Kershaw Leek Review: Not Your Garden-Variety EDC Knife

Kershaw Leek Review: Not Your Garden-Variety EDC Knife
Colorful and captivating, the Ken Onion-designed Kershaw Leek offers a different twist on the EDC Knife.

A Ken Onion design, the Kershaw Leek has cut a commanding profile.

It’s no wonder why the Kershaw Leek is such a phenomenal EDC folding knife. It has all the right elements that knife users crave—style, sturdy construction, premium materials, an impressive selection and is priced right.

The Leek is essentially the bigger brother of Kershaw’s Chive, answering the call from knife fanatics for a larger option of this Ken Onion design. And the petite option doesn’t disappoint.

We’ll examine why it’s been a popular seller for Kershaw, explore some popular variants and find out why this isn’t your garden-variety EDC knife.

Kershaw Leek Blade

The Leek’s blade measures 3 inches and is made from Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel, making it great at holding an edge. However, it’s the blade’s profile that demands attention. It’s a modified clip point and the profile tapers down to almost a needle tip. This is both a good and bad thing, which I will go into in depth later.

Kershaw Leek cutting
A born cutter, the Leek’s modified clip point blade made quick work of nearly any task set in front of it. Photos by Marty Stanfield, Marty Stanfield Photography

The hollow grind of the blade thins it down nicely to where the blade takes a smart, sharp edge easily. Dual thumb studs are present, but do not function as traditional thumb studs. Instead, they are used only for a positive stop in the open position.

Kershaw Leek Handle

The handle is a slender, elongated shape that favors daily carry due to its thin profile. The handle itself measures 4 inches, bringing the overall length of the Leek to 7 inches when open.

The handle sports a nice, comfortable chamfer all the way around making gripping it easier and presenting fewer hot spots. A large, steel pocket clip can be affixed to the handle to carry the Leek in the tip-up or tip-down position, whatever you wish to do. The clip holds the Leek securely in your pocket, and it can be removed as well should you desire to carry it in the bottom of your pocket.

Leek clip
A movable clip allows the Leek to be carried tip-up or tip-down. Photos by Marty Stanfield, Marty Stanfield Photography

The base Leek (model 1660) has a handle of bead-blasted stainless steel with a matching bead-blasted blade. The Leek is available with a variety of handle finishes, from several colors of anodized aluminum to black PVD-coated, Blackwash and carbon fiber, to name a few.

As for the lock, it’s a frame lock that engages the blade tang positively, securing it in the open position. Very solid and easy to operate when you’re ready to stash the blade.

Testing The Leek

For this review, Kershaw sent me several of their popular selling Leek models for closer examination. I have the 1660 base model Leek with a bead blast finish on the blade and handle. The 1660OR is a liner lock and has orange-anodized aluminum handles. The Leek is available in an array of anodized aluminum colors. Speaking of colors, there’s also the very unique 1660VIB which is a high polish 1660 with the addition of a rainbow titanium coating. And finally, we have the high-tech 1660CF liner lock which features futuristic carbon fiber handles and upgraded blade steel to CPM154 for higher performance cutting and longer edge retention

My pick of this bunch is the 1660CF, given there’s a lot going on with this particular model. You get the benefit of the unique look and the lightweight of the carbon fiber, combined with the high-end blade steel. The 1660CF carries very well due to the reduced mass compared with the regular 1660 Leek framelock.

Kershaw Leek frame lock
The Leek’s frame lock is sturdy and easy to manipulate. Photos by Marty Stanfield, Marty Stanfield Photography

Structurally speaking, the base model 1660 Leek frame lock has a very rock-solid lockup. It’s very hard to defeat and only closes when you deliberately command it to. It actually makes a good work knife as long as you use it as a cutting tool and nothing else that it wasn’t designed for (more on this in a bit).

Performance-wise, the Leek—across the board regardless of the blade steel or handle configuration—is definitely a slicer. The blade stock is very thin and when it is ground, it is attenuated even more.

Right out of the box, the leek has a lot of bite. It goes through thicker stuff like cardboard very easily. The tip being acute, makes for an excellent scoring tool as well. The Leek excels at being an all-around EDC cutter.

The blade opens fast, with the press of the exposed flipper tab on the blade spine, Kershaw’s Speed Safe assisted opening technology takes over and powers the blade to the fully open and locked position. It’s easy to see why the Leek remains a popular Kershaw model after all these years, it simply works well and is a good-looking design.

Leek Sticky Points

Two of the most common failures I have seen in the Leek are where folks misuse the knife as well as the sliding safety breaking.

Leek blade
While the blade is an accomplished cutter, it’s thin enough the tip is easily damaged when used to pry. Photos by Marty Stanfield, Marty Stanfield Photography

Because the tip of the blade is pointy, it’s a weak spot with the knife. Where you get into trouble is when you use the tip to pry, even lightly. This either results in a bend or break off entirely. This is a cutting tool, not a pry tool or screwdriver.

Each Leek also comes with a sliding safety that, when the blade is closed, you slide over the tip of the blade to physically block it from coming out of the handle. There is a hex screw on the backside you use your thumb to move and this moves the safety. Sometimes the safety can slide on its own while the blade is open; when you go to close the blade it comes down on the safety tab. If done hard enough this will cause the safety to break, as it is plastic. The nice part, the tab is replaceable.

Final Cut

Other than these points, the Leek is a proven EDC knife. It’s rather compact, slender, and doesn’t garner unwanted attention. It’s worth a look if you’re in the market for a blade that balances looks and performance.

As for price, the MSRP for the base 1660 Leek is $115. The 1660OR orange handle Leek is $105. And the Carbon Fiber 1660 CF runs $190. In the scheme of things, not bad pricing for USA-made EDC folding knife—particularly with an Onion pedigree!

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  1. Kershaw knives are trash! Had mine for a couple weeks and clip already bent. Then they want to charge $13 plus shipping for a new clip. For a knife that’s runs for around $60.00 it is complete garbage! Please consumers don’t purchase Kershaw. I’ve since bought a SOG and couldn’t be happier?


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