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Kershaw Speed Safe

Updated on February 28, 2012

The Kershaw SpeedSafe is the name of a patented assisted opening mechanism that helps to deploy a folding knife with only one hand. The Speed Safe system was designed by Ken Onion, a recognized custom knife maker who designed several of the most famous Kershaw models.

The Speed Safe technology consists of a torsion bar that keeps the knife closed. To deploy the blade you have to apply manual pressure in a thumb stud or in a protrusion that sticks out at the back of the blade to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. Once that the blade is out of the handle the torsion bar takes over and deploy the knife smoothly. They call it Speed Safe because the torsion bar prevents that the knife opens in its own by accident.

Demostration of Kershaw Speed Safe: Boa

There are several advantages of knives featuring the Speed Safe system:

  • The Speed Safe system is less bulky than other assisted opening mechanisms out there.
  • A folding knife that can be opened with only one hand is safer than a knife that only opens with both hands. Think that in an emergency a hand could be injured or engage in other task.
  • They are legal almost everywhere. I am not a lawyer, so take the following as information only. Despite that the practical differences between a Switchblade and other forms of assisted opening knives are slight; from a legal point of view they are quite different. Here it is what Kershaw says about this:
SpeedSafeĀ® knives fall fully outside the Federal definition of a switchblade. However, due to the complexity and constantly changing nature of these laws and regulations, it is impossible for Kershaw Knives to be aware of every restriction in every location in which our knives are sold or carried. It is the responsibility of the buyer to investigate and comply with the laws and regulations that apply in his or her specific area.

Kershaw blur
Kershaw blur

Kershaw Ken Onion Blur Folding Knife

An excellent knife, robust and with a serious blade. Not surprisingly, the Blur is one of the best selling knives of Kershaw and Ken Onion. A fantastic edge and an even better grip make the blur a great choice to consider. The only downside is that the Blur is a little large for everyday carry.

Kershaw Leek black
Kershaw Leek black

Kershaw Leek

Another excellent folding knife by Kershaw. The Leek is a perfect knife for light duty and everyday carry. Its blade only measures 3 inches and the knife weights 3 oz. The blade is razor sharp out of the box and the design is really smart. I think the Leek is the Kershaw series with more handle styles and coatings. Whatever you want in a knife, probably there is a Leek that can satisfy you, there are many models to choose from, even pink!

Kershaw Boa with Speedsafe
Kershaw Boa with Speedsafe

Kershaw Boa

From an aesthetic point of view, the Boa is simply a beauty. It features a recurve blade with a black Tungsten DLC coating. This DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating is a thin tough protective shell that is scratch resistant and gives the Ken Onion Boa its devious look. There are two models available, with or without serrated blade. The only disadvantage of the Boa is that the recurve blade is a little difficult to sharpen, but you can always send any Kershaw to their facility in Oregon for a free re-sharpening. Yes they are made in the USA.


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