Kershaw Launch 7 Automatic Knife Review

Kershaw was founded in 1974. Since the very beginning, they have had one mission: to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to won, carry, and use. Inspired by this mission, Kershaw has built each of their knives with the highest quality. Kershaw chooses appropriate, high quality materials. When you pair the great materials with intensive craftsmanship, you get true masterpieces. Kershaw also has a commitment to innovation. They have actually pioneered many of the technologies that are today’s standard in the knife community. Some of their most popular innovations have been the SpeedSafe Assisted Opening Knives, knives with interchangeable blades thanks to the Blade Traders, and one of the more recent ones is the Composite Blade technology. This last technology allows Kershaw to combine two different types of steels into one blade. This lets the user experience the best of both worlds with their blade. Kershaw has combined two steels to create a knife with excellent edge retention, but the other steel is known for strength, so they put the second steel on the spine. Because of their commitment to innovation, they will also keep innovating and bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knives.

One aspect of Kershaw’s reputation is that people will own a Kershaw knife for a lifetime. This is a true story, because they do use such great materials. Kershaw has said that even their inexpensive models are impressive.

Kershaw is actually a sub brand of Kai USA Ltd. Kai has been the leading blade producer of Japan for over 100 years now. The whole Kai community has vowed to take an innovative approach to product development.

Once you purchase one Kershaw knife, you are going to want more. So be prepared. Whether this is your first Kershaw knife or your 50th, the brand new Launch 7 Automatic knife will be a game changer.

 

The Blade:

The blade on the Launch 7 is made out of CPM 154 steel. The CPM means that it is made with Crucible’s Particle Metallurgy. CPM will result in a slightly superior steel that is tougher and has better edge retention than regular 154CM steel. Not only that, but because of the Powder Metallurgy, the steel has better toughness, while still being easier to sharpen than regular 154 CM steel. The last big benefit that the Powder Metallurgy is that the finished polished result will be better than the other kind of steel. CPM 154 steel is a pretty hard steel because the manufacturer has added Molybdenum. Although it has less Chromium content in the steel, the steel still sports excellent corrosion resistance. This steel has a good balance between being hard and being tough; you don’t really lose out on either side of the spectrum with CPM 154 steel. If you have the right equipment, this steel is not that hard to sharpen. This steel is often used in blades that are going to be used in heavier cutting or harder tasks, so you know that the Launch 7 will be able to stand up to what you throw at it. All in all, this is a high quality steel.

 

The coating on this steel is a Diamond Like Coating, or DLC. Coating finishes are good because they add corrosion and rust resistance while also preventing many reflections or glares. Because this specific DLC is black, you really won’t get any reflections or glares out of it. The only drawback to a coated finish is that it will eventually scratch off. There is not much you can do to stop it from scratching off over time or with heavy use. The harder the coating is, the longer it will take to scratch off. And the DLC is one of the absolute hardest coatings that you can find. Instead of just being “painted” on, it is actually chemically bonded to the steel itself. Because of this, you get a stronger and more durable blade.

 

The blade on the Launch 7 has been ground into a clip point shape. Clip points are a great blade shape option if you are hoping to be able to use your knife for any task. Clip points are a successful all-purpose blade shape. The blade shape is formed by having the unsharpened edge of the blade run straight from the handle until it stops about halfway up the blade. Once it stops, it actually drops and continues to the point of the knife. This drop almost looks like that portion of the blade has been cut out, or clipped off, which is where it this blade shape got its name. On the Launch 7, this cut out portion is straight. Because the point on this blade shape is lowered, you have more control over the blade and tip. This is a great benefit if you are hoping to perform detail work with the Launch 7. While this sounds very similar to the drop point blade style, this shape has a fine and sharp point, unlike the broad point of the drop point. This is an added benefit because you have a much better ability to stab with a clip point. However, it is also a drawback, because this thin tip is fairly weak and much more likely to break off. Another fantastic feature about the clip point shape is that it sports a large belly that is great for slicing.

Kershaw Launch 7 Auto
Kershaw Launch 7 Auto

The Handle:

The Launch 7 sports an anodized aluminum handle. The anodization process is the most common finish for an aluminum handle. While the aluminum handle is already extremely durable and hard, the anodization process does add a smidge of extra protection. However, even though the aluminum is very durable, it is prone to scratching or dinging. The anodization process helps to add a layer of protection against the scratches. Another, more obvious, benefit of having the aluminum on this handle anodized is that it creates a new color on the aluminum. This is not a coating, because it actually molecular draws out a different color. On this specific knife, the anodization process has turned the aluminum into a dark gray. A drawback to an aluminum handle that anodizing cannot fix is that aluminum is a very cold metal. If you are hoping to use the Launch 7 in a cold environment, just be prepared and either have gloves or be ready for the handle to feel like it is biting into your skin. One characteristic of aluminum that many knife lovers enjoy is that it has a very hefty feel to it. When you are using a knife with an aluminum handle, you feel like it has weight behind it and that it will be able to stand up to your hardest tasks. However, aluminum is a very low density metal, so it is very lightweight. Because of this, you will get the hefty feel that you crave, but the handle won’t end up weighing the knife down, like a stainless steel handle would. The last key aspect of having an aluminum handle that we will touch on is that aluminum is a slippery material. To provide you with a little bit extra grip, Kershaw has drilled four small arches into the bottom portion of the handle. This also provides the handle with an industrial look to it. Kershaw has also drilled a deep finger groove into the handle to provide you with extra grip while you are using this knife. Although the handle looks like all angles and edges, it actually fits comfortably in your hand and will stay comfortable even after long periods of use.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this knife is black to match the blade and hardware. The Launch 7 has pre drilled holes in the handle that enables the user to rotate the pocket clip four different ways. You can either carry the knife tip up or down, or left or right handedly. That is a very convenient feature because it allows you to carry your knife as comfortably as possible. Plus, it is ambidextrous.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is an automatic knife. Because of this, make sure that you know your local knife laws before buying or carrying the Launch 7. Automatic knives, or switchblades, have strict laws surrounding them. An automatic knife has a spring taut spring inside of the handle. When the button is pushed, the spring releases and the knife opens. Switchblades can open very quickly and very efficiently. This knife also features the Push-button Lock. This mechanism locks the blade open during use, so that you don’t have to worry about the blade folding while in use. The Push-button Lock also releases with the push of a button for storage. When you are ready to close an automatic knife, you unlock the knife, push down the deploy button, and manually fold the knife closed.

 

The Specs:

This knife has a blade length of 3.75 inches long. When the Launch 7 is opened, the knife measures in at 8.6 inches long, with a closed length of 5 inches. This knife weighs in at 3.2 ounces.

 

The Extras:

The Launch 7 was made in the USA, which is a big bonus. Tim Galyean is the designer behind this knife. There is also an integrated back spacer on this knife.

 

The Pros of the Launch 7:

  • The steel is a high quality steel with a great balance of strength and toughness.
  • With the right equipment, this steel is very easy to sharpen.
  • The steel has great edge retention.
  • The DLC is the best coating that you can get and will stay on the longest.
  • The DLC helps to cut down on reflections and glares while also providing corrosion resistant properties.
  • The clip point shape offers a big belly that is great for slicing.
  • The clip point shape can stab easily.
  • The clip point shape is a great all-purpose blade shape that is going to get the job done.
  • The lowered tip is great for performing detail work.
  • The aluminum handle has been anodized helping to add strength and durability.
  • The anodized aluminum is less prone to scratches than plain aluminum.
  • The aluminum handle is strong, tough, and durable.
  • The aluminum handle gives a hefty feel without adding too much weight.
  • The pocket clip is four way reversible.
  • The automatic mechanism opens quickly and efficiently.
  • The knife sports the Push-button Lock.
  • Made in the United States of America.

 

Cons of the Launch 7:

  • The DLC will eventually scratch off, just like any other coating finish.
  • The clip point shape has a weak tip that is prone to breaking off.
  • The aluminum handle is prone to scratches and dings.
  • The aluminum handle is pretty slick.
  • The aluminum handle will feel super cold in your hand when using it in a colder environment.
  • Because it is an automatic knife, it will not be legal in all states or areas.

 

Conclusion:

Kershaw has been around for a little over four decades now and since the very beginning they have been producing innovative and ground breaking new technology. Their knives have helped to set the new standard in the current knife market. Kershaw’s goal is that when you purchase a knife from them, you can own that knife for your lifetime. They also know that if it is your first knife, you will be coming back for more, and if it is a second, third, or maybe even tenth knife, that you already appreciate the quality that is Kershaw.

To create their newest in their knife collection, they started off with a high quality steel that is strong while still being tough, very durable, maintains an edge well, and is still relatively easy to sharpen. They threw on a Diamond Like Coating and ground the steel into a versatile clip point shape. To match the excellent blade, they added a durable aluminum handle in a dark gray color. The four-way reversible pocket clip is an excellent added bonus to this automatic knife. The Launch 7 will be the perfect addition to your knife collection.

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