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Kershaw's Launch 1 automatic knife

Kershaw’s Launch 1 automatic knife.


The Inertia

If we play outside, then eventually, we’re going to need knives, whether it’s for cutting a block of surf wax in half to share with a friend, cutting veggies around the fire for cooking or even cleaning fish (to eat around said campfire). And Kershaw – a company that’s been building quality knives for over 45 years – makes some of the strongest blades in the business.

We staff tested the Launch 1 automatic knife, made in the company’s Tualatin, Oregon manufacturing facility. Now, before we start, laws surrounding automatic knives vary so you’re going to need to check local regulations. But this style of knife has some serious advantages to them: first and foremost is the ease with which they can be deployed. They’re the ultimate for pursuits like spearfishing or any sport where your hands are often occupied, really. It’s not always easy to pull the blade out of a knife with two hands underwater. Simply hit the little red button and the blade flips out allowing you to cut through kelp, line or anything else in your way (remember, when using your knife in water, dry thoroughly after and use a little oil, see these hints for upkeep).

Second, once they’re deployed they aren’t going to fold on you, they’re locked, and in the case of the Launch 1, set until you simply touch the low-profile push button, which releases the blade lock and allows you to bring it back into the handle.

And about that svelte handle: the Launch 1 features an extremely hardy metal grip built with anodized aluminum (key if you’re using it in salty environs) with finely-designed contours to fit in the palm of your hand.

Lest we forget about the powerful blade, created with Kershaw’s premium steel. The thing is sharp and holds a serious edge for cutting anything from rope to fruit to meat. Basically, it’s tough as nails. Plus it looks really good.

Automatic knives are making a serious comeback and Kershaw has them dialed with its easy-to-release system that is super sound, and super tough. The Launch 1 is an ideal blade for anyone doing nearly anything outside: car camping, fishing, hunting, backpacking, or splitboarding in the backcountry, it’s an easy, light, packable knife that won’t let you down.

Kershaw has a number of knives available in the Launch series. You can find more, here.

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