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The Kershaw Knife Story

Kershaw Knives produces some of the most reliable and sought-after knives available on the market. From every day carrying knives to sporting knives and tactical knives, you can look to Kershaw with total confidence. Its knives are manufactured with the most advanced technology and are known to be "shave sharp". And they are a trusted brand name all around the world for their design, innovation, quality, and genuine pride of ownership. All that and made in the USA to boot. 

Kershaw Knives was started by knife salesman Pete Kershaw back in 1974 and many of Kershaw’s products are made right here in their 55,000 sq. ft. facility near Portland, OR. In 1977, the KAI Group of Japan acquired Kershaw knives. KAI are innovators when it comes to coordinating research with the development, production, marketing and distribution arms of the business and since they have come onboard the company has received a number of awards including the Overall Knife of the Year, Knife Collaboration of the Year, Most Innovative American Design, and Kitchen Knife of the Year.

Know why? Here are just a few reasons:

Removable and reverseable pocket clips
Tip safety locks
Stud locks
Locking liner
The ambedextrous opening
Changeable blades
Full tang construction
Glass breaker tips

But more than all that sales pitch talk, Kershaw Knives are solid. The crafting is detailed and the blade is reliable. They make every-day knives that will break into any annoying plastic packaging, sporting knives that make your hunting, fishing and camping experiences totally more enjoyable, they have a line of excellent military and law enforcement blades and even world class kitchen knives. Kershaw is proud of its award-winning technologies and the advanced materials it uses to create the solid blade lockup. And when Kershaw says a life-time guarantee, they mean a lifetime. No holding back, no small print. Life-time. Not that you'll need it!


You want to be proud of your tools when you’re out so Kershaw always chooses the highest quality of materials and are dedicated to precision craftsmanship. They require state-of-the-art manufacturing with extremely high tolerances from their manufacturers so there will be no mistaking Kershaws for any cheap imitations. Convenience of use and versatility are two of Kershaws goals but so are better functionality and safety.


Since they were founded in 1974, the company have pioneered many of the standards and technologies used in the knife-making industry today.

 Speedsafe-assisted opening knives enable a user to open a knife by simply pushing the thumb stud on the blade or pulling the blade protrusion.

With the Blade-Trader line, Kershaw introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades.

Using Composite Blade technology, combining two steels into one blade, Kershaw gives knife users the assurance that the steel used for edge retention and the steels used for strength on the spine are use-specific and therefore more reliable.


This is not to say that Kershaw is finished designing and is now in the mass production stage of their marketing. No way! They are committed to bringing new and better technologies and materials to the drawing table. You can count on Kershaw to stick to the innovative edge (pardon the pun) of knife design.


 Kershaw has many models to choose from. Some models, such as the Kershaw Tilt, were limited production and are now only available from collectors and at a much higher price than when originally sold, a tribute to the design, quality and craftsmanship of these knives.


The speedsafe-assist models are the most fun to use in my opinion, designed by reknowned knife designer Ken Onion who has created many award-winning knives for the company. With this system it is possible to open the blade with one finger by pushing a thumb stud or blade protrusion. These knives are a blast to use and every time you open the blade, you feel and hear a solid click as the blade locks and you can imagine yourself a spy in a dark foreign country. Some popular speedsafe-assist models include the Kershaw Leek, Kershaw Blur, Kershaw Scallion, Kershaw Chive, Kershaw Shallot and Kershaw Blackout.


A unique trait of Pete Kershaw’s knife company is the practice of naming each knife as well as giving them a model number. I think the way this has been done gives them a personality and sets them apart from the competition. For instance, there’s the Officer Ranch Series named after an actual cattle ranch in the mountains of Oregon where Pete Kershaw often spent time with friends hunting elk and mule deer. Some models in the Officer Ranch Series are the  Black Horse, Elk Spring, Outlaw Bill, Whiskey Gap, Wildcat Ridge and Corral Creek.


It would be remiss not to mention as well that Kershaw strongly supports the American Knife and Tool Institute which is a non-profit organization that represents the many facets of the knife industry here in the US. For knife-owners, you can rest assured that as part of AKTI, Kershaw supports their mission “Keeping Knives in American Lives.” The AKTI is a reliable source of information about the industry and are involved in legislations affecting the industry and you as a knife-owner. So if this purchase is your first Kershaw, make like a Boy Scout and be prepared. If you’re like me and it’s not your first, I salute your wisdom and impeccable taste.