Within days of the Kershaw Livewire’s launch, a wide range of opinions were expressed. Many were immediately enthusiastic, some even calling it the best OTF on the market. Unfortunately, there was also some negative feedback and criticism about the knife.
Personally I think Kershaw created a well made and thought out knife, that offers versatility as well as great ergonomics. Even in the highly competetive OTF market it found its place right next to other brands. Now the only question we wanna answer in this review is, is the Livewire the right choice for you?
Design and ergonomics
Now we get to the exciting part of this review, rarely do I have as much to say about the design of a knife as I do with the Livewire, let’s start with the general appearance, compared to most of the competition this knife stands out with a very round and handy shape.
In particular, the indentations in the lower part of the knife allow for an excellent and secure grip, which I think will be particularly appealing to newcomers to the knife scene.
If you hold the knife, ready to open the switch, you will notice that almost every single finger is supported by some design element of the knife. This makes it not only easy to hold, but also to control.
The aluminum scales on this Livewire knife are exquisitely crafted. The thin gaps and matte black color create a distinctive look. Upon closer inspection, some of the edges seem a little sharp, but they are hard to notice when the knife is in use. However, the screws are quite noticeable and do not blend in with the design of the knife.
Thin, but definitely not small
Kershaw has chosen a Spear Point blade for the livewire, I am aware that many would prefer a double edge blade on an OTF, but the Spear Point blade has its advantages, especially for finer work. So I’m quite happy with this decision from Kershaw.
The stonewashed blade also matches the look of the thumb slide for opening and closing the knife. This parts are also a nice match to the matte black scales.
Blade strength and Material
Its often not easy to tell how much a blade can survive before bending or breaking, but Kershaw has decided to use CPM 20CV as its blade steel. This steel is well known for its great edge retention and corrosion resistance, but it’s not a steel that likes to bend before breaking. So the Spearpoint form of the blade could be a problem.
So in this case I would say that bending is not something to worry about, but remember that the combination of these two characteristics increases the chances of tip breakage or edge chipping, if used for unintended purposes or dropped.
As with all OTFs, a bit of blade wobble is quite normal, in my collection the OTF with the least amount of this unwanted blade movement is my Microtech Exocet, but that knife has a much smaller blade so the comparison wouldn’t be fair.
The Livewire’s wobble is noticeable, but after some comparison with similarly sized OTFs, in my case three knives from the Microtech Ultratech line, I don’t see much difference. In fact, the Livewire beats one of them by showing a little less of that nasty wobble.
And I should note that the Kershaw is about a third cheaper than most premium OTFs, and for that price range it more than holds its own.
The Pocket Clip
Normally i am a big fan of deep-carry pocket clips, and the clip of the Kershaw Livewire would be an amazing example of the discrete look I am excited about. But the issue isn’t with the optic of this clip, It’s just too stiff to move it in and out the pocket easy. This is a huge deal if you like to access your knife fast or like your jean pockets in one piece.
Apart from that, the clip fits the knife quite well, and if you have the same problem as I do, you can try heating up the clip and carefully bending it a tiny bit to get rid of some of this stiffness.
OTF opening performance
The double-action automatic opening works so smooth, on the Livewire. I have this knife now for more than 2 months and used it regularily, I didn’t need to clean it once, and it doesn’t destroy the skin of my fingertips if I play around with it, unlike some of its competitors. Compared to the Ultratech the action feels just so much easier to operate.
Only time will tell if the action will stay that way, but for now it works really well.
For Kershaw’s first attempt at a double-action OTF the Livewire outperformed my hopes for this knife. If you want a lightweight and well made knife, the Livewire should be more than enough for all your daily EDC tasks, and this for about a third of the price of most premium OTF’s.
The Kizer Assassin is a well made pocket knife with a button lock that shines in everyday use, especially the high quality materials like the 154CM steel that stands out in this price range. After many weeks of carrying this knife, I am more than impressed with its build quality.