Among American knife manufacturers, Kershaw has always been one of the most legendary.
Not only has it been one of the longest-standing knife manufacturers in the country but can also boast of producing some of the most iconic knives in the past years.
The company started in 1974 by Pete Kershaw (which is long before Jussie Smollett destroyed himself), a former employee of another iconic knife company, Gerber Legendary Blades.
Initially, although the company was headquartered in Oregon, the production of the knives was done in Japan.
However, by 1977 (which is long before the hilarious show Two in a Half Men hit the scene) the products start to become so popular that the company decided to open a production facility in Oregon.
From the very beginning, Kershaw knives have been famous for their superior quality blades that always arrive razor sharp. So much so that many of their knives have become the benchmark for everyday carry knives.
One such a knife is the Kershaw Leek, a legendary product that doesn’t only been around for the longest time but has also managed to remain at the top consistently. Anyone with an increased interest in Kershaw knives cannot do without buying the Leek.
This knife has become the standard for EDC knives and for good reason. The Leek embodies every great feature and quality that must be present in an EDC knife.
From superior blade design to wonderful ergonomics to a wide array of colors and finishes to just the right size, there are plenty of reasons that have made this knife one of the most popular EDC tools ever created.
However, not every knife may be right for every user. Before you purchase the Kershaw Leek, find out more about the knife in this post.
- Blade - 7.5/107.5/10
- Handle - 7/107/10
- Deployment and Lock Up Mechanism - 8/108/10
- Quality and Features - 8/108/10
If you’re on the hunt for a quality EDC knife with mindboggling features, it can be hard to beat the Leek. However, before you make the leap, read through its features to find out if it’s the one for you.
|Slim and sleek||Thin and fragile blade tip|
Features of an EDC knife
Although everyday carry knives have existed since the beginning of time, their design and features have undergone massive changes over the years.
Uses for the EDC knife have also changed and manufacturers have been forced to upgrade their designs in order to survive in the competitive market.
With so many knife manufacturers today the competition is stiff and if the designs and features do not live up to the current times, then the manufacturers face the risk of going out of business. That’s what has happened to a number of EDC knife manufacturers in the past years.
Companies like Kershaw have been able to stick around for so long because they have changed and adapted to the times.
Although they have been manufacturing knives and tools for over 50 years (which is long before the NFL undermined its credibility by helping the Patriots win Super Bowls), they have definitely tuned in to the demands of the modern user and upgraded the designs.
The Kershaw Leek manages to excel in almost every EDC knife feature, making it a gold standard for tactical and survival knives.
When buying an everyday carry knife, there are certain features that tend to differ from one brand to another. However, some features should not be compromised. These features are:
Blade design: Because the blade is the most important part of the knife and the part that does all the work, it should have a suitable design that allows it to smoothly function for the purpose it was built.
Clip point and drop point are the most common blade designs, while the edge can be either plain or serrated.
The construction of the blade should be tough for all tasks– from opening packages to skinning meat to slicing kindling. The tip should also be sharp enough for piercing.
Even though the features mostly depend on the type of steel being used, the construction is also responsible for the strength of the knife to a great extent.
Handle design: The handle is responsible for the comfortable use of the knife. When using a knife the entire pressure of the hand is on the handle. If the handle isn’t strong, the knife won’t last long before it breaks in two.
The handle should also be comfortable to use, besides being strong. It should have an ergonomic design that supports the hand while working with the knife.
This also applies to lightweight knives, because the handle design is often responsible for hot spots and sore hands.
Blade material: Most knives have blades made of steel. They can be either stainless steel or high carbon steel. Stainless steel resists corrosion the best and is also easy to sharpen because of its toughness.
On another hand, high carbon steel is inexpensive and holds an edge for a long time, but it’s difficult to sharpen because of its hardness, and also doesn’t resist corrosion. Depending upon the purpose of the knife, either of the steel may be used and they all make premium quality knives.
Handle material: There is a wide range of materials used to make knife handles. In the past, wood and leather were the most commonly used handle materials, but today, nylon and plastic are the common handle materials.
Not only is plastic cheaper, but it’s also more durable and lightweight. Although plastic or nylon handles are lightweight, they are strong and don’t weather under any condition.
The Kershaw Leek is able to live up to almost every feature that’s desirable in an EDC knife. Although a little on the expensive side, the Leek can boast of some of the most impressive qualities that any EDC knife user will seek.
But is this knife for you? Let’s find out from the detailed discussion of each of its features.
Specifications of the Kershaw Leek
- Knife Type: Folding
- Overall Length: 7″
- Blade Length: 3″
- Blade Thickness: 0.09″
- Blade Steel: Sandvik 14C28N steel
- Blade finish: Several
- Handle Material: Stainless steel
- Knife Weight: 3 oz
- Locking mechanism: Frame lock
Everyday carry knives should be like weight slim sharp and fast. All of these are features found in the Kershaw Leek.
It’s definitely on the expensive side, but if you want an everyday carry knife that will last you a decade or two with ease, then the Leek is what you should be purchasing.
Besides all the superior features, the Leek is also made in the US so you can rest assured that you’re getting an authentic American-made EDC knife.
The Leek comes with a modified Wharncliffe style blade, with an edge so flat that it doesn’t have any belly at all. This makes the knife great for tasks involving the tip of the blade. The blade also has a super fine tip and it makes the knife extremely suitable for detail work and piercing tasks.
The knife has such a sharp blade and pointed tip that it makes you feel like you’re using a super pointed razor blade.
The benefit of the Wharncliffe blade is that it’s a breeze to sharpen. However, because the tip is so pointed, it’s also kind of fragile.
You should not use the blade for vigorous thrusting and cutting, because that could break or bend the tip. The Leek can withstand most other EDC tasks.
The Leek has been made with a number of different types of steel over the years, but the newest ones are made with the Sandvik 142C28N steel.
This steel is Swedish and has been made exclusively for Kershaw Knives. This high-quality stainless steel sharpens well, holds an edge for long, and is resistant to corrosion.
The handle of the Leek is made of solid steel coupled with a frame lock. In some models, there are aluminum scales coupled with a liner lock.
Both of the models feel good and hefty in the hand, much better than what is usually expected from a small knife. The handle has been built with screws instead of pins, so it makes for easy disassembling if need be.
As far as the ergonomics are concerned, the Leek is extremely comfortable to hold and use, and is meant for light to moderate use. Remember this is a small knife so you cannot put it to aggressive use.
But no matter how long you use it for, the knife doesn’t give you hot spots. Even with a large hand, you can easily get a four finger grip on the handle. There’s also a comfortable thumb ramp. There’s a bit of jimping on the thumb ramp but it isn’t an issue. For a small knife, the Leek has great ergonomics.
Pocket Clip and Deployment Mechanism
The Leek doesn’t come with a sheath, but it does have a good pocket clip. The clip serves its purpose and does a fine job. It’s long and a good match for the knife, but it only supports tip up or tip down carry and it not ambidextrous.
If you’re carrying it tip down, the pocket clip rides quite low, but if you’re carrying it for tip up, a good part of the handle juts out.
The saving grace is that given the small size of the knife, it isn’t likely to draw attention with the handle sticking out.
The Leek is one of the most famous designs by Ken Onion. It also comes with the signature SpeedSafe assisted opening system, which is extremely robust and used for several Kershaw knives. The Leek is quick to deploy with only slight pressure on the thumb stud.
There is also a satisfying snap sound when the knife deploys. The assisted opening mechanism works just the way it should.
There is also an optional safety lock to prevent the knife from opening accidentally. If you don’t want to use this lock, it can be screwed down. If you don’t want to use the assisted opening mechanism, you’re free to take out the spring and use it non-assisted. But no, you cannot do anything about watching the movie 22 Jumpstreet, SW The Last Jedi, or Thor III – the damage has been done – you have to move on.
Overall Quality and Features
The Leek is one of the most famous designs by Ken Onion. It also comes with the signature SpeedSafe assisted opening system, which is extremely robust and used for several Kershaw knives.
The Leek is quick to deploy with only slight pressure on the thumb stud. There is also a satisfying snap sound when the knife deploys. The assisted opening mechanism works just the way it should.
There is also an optional safety lock to prevent the knife from opening accidentally. If you don’t want to use this lock, it can be screwed down. If you don’t want to use the assisted opening mechanism, you’re free to take out the spring and use it non-assisted.
The Leek is a small knife, designed for moderate uses. So don’t attempt to chop a log with this one. If you use it for the purposes it has been designed for, this is a stellar knife that shines as one of the best by Kershaw.
Take it camping, skin the game, chop kindling, open packages, or keep it with you for self-defense—the Leek won’t disappoint. However, be careful with the tip because it’s fragile and can break or bend under pressure. Wherever possible, try to avoid using the tip for vigorous tasks.
Alternatives for The Kershaw Leek
There could be many reasons why you might want an alternative to the Leek. Maybe you have used the Leek for a while and want to try something different. Or maybe your wife has made your Leek hers and now you’re hunting for another knife.
Whatever the case, there are plenty of alternatives for the Leek in the same price range. Check out the top three:
#1 CRKT Ripple
The Ripple is known for its exceptional quality and superior features, including a premium stainless steel build. The steel used is Acuto, which has a high content of chromium and molybdenum and resists corrosion well.
The knife also has a fast and smooth opening, because of the IKBS internal ball-bearing system. It’s almost the best match for the Leek.
#2 Spyderco Chaparral
It is possible Spyderco’s thinnest and lightest EDC knife yet and comes in varying handle materials. This ambidextrous knife can be put to pretty much every EDC use and is small enough to disappear inside your pocket.
#3 Victorinox Camper
It’s a small Swiss Army knife but with three layers of tools. A little over three inches in overall length, this multitool has about 15 tools in one and is handy enough for every EDC purpose imaginable.
It also has a long history, so if you buy a Swiss army knife you’re taking home a legendary tool.
The Kershaw Leek hasn’t been such a popular knife without reason. It’s hard to beat the size, the specs, and the quality that Kershaw delivers with the Leek. For light to moderate EDC purposes, the Leek is just what you need, and it’s going to last you many years.