As rules about automatic knives loosen around the country and more people begin to see the value of having a knife that can be opened quickly with the push of a button. This has caused a corresponding increase in the number of automatic knives coming into the market for civilian ownership, but there is a small problem. The problem is that many of these knives cost upwards of $200 and that can be a hard thing for some users wallets.

What if I told you that you could get an automatic knife made by a reputable company with a lifetime warranty that was built right here in the United States for under $ 100? Sound like a fairy tale to you? Well, it’s not because that is exactly what we have in today’s review with the Kershaw Launch 2 knife from Kershaw Knives/KAI USA Ltd. If your interest is peaked keep reading.

I’m not a guy who has knife fantasies or is a guru of blades, I need knives to be simple to deploy and use, durable and hopefully not super expensive. It helps in my new line of work if those knives don’t scare my coworkers by being the same size as the average scimitar.

This knife fills all my requirements for an everyday carry knife, it fills those requirements so well that my trusted Emerson CQC15 Mini is now relegated to the vehicle backpack instead of my working day pack. That’s a tall order to accomplish in many peoples minds, including my own. Let’s take a look at the specifics of the Kershaw Launch 2.


Manufacturer: Kershaw Knives/ KAI USA Ltd

Place of Manufacture: Tualatin, Oregon

Model: Launch 2

Mechanism Type: Push Button

Blade Length: 3.25″

Blade Material: CPM 154 Steel

Blade Finish: Stonewashed

Closed Length: 4.5″

Overall Length: 7.75″

Overall Weight: 3.4 oz

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Handle Material: 6061 T-6 Anodized Aluminum

Misc Information:

Kershaw Launch 2 Knife: First Look
blade material and country of origin marked for all to see Photo:Rick Dembroski

Realistic Budgets and Every Day Carry 

How many times have you heard people asking for a knife or scissors? It’s a common occurrence in many work settings and often times people won’t have a knife on them. That’s where we all know that our Every Day Carry (EDC) selections always come in handy. In today’s world, we often find ourselves trying to perform a balancing act between our wants and our needs in daily life not just with our EDC gear. As I pointed out above, this knife isn’t just handy and well built it’s built so that it can appeal to almost everyone’s budget. If you have hundreds of dollars to spend on an EDC knife than we are happy for you, but for many of us realistic budgets are a thing we deal with.

The Kershaw Launch 2 might be budget minded but that doesn’t mean it is lacking in features. With the Launch 2 and other models, Kershaw has continued to build their knives to appeal to a wide range of users, including left-handed people. The reversible pocket clip and location of the release button allows for left-handed users to deploy the knife with their left index finger instead of their thumb. Little things that go along way to expanding market share.

Overall Fit, Finish & Expectations

It’s hard at times to convey how good a product is without handing it to the person you are talking to. This is very apparent when it comes to knives in particular. With the Kershaw Launch 2 what you get is a knife that has very good ergonomics, controls and materials all assembled in a way as to not attract much attention. This at times will hurt the Kershaw Launch 2 because it will often be overlooked because it simply works too well, and too simple. Operating the knife is done via the magic red button on the side of the case, nothing fancy. Push down the button and it springs out to the fully locked position. To release the lock and put the blade away simple re-push the red button and move the blade back to its original closed position. I will mention here that this knife has no capacity to lock the blade in the handle aside from the deployment button. If it’s in your pocket and you somehow push the button all the way, you will know about it.

Kershaw Launch 2 Knife: First Look
reversible pocket clip shown. you can tell I have been using this as my EDC for weeks now Photo:Rick Dembroski

I have been carrying this knife with me everywhere I can legally carry a knife for the past three weeks including a trip to Sitka, Alaska. In that time I have opened dozens of boxes, letters, cartons and even managed to sit on the beach and carve some driftwood with it. I have put this knife through the usual conditions that most EDC knives will go through and its performed amazingly. Knives throughout human history have been simple tools and should work well, this is the best way I can explain the Launch 2. Although it is an auto opener which makes it more complicated than a straight fixed blade, this knife simply performs in every situation I have used it in.

At the end of the day in most evaluations, I ask myself “Would I use my own money to buy this?”  Sometimes the answer is no, but in this case, it is a very definite YES. I think so highly of this knife that I will be buying some for my nephews in the future for Christmas presents, that is putting my money where my mouth is. If I had to come up with one request or shortcoming of the Kershaw Launch 2 is that I would like to see it available with different colored aluminum handles. It would just be a way to distinguish two knives from each other, especially when I’m buying them for two boys who might fight over who’s knife is who’s. This extremely minor observation is the only thing remotely critical of the knife that I can come up with, and that is stretching it .

Hope you enjoyed this look at one of the most affordable auto opening knives that we have seen come to market. If you ever thought about purchasing and owning an auto opener and really never wanted to drop $200 or $300 dollars on a knife, then this is the knife for you. At under $100 you can’t go wrong.

Kershaw Launch 2 Knife: First Look
Kershaw Launch 2 at under $100.oo you can’t go wrong
Photo:Rick Dembroski

Photos by author.