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October 21, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


Kershaw Agile Opens Up Options

Kershaw Agile
PTR Review
  • Build Quality 9.0
  • Ergonomics 9.0
  • Edge Sharpness 9.0
  • Edge Retention 7.0
  • Deployment 9.0
  • Value 8.0

The selling point with this particular knife centers around its capacity for customization. With three interchangeable backspacers, the Kershaw Agile aims to be everything to everyone.

Overall Score 8.5 (out of 10)

Obviously, some knives use better quality materials, and some knives function better than others. But, does the knife I’m carrying cut what I need it to cut? Do the folding mechanisms feel like they can handle just a bit of abuse without falling apart? Is the knife comfortable in my pocket? Is the knife affordable? If the answer is “yes” to all of these questions, I’ve figured that the knife is good enough, but who really cares about the rest of the details? If you’re just looking for another EDC, you might not. For knife enthusiasts like me, details matter, and there are plenty to consider on the Kershaw Agile.


The selling point with this particular knife centers around its capacity for customization. With three interchangeable backspacers, the Kershaw Agile aims to be everything to everyone. But, do these customization options improve the functionality, practicality, or overall value of the knife? Let’s take a look.

Options

The first talking point with the Kershaw Agile is about the 3 backspacer tool options. You have the choice of attaching a bottle opener, flathead screwdriver tip, a lanyard attachment, or using no attachment at all.

All of these options fit into the handle of the knife well. They flush up to the edge, and the single hex set screw holds them in place well enough that they don’t wobble around. Despite the lack of wobble, there is a small gap on either side of the spacer, but the backspacer butts up against a support post. This doesn’t affect functionality at all, and it isn’t really even visually unappealing.

One note about the hex screw: unless you’re very careful, you will drop it, and they’re small enough that you will lose them forever.

Kershaw Agile

Kershaw crafted two of the backspacers from what aluminum. The lanyard attachment is a plastic construction since it doesn’t need to take as much abuse. Possibly even more curious than that, however, is why the lanyard attachment is included at all. OSHA regulations will eventually require all tools to be tethered when working from height, but the screwdriver tip has a hole that can accommodate a lanyard anyway. I might prefer that the third attachment covered a different function altogether; a Phillips head might have been a better option here.

Build Quality

Kershaw Agile

As far as the quality of the knife goes, everything about the Kershaw Agile feels solid. Steel pins hold together the Steel frame. And, after using this knife as my EDC for about a month, nothing about the Agile feels shaky or wobbly. The pocket clip has a nice tension to it, and I haven’t had the knife creep its way out of my pocket. When the blade is deployed, the frame lock feature securely locks the blade into place with almost no blade wobble.

Ergonomics

Kershaw Agile

With a blade length of 2.75″ and an open length of 6.25″, the Kershaw Agile will fit probably fit best into smaller hands. The finger grooves are comfortable and positioned in the appropriate spots on the handle. However, folks with larger hands might find that this knife feels a little too small. With the blade closed, the Agile fits snuggly in the corner of my pocket. I’m in and out of my pocket a lot, and I barely register that it’s there until I need to use it.

From an ergonomic perspective, the lanyard attachment feels the most comfortable with the blade open. The heel of my hand wraps around the butt end of the handle comfortably with the lanyard option attached. The screwdriver tip feels a little more present, but none of the edges are sharp, and it doesn’t get in the way. The bottle opener is the worst offender in this respect. It doesn’t feel wildly uncomfortable on the heel of my hand while I’m using the blade, but it does feel a little obtrusive and distracting. None of the attachments cause enough discomfort to make it a deal-breaker, though.


Design

Kershaw Agile

Both the blade and the handle have a stonewash finish, which not only makes for an attractive knife, but it feels really nice too. The feel might even be my favorite feature of the Agile, believe it or not. Both the handle and the blade feel so smooth that they could be mistaken for being oily. This could be problematic in actual oily or wet conditions, but Kershaw has added a diamond plate texture on the handle that helps with gripping the handle. The spine of the blade has some thumb jimping as well, though the jimping feels a little rounded out compared to a more aggressive design.

Kershaw Agile

This knife also features 3-position pocket clip for those folks who have a strong preference. The clip can be repositioned on either side in the tip down position, or tip up for righties. Lefties to prefer the tip up position are out of luck.

Blade Features

The Kershaw Agile features a plain-edge blade crafted from the common mid-grade 8CR13MoV steel. This steel resists corrosion pretty well for its price point, although there are better quality steels available that excel in this department at higher price points. It’s easy to sharpen, and it holds an edge reasonably well. There’s good reason that it’s so popular as a blade material in this price range. Plus, the stonewash finish helps hide usage scratches.

Kershaw Agile

The Agile features a unique blade profile. It has a modified drop point with a plain edge, which doesn’t sound terribly unique. But, the blade of the Agile looks like it hasn’t quite decided what it wants to be. It looks like it could excel at piercing, but also has the edge area to make long graceful cuts. And there’s just a hint of Tanto in there. The uniqueness and functionality of the blade design adds to its appeal. 

Deployment

The Agile features SpeedSafe assisted opening. With the option of pulling back on the flipper or pushing one of the two available thumb studs, this blade opens smoothly and quickly with a satisfying click as the blade locks into place.

Final Thoughts

Kershaw Agile

Practicality is the name of the game with the Kershaw Agile, or at least, practicality is the intent. The swappable attachments open this knife up to some secondary applications, which could be helpful depending on your situation. It’s a good idea, but personally, I don’t find much use for any of the attachments aside from the screwdriver head. So, I doubt I’ll do a lot of swapping attachments out after this review. Perhaps other folks could make better use of the other attachment options, but my guess is that you’ll find the one you really like and stick with it.

Questions about the practicality of the attachments aside, I really like this little knife. The blade holds an edge reasonably well, and the Agile has a really solid build. As a guy who prefers to carry in the tip down position, I really like that I have the option of repositioning the pocket clip. From a purely tactile perspective, I really love the finish on the Kershaw Agile. It feels nice in my hand, and I find myself playing with it even when I don’t have a real reason to.

As far as value goes, the suggested retail price for the Kershaw Agile is $49.99, which is probably fair considering the build quality and the materials used. I have, however, found the Agile available at online retailers for close to $35 This price point really sweetens the deal and makes the Agile a viable option for my EDC knife.

Kershaw Agile Features

  • Rick Hinderer designKershaw Agile
  • Includes three interchangeable backspacer tools: bottle opener, flathead screwdriver, lanyard hole
  • SpeedSafe assisted opening
  • Frame lock
  • Flipper or thumb stud
  • 3-position pocket clip (left/right tip-up; left tip-down)

Kershaw Agile Specifications

  • Rick Hinderer design
  • Includes three interchangeable backspacer tools: bottle opener, flathead screwdriver, lanyard hole
  • SpeedSafe assisted opening
  • Frame lock
  • Flipper or thumb stud
  • 3-position pocket clip (left/right tip-up; left tip-down)
  • Steel: 8Cr13MoV, stonewashed finish
  • Handle: Steel, two-tone stonewashed/BlackWash finish
  • Blade length: 2.75 in. (7 cm)
  • Closed length: 3.5 in. (8.9 cm)
  • Open length: 6.25 in. (15.9 cm)
  • Weight: 3.9 oz. (110.5 g)
  • Price: $49.99  $25.41 (Amazon)
Kershaw Agile
Shop Amazon

 

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