Last Updated: September 24, 2017
The Kershaw Leek is a popular EDC knife designed by legendary custom knife maker Ken Onion. Between the Zero Tolerance knives and a couple other Kershaw reviews I have done, Ken Onion’s designs knives have received a lot of attention on this site. This is for good reason as they are all awesome knives.
The Kershaw Leek is firmly planted in the EDC category. In fact, this is something of a gold standard for EDC. It comes in a great size and is a very durable design, perfect for every day carry. Additionally, the wide array of colors and finishes (many of which are limited edition) make this a very collectable knife. For these reasons the Leek has become a favorite both hardcore enthusiasts and casual owners.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Leek has an overall length of 7″, a 3″ blade, weighs 3 about ounces, and is made in America. Like the vegetable it was named after, this is a very sleek and slim design. This is a slim and light weight knife, aimed squarely at the Every Day Carry (EDC) market.
The Kershaw Leek features a modified wharncliffe style blade (much like another great Kershaw knife, the Needs Work). It’s flat edge is almost completely devoid of belly which is great for tasks that involve the tip of the blade. The Leek’s blade comes to a very fine tip and it makes the knife great for piercing tasks and detail work. Basically, it’s like carrying a large pointy razor blade in your pocket. Another benefit is that wharncliffe blades are among the easiest to sharpen. The only downside with this blade design is the tip is somewhat fragile. I would not use this knife for prying or serious thrust cuts, you are very likely to bend or break the ultra fine tip. For most edc chores, I don’t see this being an issue
Although the Leek has been made in a number of steels over the years if you are going to buy one new it will most likely come in 142C28N. 142C28N is developed by Sandvik, a Swedish company that made the steel exclusively for KAI USA/Kershaw Knives. 142C28N is a high quality stainless steel and is an awesome choice for the price. In my experience I have found the steel to sharpen really well, have good edge retention and be very resistant to corrosion.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle of the Leek will come in solid steel with a frame lock (shown here) or aluminum scales with a liner lock. Both models feel good in the hand for a smaller knife, and the solid steel handled version has a nice heft to it. Both handle types are constructed with screws rather than pins, so if you need to disassemble the knife, it can easily done with a T6 torx bit.
As far as ergonomics go, this is a very comfortable little knife that is geared towards light to medium use. I found I was able to get a 4 finger grip on the knife without much issue and my thumb found the thumb ramp easily. There is a little bit of jimping on the thumb ramp – it isn’t supper aggressive but it does grab the skin a little. All in all, for a small knife I liked the ergos.
The pocket clip of the Kershaw Leek is pretty good. It is long and somewhat normal looking (not always the case for Kershaw knives) and has good retention. It is reversible for tip up or tip down carry, but it is not ambidextrous.
The clip rides pretty low if you mount it tip down, but for tip up carry a good half inch of the handle sticks out. That said, this is a small and light knife, it still carries well and is unlikely to draw much attention.
Deployment and Lockup
The Leek is an assisted open knife and uses the Ken Onion designed SpeedSafe deployment system. This assisted open technology is super robust, and is used on a lot of Kershaw and Zero Tolerance knives. The Leek deploys very fast with a slight amount of pressure on the thumb studs or flipper. The knife opens with a really satisfying snap and the SpeedSafe is a very reliable opening mechanism. There is a second optional safety lock to keep the knife from opening accidentally. This lock can be screwed down if you decide not to use it. Additionally, for those that don’t care for the SpeedSafe, it’s easy to take the spring out and use this as a non-assisted opening knife.
Lockup on these knives is rock solid, regardless of the particular model of Leek you buy. I have found the frame lock and the liner locks to be more than adequate for the kinds of tasks the knife was designed for. My Leek has seen substantial use and the lock still engages securely with zero blade play. Smaller knives like these are Kershaw’s bread and butter, and I have a lot of confidence in the locks on these knives.
The Leek was designed to be a “1 hand” knife, which means you can open and close this knife with one hand. I’m left handed and found it easy to close this knife with one hand (despite the lock being on the “wrong” side) so that really says something. For a small EDC knife this is handy, and it’s almost a requirement for my EDC knives.
Kershaw Leek: Final Thoughts
The Kershaw Leek has most of what I look for in a small EDC knife. It’s light, slim, sharp and fast. I like the solid lockup and quality blade steel. The pocket clip is also nice and the knife feels good in the hand. The fact that this Kershaw is made in the USA certainly does not hurt either.
The biggest potential issues with the Leek are that there is not much texture on the handle, and the tip is thin and can break if you are not careful with the knife. However, for a little EDC blade I think these are both minor to nonexistent issues. Also, the sleek design makes this something of a gentleman’s folder, and I could see this knife doing just as well in an office as it would in a more demanding environment. Finally, the array of colors and styles offered make this a fun knife to collect.
I recommend purchasing the Kershaw Leek at Amazon.com. Buying anything through any of the links on this site earns BladeReviews.com a small commission to help keep this review train running. Any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.