Kershaw Brawler Review | Pink Army

Kershaw Brawler Review | Pink Army
Kershaw Brawler Review | Pink Army

The Kershaw 1990 Brawler is a finances pleasant EDC sized assisted opening pocket knife. On the time of this writing it’s the best-selling Kershaw product on Amazon. Not a small feat for a knife launched in 2012. After a couple of weeks of use, I see why this tough and tumble knife is such a well-liked providing among the many crowded Kershaw line up.

Kershaw Brawler-700

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The Brawler is a excessive worth American Tanto liner lock knife that includes Kershaw’s Pace Secure assisted opening expertise. The knife is a really snug measurement and weight for every-day carry. The deal with scales are made from textured ‘fiber strengthened nylon’ (aka FRN), and the stone washed liners are simply thick sufficient to offer a robust lock up with out including undue weight. The Ergonomics are very purposeful and the aggressive styling cues are onerous and angular. I couldn’t discover design credit for this knife, however I discover it to be very harking back to Rick Hinderer’s work. General the knife makes for an ideal slicing software that’s straightforward on the pockets.

The Blade

The hole floor American Tanto blade is made from 8Cr13MoV metal. This can be a high quality finances metal and used extensively throughout the knife business on Chinese language made knives. Kershaw’s implementation right here may be very typical of the fabric having first rate edge retention and corrosion resistance and simple sharpening. Bolstering the corrosion resistance is the black oxide coating. This end is extra sturdy than paint, however will rapidly present put on. In the event you occur to be the type who appreciates the looks of fine sincere use and put on in your instruments, the Brawler will greater than fortunately present the world that this knife is something however a protected queen.


Tanto blades are at greatest controversial within the knife world. These blades are specialised for piercing, as they go away the utmost quantity of fabric doable on the tip for optimum thrusting sturdiness. Nevertheless, they do that on the expense of the curving stomach discovered on most different blade shapes. Stomach on a knife is utilized closely in slicing, skinning, and lots of different outside duties. Nevertheless, the Tanto sub tip, the place the 2 sharpened edges come collectively, make for fairly exacting slicing. I discover this to be very true on small Tantos like this one. By no means as soon as did I really feel like I used to be missing a correct software for my slicing duties. On full measurement Tanto, the trade-off of curved stomach for sub tip seems like far more of a hindrance, and I rapidly free curiosity.

Out of the field the sting was fairly usable, however removed from shaving sharp. The bevel was uneven particularly subsequent to the sharpening choil the place there was fairly a bit of additional materials. The sub tip was once more purposeful however rounded, removed from the perfect acute level one would hope to search out on a Tanto.


When the blade wanted sharpening, it took fairly a little bit of time on my diamond stones to get to an excellent, workable bevel. I needed to take away fairly a bit of fabric to even out the unique manufacturing unit grind. After that although, 8Cr13MoV metal polishes up with ease permitting the remainder of the job go fairly rapidly.

After you have established a high quality bevel, sustaining an edge on the Brawler will probably be baby’s play. The straight strains of an American Tanto and beneficiant blade flats make each hand or clamp model sharpening a breeze. 8Cr13MoV metal is barely a reasonably powerful metal, and as such hones rapidly. Your edge received’t final perpetually, however touch-ups will take no time in any respect.


Deployment on the Brawler is snappy because of Kershaw’s Pace Secure assisted opening. The lock-up is fairly stable, with little to no play. The liners and liner lock are an excellent compromise between weight and energy. There is no such thing as a conventional cease pin on this knife; it as a substitute solely depends on the blade stops’ contact with the deal with scales to maintain the blade locked in place. That is true for each the open and closed positions. The blade stops perform excellently in securing the blade and there was no blade play out of the field. Nevertheless, after a number of weeks of testing, very slight left to proper blade play did develop however the lock up stays very safe.


There are two choices for opening this knife, a flipper tab and blade stops that double properly as thumb studs. Each choices work equally properly. On Pace Secure knives, thumb studs all too typically really feel like afterthoughts, and within the fashions I’ve examined not often work properly for deployment. Right here nevertheless the blade stops work each bit nearly as good because the flipper tab to deploy the knife.

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Pace Secure and assisted opening knives, usually, are considerably dated expertise. The design requires the person to manually begin the blade in movement, and thereafter a spring offers simply sufficient assist pushing the blade open to make sure constant one-handed deployment. This mechanism largely avoids the authorized stickiness of a totally computerized knife (one that can open utterly by itself with the contact of a button). The disadvantage to spring help knives is closure. You need to battle the spring stress each time you shut the blade, making for awkward one-handed closure.

In recent times Kershaw has re-tuned their Pace Secure to be much less of a hindrance to closure. Older Kershaw fashions used stronger springs tuned for the strongest deployment whereas the newer fashions, together with the Brawler, make the most of a lighter spring that gives a greater steadiness between constant opening and simpler closure. A step in the best route in case you ask us.


With fashionable knife expertise there are lots of various deployment choices that don’t hinder the closure of a knife. Present washer and bearing techniques enable knives to open with so little friction {that a} spring help is superfluous. Plus, the aiding spring is a put on level, and if a Pace Secure knife has a mechanical failure it’s typically this spring that breaks. Spring metal can solely flex so many occasions earlier than stress fractures type and doubtlessly compromise the spring.

As with most older applied sciences that stubbornly refuse to go away {the marketplace}, there are benefits as properly. At the start it offers probably the most constant deployment, particularly in probably the most soiled of environments. The help from the spring helps energy by way of much more particles and obstructions than handbook knives do on their very own. Customers in deserts, machine retailers, or another particularly gritty work place may profit from a spring assisted knife.


Pace Secure additionally helps people with restricted dexterity or energy, who typically discover assisted opening knives to be among the many best to make use of. Lots of in the present day’s handbook folding knives require some small trick of dexterity to open. Pace Secure can enable for folks with differing talents to simply entry their slicing software. Onerous core knife fans will nearly uniformly want a extra fidget pleasant deployment choice, however for the best person or surroundings Pace Secure will be an optimum alternative.

Deal with and Ergonomics

The designers of the Brawler clearly selected to prioritize a optimistic grip. The deal with simply accommodates a cushty 4 finger grip in hammer, saber, and reverse grips. A key issue contributing to the optimistic grip is the .56 inch deal with width. A typical width for a full measurement knife is about half an inch, and this smaller knife exceeds that. The stout deal with profile noticeably fills the hand, and allows you to know the knife is able to brawl it out with any activity you might safely throw at a folding knife.


The FRN handles have a reasonably aggressive texture molded into them. The liners and again spacer function recessed jimping on the thumb ramp, backbone, and butt of the knife. Jimping correct can be discovered on the blade itself and extends out over the thumb ramp and previous the blade stops. The onerous angular strains of the knife are literally fairly snug in my extra-large-glove-sized fingers. Regardless of their mechanical look they match the natural curves of the human hand fairly properly. The knife received’t chew up your hand, however the extra aggressively you grip the knife, the tougher it grips you again.

The one exceptions to the widely good ergonomics are slight scorching spots on the height of the thumb ramp and flipper tab. The height does present traction, however with prolonged use each can turn into a minor annoyance.

Pocket Manners

The Brawler encompasses a four-way adjustable pocket clip, which isn’t a typical function on the ~$25 value level. All 4 clip positions are pushed as near the sides as doable. The clip itself is a medium low carry, and doesn’t scream out, “Pocket knife!” It’s really similar to the clips used on many flash lights. Collectively these options make for a largely discrete carry. In pocket, the knife is fairly small and light-weight, however with the width you by no means fairly overlook it’s there.


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The Brawler can even sadly dwell as much as its identify in pocket and battle the material of your pants. Between the dimensions texture and stiff pocket clip, it is going to abuse your pants over time. After a number of weeks of testing I started to note denim fibers caught beneath the pocket clip after I put it away for the evening. This doesn’t rise to the abuses of among the most aggressively textured knives (I’m taking a look at you, Chilly Metal), however over time it is going to nonetheless must be factored into the whole value of possession. It’s not a nasty knife to hold, however the Brawler is best in hand than it’s within the pocket.

Match and End

Match and end are simply fantastic for a mass produced finances knife. There aren’t any sharp edges to be discovered, however the liners and scales don’t line up precisely. Out of the package deal blade centering was near heart however not lifeless on. After a couple of weeks of testing it has drifted to the liner lock aspect of the knife, however not sufficient to make contact with the liners. That is doubtless from Kershaw’s use of nylon washers within the Brawler. Nylon washers are delicate and might deform over time resulting in the degradation of blade centering and the minor blade play talked about above. These points are completely beauty and won’t hinder the utility of the knife.


The obtrusive end fault was the poor blade grind talked about above. Once more, the sting was fairly usable, however the bevels had been uneven. With the correct instruments the knife didn’t take extreme work to treatment. Nevertheless, novice knife homeowners may wrestle with the duty, particularly if they don’t have an additional coarse stone to rapidly take away materials from the blade.

Aggressive Choices

All these knives obtainable at BladeHQ.

Listed below are a handful of options you could need to contemplate in case you’re pondering of buying a Brawler.

Kershaw Freefall (Amazon) – This can be a full measurement Tanto from Kershaw with related development to the Brawler. In hand and pocket the Freefall is a bit of nicer. Nevertheless, the Ok texture on the deal with is of questionable style. In the event you like what you’ve learn in regards to the Brawler and desire a full measurement model, go together with the Freefall it’s an ideal knife.

Kershaw Freefall-700

Kershaw Cryo Tanto (Amazon) – That is one other certainly one of Kershaw’s hottest Tanto knives. The Cryo makes use of a barely smaller chrome steel body lock, giving it a stronger lock up and higher pocket manners. Sadly the recurved blade it is usually a lot tougher to sharpen. In hand although the Brawler is the clear winner for snug use.

Ontario Rat II – That is one other knife made with related supplies and proportions, however in a handbook opening format and a drop level blade. Certainly one of our favorites within the finances class, the motion on the Rat II is fingers down higher. Additionally it is an oz lighter, and most customers will want the utility of a drop level to a Tanto blade, particularly for outside duties. I nonetheless really feel the Brawler is barely higher in hand, and a much more fashionable and distinctive blade. Full overview right here.

Ontario RAT 2

FireBird F753M1 – This new Firebird options higher supplies (G10, 440C metal, completed {hardware}), pocket manners, and a barely extra ergonomic deal with. It packs that very same 3 inch blade size right into a package deal weighing an oz much less. The Brawler does, nevertheless, have a greater motion. Moreover, though each knives are tuned for piercing duties, the Brawler has a way more strong tip and can doubtless outlast the tip of the F753M1 in case you routinely pierce tougher supplies.


The Kershaw Brawler is, as its identify suggests, a tricky little knife able to tackle most any activity you may throw its method. It’s a robust however not excellent alternative for EDC, and I’ve loved my time testing the knife. My pants pocket nevertheless, clearly didn’t share my enthusiasm. The knife is nice in hand, a pleasure in use, and an excellent worth in your cash. If the aggressive angular model, Tanto blade, and assisted opening enchantment to you, this knife will put as a lot battle into your duties as you’re prepared to dish out.

Assessment by Seth Gunn

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