Kershaw Blur Review

While I enjoy reviewing all kinds of knives, it’s the mid size edc “working man’s” knives that I especially enjoy reviewing because these mid size EDC’s are what spend the most time in my pockets and in my hands. The Kershaw Blur is such a quintessential mid size EDC knife that a full review is long overdo.

Also, I can’t ignore the fact that this another Ken Onion design. Ken Onion is the man behind a lot of the knives I have reviewed (like the CRKT Ripple review I just did), and his designs are very famous for their flowing shapes. In contrast some of his other work, the Blur looks fairly pedestrian, but it is a good size knife with a very functional design which is part of the reason why I think the Blur has become so popular.

General Dimensions and Blade Details

The Blur has an overall length of 7.875″, a 3.375″ blade, and weighs 3.9 ounces. It’s a medium to large size folding knife. I would classify this as a larger EDC knife or a tactical knife. The Blur comes in many flavors and there is a little something for everyone with different colors, blade steels, handle inserts, and blade shapes. The “standard” Blur comes with a nice hollow ground drop point blade, but you also have the option of a tanto blade and there is even a blunted “rescue” version of the knife. You also have the option of plain edge or partially serrated. Kershaw also sells this knife with a black DLC (diamond like coating) on the blade – it’s an attractive option and wears really well.

Kershaw Blur Review

In addition to that high hollow grind, there is also a slight recurve on the edge (which is more pronounced with the rescue version). The recurve is slight, which keeps this knife reasonably easy to sharpen. There is a swedge running along the top which keeps the tip of the drop point version strong.

Kershaw Blur - Blade Detail

As for blade steel, the base model comes with a fairly unassuming Sandvik 13C26 steel blade. From there you have versions in S30V, CPM154CM and a even a composite blade with Sandvik 14NC28 with a ZDP189 edge (which is what is shown here). I have also seen this knife in 440A, 420HC, and few others. The S30V version is very popular, and a number of limited editions have been released over the years. There is a steel here for everyone.

Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip

The first thing you will notice about the handle is the sandpaper looking inserts. Kershaw calls this “Trac-Tec” and it is actually a rubberized material that provides plenty of traction without tearing up your hands. The rest of the handle is made from anodized 6061 aluminum and features a flow though (pillar construction) design. All in all this is a very strong design. The handles are very nicely finished and relatively light weight – I have no complaints.

Kershaw Blur - Trac Tec Traction System

The ergonomics of the Blur are pretty good. First, the good stuff: the aluminum handle is large, comfortable and has no rough edges. Also, the knife fits well in your hand, and that “Trac-Tec” does a great job keeping it there. As for the not so good, there is some jimping on the thumb ramp but it is more for looks than anything. Also, the thumb ramp isn’t that pronounced, which means you don’t have a ton of traction for your thumb. Finally, the single choil isn’t that pronounced either. What this means is that for those that like to really choke up on a knife the Blur may leave something to be desired, but for all intents and purposes the handle performs well. Generally though, the knife is comfortable, you will be able to use it just fine and for most people I think my complaints are minor.

Kershaw Blur - Handle Detail

The pocket clip is fairly well executed. Depending on your particular model, it comes with a matte black finish and rides pretty low in the pocket (not “super” low, if that is something you are looking for). It does allow for tip up or tip down carry, but it is not ambidextrous. One thing I especially like is how Kershaw doesn’t include their Trac-Tec texturing where the clip touches the handle. This makes the knife much easier to remove from the pocket (although I do find it sometimes hangs up a little.

Deployment and Lockup

Kershaw opted for ambidextrous thumbstuds here, which personally, I prefer over the flipper which is common with a lot of Kershaw / Ken Onion designs. The thumb studs are cut at an angle and dig into your thumb. One review I read said that the thumb studs looked like a “stair case” which is actually a pretty good description. It does not take much effort to get the blade going, and then the speedsafe assisted opening mechanism does the rest of the work. I am not the biggest fan of assisted opening knives, but the Speedsafe on the Blur is robust and the action is good. Of course, you can always take the spring out and reduce the Blur to a 100% manually opening blade if that is what you prefer.

Kershaw Blur - Deployment and Lockup

Lockup is accomplished with an adequately thick liner lock. I say “adequately” because this is not a super thick lock, especially considering the overall size of the knife. However, I think the lock works well here, especially in the EDC and backup tactical roles. The liner engages early and the lock-up is strong with zero movement. The whole deployment and lockup aspects of this knife is a real plus in my book because it is very smooth. Kershaw knows how to put assisted openings and liner locks together and the Blur is an outstanding example of that knowledge.

Kershaw Blur – Final Thoughts

The Kershaw Blur is a modern classic. Offered in a myriad of different blade steels and handle colors, there is a little something for everyone. This is one of Ken Onion’s more restrained designs for Kershaw, and the clean lines of the Blur has garnered it broad appeal. The Blur is made in the USA, is well constructed, features quality materials, and is priced very reasonably – usually between $45 and $75.

This everyman’s folder gets a lot of things right, and for that reason I have included it as one of the my recommended EDC knives.

I recommend purchasing the Blur at Amazon. Please consider that purchasing anything through any of the links on this website helps support, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.

Photo Credits: Der Fleischwolf – Thanks!

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  1. says

    That thumb stud is great! Do all the Blurs have that or is unique to this one?

    I have a friend who had a very well used Blur that was in need of a new pivot, new clip screws, and a new clip. Kershaw sent him multiples of every part he needed (and I think a few others) to get the knife back up and running. That is excellent customer service.

    • says

      Matt, Yes! That thumb stud comes standard with every Blur. It’s a very nice design and I’d love to see it in some other knives.

  2. Rick Ashcroft says

    I purchased a Blur in S30V as a gift for my son. This blade was intended to replace the tired, well used EDC he was carrying. Before he received it, I pulled it out of the box to look it over. I’ve always considered U.S. made Kershaws to be an excellent value, and this was no exception. The overall fit/finish and build quality were great. Being a quirky kind of tinkerer, I completely disassembled the knife. After micro polishing the bronze washers and all the friction areas on the moving parts, I then treated it with Militec 1. I also replaced the factory grease in the torsion bar cavity with a very high grade synthetic grease. I topped everything off with some stropping of the blade. This may sound like overkill, but the results were scary fast deployment of a scary sharp blade. Needless to say, he loves this thing…. The things we do for our kids. Thanks for the review Dan, it really helped out with the decision making process.

    • says

      Wow Rick! I need to send some blades off to you for a “tune up”! That knife probably runs better than my truck! 😉

      Seriously though man, that is very cool. I am a huge fan of the Blur, especially the plain edge, drop point version in S30V like you gave your son. It’s just a rock solid EDC knife, could spring into more defensive roles too if need be. Just really well done overall. And the USA made Kershaws are excellent, just love em to death. Thanks for stopping by man!

  3. says

    I really dig the blade markings and color scheme on the handle of your Blur. I got the Blur S30V a few months ago but the handle is just black on black. Makes me wonder if I can tape off the Trac-tec inserts and paint it with a light coat of Rusto or Krylon to give it some curb appeal.

    I ended up rounding off the thumb studs a bit with a bench grinder on mine because they were uncomfortably sharp. When I kept it clipped in my pocket, I would scratch my hand every time I’d reach in there for my cellphone. But a few quick zaps on a stone did the trick!

    Great knife, even better review!

    • says

      You might be able to color it with some vinyl dye, that stuff is specially formulated for plastics – might come in some cool colors too. You cab find it in the spray paint section.

      Interesting mod man, I like that idea, pretty neat. Glad you enjoyed the review man, thanks for stopping by!

  4. Kevin says

    I absolutely LOVE the colour scheme of the Blur shown in the pictures. Everything about it is perfect. Can I pick one of those up, or is it custom made? (and if so, who made it?)

    • says

      Hey Kevin, I like that version as well. It’s actually a limited run Kershaw did with a composite ZDP189 blade so unfortunately, you can’t buy that version new anymore (might be able to find them on ebay or something). I will say, kershaw recently released the blur in a couple of nice new color schemes. Knifecenter has a nice selection. If you want, you can check em out here.

    • says

      Great question Peter! I’d say they are very similar in build quality and fit and finish – unsurprising given that they are both made in the USA by Kershaw. They are both Ken Onion designs so you will see a lot of similarities. The Blur is slim and sleek, and better suited for “normal” surburban EDC. The 0350 is heavier and chunkier, and will be viewed more as a “hard use” tool (and you can see in the comments of my 0350 review that several law enforcement officers carry this as a duty blade).

      So I think build quality will be very similar. They also do make the Blur in S30V so the steel will be the same. It comes down to what design you like more. I happen to think they are both excellent knives. I hope this helps a little, thanks for the great question!


  5. Mark says

    I carry one of these in the glassbreaker version. I like the glassbreaker feature as it makes this knife even more multi-functional. I can think of lots of situations where this feature might come in handy. I love the quick open too. My only complaint is I wish the clip allowed for a deeper carry. I would recommend this knife to anyone.

    • says

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the comment, I am glad to hear you have been enjoying your Blur. I agree that the glassbreaker does add an extra level of functionality, and I also agree that a deeper carry clip would be nice. Ken Onion tends to put rather “interesting” clips on his knives. I tend to prefer the more straightforward and utilitarian clips myself.


  6. darrell says

    how does this compare to the 1550 blackout that has been discontinued. i’m in need of an edc and i wanted the 1550 plane blade

    • says

      I believe the Blackout is an overseas manufactured Kershaw with a plastic handle and I vaguely remember handling one and not being that impressed. The Blur should be a much nicer knife for a variety of reasons.


  7. G Shute says

    I picked up a Blur in 2008, 1670BRNSG2, in laminated Super Gold 2 steel. I paid $90.97 for it.

    I have a lot of knives, and it has remained my top favorite EDC. The edge is amazing, stays sharp through a week of cardboard, twine, poly rope, hose repair, pencil sharpening, and bamboo cutting boards. My sharpening interval has grown as I’ve been surprised again and again at how well the blade keeps its edge.

    I have bigger, tougher folders have made better scrapers, hammers and prybars, but this one sits right between big and dangerous and compact and civilized. I’d send a pic if I knew how…

    • says

      Hi G,

      Thanks for dropping by. The Blur is a modern classic and one of my favorite Ken Onion designs. Thank you for the feedback on yours. This one has a way of staying in people’s collections.


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