functional and it looks great. The black aluminum handle fits perfect into your hand with its finger grooves. It especially fits well in the hands of those with larger hands. The milling on the handles is an interesting design. The lines move with the contour of the handle shape. Along with giving character to the handle, these milled lines act to improve the grip ability of the knife. To add more flare to the knife, it has the iconic red bullseye button. One other nice thing about the button is the way it fits into the handle. It is flush with the rest of the handle. This is done to add extra safety to the knife by preventing the blade from accidentally firing off while in a pocket or bag. The last nice thing about the handle is the integrated backspacer. Having a backspacer helps to protect the blade from smaller objects such as change in a pocket. The spacer has a design in it that looks as if little metal balls were cut from out of it. Part of the design also provides a hole for a lanyard. Overall I am impressed with the handle.

    Pocket Clip

    It isn’t too often that someone gets worked up or excited about a pocket clip, but this is one of those rare exceptions. The pocket clip on the Launch 5 sticks out among other pocket knives. The interesting thing is that it does not stick out, literally. While many pocket clips on various knives have problems such as the clip bulges out, they are too long, or just get in the way while holding the handle, the clip on the Launch 5 does not. It has a low profile. The clip barely sticks out an eighth of an inch. This is amazing when it comes to holding the handle. It isn’t a nuisance in any way. Another nice thing about the pocket clip is that it is reversible. Everybody, regardless of hand dominance, can enjoy the Launch 5. Additionally, the clip is a tip-up, making it safer in any pocket. The pocket clip is about an inch and a half long.

    Auto

    With so many different options of knives available to choose from, why choose an automatic knife? There are some distinct advantages to owning an auto knife. The first reason why someone would want to own one is because of how quickly the auto knives open. For some, this may not be a valid reason to purchase such a knife. However, having an auto knife can make all the difference between life and death. EMTs and other emergency response teams are constantly faced with tribulation that requires the usage of a decent knife. And in many high-stress situations, having a knife ready in a blink of an eye can help someone else live for one more day. Besides being quick, auto knives are able to be opened with just one hand. This is not only convenient for many people, this is also beneficial to those that are working with multiple hands and need that feature, or some may only have one hand. Lastly, an auto knife is just too cool. Being able to flash open a knife in the blink of an eye just by pressing a button or moving a switch is simply impressive.

    Everyday Carry

    There are several other reasons why the Launch 5 is a good choice for an everyday carry. Those reasons include its carry depth, its weight, its thickness, and its appearance.

    Carry Depth

    The closed length of the Launch 5 is just over 5 inches long. This is a great length for those who may be concerned about their knife flying out of their pocket. For those that tend to have shallow pockets, this knife may be slightly too large. But for those of you that usually have normal to deep pockets, this knife sits well in those pockets. The benefit of the closed length being 5 inches is that there is little chance for the knife falling out of the pocket. It is always nice to have a deep carry knife. And that is just what the Launch 5 has to offer. The knife’s pocket clip is just over an inch and a half long. Though short when compared to the length of the handle, it still gives plenty of strength to hold the knife in any pocket.

    Weight

    If you are going to be carrying a knife all day long, especially in your pocket, it shouldn’t be heavy. Even though the Launch 5 is the heaviest of the Launch series, it only weighs 4.1 oz. It isn’t bad at all. It has a good weight to it. I like lighter knives, but for how big the Launch 5 is, the weight is fair. There is just enough weight to say “Hey I’m still here if you need me.”

    Thickness

    A clunky knife defeats the purpose of an everyday carry. A good everyday carry knife should be slim and keep a low profile. The Launch 5 is thick enough to have a comfortable hold on it. At the same time, it does not take up a lot of pocket real-estate.

    Appearance

    We have talked about this quite a bit already when talking about the blade and its finish, and the handle. But combined together, the Launch 5 looks ready to work every day. When walking around at work and using the Launch 5, people are going to notice and want one for themselves.

    Conclusion

    Kershaw keeps the ball rolling with the knives they are producing. The Launch 5 only accelerates that movement. I really am impressed with how the Launch 5 turned out. It makes for a great everyday carry knife. The blade steel is what sets this knife apart. It is built to be tough and work hard. Launch yourself forward in life by picking up a Launch 5 today.