U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)– It's tough for reviewers to keep pace with Kershaw's prodigious release schedule, even more so when knives aren't the websites only focus. The Tualitin, Oregon based company releases a slew of new products annually, spanning from EDC to tactical blades and even fillet knives. Today I'm writing up my evaluation on one of Kershaw's new-to-2019 EDC folders, the Decibel.
The Decibel is certainly eye-catching, with the dark gray of the titanium-carbo-nitride finish being offset by blue anodized accents. Likewise, the Wharncliffe blade shape and handle cut-outs are distinctive additions to a memorable appearance. Let's take a look at the guts of the Decibel, with tech specs as provided by Kershaw.
- Manual opening
- Thumb stud
- Frame lock
- Reversible pocket clip (right/left, tip-up)
- Custom pivot cap, handle window
- Steel: 8Cr13MoV, titanium carbo-nitride coating
- Handle: Stainless steel, titanium carbo-nitride coating
- Blade Length: 3 in. (7.6 cm)
- Closed Length: 3.75 in. (9.6 cm)
- Overall Length: 6.6 in. (16.8 cm)
- Weight: 2.9 oz. (83 g)
So what we've got here is a diminutive pocket-folding, utility EDC with a definite Sci-fi edge. First, I want to cover the things I love about the Decibel.
- The Decibel is light. Saying “2.9 ounces” doesn't do it justice. It's barely there. Ditch the pocket clip and I could practically stow it in my wallet.
- The pocket clip is very firm. This isn't a defensive blade so much as a convenient tool, so there's less need to draw it in a big hurry. I'd rather have it stay exactly where I left it. Being reversible is a nice plus as well. The Decibel also rides nice and low in the pocket.
- The blade comes from the factory sharpened very well, which is typical of Kershaw. Their blades are consistently among the sharpest factory edges I encounter. After a good bit of use as a utility knife in the shop, the Decibel still packs a well-honed edge.
- The titanium carbo-nitride coating is a really durable choice. Good lubricity, wear resistance, chemical resistance, and corrosion resistance. Plus, it looks good.
- 8Cr13MoV stainless steel is among my favorite steels for EDC knives. It sharpens well, sharpens easily, resists nearly everything under the sun and isn't expensive. I don't baby my EDC knives, I choose durable products that can handle rough-use and sporadic maintenance.
The Decibel, however, falls short in a couple of areas. Mostly it's two small problems that both affect grip, and when combined make a bigger problem. Numbers 1 and 2 are really 1A and 1B.
- The handle is short. I know this is a small knife and thus has a short handle. It's a minor issue that medium-to-large handed folks will have a small quibble with unless combined with…
- A thumb stud is used to open the Decibel. A Speedsafe flipper would have been a better choice, as it doesn't necessitate choking down on the handle to get leverage under the thumb stud. Holding the Decibel for use is fine, but adjusting my hand downwards to torque the blade outputs my hand too low for comfort.
- Being so short and having a stiff pivot pin exacerbates the fact that the thumb stud isn't really far enough down the blade for optimal leverage. I'm left putting an unusual amount of force into the thumb stud for such a small, light blade.
Worth noting is that the Decibel's handle isn't so short that it presents a danger of being dropped, just a discomfort for someone like me with wide hands.
Taking all things into consideration, the Kershaw Decibel is a good knife in a small package, especially if you have small-to-medium-sized hands. For those with wider hands, you may be more drawn to something like the Boilermaker. While the MSRP on the Decibel is $65.99, the street price is more like ~$37. Not a bad price for a solid utility-EDC blade.
About Rex Nanorum
Rex Nanorum is an Alaskan Expatriate living in Oregon with his wife and kids. Growing up on commercial fishing vessels, he found his next adventure with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt. After 5 tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, he adventured about the west coast becoming a commercial fisheries and salvage SCUBA diver, rated helicopter pilot instructor (CFII) and personal trainer, before becoming a gear reviewer and writer.”