Kershaw Fraxion Knife Review

Kershaw is a brand of Kai USA Ltd. Kai has been the leading producer of premier knives for over 100 years in Japan. Kai also produces razor blades, housewares, and other products in Japan. Kai tries to take an innovative approach to every aspect of their production chain, starting at research and development, moving to production, marketing, and even ends at the distribution functions.

Kershaw Fraxion
Kershaw Fraxion

Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation; pioneering many of the current technologies and advanced materials that are now the standard in the knife industry. To name a few of these, Kershaw has their Speed Safe assisted opening knives. One of their newer of these innovative technologies is the Blade Traders. These are the knives that actually have interchangeable blades. For a last example, Kershaw has recently released a Composite Blade technology, which is where they have combined two steels into one blade. This works to give knife users the best of both worlds. Kershaw can use a steel that has been known for its strength and use it on the spine of the blade, while using a steel that retains an edge well for that feature of the knife.
When Kershaw was founded in 1974, they had a founding mission. This was to make their users proud to own, carry, and use Kershaw knives. This means that Kershaw will only use the highest quality materials on their knives. Kershaw vows to choose appropriate, high quality materials and use intensive craftsmanship. Because of those commitments and their extremely tight tolerances and state of the art manufacturing techniques, your Kershaw product will truly last a lifetime.
Kershaw knows how fantastic their knives are and has said, “if this is your first Kershaw, be prepared. You just may be back for more. If it’s not your first Kershaw, welcome back.” Kershaw just released a new knife called the Fraxion. And because of Kershaw’s continuous commitment to innovation, the Fraxion is going to be just as great as the last ones.

The Blade:
The blade on this knife is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This is a Chinese steel that comes from the Cr steel series. There are a variety of different formulas in this series, and the 9Cr is the highest of quality. The 8Cr steel comes next and is an average steel. Most people recommend not purchasing a knife that has anything lower than a 6Cr steel, because it is going to be too soft. 8Cr13MoV steel is most commonly compared to AUS 8 steel. However, AUS 8 steel is superior when compared to this steel. 8Cr13MoV steel is a soft steel. Because of this, it doesn’t keep its edge for long periods of time. However, this steel is extremely easy to sharpen. It has good resistance to corrosion and rusting. The biggest benefits of this steel is the price. It is an excellent budget steel that will get the job done for you. However, this steel doesn’t excel at anything.
The finish on the Fraxion blade is a black oxide Black Wash finish. This finish gives you a well-worn look and it actually also enhances the corrosion resistant properties on the blade. The finish makes the steel of the blade an even black color.
The steel on this knife has been carved into a clip point shape. This shape, along with the drop point shape, is one of the most versatile blade shapes on the market. This is also one of the most popular blade shapes that is in use today. While this blade shape is most commonly found on the popular Bowie knife, you will also find it on many pocket and fixed blade knives. The shape of this blade is formed by having the back or unsharpened edge of the knife run straight from the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. At this point, it turns and continues to the point of the knife. This section looks to be “cut out” or “clipped off”, which is where the shape gets its name. The point on this knife is lowered, which provides you with more control over your cuts. The difference between clip points and drop points is the thickness of the point. While the drop point shape provides you with a broader tip, the clip point is sharper and thinner, which provides you with excellent stabbing capabilities as well as less drag during insertion and faster withdrawal. Another thing that makes this blade shape such a versatile one is that it features a large belly that makes it perfect for slicing. The Fraxion’s clip point features a top swedge and a slight recurve to enhance your slicing capabilities. While the thin tip is an advantage, because of the capabilities that it provides you with, it is also one of the only drawbacks to this shape of knife. The thin tip is relatively narrow, so it is weak and does have the tendency to break fairly easily. When you carry a knife that features such a versatile blade shape, you will be prepared to take on any of the challenges that you encounter, whether they are expected or totally unexpected.

The Handle:
The handle on the Fraxion is made out of G-10 with carbon fiber overlays. G-10 is a grade of Garolite, which is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. This material has similar properties to carbon fiber, except that it can be made and produced at a fraction of the cost. To make this material, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The resulting material is a super tough, super hard, super lightweight, and super strong material. G-10 is actually considered to be the toughest of all the fiberglass resin laminates and is even stronger than Micarta. However, G-10 is a pretty brittle material. To add texture and style, the manufacturer can add checkering and other patterns. This provides the user with a solid, comfortable grip. Even though this material is cheaper than carbon fiber, it still has to be cut and machined, so it still is on the pricier side.
The overlays on this knife handle is made out of carbon fiber. This is when thin strands of carbon have been tightly woven together and then set in a resin. This material is super strong, yet still very lightweight. However, it is on the more expensive side. Because Kershaw only used carbon fiber for the overlays, they did keep the price down compared to if they had used the carbon fiber for the whole handle. Even though carbon fiber is a super strong material, it has the tendency to be brittle. This is because the fibers have all been woven in the same direction. When the strands get stressed in the other directions, carbon fiber tends to break or crack. The manufacturer of carbon fiber can add different patterns depending on how they choose to weave the fibers.
The obvious texturing on this handle comes from the carbon fiber overlays and not the G-10 base. This is an all-black handle, which gives the knife a very sleek look. This handle has more angles than curves, but is still comfortable to use for long periods of time. Instead of a finger groove, they added a finger guard, which is in line with the other angles on the handle.

The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip and hardware is also black; because this is a completely black knife. This pocket clip is straight down. This clip has been drilled so that you can carry it on the left or right side, making this an ambidextrous friendly carry knife. However, you can only carry this knife tip up.

The Mechanism:
This is a manual opening knife that uses a flipper as the opening mechanism. When talking about how manual this knife is, Kershaw said, “There is no mechanical assists, such as Speed Safe, used to open the folding knife. It opens the classic, old school way.” The flipper mechanism is a small protrusion that juts out the back of the handle when the knife is closed. The flipper on this particular knife looks like a bike ramp; it is all angles, but it is a slow angle. The user pushes down on this protrusion, which then puts enough pressure on the blade to “flip” it open. This helps the blade move easily out of the handle.
The Fraxion also features an inset liner lock. This is a strip of stainless steel that has been riveted inside the knife’s handle. This enables Kershaw to create a slimmer, lighter knife, but still providing the strength and security of a locking liner.
The last mechanism that this knife sports is the KVT ball bearing opening system. This is a Kershaw mechanism. It helps to make one handed opening of your knife faster and easier, without even needing a mechanical assist. The Speed Safe assisted opening uses a torsion bar to help move the knife blade out of the handle, however KVT relies only on a ring of caged ball bearings that surround the knife’s pivot. This means that the ball bearings are secured within a ring that surrounds the pivot. It keeps the ball bearings in place, while allowing them to still rotate freely. When the user of the Fraxion pulls back on the built in flipper, the blade rotates out of the handle as the ball bearings roll into place.
When a Kershaw knife sports the KVT ball bearing system, it also has an additional detent. This is a design feature that helps hold the blade safely in the handle when the knife is closed. When you open the knife, you might notice a little bit of stickiness, just as you pull back on the flipper and before the blade rolls out of the handle on the KVT ball bearings. You just have to power through and add a little extra pressure on the flipper will be able to overcome the detent and the knife will open with ease.
Because this is a manual opening knife, there are no strict laws that surround this knife. But, even though this knife opens smoothly and efficiently, some people still prefer an automatic knife, because of the milliseconds that it saves you.

The Specs:
This knife is made in the United States of America. The blade on the Fraxion is 2.75 inches long. When the knife is opened, it measures in at 6.75 inches long. When this knife is closed, it measures in at 4 inches long. Because this knife has been designed to be so slim and sleek, the knife only weighs in at 1.9 ounces. In fact, it only weighs in at a “Fraxion” of the weight that similar knives have.

Conclusion:
Kershaw has been around for almost five decades now. In that time, they have pioneered many of the technologies and materials that are now considered the standard on the knife market. They have a commitment to innovation and want their users to be proud to carry and use a Kershaw knife. Because of this, they have a seamless manufacturing system and always use the appropriate high quality materials. When Kershaw builds a knife, they build it to last a lifetime. They know that if you take care of your knife, your knife will be able to take care of you, in almost any situation.
One of their newest knives is the Fraxion. This is a durable knife that is going to get the job done. The steel that they chose is easy to sharpen and can take on most tasks. Plus, it comes at an unbeatable price–grab yours right now here. The handle is made out of strong materials that are designed to take a heavy beating. This is a manual opening knife that will open smoothly and efficiently because of the KVT ball bearing opening mechanism that has been built into it. This is a great knife at an even better cost.

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ProTech TR-5 Tactical Response 5 Assist Knife Review

TR-5: Tactical Response 5

The Tactical Response 5 is Pro-Tech’s first Spring Assist knife. You wouldn’t know that with how quick the knife launches out. This spring assisted knife has the power and speed of an automatic knife. As of January 2016, it is the newest of the Tactical Response folder family which features the new Titanium Assist mechanism designed by Matthew Lerch. The TR-5 is a smaller version of the popular Tactical Response TR-4.

The TR-5 Story
Pro-Tech is a family owned company. Established in 1999, they have been creating and developing high-quality knives that are made here in the United States. Recently I inquired of Pro-Tech’s President, Dave Wattenberg, about the new Tactical Response. This is what Dave had to say,

“A few years ago I was chatting with my good friend and custom knife maker Matthew Lerch at the blade show—he had an idea for a spring assist mechanism that would combine the ‘snap—and quick action’ of our cool spring with a spring assist mechanism. After a few years of tinkering – we were able to engineer the mechanism into this new smaller version of the TR-4 (the new TR-5).”

Rumor also has it that following this conversation, the idea for this new spring assist mechanism was developed in a matter of minutes where many ideas take a greater amount of time to come up with. Whether or not this is true, we have this amazing knife with us today to enjoy.

Matthew Lerch
Matthew Lerch is the mastermind behind the new Tactical Response TR-5. He was initially trained in the watchmaking industry and as a jeweler but later moved into manufacturing and tool making. Aside from the mechanics of the TR-5, Matthew has a few patents under his name for knife mechanisms such as the Fire Safe. He has also been honored with some prestigious awards, including the Buster Warenski award. Matthew views knives and knife making as something more than a tool and a process. He sees them as functional pieces of art. Of Matthew Lerch, Dave Wattenberg, said about him, “Matt Lerch is really one of my favorite knife makers—he’s a mechanical genius.”

Specs
Below is an overview of the different specifications of the Tactical Response 5. Many of the things listed will be covered later on, but here is a simple glance at what the TR-5 has to offer.

  • Product Type: Spring Assist
  • Overall Length: 7.66″
  • Weight: 3.5 oz.
  • Handle Length: 4.36”
  • Blade Length: 3.30″
  • Blade Thickness: 0.125″
  • Blade Material: 154-CM
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Drop Point
  • Blade Finish: Stonewash
  • Handle Material: Anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Pocket Clip: Tip-Up
  • Glass Breaker and Lanyard Hole Included
  • Made in the USA

One thing that can be pointed out here is the handle. At a first glance, it doesn’t look too special. But at a closer examination of it proves otherwise. The black anodized aluminum handle is smooth to the touch and feels great when holding it. When deployed, the knife has comfortable finger gripping that serves for an easier hold, as was as a more secure hold. The handle is accented with a glass breaker and lanyard hole to give flair to the rest of the knife. The overall look of the knife looks great and pleases the aesthetic eye.

Out with the Old, In with the New

The Tactical Response 5 is the newest knife in the Tactical Response Series. It is an alternative to the older Tactical Response models. It is smaller in every way but still performs just as well.

TR-5 TR-4 TR-3
Overall Length 7.66″ 9.25″ 8.00″
Blade Length 3.30″ 4.00″ 3.50″
Handle Length 4.36″ 5.25″ 4.50″
Weight 3.5 oz. 5.4 oz. 3.6 oz.
Product Type Spring Assist Auto Auto
Steel 154-CM CPM-D2 154-CM

All of the knives in the Tactical Response line are phenomenal knives. Each has their own unique properties to them. They are all quick and sharp right out of the box. The TR-5 allows more people to carry Pro-Tech with the same speed as an auto but still be classified as a spring assisted knife.

New Mechanics
The Tactical Response 5 features new mechanics that make allow the assisted folder to compete with automatic knives. It is difficult to even begin describing how this thing works. It is absolutely flawless. Here is my best shot. Most, if not all spring assisted knives to have either a thumb stud, or a thumb hole, or some other device that a thumb can move which allows the blade to partly open before a spring takes over and launches it into its “on” position. Other spring assisted knives may include a flipper on the back of the handle that will flip the blade open. A typical spring assist knife has a variety of mechanisms that make the knife work. They more or less have a common theme among them all. A normal spring assist knife has a spring or tension bar that acts as the main part that moves everything else around. There is tension all around inside these knives. They help flip the knife open, but they also help keep the knife closed. Thus, there needs to be some sort of manual force to overcome the resistance the spring gives off to open the knife.

The new mechanics that are featured in the TR-5 are unique and different in many different ways. The first major difference is that the Tactical Response 5 does not have a traditional spring or tension bar. The TR-5 utilizes Pro-Tech’s high-quality springs that are found in their snappy automatic knives. And rather than having a typical tension bar that runs the length of the handle, there is a bar that is in the shape of a half circle on both sides of the handle, on the inside, that is connected by a metal peg. This half circle bar functions similar to your standard spring bar. It provides the same amount of pressure when opening and closing the blade. It is difficult to describe how it all works, but the most important thing to know is that this knife is sweet. The new mechanics make it quick, if not faster than many automatic knives in the industry.

In that inquiry with Dave, he was able to help me out in describing how the knife operates. This is what he had to say,

“The mechanism he (Matthew Lerch) invented is really very simple and one of the really strong points is that there are only a few parts.

“The parts, however, have to be extremely precise. Two wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machine) cut titanium springs are installed on the inside of the frame—they hold a dowel pin across the inside of the handle, there’s a notch in the blade that this pin locks into. Since our coil spring is strong it takes a strong detent to keep it closed in the locked position.

“As you open the knife with the thumb stud, at the moment you push past where the pin locks into the blade our Superior Coil Spring Action takes over! And of course, our proven button lock works to lock the blade into the open position.

“Since there are only a few (albeit very precision) parts—the mechanism is very sturdy, even more so than some spring assist mechanisms on the market.”

Hopefully between both of our descriptions, the mechanics of the knife works make more sense. The bottom line is that the TR-5 is quick, it is dependable, and it is awesome.

Steel

The steel used in making the drop point blade on the TR-5 is the sturdy 154CM. 154CM is a favorable steel when it comes to knives. It is a high-end stainless steel made in America by Crucible Industries. It is a newer stainless steel that is just as good as or better than 440c stainless steel. The Rockwell test for this steel is around HRC 58-61. 154CM is popular in survival and tactical knives because of its corrosion resistance. It may be exposed to salt water and other corrosive material for long periods of time. This steel is comparatively cheaper than other high-quality steels such as BG-42 and S30V. Having this steel on any knife, especially the TR-5, makes it an even better knife.

Blade Finish

A stonewash finish is fairly new in the knife community. The process begins when a blade is rolled and tumbled with pebbles and an acid of sorts, then smoothed. In theory, it can hide scratches or other abrasions to the blade. This is a favorable characteristic that many knife owners desire. Because of the tumbling process to create this finish, it looks as if there are already hundreds of markings on it. Yet, the markings are done in a natural way to form a work of art. Similar to a snowflake, no two stonewashes are the same. The finish has a different look to it. The stonewash finish on the Tactical Response 5 almost has a satin finish to it. Direct light reflects off the blade. Because of the style of the finish, there need not be any concern about scratches or other markings to the blade. The knife can be used for its intended purpose of cutting and doing any other type of work. Some suggest that because of the process, a stonewashed knife can become more resistant to rust as well. The acid oxidation it goes through in the process enhances a blade’s rust resistance with a stable oxide barrier between the steel and its surrounding. Another benefit of stonewashing a blade is their low maintenance and their ability to preserve their original look over time.

Tactical or Every day Carry

“The size, shape, mechanism of the TR-5 spring assist really make it a perfect knife for every day carry. I started carrying one myself in January and just can’t seem to swap it out for any other knife from my pocket!” –Dave Wattenberg

The Tactical Response is a highly functional knife. It works great as either an everyday carry knife or as a tactical knife. For some, a tactical knife and an everyday carry is the same thing. Either way, there are several key characteristics to consider before purchasing a knife. The designed purpose, the ergonomics of the knife and its size, the materials used to make the knife, and the blade design and style, are all factors in choosing a great knife.

Designed Purpose:

Some knives are created for those in the armed forces to help them out with their problems they encounter while other knives are created for a more day to day type of carry that can be of use in self-defense or other menial tasks. As the name of the knife suggests, the TR-5 is a tactical response to the need for a decent knife in the industry.

Ergonomics and Size:

A knife that is built with the highest quality of material would be utterly useless if it does not feel right when holding it. When a knife feels secure in your hand, you can feel secure as well. The TR-5’s size is great for an everyday carry or a tactical knife. It is small enough to carry, yet big enough to do some damage.

Materials:

Any knife, no matter its purpose, is going to be going through a major beating. Because of this, it needs to be built out of a strong, high-quality material. This includes both the blade steel and the handle material. The handle on the Tactical Response is made of an aluminum alloy. This is perfect for the knife to help it be lightweight and durable at the same time. And of course, the steel is made of a high-quality material.

Blade Design and Style:

The blade for a tactical or an everyday carry should be an all-around useful tool to tackle all sorts of tasks. The blade can make or break any knife. A good versatile blade is a drop point. And that’s just what the TR-5 has equipped on it. With this blade, the TR-5 is useful for any number of tasks.

Conclusion

“I’m very pleased to produce a knife with my friend Matt Lerch’s design and very proud of the product that it’s become.” These were some of the closing remarks that Dave had with me when discussing this knife. Truly, this knife is remarkable. It shares the best of both worlds when it comes to automatic knives and spring assisted knives. Along with Dave, I would highly recommend picking up the Tactical Response 5. You will not be disappointed with it. The TR-5 awaits your response.

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Brand New Schrade Assist Knives at BladeOps

Schrade Assist Knife, 5BR
Schrade Assist Knife, 5BR

Just in are a couple new lines of Schrade Assist Knives.  Both the 5 series and the 6 series have started to hit the shelves.  What is so great about these knives you ask?

They use the same fantastic M.A.G.I.C. assist system that the Smith and Wesson knives in the M&P series use.  This means that the blades snap out really fast, lock up is tight, and dependability is extremely high.  Exactly what you want out of a great, EDC assist knife.

The 6 series is bigger than the 5 and has beefier handles.  The handles also have a partial black polymer overlay which gives your hand loads of grip spots so you have a solid, secure grip.  The 5 series are just a bit shorter (nearly an 1″ overall) and they have thinner handles.  The handle scales on the 5 are somewhat futuristic looking and cant the blade slightly forward for a grip that allows for excellent slicing and pull cuts.  Both series use the MAGIC assist system.  Both series also have a slide safety that gives you even greater blade security.  Schrade knives also have a limited lifetime warranty–which gives you to purchase with even more confidence.

If you have been looking for a mid size to large spring assist knife, definitely check out the great new Schrade knives that have arrived at BladeOps.

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CRKT Endorser Assist Knife

CRKT Endorser Knife
CRKT Endorser Knife

Looking for a solid, no nonsense spring assist knife?  Look no further than the CRKT Endorser.  New for 2013, this fundamentally sound knife boasts a drop point utility blade that is designed to get everyday chores done quickly and with no fuss.  The G10 handle has finger grooves and a slight palm swell for a comfortable grip, which makes the Endorser perfect for long cutting jobs.  The blade springs open with the Outburst assist mechanism by CRKT and the patented Fire Safe thumb stud opener makes for a secure, safe carry.  Once you get one, you too will be and Endorser.

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