Kershaw Launch 7 Automatic Knife Review
With the Kershaw Launch 7 automatic knife, you get performance and value. An automatic opening blade that is easy to use at the cost of some EDC knives.
When I first saw pictures of Kershaw’s newest automatic, the Launch 7, I was intrigued. Pioneering bladesmith Tim Galyean designed the Kershaw Launch 7 automatic, and if you know his work, you could probably pick this one out of a line up. For me though, the traditional clip point style blade seemed to be somewhat at odds with its angular, almost industrial looking handle. I had trouble reconciling the various recesses carved out of the aluminum grip with the elegant simplicity of the CPM-154 steel. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure I appreciated the eclectic dichotomy of the Launch 7’s aesthetics (no offense, Mr. Galyean), but I knew I wanted to get my hands on one.
Unboxing The Kershaw Launch 7 Automatic
Upon unboxing the Launch 7, my attitude solidified quickly. Whatever commotion had stirred in my head over the styling was now calm and irrelevant. This is an impressive knife. There’s a reason the names Kershaw and Tim Galyean resonate in the knife world. The Launch 7 is an American made knife that has an action, a balance and a fit and finish that are to be respected.
As far as side opening automatics are concerned, there’s no simpler action than that of the Kershaw Launch 7 automatic. It has no safety switches or separate lock releases; the one button releases the blade and allows it to be closed. The button protrudes almost indiscernible beyond the plane of the handle, which makes the chance of accidental deployment virtually nonexistent. Pressing it releases the blade and then locks it firmly into the open position. The spring action is strong and consistent throughout the swing of the blade, so short of an obstruction, it isn’t possible for the blade to be only partially opened.
Form, Feel and Features
Whether open or closed, the Launch 7 feels great in the hand. It’s a lightweight at 3.2 ounces, and it’s balanced in a way that just makes you want to hold onto it. No, really. It makes my hand smile a little bit. Opened, it’s balanced almost perfectly at the handle’s finger groove, and it feels almost weightless.
Every Day Carry (EDC)
The Launch 7 rides nicely in the pocket, too, left or right. It only exposes about a thumbnail size span at the butt end. With a 3.75” blade, it’s at the larger end of the EDC spectrum, but its shape, thinness and balance make it feel almost as small as a Leek in your pocket. Of course it should go without saying that you definitely need to verify the legal ramifications of owning and/or carrying an automatic knife in your locale before doing either.
Build quality of the Kershaw Launch 7 automatic is solid, like a well fit tool. The CPM-154 blade centers spot on when closed and completely wobble free when open. The aluminum scales have smooth details, and though there is no texture to add grip, the shape of the handle naturally wants to stay in your hand. On most knives that have a backspacer, it’s flush with the scales. The 7’s starts out that way at either end, but for most of its span, it fills a cutout in the scales, so as to integrate it into the gripped surface. Add in one of Kershaw’s ever-sturdy, tight fitting pocket clips and you have a very snug knife indeed.
Knives And States
Before carrying an automatic blade, we highly recommend you understand what your state allows. One place to check is the America Knife and Tool Institute (AKTI). You can choose your state, and the site will give you Quick Legal Facts, as well as the finer details. Do your research to ensure you understand your rights and the law.
Cut To The Chase
It’s somehow hard for me to think of the Launch 7 as an automatic knife, despite its impressive showing as such. Maybe it’s the old term switchblade that keeps hanging me up. The Launch 7 is really just a great EDC that just feels too right to be illegal in some places. If you’re in an area where automatics are allowed, I definitely recommend you give the Launch 7 a try!
As an automatic knife, the Kershaw Launch 7 automatic is available only through Kershaw authorized dealers. Click here to find your nearest dealer.