CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion Knife Review

CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion Knife Review

I always have a knife in my pocket. I have to, because I work in a place that is always needing a random tool or knife to open, pry, fix, or otherwise get into something or other. And sometimes I have to swap knives in between jobs or events, depending on what I’m doing. Since I’ve had been carrying the CRKT Shenanigan PPS, I haven’t swapped out for one of my other regular carry knives at all. This knife is basically the Power-player blade I didn’t think existed. The combination of two legendary knife makers (CRKT and Ken Onion) makes for one incredible knife.

CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion Knife Build Quality

As soon as I took the knife out of the box, I thought: “That’s going to be bigger than I want to carry” but I was in for a pleasant surprise. When folded, the CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion Knife is just a little over half an inch wide (0.6 inches), which felt impossibly slim clipped to my pocket. That and the combination of the smoothed edges of the handle makes you almost forget it’s clipped to the inside of my jeans… a huge plus for those of us who carry multiple tools on our belts and pockets all day long.

CRKT Shenanigan

I was shocked at how light it was when I first picked it up. At only 4.1 ounces, this knife is much lighter than my other “work” knives. The polyphenylene sulfide handle (which is where the “PPS” in the name comes from) is the reason this knife feels so light, yet so strong. The PPS handle features a no-slip checker pattern and index finger notching at the hilt that keeps the knife secure in your hand when you hold it and use it.

CRKT Shenanigan closed

CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion Knife Testing

While Ken Onion is known for his Assisted-Open or “Speed Safe” knives, the CRKT Shenanigan does not include or really need, this feature. What CRKT calls the “Blade Flipper” is more than enough to open the blade quickly. Being used to the speed safe, it took me a day or so to get the hang of the flipper, but now I can open the blade faster than some of my Assisted-Open knives. Since there is no mechanics to open the blade, other than your finger, there is no time lost disengaging a safety or lock before flicking the blade open. It also contributes to making this one of the lighter knives of this size that I’ve used.

CRKT Shenanigan blade

The blade is made of the AUS 8 steel, with a bead-blast finish, which means it’s smooth to the touch and supposedly easy to clean, though we found it to stain just as easily as polished finishes and even isopropyl alcohol didn’t get out some stains. The blade is also designed to be incredibly tough. Rated at a 58-59 HRC level, this blade is positioned in the third-highest class on CRKT’s toughness scale. The model I tested was the ‘Razor Sharp’ no serration version and it tore through all the packages, boxes, and containers I needed to open. I usually prefer the half serration blades, but didn’t find myself missing it at all while using this knife.

The stainless steel locking liner is a strip lock that is smooth and easy to disengage and saves on the overall weight of the Shenanigan. The one thing I wasn’t in love with was the single-position clip. While the pocket clip has held up well to scratches and scrapes while I’ve been reviewing it, I’ve slightly bent the clip outward, getting it caught on items I was lifting or moving. There’s also a hole at the bottom that you could tie the knife off to.

CRKT Shenanigan liner lock

With a list price of $59.99, I think Blade Magazine was correct when they named the CRKT Shenanigan PPS the Best Buy of The Year 2011 but that doesn’t mean you can’t find it cheaper. A quick Amazon search found brand new Shenanigan models for under $40.

CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion Knife


If you’re looking for a dependable, long-lasting everyday carry (EDK) knife at a minimal cost, and with an even smaller footprint, the CRKT Shenanigan PPS Ken Onion is your knife. The Ken Onion design and simplistic exactness of a CRKT knife radiate something similar to elegance that we wish was more common among all pocket knives. Because of its perfect balance, tough blade, and light handle, the performance and satisfaction level of this knife is very high. It’s really a near-flawless design and the overall sleekness really makes it an attractive value when you consider the street price. This Ken Onion/CRKT Shenanigan is worth every penny and we think you’ll want to replace whatever you’re currently carrying, with this practical, yet attractive knife.

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