Kershaw Dividend Assisted Knife Review
The Kershaw Dividend is one of the newest folders from our friends at Kai USA – the company also responsible for Zero Tolerance knives. The Dividend will draw immediate comparisons to the Kershaw Leek. Generally speaking, it’s a pretty good comparison with only marginally larger sizing. There’s plenty to talk about with this new knife, so let’s jump right in.
The Kershaw Dividend features SpeedSafe assisted opening technology. Using a finger flipper rather than a thumb stud, the blade deploys quickly. The effort to engage the spring is pretty well dialed in. It’s easy enough to activate while at the same time, not so light that you’re likely to accidentally deploy the blade.
There’s no bearing to help smooth out the opening, but that’s why Kershaw uses spring assist in the first place. You still get fast deployment without the need to design a bearing system around the pivot. You’ll be able to feel the lack of a bearing when closing the blade, but you’ll still be able to open and close the knife easily with one hand.
The Kershaw Dividend uses a liner lock to secure the blade in an open position. This leaves the handle with a cleaner look than a frame lock. The liner lock on this model slides over to fully contact the blade and adds a measure of confidence. I own other knives where the liner doesn’t quite slide over all the way, leaving part of the edge hanging over and making me wonder if it will accidentally slip.
I tend to prefer a frame lock over a liner lock because of the amount of lock material that engages the blade. However, on a more lightweight knife like this, the liner lock is very effective and allows the design of the handle to avoid being broken up.
The Dividend moves away from the current trend of knives we’ve reviewed recently in that you have a four-position clip available. So whether you prefer left, right, tip-up, or tip-down carry, you’ll be able to install the clip where you like it.
The clip itself is Kershaw’s standard – not too flimsy and not too tough to clip to your pocket. It’s not a deep carry clip, so it will be noticeable that you are carrying a knife.
420HC Steel Blade
Kershaw decided to go with 420HC steel for the Dividend. This is an interesting move away from the 8Cr13MoV steel that tends to come on their mid-range knives. The major benefit of 420HC steel is that you can achieve a very fine edge easier than with many other steels. Of course, there’s a trade-off to go with that and it comes in the form of only mid-range edge retention.
Users that don’t mind – or even enjoy – the sharpening process will really like how sharp an edge the Dividend will take and the relative ease in putting it there.
Like the Leek, the Kershaw Dividend features a drop point style blade. It comes to a nice, sharp point that is excellent for piercing while a shallow belly still offers functional slicing duties. While the drop point is one of my favorite blade styles, the downside is that the piercing tip is more easily broken if the knife is abused or dropped on a hard surface.
Kershaw went with a stonewashed finish on this model. While this preserves the clean look of the knife, I’m curious how it would look if they went with their Blackwash finish instead – especially with the black clip and back spacer.
The gray (leaning toward gunmetal gray) handle is made from anodized aluminum. Its obvious curve makes for a comfortable grip in both standard and reverse holds. There’s a decorative back spacer made of glass filled nylon or some other plastic and a lanyard hole if you need it tethered.
One thing that is noticeably missing is jimping. There’s a little bit on the finger flipper which transforms into a finger guard when deployed but aside from that, there’s no other. It’s not that every knife needs to have significant jimping. However, users that like to carry for defensive purposes, tend to have sweaty hands, or work in environments where moisture is inevitable may want to steer toward something else.
Made in the USA
The Kershaw Dividend is made in the USA and as such, Kershaw has etched a flag representing that next to the clip. More than one person has asked me why they etched it on backward – but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. Just like on an American serviceman’s uniform, when the knife is moving forward the flag rolls out seemingly the wrong way on the right side. However, etching it in the “normal” orientation would indicate that the knife is moving backward in retreat – a completely unacceptable idea.
Clean Bearing-less Folder
The Kershaw Dividend is a fast opening, clean looking folding knife. The lack of a bearing is offset by Kershaw’s fast and efficient SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism and the clean look is thanks in part to the use of a liner lock.
Overall, the knife is lightweight and ergonomic. The 420HC steel drop point style blade can sharpen to a very fine edge, but trades off edge retention for relatively easy sharpening.
As far as improvements go, I’d like to see what this knife looks like with the Blackwash finish against its gray handle. I also wouldn’t mind swapping out for a deep carry clip. However, the fact that you can position the clip in four places will make a lot of users happy – particularly lefties.
The overall styling and size make this knife better suited as a gentlemen’s carry knife over a typical EDC. If you like the style but prefer something with a better grip, the Dividend also comes with a black glass filled nylon handle and texturing that is a better fit.
You can buy this knife for around $46.22. At the end of the day, the Kershaw Dividend isn’t going to be my go-to for days on the job site – I prefer my Zero Tolerance 0220 for that. However, this handy medium-sized folder is one of the first knives I go for when I leave the house for any other reason.
Kershaw Dividend Key Features
- Kershaw SpeedSafe assisted opening
- 4-position clip
- Finger flipper
- Liner Lock
- Made in the USA in Tualatin, Oregon
Kershaw Dividend Specifications
- Model: Kershaw 1812GRY
- Blade Material: 420HC Steel
- Finish: Stonewashed
- Style: Drop Point
- Blade Length: 3 inches
- Handle Material: Anodized aluminum
- Closed Length: 4.25 inches
- Open Length: 7.25 inches
- Weight: 2.8 ounces
- Price: $46.22