I like small, locking folders. Especially ones with blades under 2.5 inches, as my travels often take me to places where that is the legal limit. The Kershaw Shuffle fit those dimensions, with the added bonus of a bottle opener and screwdriver integrated into the handle. I decided to purchase a 3-pack of the blades and check the knife out for myself.
The set I purchased came with three different handle colors, and blackwashed blades. Satin blades are available, but I really like the contrast of the bright handles and the blackened steel.
Having three examples in front of me, I am happy to report that fit and finish was good on all of them. The lockup was solid on all three, blade centering was good, and they even had good factory edges, i.e. a little toothy but even and sharp. Very good to see on a knife that sells for around $15 individually.
The blade shape works well for my EDC needs and the high hollow grind makes it a good slicer. Despite all of the belly, using the point for detail work was easy thanks to the angle of the handle. The 8Cr13MoV steel holds a decent edge and is easy to keep sharp.
Regarding the handle, I was worried that the bottle opener and might make the Shuffle uncomfortable to use, but my fears were unfounded. Throughout the mundane roles of package opener/box cutter/letter opener, everything was hunky-dory. This is not a handle for heavy tasks though. The shape is not conducive to heavy gripping and the Shuffle is best thought of as a small utility knife.
All sounds pretty good, yes? Unfortunately, I can not recommend the Kershaw Shuffle, for three reasons.
Reason #1: The Liner Lock. The cut out for the lock needs to be a lot bigger. Too much is covered up, making it difficult to disengage with your thumb. I usually resorted to using two hands to close the knife, and even then I had to use the tip of my index finger to unlock it.
Reason #2: The Pocket Clip. It is too tight and does not have enough clearance to facilitate easy insertion and removal. You have to be very deliberate in your actions and often use two hands to get the hem of your average pair of jeans to fit past the screws. This could be fixed with a new clip design, but you would still have a hard time pocketing the knife. Which leads me to…
Reason #3: The Bottle Opener. My pocketknife is not the only thing I keep in my right front pocket, and whenever I would reach past the knife to get at the other stuff, the opener would consistently jab me in the hand. The point of it sticks out at just the right angle to catch my skin, no matter how I altered my approach.
So pocket carry is a no go, and to top things off, the Shuffle is rather large for a keychain knife, so that is not the best way to carry it either. As far as I see it, the only places this knife makes sense is stashed in a bag or purse, a utility drawer, or maybe a glovebox.
I wanted to like the Kershaw Shuffle. No really, I did, but the addition of the opener and driver have rendered this “pocket” knife nearly impossible for me to carry. It is a shame, because the overall size and shape are very useful. Get rid of the gimmick bottle opener, swap in a different clip, and enlarge the cutout for the liner lock, and I’ll be back to buy another one. Until then, I have better options for a 2.5” knife.
Is there anything that can’t be improved by adding a bottle opener? Turns out, the answer is yes.