I didn’t even want a Scallion. It was day two of the NRA Annual Meeting and I’d just hit the show floor. Do I make my way around to look for new firearms and gun gear? No, no I do not. Instead, I made a frickin’ bee-line for the first knife company booth I could find which, lucky for me, was Kershaw. So, pressing my nose against the glass countertop, I decided that I wanted another small EDC blade to go along with my all-time fave, the SOG Flash I. I’m a big Ken Onion fan and really like assisted openers. So after looking around a little I asked the nice lady for a polished Chive. No dice . . .
But once you decide you’re going to buy a new knife, you can’t just walk away empty-handed. Lemme tell ya kids, bladus interruptus ain’t my idea of fun. So the next thing I knew I’d moved up to the next size in their Ken Onion line and was slipping an olive Scallion (1620OL) in my pocket.
As you can see from the clip in the photo above, it’s already been carried a fair amount in the two weeks since I bought it. Why? A few reasons. First, and again, I like me some assisted folders. And an assisted flipper is even better. Second, Ken Onion just strikes my fancy for some reason. No, not Ken Onion the dude. Though I’m sure he’s very affable and I’d love to buy him a beer some time (and that’s all), my fancy’s struck by his knife designs.
The first of his that I owned is the truly great Kershaw Blur in basic black. The Scallion makes number two, though when I free up some funds, I’ll be adding a CRKT Swindle with the milled handle, Sandvik steel and that funky spine clip. She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine.
Huh? Oh, back to the Scallion. Long story short, you want one. No really, you do. Why? Short version: solid construction, nice 420HC bladeage and, for those of you for whom it’s a requirement, the Scallion is American made.
Need more? OK then, some details. the Scallion’s just the right size. For me, anyway. I like a small, sharp assisted EDC that’ll fit into that funny little pocket in your jeans on the right side. Sure, I carry bigger blades if I’m wearing cargos, but there are plenty of times when something smaller and lighter is just the way to go.
When you tuck that 2.25″ blade into its handle, that solid, compact package is a mere 3.5″ long — small enough to fit into just about any pocket. And that oversized (for a knife this size) clip holds it firmly in place. Only one bummer about that clip – it is where it is. Lefties will have to like it or lump it, because the aluminum frame is only drilled for one clip position. Same story for tip-up carriers (like me). If it’s a big deal to you, you’re SOL. But I’m a righty, and I’m OK with tip down. YM, though, MV.
The Scallion has one thing I hate to see on any knife. A safety. I hear you bleating, “But what if it opens on its own in your pocket?” It’s never happened to me. And in my experience, the damned things (the safeties) tend to engage when you don’t want them to. Nothing’s more frustrating that trying to flick open your blade when the safety’s moved itself to the ‘on’ position.
The Scallion’s is a tip-blocking safety. If, for some reason, you want to disable your otherwise perfectly good knife, just slide the little screw toward the front and a little thingy moves forward to block the tip of the blade.
But here’s the good part about the Scallion’s safety – you can easily disable it. Unlike that horrid little lever on my otherwise perfect SOG Flash I — which I had to kill with super glue — the Scallion’s safety actuator is a screw. So, just batten her down and it won’t budge. Problem solved.
Then there’s the blade. In a number of his Kershaw designs (Blur, Scallion, Leek), Mr. Onion’s chosen a gentle multi-radiused pattern for his cutting edges. Yes, they look cool, but some find them a little harder to sharpen compared to a more straightforward, well, straight edge. My experience is that’s a little overblown. It doesn’t take long at all to get used to used honing that wavy-gravy blade, particularly one as small as the Scallion’s.
And that gently sloping, modified drop point blade is made of 420HC steel. It’s a less expensive, higher carbon mixture that’s frequently used in budget-priced knives. It’s generally a little harder and more corrosion resistant. But life’s full of tradeoffs. The tradeoff here is that it doesn’t hold its sharpest edge under heavy use. Then again that edge isn’t too difficult to bring back. Plus, a small pocket folder like the Scallion isn’t likely to see a lot of heavy, demanding use.
My Scallion came reasonably sharp. After spending a little quality time with a ceramic sharpener, it’s had the kind of edge I’m proud to tote around.
Both the flipper ramp and top of the blade are jimped with rounded knurls for a decent grip. The Kershaw Speedsafe assisted system ensures the blade deploys quickly and effortlessly with the slightest flick of your index finger. Once open, it’s held in place by a liner lock.
All in all, the Scallion is an extremely good value for a compact, American-made EDC folder. It’s not the generic, G-10 clad pocket knife just about everyone else is carrying. That 420HC bead-blasted blade and aluminum frame will serve you well for years to come. I may not have wanted a Scallion when I sidled up to the Kershaw booth, but I’m glad I came away with one.
Blade length: 2.25″
Overall length: 5.25″
Weight: 2.3 oz
Ratings (out of five stars):
Design: * * * *
It’s a Ken Onion. That means it doesn’t look like every other knife in the case. While I’m not a fan of those three hoky holes just forward of the thumbstuds, you gotta love that elegant sweeping edge.
Ergonomics (use): * * * *
Just what it oughta be. Feels comfortable in my (small) hand and the Speedsafe means it deploys effortlessly. I’d rather that the jimping wasn’t rounded, but this isn’t exactly a tactical knife. Oh, and it cuts nicely, too.
Ergonomics (carry): * * * * 1/2
Maybe a tad on the heavy side for its size, with that satin-finished aluminum frame. It’s a solid little package. But with its oversized clip and diminutive length when closed, the Scallion conveniently disappears in your pocket until you need it.
Overall: * * * *
Don’t let that MSRP scare you. I snagged mine for a show price of only 35 samolians. But you can pick one up for a street price under $45. For an American-made assisted opener of this quality, that’s a helluva deal.