Fresh on the heels of reviewing the surprisingly excellent Kershaw Heist, equipped with Kershaw’s new Dura-Lock, we’re also taking a look at the Covalent. The Covalent is one of four knives that Kershawreleased at the same time with their new sliding-bar lock, which is KAI’s equivalent of an AXIS lock or other similar locks under different names from a range of brands. While the Heist and Iridium feature thumb stud deployment, the Covalent and the Monitor both utilize flipper tabs for opening, with a mix of high quality and solid materials for quite reasonable price tags.
Having gotten accustomed to many years of budget Kershaws featuring unimpressive 8Cr13MoV steel, spring-assisted actions and overwrought looks – which are inevitably produced for two years and discontinued like a fast fashion line – knives like the Heist and the Covalent are a sign that some things changing at Kershaw. The Iridium, with its sleek looking aluminum handle scales and smooth bearing pivot action, has actually sold out and is awaiting another production run to meet demand – something I haven’t heard of happening to an entry level Kershaw knife in years. The Heist blew me away as a realistic budget alternative to the Benchmade Bugout (at a third of the price) and seems like an excellent EDC option out of the box. It remains to be seen if the flipper-equipped Dura-Lock knives are as successful, but things look promising. Let’s look a little closer at the Covalent, and see if we… bond with it. Get it? Covalent bond? Moving on.
I honestly haven’t had much interaction with KAI over the past few years. They weren’t at SHOT last year, and they have had some turnover in the position I