Kershaw Atmos Folder, by Pat Cascio

It’s a strange name for a folding knife, but we decided to check this one out and we’re glad we did! The Kershaw Atmos is worth a close look.

As long-time readers know, I prefer longer blades on my knife, and I really like a folder with a 3.75-inch blade. They just seem to fit my hand better and can do more chores, well, better! However, I’m not a knife snob, and just because a folding knife has a blade less than my desired 3.75 inches doesn’t mean I won’t check it out. Enter the Kershaw Knives Atmos. A quick run down is in order, before we report on the performance of this dandy little folder.

Made in China

The Atmos is made in China, for all you haters. It’s too bad you don’t believe great cutlery can be produced in countries other than the USA. You get as good as you want overseas and at a savings. Kershaw has been in business for a lot of years, and in order to compete in the tightly contested knife market, like so many knife companies have done, they have some of their knives produced overseas.

Outstanding KVT Ball-Bearing Opening

The Atmos has the outstanding KVT ball-bearing opening. You simply press on the extended flipper, and those super-smooth bearings open the blade in a split second. It’s very smooth. There is also an inset liner lock, for securing the blade in the open position.

Reversible Pocket Clip, Three-Inch Blade Steel

A deep-carry reversible pocket clip works for right or left pocket carry. It’s very nice, indeed. The three-inch long blade is made out of 8Crr13MoV stainless steel. This isn’t a high-tech steel, but it holds an edge a good long time and is easy to re-sharpen. I’ve had no problems at all with this stainless steel.

Handle of G10 with Carbon Fiber Overlays

I like the shape of the Atmos handle, which is made out of G10 with carbon fiber overlays. At one time, not all that long ago, G10 was used mainly by custom knife makers, because it is expensive to produce.

A Lightweight Folder With Some Outstanding Features

The closed length of the Atmos is right at four inches, and it weighs a mere 1.9 oz. We are talking a lightweight little folder with some outstanding features that are usually found on folding knives costing a lot more money. I especially like the flipper and KVT ball-bearing opening. It’s hard to find a smoother opening folder that has this feature. It makes one-handed opening all that much faster and easier.

Can Carry In A Shirt Pocket and Tip Up

The pocket clip allows for very deep pocket carry. And, with this little folder weight at less than two ounces, it means that you can skip carrying it in your pants pocket if you want and carry it in a shirt pocket. You won’t even know it’s there, until you need it. The pocket clip allows for tip up carry, too, which is another nice feature. The flats on the blade are polished for a classy touch.

A Knife is a Tool

I keep reminding myself, and everyone I talk to about knives, that the knife is man’s oldest tool. So many people who are into survival or prepping only think that a knife is a weapon. Well, without a doubt, it can certainly serve in that capacity. Even a little folder, like the Atmos, can serve as a weapon, defensive or offensive. Still, a knife is first and foremost a tool in my humble opinion, and when testing smaller pocket knives, I keep this in mind.

My Small, Rural Homestead

My small rural homestead in Western Oregon isn’t much to look at, at first glance. We have more trees on our property than we care to have. We’ve had several logging companies come and look at removing some of the trees, for safety against a forest fire. Because of the location of many of the trees, they are difficult to retrieve once they are felled. One company said they’d do it and never returned.

In any event, we have quite a few fruit trees on our digs that we will, of course, keep. Each year we have more wild plums than we can possibly use. So we invite friends to come and pick all they want.

We don’t farm any of the land, nor do we have a garden because of the huge boulders just a few inches beneath the grass. Okay, we have mostly weeds in our front yard, not grass. However, I’m always outside doing some kind of chores.

Tested on Outside Chores

Many of these outside chores require a knife of some sort. I’m forever cutting back blackberry vines. They are super-tough, to be sure. It takes a very sharp knife to cleanly cut right through these nasty vines, so it’s always a good test of a sharp blade. I don’t care to use chemicals to kill my blackberry vines. We love eating them, especially the wife. So, we enjoy free foods on our land, and blackberries can be found all over Western Oregon. They are not native to Oregon, but they sure took root. The little Atmos could easily severe the thickest blackberry vines.

Performance In our Household

I do a lot of the cooking in our household, because I enjoy it and I’m a really decent cook as well. So, there are always cutting chores at the kitchen counter. While the Atmos with the three-inch blade wasn’t ideal for cutting things, it sure did what I asked of it. I even used it at the kitchen table to cut steaks. That’s a rarity in our house. We are a burger and hot dog sorta home.

The Atmos would easily shave the hair off my arms. This is another good test of sharpness right out of the box. Slicing newsprint was another easy task. Cutting through rope was no problems at all, either. The little Atmos actually feels bigger in my hand for some reason, and I like that. It is a very classy-looking little folder. Even the wife commented on this.

Using a Knife For Self Defense

Now, as to using a knife, even a small folder like the Atmos, for self defense will do the job. However, it wouldn’t be my first choice, if I were being attacked by a bad guy. However, you need to remember, there are lots of vulnerable areas on the human body, not the least of which are the eyes. If an attacker can’t see you, they will have a difficult time harming you.

The arteries in the neck can easily be attacked as well as the hands and legs. Knife fighting in the big city really doesn’t call for a lifetime of training, either. Pick your openings and timing, and attack the attacker. Remember though, you will be held responsible for your actions. Always keep that in mind.

Saved the Best For Last, Retail Price

I’ve saved the best for last, on the Atmos. The full retail price is only $49.99, and if you shop around a bit you can find this dandy little folder deeply discounted on the ‘net. So, if you’re in the market for a new folder for yourself or as a gift, check the Atmos out. I think you’ll fall in love with it.


  1. I have always bee a fan of your reviews, but do not appreciate being labeled a hater because of my desire for quality and support of American jobs.

  2. It’s not that I don’t believe great cutlery can be produced in other Countries, Rather, I don’t support outsourcing the labor that is required to produce them. Headquartered in Tualatin, Oregon, one would think they would show a little loyalty. to the people they peddle them too.

    People tend to have strong opinions about their EDC..As for me, I give my business to benchmade. It makes me feel as good helping some guy in Oregon support his family and his job, as much as it makes kershaw feel good about saving labor costs.

    1. Tritto, to Beekeeper’s comment. (Made up a new word…. )

      And I’m not surprised to see majority of comments seeking to clarify that it’s not for lack of quality in foreign production, although that is relevant; rather, it is based on a desire to support the craftspeople in our own country. I don’t want to encourage US companies to send our commerce abroad. Sometimes in our global economy it may not make much of a difference but it’s a good thing to support our local economies where we can do so.

  3. Thank you for the thorough review. You do a great job on these.

    I always look for an equivalent quality US made product first. I’m not a purist. There are simply some items made overseas that are unmatched by domestic manufacturers and I have no problems buying them.

    So I’m not a hater, Mr. Cascio. I’m simply a guy that wants to do what he can to support American businesses and maybe one day bring back the manufacturing capacity we’ve literally tossed out of our country on the name of saving a few bucks.

    Anyway, I do own a few Kershaw blades which I am very pleased with but haven’t purchased any for the past several years as there are plenty of equivalent USA made products available. I’ll go so far as to search out used USA made items before buying new ones manufactured overseas.

    The latest product I wanted to buy is Nicholson files as I needed to add a few to my tool set. Now produced in Mexico.

  4. I would be one who folks dismiss as a China ‘hater’. Yes, I hate Communism. Don’t you? And I hate greedy traitors to America who destroyed our manufacturing base and good jobs. Don’t you?

    Presentation 101: Know your audience.You are preaching to survival-minded people. One day America may well go to war with China. How will we survive that war without the manufacturing base moved to China?

    1. I agree. A company makes a carefully considered decision to move manufacturing to China for cheap labor. I get it, they want to be competitive and make a nice profit. But then they sell into the American market. Hmmmm. Not so happy about that now. They abandoned American jobs, American taxes, supporting our infrastructure, our schools, our hospitals, etc. but they want our money. No! I make carefully considered decisions too and I don’t buy China. MAGA

  5. Haters? To want to support America jobs and families? China is simply the worse
    intellectual thief in the world. Buy something, reverse engineer it, and pay some poor
    soul 5 yaun a day to make it so it can be sold back to the country they stole it from.

    I don’t hate the Chinese people for this because they are just trying to make a living.
    Don’t even hate their government because that would be giving them the attention they
    so greatly desire. I just try to support American products when I can and save up till I

    Feeling this way is not hating. You’re way off the mark, sir, when you said it. Enough
    to stop reading the review right then.

  6. Looks like 100%. I also will buy an American made knife or other gear above others. I don’t support the economy of the country most likely to be our enemy. I certainly don’t want to finance a war against my own country.

  7. Here in Texas, if you’re any kind of hater, you’re expected to keep it to yourself. I have found several excellent knives here at gun shows, very well made and modestly priced, all Texas made. Usually in the past, I have bought foreign made for two reasons: The local stuff was non-existent, costs too much, or too complicated to buy. Regarding complicated buys, buying something sometimes requires a membership or some other hokey routine, and I don’t want to submit to a background check for a simple knife purchase. I like the looks and the review of the Kershaw in this post. $50 is a little steep, but it’s obviously a good working knife, and dollars aren’t worth much when you consider how inflated it’s worth really is. Roughly 2 American Silver Eagles would do it. I’ll get me one of them there Kershaw Knives.

  8. Hater? Okay, if that’s what you want to call someone that doesn’t want to support, financially, a country that steals billions of dollars worth of technology and is constantly working to develop attacks on our infrastructure. A country that has shipped us food with poison in it, sheetrock that released poisonous gasses into the homes it was installed in, and poisonous metal in children’s jewelry that sickened little girls that wore it.

    If wearing a metal bracelet can sicken a child, why would I cut the food for my family with a metal blade from the same place.

    If protecting my own health and my country is a hate crime then call me guilty.

  9. We won WWII in good part because of our manufacturing base, which could be converted to manufacture weapons, tanks, planes, etc., even the uniforms our armed forces wore. I wonder if we’d win a WWIII with so much of our manufacturing gone overseas to people who hate us. Our president talks about bringing back American jobs, but his own family members have their manufacturing done in east Asian plants. I bet the men and women who worked in our clothing manufacturing plants could do it as good as or better than the east Asians, and if the garments cost us a few more dollars to buy at least we’d be supporting our own workers. Instead of a trade war with our allies, let’s start with huge tariffs on any American company’s finished products that are produced overseas!

  10. It has become increasingly difficult to buy quality made goods, be it knives, automobiles, or any sort of common tool, for that matter, from domestic U.S. Sources. Even though the train may well have left the station, but there might be another one enroute to the station.

    I look around a lot and I will pay more if I have to to get good quality American made products. Often today, vendors hide country of origin or will say things such as ” Assembled in the USA of materials / parts from non US sources…” I sometimes send them a note and tell them why I didn’t buy their product. Let’s bring back the craftsmanship. Let’s pay the difference, Let’s help to make America Great Again. (end of soap box routine). And remember, good quality will pay for itself in the long run.

  11. I’m going to defend Mr. Cascio and his remarks about Chinese manufacturing, not because I relish the idea of supporting companies that outsource their labor to a nation that largely exploits us, but because every time he reviews. Product made overseas he gets trolled and harassed by people in the comments who act as if he himself moved the companies to China and is therefore responsible for the entire trade problems that exist in the global market. He’s a product reviewer, not an economist and not a politician, but every single time he does his job (reviews a product) made in China self-righteous people stream out the woodwork to complain and make snarky comments that they type out on their Made In China electronic device. I’d be contemptuous towards you as well.

    1. Jason, Whoa! Not so fast. It was Mr. Cascio who made a decision to depart from his area of expertise and take a cheap shot at those who support buying American-produced goods rather than from a Communistic country.

      If you believe in taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, you should be addressing him, not those offended.

      1. Roger

        I encourage you to back and look into the comments and what happens, quite literally, every single time Mr. Cascio reviews a knife manufactured overseas. Without exception, one or more trolls appear almost immediately to give him crap about it. Seriously, go back and look, and then tell me, if you were him, whether you wouldn’t 1. Already know what’s coming and 2. Address it in advance . And again, all of this trolling comes from people inputting characters on machines MADE IN CHINA.

    2. “Trolled and harassed”

      No just a difference of opinion by the very same people who would be happy to give kudos about things they agree with. For a lot of people this is a big deal. It isn’t a big deal to Hollywood and the elite but for the guys in middle America and blue collar jobs it is a big deal. We have watched our jobs go overseas for decades and the elite only want to accelerate that. This isn’t trolling, doesn’t fit the definition of trolling. It certainly isn’t harassment it is an honest held opinion of a lot of people. No cursing or anger, no insults or name calling. We never liked jobs going to China. We never had control of those decisions. All we can do is not buy things made in China and speak up when asked about that choice. I hope we encourage others to do the same.

      Make no mistake I have bought tools and other items made in China, sometimes that’s all there is and sometimes that’s all I can afford. I have zero problem with anyone buying something made in China or recommending it honestly. But my choice is to not Chinese goods if I can help it.

  12. Is anybody going to buy the knife? China has been making knives and swords before we were a country. I have had trucks try to run me off the road in my Japanese brand truck (made in the U.S.A.) and have had people park so close to me in parking lots I couldn’t open the door. Some people won’t eat at Chick-fa-lay because of the owner’s beliefs and others do because of their beliefs. Should I not buy goods made in California because I disagree with Moonbeam? Has Germany paid the price for Nazism yet? At one time you were a bigot if you bought South Africa gold pieces, some states won’t allow government travel to certain states that don’t allow men in girl’s bathrooms; should tourists stay away from the U.S. because….. and on and on. I’m waiting for all hell to break loose here with the review of a product from North Korea.

    1. Are you really trying to argue that we should not vote and buy our conscience? I don’t watch any movies with Jane Fonda in it and never will. I was and still am angry that Disney replaced all their IT workers with H1b foreigners and I will not go to Disneyland/world or see their movies. If you do not understand that China is aggressively trying to bury us nothing I can say will change your mind.

  13. It’s not my battle. And besides you cannot win a spiritual battle by political or economic means. You fight a spiritual battle with spiritual weaponry. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword”.
    Not to sound ‘holier-than-thou’ but if you are committed to what is right, that is strategy. Just to see how faithful you are to your boycott, do you have any Chinese products in your ownership? Flashlights, electronics, cordless tools, cameras, landline telephones, cellphones, tires, refrigerators, freezers, bicycles, binoculars…..?
    When I make a purchase the #1 priority is me, not a social or political campaign.

  14. Amazing we’re tearing down statues and condemning anyone who would fly a Confederate flag, and changing the names of schools and streets named after men that fought to protect their homeland in the South and calling them racist because some were slave owners 150 years ago. And now these same self righteous people that are trying to cover their white guilt, think nothing of buy from a country like China where many of their products are made by slave labor so they can save a dollar. Nothing against Mr Cascio but maybe if enough people make it known that we don’t want American companies making there product in China, maybe they will see it is time to come on home. And not to sound racist, but I wonder how many blacks that play the victim card don’t mind buying cheap goods from China made by slave labor. Trekker Out. Hello Moderation!

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