The Kershaw tactical knife called the Black Shallot at first looks a little too sleek if you’re accustomed to blocky, tactical knives. You won’t see the usual marks of a dependable knife — no cross-hatched handle slabs or overly heavy blade — but the dependability is still there.
One of the things I like best about the Kershaw Black Shallot is what it doesn’t have — there are no thumb studs on this blade. The Black Shallot uses Ken Onion’s patented one-handed opening system called Speed-Safe. A tab at the base of the blade projects above the handle when closed. Thumb pressure on the tab overcomes the initial locking resistance, freeing the blade. The spring-assisted mechanism then takes over, snapping the Shallot’s blade open and locking it with a strong frame-lock. Keep it clean and it’s the next best thing to an automatic knife. That’s why there are no thumb studs on the blade to catch on the work and limit the use of the cutting edge. Not everyone would be bothered by that little inconvenience, but in the Black Shallot, it’s not even there.
The Shallot’s 3-1/2-inch blade comes in either plain-edge or combo-serrated styles. Both types use Sandvik 14C28N high carbon stainless steel, ground with a slightly recurved edge. Keep the plain-edged version sharp and that slight hook will grab and sever rope and harness straps — as well as the serrated version — and do cleaner work.
If you prefer a serrated knife for the rough jobs, the serrations on the combo-edged version of the Shallot are enough to make sense. There’s only enough serration to make the option work well, leaving the rest of the blade clean-edged and useful. In the combo Shallot, all the teeth are in line and the same height, so there’s little snagging or skipping.
Even with the 410 stainless steel handle components, the Shallot only weighs 4.2 ounces. A closed length of 4-3/8 inches and a removable stainless steel clip make it a perfect fit for any pocket, uniform or not.
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