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Kershaw Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife Review

Kershaw Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife

Kershaw- the name itself is well-known for making quality knives. With the folding knife market’s utter dominance, they always choose appropriate materials to create high-quality, high-performance, and affordable blades for their consumers. And their Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife is no exception. This modified blade design, ergonomics, cutting efficiency, and other aspects make it an excellent multipurpose folding knife.

Since its launch in 2012, this knife has had immense popularity because of the value it has to offer. It is a budget-friendly assisted opening folding knife and one of the bestselling Kershaw products on Amazon. In this article, we are reviewing the Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife from Kershaw.

Blade & Coating

Kershaw Brawler uses 8Cr13MoV steel as its blade material. This is Chinese-made steel that occasionally shows up in many knives, including this one. Type 9Cr is the top end of the series, but the 8Cr is more of a typical formulation, which is more prone to corrosion, and not very strong compared to AUS-8 steel. But when used appropriately, it can be a real winner from a value standpoint. We found this blade sharp enough as a multipurpose knife.

Kershaw Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife

Blades with tanto tips usually feature the maximum amount of material at the tip and provide thrusting durability. We found this blade has a tanto tip design, which is ideal for piercing tasks. Besides, its Swedge Grind, along with its straight belly, offers excellent cutting performance.

It has a durable Black Oxide coating that converts the blade steel surface to magnetite. Kershaw’s implementation here is very typical of the material having decent edge retention, corrosion resistance, and easy sharpening. Overall, this is just moderately tough steel, and its edge won’t last forever, but touch-ups will take no time at all.

Fit & Finish

This folding knife’s finish is more durable than the paint itself and just fine for a mass-produced knife that is budget-friendly. That’s the first thing we can say. It also fits well. Kershaw uses Nylon Washers in this Brawler, which is, well, soft, and can deform over extended periods of use, leading to the blade’s centering degradation. However, these cosmetic issues are less likely to impede the utility of this knife anyway.

Kershaw Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife

Product Information:

  • Brand: Kershaw
  • Model Name: Kershaw – Brawler – Box
  • Handle Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon
  • Color: Black
  • Blade Material: 8Cr13MoV
  • Blade Length: 3 Inches
  • Item Weight: 0.05 Pounds

Deployment & Locking

We found this knife easy to deploy, as the Brawler features a snappy deployment for its Speedsafe Assisted opening. This is somewhat dated technology, and its design allows the users to manually start the blade in motion with a manual push on the thumb stud. The spring gives just enough help to push the blade open so that you can deploy it using just one hand.

When this knife is open, its lock-up is reasonably solid with almost no play. You might think its liner and liner locks are a little bit oldish, but we found them secure and a good compromise between weight and strength. Once the blade is open, it stays locked in place, and it’s true for both the open and closed positions. When it comes to closure, we had to deal with its spring tension every time; this is a drawback to this spring assist knife.


This knife is ergonomically balanced as far as we used it. It has recessed Jimping on the thumb ramp, spine, and butt of the knife. Proper Jimping is also found on the blade itself and extends over the thumb ramps and past the blade stops. Its hard angular lines are quite comfortable in extra-large-glove-sized hands. Overall, the knife felt grippy and stable, and we never felt any rattling or discomfort while using it. We also found a decent finger guard that provided a secure hold of the knife during its operation.

Handle & Pocket Clip

The stout handle profile of the Brawler noticeably filled the hand, providing a feeling that the knife is ready for action. The designers of this knife chose to prioritize its handle design. It has a reasonably aggressive texture molded into them, and we felt this as the Glass-filled Nylon handle of this knife easily accommodates a comfortable four-finger grip. The handle has a 0.56-inch width, and we think this is a crucial factor contributing to its firm grip. This knife won’t chew up your hand because of the grip, but the more aggressively you grip the blade, the harder it grabs your back.


On top of that, its four-way adjustable pocket clip is something that is not commonly found in a knife at this price point. This clip is very similar to the clips used in many flashlights. We began to notice denim fibers caught under the pocket clip after extended use. Overall, we found out that the Kershaw Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife can be a great cutting tool with a very comfortable size and weight for everyday carry. Also, it’s easy on your wallet. So, that was our review of the Kershaw Brawler 1990 Assisted Folding Knife. You can share your thoughts about this knife in the comment section below.

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