It’s a knife.
It’s an LED flashlight.
It’s the Coast LK375, and a lot of people still aren’t quite sure what to make of it yet. I’ve seen complaints that it’s too bulky and that there’s no need to combine these two products. Well, I’m not sure that there was ever a need to combine screwdrivers, pliers, and knives, but Leatherman multitools are still hugely popular. So maybe it’s time that we get away from what everyone else is saying and take a closer look at what the Coast LK375 actually is and where it can be useful.
The Coast Light Knife starts with a 7CR17 stainless steel blend. It’s ground to a partially serrated, single edge spear point. Okay, let’s get this out of the way first. 7Cr17 is similar to the 440A steel. It’s got a higher Vanadium concentration to it that increases hardness and tensile strength. It pulls a hardness rating of 55 – 57 HRC. The not so great news is that high end knife makers tend to stay away from this blend. However, we’re looking at a sub-$60 combination light and knife, not a high end EDC. Plus, this blade comes very well sharpened out of the box.
The blade is secured by a liner lock composed of stainless steel. Wrapped around that liner is a textured polycarbonate handle that doubles as the LED flashlight housing. The flashlight that ties into the Coast LK375 is powered by a single AAA battery and will push 110 lumens for about an hour and a half. The belt clip is a single position, tip down style on the left side as you hold it. The battery compartment is secured with a Phillip’s head screw. This is both good and bad. It’s good because the cover shouldn’t come off from a bump or jolt. The downside it that you’ll need a screwdriver to change out the battery on the fly.
The beam has a large hot spot with substantial corona and side spill. It has a fairly symmetrical throw that I was pleasantly surprised to find on this combination light and knife. Also a surprise, the beam is only slightly impeded with the blade deployed. It also makes for an excellent guide in low light situation whether you’re piercing with the tip, slicing with the plain edge, or tearing with the serrations. By clicking the light on, off, then on again, you’ll switch between low (29 lumens) and high intensity (110 lumens). This can also be achieved with a half click.
Now that we know what makes up the Coast LK375 Light Knife, let’s talk about what it is and what it isn’t. It seems that most folks out there are simply talking about they know from the knife industry without stepping outside their comfort zone with an open mind.
First, the Coast LK375 is not an EDC. Yes, it has the basic look of one, but that is not it’s function at all. Yes, it is bulky for the user that is used to a sleek EDC. Coast makes up for some of the bulk with handle contours that fit my hand very well and notches in the spine to help your thumb secure the grip.
One handed opening is possible with the Coast LK375. A large thumb hole helps in that regard. However with the light assembly on the right, one handed deployment will likely be easier for lefties. Personally, I resort to a two handed deployment as a right handed user.
So if it’s not an EDC, what is the Coast LK375 Light Knife?
There are two types of users that I can envision this light for: outdoorsmen and users that encounter low light cutting applications. For camping and hiking, it’s an excellent blend of two tools you should be carrying anyway. 110 lumens is enough to light your way and the edge design of the blade serves multiple uses. The IPX7 rating means that it can be submerged for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter of water without damage to the light. Rain is no big deal.
User that work in low light conditions such as electricians and HVAC pros will find a use for this model as well. While Klein All Purpose Pliers may still be the go to tool for wire stripping and cutting, the Coast Light Knife provides the light you need while using the blade for those applications.
So, yes, sometimes you need a dedicated flashlight and other times you need an EDC. For those times when both are required, I think a fair number of users out there will benefit from the Coast LK375 Light Knife.
Coast LK375 Light Knife Specs
- Blade Steel: 7Cr17 Stainless Steel
- Blade Style: Single Edge Spear Point with Partial Serration
- Overall Length: 8.5 inches
- Blade Length: 3.75 inches
- Power Source: 1 AAA battery (included)
- Output: 110 lumens/29 lumens
- Throw Distance: 53 meters (173 feet)/27 meters (88 feet)
- Run Time: 1.5 hours/4 hours
- Price: $58.99
- Warranty: Lifetime