Kai USA, the Japanese producer of this American design by Ken Kershaw, makes some good choices in this utility camo knife–as well as some that aren’t so good. Intended as an everyday companion for work or field use, features that we’ve come to see as standard in modern folders have been cut out, sometimes to advantage.
The Black Horse II shows us simplified construction, with a handle of RealTree camouflaged co-polymer, 4 7/8″ long when closed. The four finger grip is solid, but it wasn’t built like a battering ram. A single clip point stainless steel blade 3 3/4″ long is stout enough to serve as a light folding hunter’s blade. The opening system is the old style two handed method, which puts the Black Horse II back in the world of pocketknives, useful but not fancy. The lockback mechanism can be worked with one hand, so closure is simple.
Most knives of this type feature a pocket clip. If you need a workhorse knife you’ll be using an hour at a stretch, you may not like the way a clip grinds into your hand; the Black Horse comes with a nylon pouch sheath for your belt. That’s a very reasonable alternative that I wish more makers offered.
The down side of the Black Horse II includes the choice of steel–440A is ok, but not the best knife steel around. Actually it’s at the bottom of the list, and even a utility knife deserves better.