Kershaw Swerve: Quality Tactical Folder

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating since it is the focal point of this article. Not everyone can afford pricey tactical gear, and that includes pricey tactical knives.

With that being said, there can be no doubt that tactical knives that reside at the higher end of the price spectrum are beautiful tools. They do a great job, and like top-end luxury cars, impart a certain pride of ownership due to their usually well-deserved reputations. However, for those of us who may be hard pressed to drop a few hundo here and there on the high-end tools—not to mention being hard pressed to explain to the wife as to why we need a tactical blade in that price range—there are other workable options that more readily fit our wallet and marital status, yet still do a great job. The Kershaw Swerve Model 3850x is one such blade.

Manufactured for Kershaw through parent group KAI Ltd. in China, the Kershaw Swerve exhibits all the quality of Kershaw Blades that are manufactured in the USA. I have two other Kershaws, one of which is one of their USA blades, while the other is Chinese made. Both exhibit equal quality. Although I prefer USA-made products, I have found that if there is a quality-driven company like Kershaw in control of the offshore manufacturing process, then the quality is up to U.S. standards—but with a much lower price.

The Kershaw Swerve is a well thought out and executed design, and has all the features I personally prefer in a one-hand-opening tactical folding knife.

At its foundation, the Swerve features a 3-inch, 8Cr13MoV drop-point steel blade with a stonewashed finish and standard edge. While a serrated edge is very sharp and remains sharp longer than a standard edge, it requires special tools to re-sharpen. With a standard-edge blade, a basic whetstone suffices just fine for bringing the blade back to life. The “stonewashed” finish is low glare and silver in color and undoubtedly is cheaper than a highly polished or powder coat finish.

The Swerve’s blade features spring-assisted opening and utilizes an ambidextrous thumb stud or finger flipper to accomplish that task. If you are not familiar with spring-assisted blades, the mechanism utilizes an internal spring to continue opening the blade to the locked position after an initial push on either a thumb stud or the finger flipper. It is not considered (in most places) to be a “switchblade” since manual energy must first be employed before the spring takes over and finishes the cycle. In a true switchblade, there is no such manual energy required to open the blade. Once released with a push of a button, the spring manipulates the blade through the entire opening cycle. Pretty ridiculous difference, eh? That’s what happens when objects are “controlled” by legislation rather than behavior. The really funny part is that the Swerve opens just as quickly with the finger flipper as any fully automatic “switchblade,” and it costs about $80 (or more) less than one. The Swerve has no additional locking switch to keep it closed.

Once the Swerve’s blade is opened, the finger flipper switches functions from being an opening mechanism to a guard that keeps the index or pinkie holder from sliding forward onto the very sharp blade edge (which would be bad). The blade is held locked firmly in place by an interior liner lock. There is a very small amount of play when the blade is locked open—and I mean very small—which is to be expected in any knife in this price range.

The grips are nicely executed and are made of glass-filled nylon with the trademarked K-Texture surface for sure control. The texture is exactly as it sounds and is comprised of a series of the letter “k” that leaves no doubt as to the manufacturer of the Swerve. The “deep pocket” carry clip is reversible for lefties. Personally, I don’t use tactical knife clips, preferring to keep the knife entirely in my pocket to avoid drawing attention to it, just like I would with a Swiss Army knife.

I have been carrying my Swerve for over a week and have been using it for mundane cutting chores. It has served me nicely. It is well balanced, feels great in the hand, and opens very smoothly. I couldn’t ask for any better or smoother operating system. The Swerve’s reasonable size allows it to be carried all day without notice, which helps me more easily manage the other items (spare ammo, flashlight, keys) that I carry in my pockets.

The Kershaw Swerve has an MSRP of $39.99. However, I picked mine up for $29.95 at Vance Outdoors in Columbus, Ohio.

If you want a quality tactical folding knife—one that won’t break the bank or incur unwanted wrath—that will handle any reasonable chore you could ask of it, look no further than the Kershaw Swerve.


This article was originally posted by the United States Concealed Carry Association at

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