Reviewed 04/16/2010 by jthomas
-Price Paid: N/A
-Used for Every Day Carry
-Owned for Less than 1 Month
Well, here are some opinions on the Kershaw Ram... I've had quite a few Kershaws run through my hands here lately, and have been uniformly impressed with nothing to really fault any of them with. I think I may sound like a broken record... "love it, love it, great knife, great knife...". Well, as far as the Ram goes, I love it, it is a great knife.
First off, it is a bit smaller than I thought it would be. I had read the specs (3 1/8" blade, 4 3/8" closed overall) but it was still smaller than I had envisioned it. It is also very, very lightweight, coming in at 3.8 ounces. The Kershaw website says the blade steel is 13C26, and the 2010 catalog says 14C28. Mine has a 'born on' date of Sept. 08, so I am assuming I have the 13C26 version, but I have had very good experiences with the 131C26 from Kershaw (takes a keen edge, touches up easily). The frame is 6061-T6 aluminum, anodized, and the handles are G10 overlays that do not cover the entire frame. The clip is TU/TD for RH carry, or TD for the wrong-handed carry.
First off, my dislikes. I have the coated blade, and I wish that the unfinished components of the knife were black as well. The stop pin, thumbstud(ettes), clip, female half of the blade pivot and the part of the lock that you can see through the handle stick out like a diamond in a goat's derriere to my eye.
That is it for the things I don't like....
The lock is the Hawk lock, and I think it is pretty awesome. When the knife is closed it provides tension to keep the blade closed, much like a detent. When open the knife locks up solidly as one would expect. Zero blade-play in any direction. When the blade is open, releasing the lock allows the blade to swing closed almost like an axis or arc lock, and conversely, when closed, pulling the lock to the rear allows the blade to be swung open in the same manner. The beauty of this lock, IMHO, is that when closed, if you used the flipper with a little pre-load before letting it go, the tension on the lock helps the blade open. It won't work really without some pre-load on the finger, but the resulting action is extremely solid, fast and pleasing. It even sounds cool. The thumb stud(ettes) are good for opening the knife with the thumb, but only slowly in my case. The are too small for rapid deployment, but this knife is meant to be a flipper. There was also a little learning curve in that my thumb wants to set directly on the lock button when using the flipper, and if you restrict the movement of the lock the flipping action doesn't work. A tiny bit of practice overcame this and it wasn't an issue. The ergonomics are great. There is jimping on the spine of the blade for thumb placement, and jimping in the finger choil on the front of the ricasso, and these allow you to choke up on the handle if need be. If using the choil this is a four finger knife for me, moving the band back makes it a three finger knife. The handle shape is great, and the G10 is either the smoothest grippy G10, or the grippiest smooth G10 I have ever seen. It is perfect for grip and ease of deployment. (that being said, I am still ordering custom scales for it, but just for aesthetics, not because of lack of functionality). There is also a smallish lanyard hole.
Fit and Finish... well, the standard Kershaw stuff. Everything seems as it should be, nothing to complain about. The blade was shaving sharp... not hair poppin sharp, but shaving sharp. The blade shape is good, a modified drop point with a high grind that is probably a pretty good slicer (haven't sliced anything with it yet). The clip in the TURH position allows about 3/8" of knife to show above the pocket, which isn't bad. The frame is an extremely open build, with no back spacers or such things, so keeping it clean should be very easy. I don't know much about earlier versions of the knife, but it seems that I had read about earlier Rams having a one-sided grind (maybe a chisel or unequal sabre grind of some sort) but mine doesn't.... it is 'normal'.
All in all, I think that the designers (G and G Hawk) deserve some kudos for this one. I wouldn't really call it a 'heavy use' folder right now, but we'll see how it does in the coming months. Of all my recent knife purchases, this is my favorite (I've said that about just about every new new knife lately, but I mean it this time) and will probably see quite a bit of pocket time.