There is truly nothing like a Kershaw. From award winning technologies and advanced materials to the solid sound of the blade lockup, when you’re carrying a Kershaw, you know that you are carrying the real thing. The real thing means value and plenty of it. With Kershaw, you get incredible bang for your hard earned buck. Even their inexpensive models are impressive. In fact, everything about a Kershaw is solid, crafted, reliable. That’s why Kershaw can back each of their knives for the life of its original owner against any defects in materials and construction with their famous Limited Lifetime Warranty. And yes, people do own their Kershaw knives for a lifetime.
The point is, you can always look to Kershaw for every day carrying knives that can tame nay cardboard box and liberate any purchase from its plastic packaging, sporting knives that make hunting, fishing, watersports, and camping even better, work knives that won’t let you down, and tactical knives that ensure you’re ready for anything.
Kershaw was founded in 1974 to design and manufacture tools that knife users would be proud to own, carry, and use. This has meant that every Kershaw knife must be of the highest quality. Whether it’s a hardworking pocketknife, a hunting knife, or a special collector’s edition, Kershaw always chooses appropriate, high quality materials and is dedicated to intensive craftsmanship. Along with extremely tight tolerances and state of the art manufacturing techniques, this ensures that Kershaw knives provide a lifetime of performance.
Kershaw has a commitment to innovation and has pioneered the use of many of the technologies and advanced materials that are today standard in the knife industry. Their SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first to market. They introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in their Blade traders. Recently, their Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And they will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today’s knife making industry and knife using public.
Kershaw Knives is a brand of Kai USA, Ltd, a member of the Kai Group. For over 100 years, Kai has been Japan’s premier blade producer. Kai takes an innovative approach to product development based on the close coordination of research and development, production, marketing, and distribution functions. While many of Kershaw’s quality products are made in their 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Tualatin, Oregon. They also draw on Kai’s resources to provide the very best for the customer.
They have 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.”
Today, we are going to be discussing the Kershaw Barstow which is model 3960 through Kershaw.
The blade on the Kershaw Barstow is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. This formula of steel is a Chinese series of steels. In the series of steel, 9Cr is the highest quality, with the 8Cr formula falling shortly behind. If you were going to compare this steel to another steel type, it would most closely match AUS 8 steel. However, 8Cr steel is the lesser steel between the two. 8Cr is a softer steel, so it is extremely easy to sharpen. It can be repeatedly sharpened without the quality of the steel wearing out. One of the major benefits about 8Cr steel is that it does keep its fine edge for long periods of time, so you can go longer between sharpening’s. While this steel is capable of taking on a wide variety of tasks, it still is an average steel, so keep that in mind while you have this blade take things on. The biggest advantage that this steel boasts is how inexpensive it is. You get plenty of bang for your buck with this steel.
The Barstow blade has a black-oxide BlackWash finish, which is a style of stonewash finish. A stonewashed finish refers to tumbling the blade in an abrasive material. This finish easily hides scratches, while also providing a less reflective nature than a brushed or satin finished blade. There is a wide variety of stonewashed finishes based upon the abrasive shape, tumbling motion and the type of finish the blade has before it enters the tumbler. An “acid stonewashed” or “BlackWash” finish is a blade that has had an acid treatment that darkens the blade before it undergoes stonewashing. The aid oxidation enhances a blade’s rust resistance by placing a stable oxide barrier between the steel and the environment. A very positive benefit of a stonewashed blade is that they are low maintenance and preserve their original look overtime; the stonewashed finish hides the scratches that can occur with use over time.
The blade on this knife has been carved into a spear point blade style. A spear point blade is similar to the needle point blade in that they are both good for piercing. However, its point is stronger and it contains a small belly that can be used for slicing. A spear point is a symmetrically pointed blade with a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s long axis. Both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that lines up exactly with the equator of the blade. In contrast to the needle point blade, which has a very sharp but weak point, a spear point knife has a strong point that is also sharp enough for piercing. The lowered point is easily controllable and is useful or fine tip work. Spear point blades contain a small belly which can be used for some cutting and slicing applications. However, the belly is relatively small when compared to drop point and clip point knives. This style of blade is the perfect choice for a knife lover who is looking for a good balance between piercing and slicing ability. It has the sharp point of a dagger with the strength of a drop point blade, while also maintaining some of the belly that is used for slicing. This blade shape is considered a hybrid blade shape that has plenty of function.
The handle on this knife is made out of Glass Filled Nylon, or GFN. This is a nylon based plastic that is reinforced with Glass Fiber and injection molded of ruse in knife handles. GFN handles are one of the cheapest and toughest handle materials to produce in large scale production knives. Even though GFN is perceived as a cheaper material, which it is, it makes for a very tough knife handle material and can take some serious abuse. It is quite a bit more flexible than G10 and other Resin Laminates, so it does not have the rigidity associated with them, however it makes up for this in its impact toughness. And, as a guideline, the higher the glass content, the more rigid the nylon. Additionally, nearly any texture can be created on the surface of this handle because it is injection molded, which makes it an extremely versatile material to work with.
The GFN on the Barstow handle is black. In the center of the handle is a series of grooves in an arrow pattern and intense texturing to provide you with a secure grip in almost any situation. The handle is all angles, instead of the traditional curves, with a flared butt.
The liners in the handle of the Barstow are made out of stainless steel, that also have a non-reflective Blackwash to provide an equally stout liner lock to secure the blade open during use.
The Pocket Clip:
The handle has been pre-drilled with holes in the handle to enable the user to change either the tip positon or the side on which the knife carries.
The Barstow sports a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism. Kershaw Knives has long been known for innovation. They were the first to adopt the use of many of the advanced steels, high tech materials, and superior coatings that are now used industry wide. They were the first to introduce groundbreaking new technologies that have revolutionized the industry. One of these innovations is the SpeedSafe mechanism. Kershaw was the first to bring SpeedSafe assisted knives to market, launching a revolution in opening systems—and winning numerous industry awards along the way. This was originally designed by Hall of Fame knife maker, Ken Onion, and the knives with this mechanism flew off the shelves. Today, almost all knife companies offer some sort of assisted opening knife, but none matches the popularity or proven durability of the original.
The SpeedSafe is a patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual pull back on the flipper. The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion bar. Closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by “gravity”, it creates a bias toward the closed position. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into position, ready for use.
SpeedSafe was specifically designed for sporting, work, or everyday situations where one handed opening is preferable and safer. It’s safe, efficient opening has made it a popular choice for hunters, fisherman, and those who require the one hand opening function on the job site.
SpeedSafe is a very safe mechanism. When the user overcomes the resistance of the torsion bar, SpeedSafe assists in opening the knife. Once opened, a locking system secures the blade in positon so that it does not close accidentally. When releasing the lock, the blade won’t snap shut due to resistance provided by the torsion bar. Since the torsion bar provides a bias towards the closed positon, it will normally hold the blade securely closed.
The Barstow also sports the flipper mechanism. This is a protrusion on the back of the blade that the user can pull back on, or flip, in order to move the blade easily out of the blade.
This knife also features a liner lock. This mechanism characteristic component is a side spring bar that is located on the same side as sharp edge of the blade, “lining” the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When fully opened, that tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. To disengage a liner lock, you place to use your thumb to push the spring “down” so that it clears contact form the butt of the blade.
The blade on the Barstow is 3 inches long. The overall length of the knife is 7 inches long with a closed positon of 4 inches. This knife weighs in at 3.4 ounces.
Kershaw describes this knife, “The Barstow is a little wicked and a lot of value. It’s a folding dagger and everything about this slim, sleek blade is simple, direct, and ready. The straight spear-point blade, sharpened on a single side, is made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with Kershaw’s BlackWash coating for a non-reflective, “already-broken-in” look. The coating not only helps protect the blade, but also hides use scratches. The handle has glass-filled nylon scales with heavy arrow-patterned texturing to enhance grip. A stout steel liner, also with non-reflective BlackWash, provides an equally stout liner lock to secure the blade open during use. Even better, the Barstow opens quickly and easily with SpeedSafe assisted opening and the built-in flipper. All the hardware is black—with the notable exception of the Barstow’s tube spacers, which are anodized in blue for a touch of subtle color and eye-catching interest. For convenient and discreet carry, the deep-carry pocket clip enables the knife to ride low in the pocket and is left/right reversible.” This will change the way that you view everyday carry knives.