Kershaw Knives Natrix CF, by Pat Cascio

Kershaw Knives has been in business since around 1974, if memory serves me correctly. The company is here, in my home state of Oregon – my chosen home state. Kershaw isn’t too far from my digs, and I’ve toured their factory several times – but I’m overdue for another visit, as they have grown a lot since my last visit. Kershaw is a division of KAI USA, and they also own Zero Tolerance knives – also made in the same factory, where many of the Kershaw products are made. But note that some Kershaw knives are made overseas, and that is a huge savings if you collect knives. The knife I’m reviewing today is one of the Kershaws that is made in mainland China. They are very reasonably priced, but the quality is top notch in all respects, and I love a bargain.

I have a difficult time keeping up with all the new knives that Kershaw releases each year, and I certainly can’t test and write about all of them. So, I’m very picky when requesting samples for articles, I pick what I believe our readers might find of interest and use – and believe me, it is a hard job going through all the new products from Kershaw.

Kershaw states that the Natrix CF – and there are several other models in the Natrix line-up – is an “uptown folder”, and I sure can’t find much to fault with this statement. It is both a “Gent’s” folder as well as a “Tactical” folder all in one knife. Not an easy task to be sure, but Kershaw pulled it off on this folder. I’m not into small folders and this Natrix isn’t small, nor is it overly large, either. I personally like a folder with a blade that is 3.5-inches to 4-inches long – it just seems to fit my needs better. However, this Natrix has a blade that is only 3.25-inches long, but it seems long enough to get the job done – at least when it comes to most tasks that it will face.

Most folks like just an Everyday Carry (EDC) folder, for many of the tasks they might need it for – like opening mail, boxes, or simple cutting chores. I look at an EDC with self-defense in mind. Coming from a martial arts background, I like a folding knife that can be used for everyday chores as well as one that can be used to defend myself with – it if comes down to it. I believe the Natrix comes up a little bit short for my specs, but it can certainly be used as a last-ditch self-defense weapon, in the hands of a trained knife fighter – so don’t sell this folder short in this respect.

Some of the specificationss on this folder: Blue-gray G10 handle scales on, with a touch of class with carbon fiber overlays – very appealing to the eye. The blade steel is 8Cr13MoV stainless, and it has a gray Titanium carbo-nitride coasting that adds class and protects the blade even more from the elements. From Kershaw’s web site: “This Natrix is a substantial knife, while still being lightweight enough for easy everyday carry.” I can’t find anything to fault with that statement at all. This folder is actually based on an award-winning knife, but comes to us at a very affordable price point. Kershaw uses their patented “Sub-Frame Lock” that secures the blade when it is opened. And, the light weight of this folder — only 2.9-ounces — makes it easy to carry in your pants pocket all day long. You’ll soon forget you have it in your pants pocket.

It Looks Expensive

If you pull this folder out of your pocket, anyone who is into knives at all, will think you spent a lot of money on this one, and its best you don’t tell them how much it actually costs. You can often find Kershaw Knives on the ‘net or in box stores, for quite a bit less than the retail price, so shop around for the best prices. Full-retail is only about $80 for this folder. That is one great deal in my humble opinion – great for gift-giving or just for your own use.

I’ve only tested one knife to “destruction” at the request of a custom knifemaker/designer, and he told me I could have the knife at no-charge, if I managed to break it – I couldn’t and I tried and tried…this was Chris Reeve, who used to make strictly custom knives, and now he has a small factory, turning out knives just as good as his custom knives. And, you’d better believe, I tried my best to break one of his hollow handle survival knives – all to no avail. That is the only knife I’ve ever tried to destroy in my testing. As you know, most products can be destroyed. There used to be an old saying “if you want something broken, give it to a US Marine…” and they find a way to break it. Well, I was a soldier in another life – not a US Marine – but I couldn’t break that knife.

So, I know many knives can be broken – or should I say all knives? But I don’t include that in my testing, I test knives – fixed or folders – in a way that most of us would use them for their intended purposes. Now, with that said, I never use the tip of a knife blade as a screwdriver or as a pry bar, you can break any knife if you do that. I carry a multi-tool for use as a screwdriver or pry bar.

In my testing, I cut a variety of materials, including poly rope, cotton rope, cutting cardboard boxes up, and stabbing a blade into stacked cardboard. We have a never-ending supply of blackberry vines on our small homestead. Some areas I use blackberry weed killer, and other places, I reserve for slicing those vines in two, with the many knives that come into my hands for testing. If a knife has a good blade on it, it will usually cut a thick vine in half, with a single swipe of the blade – assuming it is long enough to get that type of job done. In the case of the Natrix CF, I could easily take a good swipe at these tough vines and it would sever it into two pieces.

I even used the Natrix in the kitchen, although it wasn’t designed for that sort of work. But it worked fairly well, cutting up steaks and cutting up fruits and veggies as well. More than once, in a restaurant, before the virus came along, I would pull out a pocket knife and used it to cut something on my plate, and get the strangest looks from other patrons!

I can’t find anything to fault on this Natrix model, it is one heck of a folder, for a variety of jobs. I used to have a regular UPS driver – Kevin – who would always ask what I had in certain packages he would deliver to me – knowing I got a lot of knives to test and similar products. And, in short order, I’d open a package, and let Kevin have first look at whatever was in it…and over the years, I presented him with a couple of knife samples after I was done testing them. It was always good to get a first impression from someone on a product – when they first handled it and saw it.

The guys at my local gun shop are into knives – they aren’t collectors, but they like quality cutlery when they see it, and they really liked the Natrix CF when they handled it…and I’m forever putting an edge on their own knives – they just can’t seem to get the knack of sharpening (re-sharpening) their folders and they use their pocket knives every single day – and use them until they can’t cut anything. The Natix seems like it holds an edge a good long time and is fairly easy to re-sharpen in my testing. I like to carry and use a folding knife for at least two weeks, whenever possible, when doing an article on a knife.

The 8Cr13Mov stainless steel isn’t a wonder stainless steel, nor is in a no-name or unknown stainless steel – other knife makers use this steel to save money, but it is a great steel, that provides the user with a good knife, at a great price as well – hard to argue with that sort of deal if you ask me. I know, I know – a lot of folks don’t like knives made any place except in the USA – and I respect that, I really do. However, you are cutting yourself short, if you don’t take advantage of a knife made in China, that is of the highest quality, and design, and sold at a great price. So, do yourself a favor and check out the Natrix, and as I stated they have several models to pick from, and I’m betting you’ll find one you really like.