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FIELD BLADE REVIEWS
Kershaw Outcast - An Unquestionable Deal
What can I say about the Outcast except that it's an incredibly good blade for the money. If you read no further, my summation is that the Outcast is a great blade to work with. The geometry is somewhere between a bowie and a khukri, and achieves incredible chopping prowess through Ken Onion's great design. The fit and finish match much pricier blades, and the ergonomics are top notch. Also bear in mind that D2 steel is a quality material, and belies the $60 asking price. The Outcast is a better overall blade than many blades two and three times the price.
D2 is not cheap, and tends to be a very durable tool steel. When used in large blades, it can be tricky to work with as it can be hardened to the point of being brittle and can also be too soft. When it's worked correctly, it's durable stuff and it can still take and hold an edge. Many blade-buffs questioned Ken Onion's choice to use D2 in a mass produced blade, but I have yet to hear of anyone being disappointed in this knife. Kershaw appears to have locked down a careful process that takes advantage of this steel's benefits.
The blade is housed in a well made Kydex sheath with a unique belt locking mechanism reminiscent of some of the gun holsters I have seen. This seems to work as designed, but isn't the most comfortable on the belt of the wearer, I'd recommend some sort of pad between the belt lock and your hip to keep this clip mechanism from digging in.
The other drawbacks in my opinion are more about looks than function.
First, I'm not fond the large and overly prominent logo on the side of the blade:
I know the blade is D2 and I don't need to be reminded, nor do I feel the need to advertise this to everyone else. I'd lose the logo.
Second, this blade is rather shiny. I would put a duller finish to cut glare, maybe a powder coat type finish.
Other than those few things, this blade is an absolute joy
to work with, and worth every penny.
Many of you have written to me about the departure of the Becker Brute from the blade world, and have asked what would be a suitable replacement. In short, I recommend the Outcast as a more than suitable alternative in the under $100 range.
Brute vs. Outcast
The Outcast is similar to the Becker Brute, but it has several key differences. While they share some attributes, the chief difference is in overall size. The Becker is shorter, squatter and thicker, while the Kershaw is a little bigger in it's overall outlines, but is thinner steel. As a result, both have comparable heft in the hand. The Becker sports a full quarter inch thickness, while the Outcast is a little slimmer at 3/16". Both are flat ground for chopping strength. While the Becker sports slightly better edge holding, the D2 of the Outcast is a little lower in hardness, and is thus easier to resharpen in the field.
The handle of the Brute is a large, boxy design that is
nevertheless comfortable to work with. The Outcast has a narrower handle
profile, but is a very comfortable sort of squishy rubber. The Outcast provides
a superior grip for both chopping and fine work.
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