Kershaw Launch 6 Automatic Knife
The automatic knife aka the switchblade got a bad rap much like assault rifles. Fear and a propaganda led to its ban in the mid 50’s. Like assault rifle bans, these laws are pretty ridiculous and have nothing to do with how dangerous these sorts of knives actually are. A switchblade is defined as a knife which open by hand pressure applied to a button, other device having a blade which opens automatically or also by operation of inertia or gravity. While these types of knives are highly restricted or prohibited, the common misconception is that they are completely illegal. There are, however, individual states that allow ownership. Now, who hasn’t been enamored by automatic knives since they were a little kid?
In terms of ease of deployment many flipper type folding knives approach the speed of use as switchblades. Heck, a big kitchen knife or a common garden machete can be much more deadly than any sort of pocket knife. Switchblades can be very useful if you only have one arm or are handicapped in one arm. If you are injured and can’t use one of your arms a switchblade can get you out of a jam, like let’s say you are in a car crash, have a broken arm and have to cut off your seatbelt to escape the wrecked car. My personal story is that many years ago, I was rappeling off of a cliff. Somehow my shirt got tangled up in the braking device, jamming it and leaving me dangling 50 feet above the ground. One of my arms was trapped in the tangled shirt. I could not open my folding knife to cut the shirt free. My only choice was to pull up on the rope, lifting my entire body weight with one arm in an awkward position and yank my arm free. The first time I tried, I slipped and my entire weight jammed the device more and to make matters worse, a chunk of my arm meat was now stuck in the device as well, ouch! Now it was do or die time and once again I had to lift my body up with one arm. In desperation, I yanked really hard and pulled my shirt loose. The trouble was I had to yank so hard it tore a chunk of my arm meat off in the device but it was my only option. Not only did this hurt like a mother and bleed like crazy but I have a nasty scar on my arm to this day. If I had the Kershaw Launch 6 I could have deployed it with one hand and carefully cut my way free of this predicament.
The Kershaw Launch 6 is a moderately priced at an MSRP of $169.99 auto pocket knife. It is a handily sized knife with a blade length of 3.75 inches, a folded length of 4.9 inches, and an overall length of 8.7 inches. The blade is a drop point with a thin profile making it decent for delicate work like skinning as well as general light to medium cutting chores. The blade is a little on the thin side and pointy for survival type or heavy duty outdoors use so this isn’t the knife to pry things with or to use for making camp or building a fire.
The knives scales are CNC machined out of aircraft aluminum and hard anodized black with built in finger reliefs and a glass breaking or skull pounding tip at the end of the handle. The overall look of the knife is sleek and lightweight, a graceful tool for defense and moderate cutting. We really like the knives overall looks.
With a push-button lock, there is no need for a liner beneath the scales which contributes to a light overall weight of 3.8 oz. Some styling features are machines into the sides of the scales which aid grip. We would have preferred a more aggressive finish on the sides to improve grip when slippery more. Both sides of the handle are drilled and tapped for setting up the clip to be right or left handed, a great feature. There is also a small hole for a lanyard if you wish to use one.
The clip is DLC coated black stainless steel but we’ll talk more about DLC later. The knife is held together with small torx fasteners. We hate torx head bolts and wish that small allen headed bolts could have been used instead. Torx heads strip easily and are harder to tighten or loosen like philips head screw. Torx bolts are a plague spreading through the gun industry and this knife has them. Made in America is proudly etched in the handle.
Because the knife doesn’t have to have liners, it is very thin in profile which goes along with the knives general sleekness. This drilled out looking styling feature is added on the knives top edge and it is purely for looks. We wish the knife had choiles or something along the top to improve grip and control. This would also help identify the edge away from the blade by feel better so you would not accidentally deploy the blade into your hand.
Great value and made in USA quality, good blade steel, clean, slim and sleek looks
Gives up some functionality as a tactical knife for looks, more of a personal preference, blade a little loose, has some blade bounce, is a little delicate for a utility or woods knife.