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Last Updated: August 3, 2019
These days in the world of high value folding knives we have some pretty stiff competition. Old standbys like the Spyderco Tenacious and CKRT Drifter continue to be tough to beat while recent contenders like the ESEE Zancudo, Ontario Rat II, and CKRT Swindle are re-defining what is possible with a low budget folder.
But when you are paying less than $40 a pop there is plenty of room for more, which is why my reinterest in budget blades has led me to the recently released Kershaw Injection.
Sporting a Todd Rexford design and lots of “custom” details, the Injection has the potential to be an all-star budget blade. But will it join the ranks of elite inexpensive folders or fade away into the shadows of obscurity? There is only one way to find out…
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Injection 3.0 has an overall length of 7″, sports a 3″ blade, and weighs 3.30 ounces. This knife feels pretty heavy for a 3″ blade, but the Injection is still firmly in the EDC camp. For those appreciating a larger knife, Kershaw has thoughtfully decided to offer this model with a 3.5″ blade, aptly named the Injection 3.5. Everyone is a little different when it comes to their ideal EDC blade length, so I think that it is fantastic that Kershaw decided to offer this model in two sizes straight out of the gate.
The blade shape on the Injection is a very basic drop point. It may be a little boring, but it certainly works well with its fine tip and full flat grind. This is a very practical choice for EDC. One aspect that I don’t particularly like about this blade is the bead blasted finish. This inexpensive finish is prone to rusting and doesn’t look particularly good. I think it’s a misstep on a knife that is trying to appeal to the consumer based on it’s details, but I guess you can’t have it all at $30. Beyond the blade finish there is very little to gripe about.
The steel in this knife is 8Cr13MoV, a staple in low-end Chinese knives that I have spoken about ad nauseam. But don’t let my familiarity with the steel turn you off, I don’t mind 8Cr13MoV when the price is right. It compares well to AUS8 in that it won’t hold an edge forever, but it is durable and easy to sharpen. Despite being a stainless steel it can rust, and my particular knife did stain a little when I left it unattended on a shelf for a few weeks. You definitely want to keep an eye on this steel and apply a little oil if you are looking to maintain a totally rust free blade. All said, for a ~$30 folding knife it’s tough to beat 8Cr13MoV.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle is where the Injection starts to get interesting. Taking center stage is the full G10 3-D machined handle scales. They feature a tasteful milled pattern and are subtly contoured. Intricately machined and 3-D sculpted handles are a feature often absent on $100 knives, let alone $30 ones, and this is the most impressive aspect of the knife. Further adding to the custom flair is the oversized decorative pivot and milled G10 backspacer with inset lanyard pin (rather than a lanyard hole). These are undeniably great details in a budget knife, and it elevates the Injection from beater blade to something much more interesting. The handle construction is also very solid. There are no gaps or cracks and all the pieces line up well. Underneath the G10 scales are solid stainless steel liners. It makes for a very solid knife, but it does add weight to the little Injection 3.0.
In hand the Injection 3.0 feels just a little short. Maybe that is because this is a very straight handle, which means that there is less surface area, but I found my fingers a little cramped. Granted I do take a large glove, so please keep that in mind. I will say that the basic handle shape makes the Injection easy to hold in a couple different positions and I didn’t notice any hot spots. Reverse grip is actually super nice with the angular shape of the pommel, but I can’t say I’ve actually used the Injection with a reverse grip yet. The entire knife is free of jimping which is fine for an EDC knife. This is a relatively thick knife and it fills the hand and has held up under harder use. If I were intending to use this knife for serious work I would opt for the larger version.
The pocket clip is simple, but it is also tasteful and well executed. The innocuous triangular clip is sure to appeal to a broad crowd, and it is positioned for decently deep tip up carry. The clip has a bead blast finish which further adds to the discrete look. The clip is swappable for left or right side carry, but fans of tip down carry are completely out of luck. Personally, this is not an issue.
Deployment and Lockup
For deployment you have dual decorative thumb studs. Despite the interesting milled details on the thumb studs, they are still very easy to access and quite practical. I had no problem flicking the blade open with the push of my thumb. Inside, there are metallic washers that appear to be phosphor bronze. This isn’t the smoothest knife I have handled, but if these are real phosphor bronze washers then the knife will only get smoother with time.
For lockup you have a sturdy stainless steel liner lock. My knife locks up 100%, but is free of any play. The liner lock is also easy to disengage and doesn’t stick. The full G10 scales and full stainless liners make for a robust knife that inspires confidence. Blade centering on my knife is favors the non-locking side, but it doesn’t rub and is acceptable for a knife of this price point.
Kershaw Injection Review – Final Thoughts
The Kershaw Injection is a solid attempt at a value folder with some high end details. The 3-D machined G10 scales, decorative thumb studs and pivot, and G10 backspacer are all high end finishes more commonly found on a custom knife than a Chinese production blade. But the off center blade, stiff pivot, and bead blasted finish bring us back down to earth. I also was not a huge fan of the weight and cramped feel of the handle. These are all minor gripes, and I realize you can only do so much with a budget knife, but I feel obligated to say something. While I like aspects of the Injection 3.0, it doesn’t make my list of recommended budget knives. There are definitely knives I prefer over the Injection at this price point.
Still, the effort Kershaw put into this one is apparent and the Injection is certainly capable as an EDC. The fact that I am even nit-picking a $35 folder shows that we are truly spoiled to have so many interesting and high quality budget blades at our disposal. Ultimately, this is a decent buy at $35 and I recommend it to fans of the design.
- Liner lock -Thumb stud -Reversible pocket clip -Steel: 8CR13MoV
- Bead-blasted finish -Handle: 3D-machined G-10
- Blade length: 3 in. (7.6 cm) -Closed length: 4 in. (10.2 cm) -Overall Length: 7 in. (17.8 cm) -Weight: 3.3 oz. (93.6 g)
- Liner lock; Thumb stud; Reversible pocket clip
- Steel: 8CR13MOV, bead-blasted finish