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.
As with a lot of the more popular Kershaw designs, this knife comes in many flavors and there is a little something for everyone. 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. There is also a tanto version and you have some special editions with various colored handles (more on that later). So here Kershaw is appealing to the collector, the high performance enthusiast and the average person who just wants a good knife.
As for proposed use, this would make a good larger EDC blade, and could double as a tactical knife (not a “hard use” tactical, but more of an emergency tactical or backup knife). When I discuss the lock and ergos I’ll go into a little more detail as to why I wouldn’t recommend this as a hard use knife, or a full on tactical knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Blur has a 3 3/8″ blade, a 4 1/2″ handle and weighs 4.2 ounces. It’s a medium-large knife. 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 (diamong like coating) on the blade – it’s an attractive option and wears really well.
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.
As for blade steel, well I already mentioned that this knife comes in everything from 440A and 420HC (I would not recommend either of those steels – very soft) to S30V and ZDP189. There is a steel here for everyone and I have written at length about most of them so pick your poison.
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.
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.
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 (one review I read said it looked like a “stair case” which is a pretty good description) and really dig into your thumb. It does not take much effort to get the blade going, and then the speedsafe assisted opening mechanism does the rest of the work. Whether you like assisted openings is up to you. I will say that as far ass assisted openings go, the speedsafe on the Blur is excellent. The knife moves super fast and I suppose that is where the name came from. 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.
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
If you take a look at the Amazon reviews for this knife, you will see that it has received over 150 reviews and an average rating of 4.8 stars. Very few products, let alone knives get such high user ratings. I think the Blur earned this rating is for good reason. The fit and finish on the Blur is superb – I love how the pivot, clip and screws have all been blackened. Everything feels solid and well put together. The great handle, the big blade and the excellent deployment system is an excellent combination. There is plenty of traction and enough options to satisfy almost any taste and budget. Icing on the cake is that this knife is made in the USA. If you want mid sized EDC that can double as a light tactical knife, definitely consider the Kershaw Blur.
Photo Credits: Der Fleischwolf – Thanks!