Kershaw Knives Review: The Kershaw Blur

In our very first Kershaw knives review, we’re going after the Kershaw Blur! We’re covering every nitty, gritty detail there is to know about this mid-to-high-end folding pocket knife, so buckle in! 

6/2/2022: we’ve updated this article to reflect our experience using this knife as part of our everyday carry for the past two months!

Table of Contents

Click on any of the links below to jump to the desired section!

  1. History of Kershaw Knives
    1. Kershaw Is Owned by Kai USA
    2. Kai USA Also Owns Zero Tolerance Knives
  2. Who Makes Kershaw Knives (and Where)?
    1. First, Where Is Kershaw Based Today?
    2. So, Most Kershaw Knives Are Made in…
  3. General Speaking, Are Kershaw Knives Good?
  4. Knife Spotlight: The Kershaw Blur — Specifications & Overview
    1. The Kershaw Blur Is Made in…
    2. Obviously, It’s a Folding Pocket Knife
    3. The Blur Uses an Assisted Opening System…
    4. It Comes in 2 Blade Styles: Drop Point or Tanto…
      1. …With a Straight-Edge or Combo Edge
    5. Most Options Use Sandvik for the Blade Steel…
      1. Blade Finish Options
    6. The Blur Has an Aluminum Handle…
    7. Optional: A Carbide Glass Breaker
    8. Additional Kershaw Blur Features
  5. How Much Does a Kershaw Blur Cost? It Depends!
  6. Knife Spotlight: Kershaw Blur Review
    1. Overall Durability
    2. Edge Retention and Sharpness
    3. Style
    4. Functionality
    5. Ergonomics
    6. Price-to-Value Ratio
    7. Customer Ratings
    8. Bonus: Kershaw’s Warranty and Blade Replacement Policy Are Solid
  7. Is the Kershaw Blur Good for Everyday Carry?
  8. Is the Kershaw Blur Good for Camping?
  9. Overall Verdict
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History of Kershaw Knives

Kershaw has been around for decades. In 1974, Pete Kershaw founded the company in Lake Oswego, Oregon. 

Kershaw Is Owned by Kai USA

Looking for a strong backer to take an otherwise small company to the national stage, Kershaw partnered with the Japanese company, Kai—and the groundwork for Kai USA was established. 

Since then, Kershaw has built a solid reputation as a medium-to-high-end knife brand.

Kershaw Blur in the box.
Kershaw knives tend to come in simple boxes.

Kai USA Also Owns Zero Tolerance Knives

If you’ve ever noticed that Zero Tolerance knives use similar tech as Kershaw knives, it’s because they’re both owned by Kai USA! 

Zero Tolerance is more geared towards the professional market—namely military and law enforcement—but most of their products can be purchased by civilians, too.

Bonus Spotlight: The Zero Tolerance 0223 is a pricey but badass multi-purpose manual folding knife equipped with a high-quality, water-resistant CPM 20cv blade. It’s excellent for fieldwork, even in consistently wet or humid conditions, holds its edge well, and is supremely hardy.

Who Makes Kershaw Knives (and Where)?

Whether you’re out in the field or taking care of everyday tasks, you want your tools to be reliable, obviously. And where your tools are made can be a huge indicator of how well you can expect them to perform. 

So, where are Kershaw knives made today?

First, Where Is Kershaw Based Today?

Kershaw Blur in the box. A "made in USA" decal is visible.
Most Kershaw knives are made in the USA.

Kershaw and Kai USA are still based in Oregon. The brand carries out all of its research and development at its Tualatin center.

So, Most Kershaw Knives Are Made in the USA

More importantly, most Kershaw knives are made in the USA at the very same Tualatin facility in Oregon. However, a handful of their budget products are made overseas, most notably in China. 

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General Speaking, Are Kershaw Knives Good?

Absolutely! There are knife brands out there that are generally regarded as better than Kershaw. However, in our experience, Kershaw makes outstanding products that are built to last and offer exceptional value. 

Knife Spotlight: The Kershaw Blur — Specifications & Overview

Side view of an unopened Kershaw Blur
We have the glass breaker Kershaw Blur!

While there are a ton of different Kershaw knives on the market today, we’re talking about one in particular: the Kershaw Blur. 

A little overview: The Blur is one of Kershaw’s top products because of its versatility and value. First, we’ll explain its core features; then, we’ll review its performance and design (or feel free to click here to skip right to the review portion!).

The Kershaw Blur Is Made in the USA

Like all premium Kershaw knives, the Blur is made in Tualatin, Oregon—the same facility where it was first designed by Ken Onion. 

Obviously, It’s a Folding Pocket Knife

No surprises here, the Kershaw Blur is a folding pocket knife equipped with a 3.4” (8.6cm) blade. The handle is slightly longer, at about 4.5” (about 11.5cm). Overall, the design is highly compact and intended for everyday carry use as well as heavy-duty purposes.

Side-view of a Kershaw Blur. The clip is visible and the word "Kershaw" is faintly visible.
Here you can faintly see the Kershaw logo.

The Blur Uses an Assisted Opening System (i.e., Kershaw SpeedSafe)

A little background first: in the late 1990s, Kershaw invented its patented SpeedSafe system. When stowed, a torsion bar helps keep the knife closed. When activated, the same torsion bar adds to the pressure placed on the thumb stud, offering a crisp and lightning-quick assisted opening. 

The Kershaw Blur uses this very system!

Check out Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening system in action!

It Comes in 2 Blade Styles: Drop Point or Tanto…

The Kershaw Blur offers two blade styles:

  • Drop point blades are widely considered the “standard” option for modern pocket knives. The Kershaw Blur uses a recurve drop point design that slightly bends the tip of the blade away from the wielder (it’s vaguely reminiscent of a classic machete blade but in a much smaller package). 
  • Tanto blades, at least as far as folding knives are concerned, are much more rectangular with a prominent “stabbing point” at the end.
Top: Kershaw Blur with a drop point blade.
Bottom: Kershaw Blur with a tanto blade.

Our take: choosing between a drop point or tanto blade doesn’t dramatically affect the performance of the blade. In theory, drop point blades are better at slicing tasks because of their curved belly while Tantos are intended for stabbing actions, first. However, we’re not convinced this applies to relatively shorter blades like the Blur. 

In other words, choosing between a tanto blade or drop point is more about style than anything else (and there’s nothing wrong with that).

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…With a Straight-Edge or Combo Edge

What does matter is the type of edge you pick for your Kershaw Blur. For both versions (tanto or drop point), you can pick a full straight-edge blade or a combo edge that replaces the first third of the blade with a serrated edge (the other ⅔” still has a straight edge).

If you find yourself cutting ropes or cords all the time, the combo edge version might make more sense as it’ll quickly work through fibrous materials. Just keep in mind that serrated edges are a little harder to sharpen.

Kershaw Blur with its drop point combo edge exposed
Kershaw Blur with a cerakote finish, Sandvik blade, and combo edge.

Most Options Use Sandvik for the Blade Steel, but Kershaw Sells an S30V Blur Too

Like most Kershaw knives, all but a couple versions of the Blur use 14C28N Sandvik Swedish steel. This type of steel offers a combination of excellent edge retention, above-average corrosion resistance, and great hardness in a surprisingly affordable package. There are better steels out there, but few offer the same benefits as Sandvik without significantly upping the price.

If you absolutely need to have the very best, though, there are S30V versions of the Blur that offers slightly improved performance for a small price bump.

Blade Finish Options: Blackwash, Stonewash, or Black Cerakote

The Sandvik version of the Kershaw Blur offers three finish options: black cerakote, blackwash, and (non-reflective) stonewash. The cerakote option offers better corrosion resistance but is relatively susceptible to scratches. The wash options hide scratches better.

Note: currently, the S30V version of the Blur only offers the stonewash coating.

The Blur Has an Aluminum Handle With Trac-Tec Inserts for a Better Grip

All versions of the Kershaw Blur are equipped with an anodized 6061-T6 aluminum handle and “Trac-Tec” inserts, which offer a non-slip grip.

Closeup photo of a Kershaw Blur with attached glass breaker
Kershaw Blur glass breaker

Currently, Blur handles only come in a black or navy-blue finish. However, you may be able to find discontinued royal blue, OD, or camo options if you look online. It’s also possible that Kershaw will release new colors in the future.

Note: when we asked the community on Reddit, one Redditor noted that the Trac-Tec inserts wore down on his suit pants. We haven’t really experienced this problem ourselves, but their solution was to sand down the inserts, which kept the grip non-slip but less abrasive.

Optional: A Carbide Glass Breaker

Kershaw makes one version of the Blur that comes equipped with a tiny carbide glass breaker on the handle (away from the blade-end). 

If you’re curious, glass breakers are typically designed for breaking out of overturned or trapped vehicles but they can be useful in a wide variety of applications.

The one that’s embedded on the Blur is fairly small, but it works as advertised. Unfortunately, the glass breaker only seems to be available with the all-black, drop point version of the Blur.

If you want a tanto blade, S30V steel, or full straight-edge, you’ll have to skip the glass breaker.

Additional Kershaw Blur Features

So, what other features does the Kershaw Blur offer?

  • There are two small lanyard holes on the tip of the handle (away from the blade).
  • A reversible deep-carry clip to suit your carry style.
  • An adjustable blade (use a torx bit, not an allen wrench).
  • And an inset liner lock that keeps the blade (and you) safe.

How Much Does a Kershaw Blur Cost? It Depends!

Kershaw knives are known for being relatively affordable compared to many other premium knife brands. We looked through a lot of listings and it seems you can find Kershaw Blur’s going for as little as $60 to as much as $130 on average. 

There are a few key factors to consider, though. If you buy direct from Kershaw (or Kai USA), you’ll pay the MSRP price, which is towards the higher end of the spectrum. However, we’ve found that the knives are much more affordable on Amazon and through local dealers because these stores buy Kershaw knives in bulk (and can thus charge less).

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Knife Spotlight: Kershaw Blur Review

Now that the specs are out of the way, let’s get to the review!

As of this writing, we’ve now had our Kershaw Blur for about two months (this is our first update). Over time, we may make additional adjustments to our ratings to account for new experiences. However, also keep in mind that we also base our reviews off of countless hours of research and community feedback! 

The Version We Have: The Sandvik Blur (Drop Point, Combo-Edge, Cerakote Finish)

Overall Durability: 4.75/5

Within the first week of owning our Blur we performed exactly one drop test—on concrete pavement—and the handle wasn’t even scratched (okay, we accidentally dropped it, but the point still stands! Literally). The blade wasn’t extended so it was perfectly protected.

Several months later, and we’re still very happy with the durability of this knife. We fully expected the cerakote finish to start wearing down with consistent use, but the blade still looks and feels new. The handle and carry clip show a little bit of wear and tear, but nothing that makes us concerned.

We still expect the cerakote to show scratches over time (it’s inevitable), but we’re much more confident in the coating than we were when we bought the knife.

Anyway, we still find absolutely no faults in the Blur’s design as far as durability’s concerned. Kershaw knives are built for outdoor use (like camping), and it shows in the quality and craftsmanship of this knife too!

Edge Retention and Sharpness: 5/5

Top-down view of the Kershaw blur with its combo edge exposed
Kershaw Blur with a drop point, combo edge.

Okay, a few of you Benchmade or Spyderco nerds are going to argue that Sandvik steel loses its edge with frequent use—and that’s true—but we’re giving the Kershaw Blur exceptional marks for edge retention because this knife can be found for as little as $60–$70! 

However: we’re now two months in and our Blur is still super sharp. For you connoisseurs out there, it still shaves arm hair like a straight razor. We still haven’t bothered to sharpen it ourselves because, well, we haven’t felt the need.

Now, to be fair, we do expect to do some sharpening at some point in the future. But this Kershaw knife far outperforms your Bass Pro Gerber knives despite (relatively) similar price points.

Best of all, and according to all the reviews and community posts we looked through, the Blur is easy to sharpen when it does need it.

Overall, we’re extremely happy with the performance of this knife so far. It’s become our true go-to for everything knife-related.

A Kershaw Blur on its side with the deep carry clip visible. The knife has a tanto combo-edge
Here’s a better view of a Kershaw Blur tanto we sent as a gift! (Photo: Mike Southards)

Style: 5/5

Okay, so style is absolutely in the eye of the beholder, but we love the style of the Kershaw Blur. It’s compact, sleek, and sexy. It looks as good as it feels! The black finish and handle are professional, never flashy (which may be a knock to some), and fit well with most styles.

Functionality: 4.75/5

We’ve used our Blur extensively, and like all Kershaw knives, the Blur handles everyday tasks like butter! The assisted open feels crisp and hasn’t once failed (after 100s, if not 1,000s of opens). 

Additionally, the Blur is light. Like, surprisingly so (it only weighs about 4oz). But it doesn’t feel cheaply made or flimsy. After testing our Blur in the field, we’re very confident in its ability to handle any knife-worthy tasks while camping, hiking, and so on.

Our Preferred Version: the glass breaker Blur is only about $10 more (on average) than the standard version and also features a more versatile combo blade. While some buyers prefer straight-edge knives, we find that the addition of a serrated edge is immensely more helpful for field use.

Note: if you’re looking for something more versatile, check out our Victorinox Spartan review. While not a true multi-tool, the Spartan brings slightly more to the table at the cost of a smaller blade.

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Ergonomics: 4.75/5 (or 4.25/5 for the Glass Breaker Option)

Holding the Kershaw Blur feels great! 

The Trac-Tec grip is coarse but doesn’t feel abrasive and the anodized aluminum handle doesn’t seem to get too cold (which is nice in freezing or near-freezing temperatures). It’s easy to forget the knife is in your pocket (clipped or loose) because it has such a small profile, but this doesn’t come at the expense of functionality.

If we had to point out a flaw, the optional glass breaker is pokey but not overtly sharp. Also, it’s not just there for looks; it actually works (but we wish we found out a different way):

“When I was putting my phone in my pocket, the glass breaker lightly tapped my screen and completely shattered it. Luckily, I had a screen protector, so the phone was fine. But this is something to consider if you’re debating between the normal version and the glass breaker version of the Blur.”

-Christian, Editor

We should note that it’s easy to reverse the deep carry clip so the glass breaker points into your pocket rather than your hand.

top-down view of the Kershaw Blur from a distance
Kershaw Blur

Price-to-Value Ratio: 5/5

Finding a high-end knife that uses anything but mediocre stainless steel or Chinese 8CR13MOV steel for under $80 can be difficult. The Kershaw Blur follows the trend of other Kershaw knives by offering great value for the price.

Sure, there are better knives out there, but you’ll likely spend two or three times as much on them.

Sidenote: if you want something that’s just a tad less expensive without sacrificing too much in heft or performance, check out our CIVIVI Elementum review.

Customer Reviews: Widely Positive!

Kershaw knives are well regarded, and the Blur is at least partially responsible for that reputation. We checked through 1,000s of Kershaw Blur reviews all over the internet and the vast majority love the knife.

To date, we haven’t noticed any common themes in the (few) poor reviews these knives receive. However, in doing our due diligence, we’ll update this post if we feel otherwise in the future.

an open Kershaw Blur with the tanto edge exposed
Opposing view of the tanto Blur we mentioned above. (Photo: Mike Southards)

Bonus: Kershaw’s Warranty and Blade Replacement Policy Are Solid

Finally, all Kershaw Knives (including the Blur) come with an excellent lifetime limited warranty policy

We won’t dive into the details (click the link above, if you’re curious), but manufacturing defects are covered throughout the lifetime of the original owner. Plus, Kershaw offers free blade sharpening (if you don’t want to do it yourself) and $25 replacement blades for non-discontinued knives.

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Kershaw Knives Review: Is the Kershaw Blur Good for Everyday Carry?

The Kershaw Blur is made for everyday carry and serves that function perfectly. As of yet, we haven’t encountered a single knife-worthy task that the Blur couldn’t perform. 

Side-view of the Kershaw blur with the glass breaker and deep carry clip exposed
Our glassbreaker Kerhsaw Blur.

Our editor keeps the Blur as part of his everyday carry along with his Trayvax wallet (see our Trayvax wallet reviews!).

Sidenote: check out our beginner’s guide if you’re not sure what everyday carry is

Kershaw Knives Review: Is the Kershaw Blur Good for Camping?

The Kershaw Blur is intended for everyday carry use but there’s no reason it can’t be used for common camping tasks that require a knife. In fact, we plan on taking the Blur next time we go camping in Carrizo Plain

However, if you go camping or hunting regularly, you might want to consider a bigger fixed blade knife that can handle heavy-duty tasks with ease. Remember, the Blur only has a 3.4” blade. Something like a USMC KA-BAR knife makes sense (and check out our USMC KA-BAR review too), but there are plenty of options on the market.

Of course, that doesn’t mean your Blur can’t tag along for more ordinary tasks!

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Overall Verdict: The Kershaw Blur Is an Amazing Knife for the Price

What else is there to say? 

Like many Kershaw knives, the Blur is a fantastic knife that performs above its price range. Better knives exist, but they’re going to cost way more, and the performance difference is going to be minimal for the average buyer.

If you want an affordable but highly functional knife for everyday carry, you can’t go wrong with the Kershaw Blur!

If you have a Blur, let us know about your experience! If you think it’s something we should include in our article, we’ll feature your feedback in our next update!

The operators of Renegade Camping may receive a commission for purchases made through links on our site. But that doesn’t mean we’re shilling random crap! We thoroughly research and/or own all the products we review on our website. We want to build unshakeable trust with our readers, and that means offering honest, transparent reviews and guides. Cheers!

– The Renegade Camping & EDC team

Other Kershaw Products We Plan on Reviewing…

Additional Articles

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