Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Kershaw Clash Review
Lock: Liner Lock
Blade Length: 3 1/8"
Closed Length: 4 1/4
Overall Length: 7 3/8"
Pocket Clip: Reversible Tip Up or Tip Down Carry (Right Side Only
Deployment: Spring Assisted, Flipper
Blade Style: Drop Point, Hollow Ground
Handle: Glass Filled Nylon
This knife has been in my home for the last year. You'll note that I say, "In my home," instead of on my person. I carry it once in a while, but I am not a huge fan of this blade. There's nothing horribly wrong with the Kershaw Clash. It's just not for me.
So why did I buy it?
This may not be the best reason, but it was on sale at a local gun store for $20. Three Kershaw knifes routinely go on sale at one of our more popular retailers. You've probably already guessed that the other two are the previously reviewed Volt II, and the OSO Sweet. After being very impressed with the other two budget Kershaws, I decided to give the Clash a look.
As I said earlier, there's really nothing really bad about this Kershaw... if you like a fat knife with just a 3" blade. I think that it's a very high value knife for those that can deal with the weight, and thickness. It's just too freaking big for me to carry on a daily basis. There should be a longer blade for the weight.
I'm not seeing enough in the pros column to make up for the size and weight of this knife.
Lets start with the pros:
The knife appears very well made for something that retails for $20-$30, and originates in China. It's attractive in a plain businesslike kind of way. I don't believe that it looks at all "Cheap."
The blade locks up tight from front to rear when deployed, but there is some slight side to side movement. There is perfect centering when the blade is closed.
8Cr13MoV blade steel is decent enough for the knives that I use. This steel holds an edge well, but is still relatively easy to sharpen.
There's a lot better steel on the market, but you won't find it in a $20 knife. I don't use my assisted openers that hard, and believe that this Chinese steel is fine for my EDC knives. Just realize what it's shortcomings are.
I've found that the corrosion resistance is so so on other knives using 8Cr13MoV. Just a little care goes a long way in keeping the blade free of rust spots. At this price point it's hard to complain about this steel.
I like Kershaw's assisted openers. There's several different models in my home, and they've all been fast and consistent (except for the Leek) in deployment. The Clash is no different. The blade opens very quickly with just a slight movement of the flipper.
The pocket clip works fine, and has very good tension without being overly stiff. It isn't quite as goofy looking as some of the Kershaw clips that we've seen in the past. The pocket clip used on both the OSO Sweet and Volt II come to mind.
This is a solid feeling knife. No doubt this is due to the large size, and weight of the Clash.
The fiberglass handle scales have a decent texture, and aren't overly slick. Traction is good (but not great).
The drop point blade has an attractive and useful shape. There's nothing delicate about the tip on this knife.
You'll note that there is an excellent blade to handle ratio. A pet peeve of mine is when a knife has a huge handle, and tiny little blade. My Cold Steel Mini AK-47 comes to mind.
Kershaw's liner locks have never failed me, and I trust them with most tasks. If I was really going to thump on a knife then I would probably choose a stronger locking system.
There are stainless steel liners. While this adds to the weight, they also add to the strength of the Clash.
Now for the cons:
I've seen other knives with 8Cr13MoV blade steel rust. It doesn't take a lot of care to keep the rust spots away, but you will have do take care of this knife if it's exposed to moisture on a regular basis. Putting the occasional drop or two of oil on the blade after exposure to sweat or water isn't a big deal IMO. It's worth a warning though.
At 4.3oz, this is a heavier knife than I usually carry. My Spyderco Manix 2 is a heavy knife at 4.25oz, but it gives me a longer blade, stronger lock, less overall thickness, and a larger handle. That's why the Spyderco gets carried while the Clash sits at home. You can, however, buy 4 of the Kershaws for what I paid for the Sypderco.
The weight isn't a deal breaker if you like the knife (and there is a lot to like). There's just a lot lighter choices on the market. I want more blade length, if I'm carrying a heavier knife.
I find that this knife will sometimes print in my pocket. It depends on the jeans that I'm wearing. This is not usually an issue with my other EDC knives.
This Kershaw is heavy enough that I will sometimes notice that I'm carrying it. I rarely run into that problem with my other blades.
I'd like a clip that allows for deeper carry. That's a usual complaint of mine with all knives that don't have a SOG Aegis or Buck Vantage style clip. I like what I like.
It would be a good idea to blacken the pocket clip, since it's much wider than what is usually found on an EDC knife. I feel that the matte stainless steel clip shows too much when it's in your pocket. Why advertise that you're carrying a knife?
The clip is reversible for tip up or tip down carry. It is, however, right side only.
The blade has a slight recurve. It's an attractive feature, and probably aids in cutting (somewhat). You'll find that it will make sharpening a bit harder.
There's no lanyard hole. This isn't a problem for me, but is seems as if lanyard holes are a standard feature today.
I would really like to see some jimping on the back of the blade.
Traction is OK, but I wouldn't use the word excellent. The handle texture is decent, but could probably be a bit better. Jimping on the blade and along the back of the handle would go a long way towards providing more traction.
In spite of the things that I listed in the Cons category, I don't really have a lot of real complaints about this assisted opener. The Kershaw Clash is a budget knife, and if you want a Benchmade Griptilian then you can expect to pay for it. I think that this is an excellent $25 (or so) choice. My complaints would be more valid if this was a more expensive knife. You get what you pay for, and I believe that Kershaw did a good job with the Clash. At the current price point, it's a bargain.
The OSO Sweet, Volt II, and Clash are all good picks for the money. If you're on a budget, lose, or break your knives then these are all great choices. I find that the Clash is the most solid feeling of the three, and is also the most comfortable in the hand . It would be my first choice among these Kershaws if I had to use a knife a lot. As I carry an EDC knife much more than I use one, I'd pick the Volt II over the other two budget blades.
That's it for this review. The Clash is going back into my wife's camelback. An extra ounce or two isn't going to matter when she's on the bike, and the large handle and easy deployment will be appreciated if she ever needs this blade.
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