Introduction: Embracing Change and Challenging Preconceptions
As a child, switchblades held a certain mystique, reminiscent of a bygone era. They were seen as weapons of choice for those who frequented sock hops or speakeasies, far removed from the daily lives of ordinary people. However, as I grew older and developed a deeper understanding of knives and tools, the concept of an automatic knife became increasingly intriguing. When I had the opportunity to review the Kershaw Launch 1 automatic knife, I jumped at the chance. It was time to let go of my preconceived notions and embrace the possibilities.
Understanding Legal Limitations
Before delving into the details, it is crucial to acknowledge that not everyone can legally carry an automatic knife. While I personally believe that the moral and constitutional arguments are compelling, federal law defines a switchblade knife as one that opens automatically, either through the pressing of a button or the action of inertia and gravity. It is essential to familiarize oneself with the laws and regulations of individual states and local jurisdictions, as severe penalties may apply. Be informed and stay within the boundaries of the law.
Features and Uses: Unveiling the Kershaw Launch 1 Knife
The Kershaw Launch 1 knife boasts an exquisite black anodized aluminum handle, coupled with a powder-coated CPM154 stainless steel blade. This steel variant offers enhanced hardness, superior corrosion resistance, and remarkable edge retention compared to 440C steel. The blade arrives sharp from the factory, enduring extensive cutting, chipping, and even cardboard slicing while maintaining its edge far longer than traditional steels.
Aesthetics and Design: The Captivating Appeal of the Launch 1
Among the three models in the Kershaw Launch series, the Launch 1 knife stands out as my personal favorite. While the Launch 2 exhibits a streamlined handle that seamlessly aligns with the blade, it lacks the visual allure. The anodized aluminum handle of the Launch 1 is unadorned, except for a single center milling that adds both functionality and grip.
Similarly, the Launch 3, though similar, sports a simpler handle design, albeit with a slight recoil and a touch of bounce on the rear of the blade. While some may appreciate the minimalist aesthetics of these models, I find myself drawn to the more traditional, curvaceous appeal of the Launch 1. Perhaps a small trim on the back of the black anodized handle could have added a touch of refinement, but such minor omissions do not overshadow the overall elegance.
Exploring the Kershaw Launch Series
The Kershaw Launch series comprises three distinct knives, each with its own distinct features:
- Kershaw Launch 1 (CPM154 BlackWash steel, anodized aluminum handle) — $149.99
- Launch 2 (CPM154 stonewashed steel, anodized aluminum handle) — $139.99
- Kershaw Launch 3 (CPM154 Black Oxide Coated Steel, anodized aluminum handle) – $159.99
Ease of Use and Safety: Unleashing the Kershaw Launch 1
Unveiling the Kershaw Launch 1 for the first time is an adventure, especially for those unfamiliar with automatic knives. It requires a firm grip; otherwise, the knife may slip from your hand. Far from being a negative aspect, this sturdiness and reliability are desirable qualities in an automatic knife, and the Kershaw Launch 1 delivers precisely that.
Thoughtful Deployment: Balancing Accessibility and Safety
Accidental deployment of the knife is highly unlikely due to the recessed button activator, which sits flush with the handle. This design prevents unintentional pressing and ensures a heightened level of safety. While I initially faced challenges when carrying an automatic knife, I soon realized that the likelihood of it opening in my pocket is no greater than any secondary knife accidentally unfolding. The Kershaw Launch 1 instills a sense of confidence and security.
Ergonomics and Convenience: A User-Friendly Approach
The smooth black anodized aluminum handle may give the impression of inadequate grip, but the five oval dimples along the handle’s spine counter this notion. These dimples provide a subtle “stickiness” that enhances the overall feel and control of this file-folder style knife. Additionally, the presence of finger grooves on the handle’s top reinforces stability during usage. Another commendable feature, fast becoming the industry standard, is the reversible left/right belt clip, which can be easily interchanged using an Allen key.
The clip, moderately wide and short, results in the knife protruding approximately an inch during carry. An interesting surprise awaits those who opt for left-side carry: the knife’s activation is primarily triggered by the index finger instead of the thumb. This seemingly unconventional approach feels surprisingly natural, making the knife suitable for both left and right-handed users.
Conclusion: A Testament to Craftsmanship and Durability
The Kershaw Launch 1 is proudly American-made, originating from Kershaw’s factory in Tualatin, Oregon. The satisfaction of owning and carrying an American-made knife only adds to the appeal, assuring exceptional quality and longevity. If you possess a concealed carry permit and have yet to experience the advantages of an automatic knife, I strongly encourage you to explore this remarkable tool. Consider adding the Kershaw Launch 1 to your collection, like myself, as it effortlessly accommodates various occasions and outfits.
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