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Today’s review will focus on the Kershaw Cryo Hinderer assisted opening 1555BW pocket knife. I would classify this knife as a small to medium assisted opening tactical knife whose primary purpose is obviously an EDC. This knife is collaboration effort between Kershaw and Rick Hinderer and is very reasonably priced. Generally this knife is available for around $30 making it a good entry level knife, and will not bust your budget should you purchase one. I paid $31.90 for mine on Ebay. The “BW” indicates the knife has the new black acid wash finish that gives the knife a black “broken in” look, and aids in corrosion protection. The basic Kershaw 1555 knife comes in the following varieties:
Figure 1 – Deployed 1555, Knife Front
Statistics of my Kershaw 1555BW
Blade Steel: 8Cr13MoV Stainless Steel
Hardness: 58-59 Rc
Closed length: 3 7/8 in (9.84 cm)
Open length: 6 9/16 in (16.7 cm)
Blade length: 2 3/4 in (6.99 cm)
Measured weight: 4.3 oz (122 g)
Handle material: 410 stainless steel
Spacer material: Stainless steel
Thumb Studs: Dual thumb stud for R or L
I purchased this knife because I wanted to try a smaller EDC than I usually carry. I also wanted to experience a knife with black acid wash finish, see what is was like, find out how well it wears and how long it holds its appearance, how tough it is, etc. Occasionally I buy a knife for unusual reasons, but for $30, you can buy a knife for observational reasons. It is my experience that you can read about something like “black acid wash”, but nothing beats actually getting it in your hands and experiencing it.
To be honest, I didn’t think I would get much of a knife for $30, however I was wrong. I am really impressed with this knife. First of all, it is a Rick Hinderer designed knife made by a reputable company like Kershaw. The Rick Hinderer style is unmistakable, and is like a “mini” ZT 0560, a very popular Rick Hinderer designed large tactical knife. Another thing that impressed me is how solid this knife is. If feels as strong as a tank despite its somewhat small size. I believe the stainless steel handles and frame lock design are responsible for this solid feel. I would judge the overall quality as very good. It is a Chinese made knife, and I often feel uneasy about Chinese quality, but I do not believe this knife has quality issues.
Figure 2 – Knife size comparison: back is the Kershaw Leek, middle is the Kershaw-Hinderer 1555 BW, and in the foreground is the Zero Tolerance ZT 0560
The “Speedsafe” assisted opening mechanism is Kershaw’s typical design, deploys very fast, and works very well. Once opened, I find the lock-up is extremely solid. In no way is there any hint of looseness or wobble. Due to their location on the blade, I find the thumb studs are difficult to use to deploy the blade. I read another similar comment from another user. This is not a big issue however, since the flipper works very well. There are brass washers at the pivot that aid in the deployment and also minimize wear. Although I have not removed the assisted opening mechanism, I read some accounts that this can be done very easily, and convert the knife to a manual open knife if the user desires this.
Figure 3 - Deployed 1555, Knife Back Side
One feature that keeps the cost low is the 8Cr13MoV stainless steel blade. This is a good entry level steel and is really not a bad steel at all. It contains 13% chromium, so if falls right at the borderline of a stainless steel. From literature I have studied, the corrosion resistance, toughness, edge retention, and wear all fall in the good category; not excellent. Probably the biggest drawback to the blade is it probably will need sharpening a little more than the higher grade steels. Out of the package, the knife was very, very sharp which pleased me. I personally like the hollow ground blade shape with the nice swedge at the top. Also, the blade was/is very well centered between the handles which is pretty impressive for a $30 knife.
The knife is comfortable, but is just a little too short for me to call excellent. Note my hands are on the large size. I need a knife that has at least a 4 inch closed length for it to be comfortable for me. One thing I also noticed is the handles are pretty smooth and there is not a lot there to grip your hand should it become wet. One time while using it, my hands became sweaty, and in turn, the knife became somewhat slippery. There is some jimping provided that helps some, but it is somewhat “rounded off” making it less effective than it could be.
The knife has the Hinderer designed lockbar stabilizer. This is a very nice adjustable feature that prevents the lockbar from translating too far when unlocking the blade and stowing it. The pocket clip is also a very nice design and permits the knife to seat very deeply in your pocket. I find the stiffness is just right. Not too stiff but not weak either. The pocket clip can be mounted tip up, tip down, left, or right (four total positions). I find stowing the blade is very comfortable and does not require excessive force to do so. There is a natural “stop” when the blade is about 90 degrees relative to the knife body. A nice large lanyard hole is provided for those who desire a lanyard.
Figure 4 – Lockbar Stabilizer
I have used the knife quite a lot for about one month. Mostly for things around the house and garage like cutting up boxes, cutting cord/straps, opening mail, cutting up food, etc. My experience has been very good; it cuts through these things like butter and still does not need sharpening.
I have discussed mostly positives to this knife so far however I need to mention a couple things that are not particularly positive. For its size, the knife it is somewhat heavy. 4.3 oz. for a knife with a closed length of less than 4 inches seems high. This is largely due to the stainless steel handles. Still the knife is not all that heavy, and if you don’t mind a knife a little on the heavy side, then you will find this knife acceptable. Kershaw almost always puts a safety on their assisted opening knives; however, they did not on this one. (The safety is a feature that prevents the blade from firing open unintentionally) After playing with the knife and using it for about a month, it seems unlikely the knife would deploy unintentionally. So for those of you who want a safety, then this knife is not for you.
Figure5 – Stowed 1555, Knife Back Side
In summary I ask you, where can you get a Rick Hinderer designed knife that is well made, solid as a rock, made of good materials, has black acid wash finish, and has high quality for $30? I think it is great all-purpose/EDC type of knife that will serve you well. I say this in view of the drawbacks it has. So if you are in the market for this type of knife, and don’t want to drain your bank account, I highly recommend you consider this knife.
Finally I will finish with Pros and Cons.
I have a couple of the Cryo's and love them. I don't see the lack of grip retention and issue, because I see them as a light duty knife. I stay away from knives with safeties, I am my weapons safety. I agree they have a lot of quality for the money. There are several dealers making G10 and other material scales to replace the steel slab, if you want better grip.
Generally I do like Kershaws for just that reason, they tend to be solid somewhat heavy knives and in my environment that important.
I also prefer a 4 inch closed knife feels just right and for me translates to the large stockman in traditional knives.
Doug mentioned some after market scales and I did kind of like that. What a great way to give it some new life!
Great write up and Thank you!
Thank you. Great to know that at a smaller price point it is a good solid knife with a lock up that works well. Those seem to be things missing in some of the smaller and less expensive. At this price, this can be an EDC to be proud of
I think i am going to buy one, but then the bigger 1556, the Cryo II that has a 3-1/4" blade.
I have big hands and think the Cryo II will be perfect for me.
Only thing left to decide is should go for the 1556TI or the 1556BW.
Great review....I am inspired to present a similar review of my Kershaw "Scrambler". I have read your article a couple of times, and as great as it is, I am still puzzled as to what you mean by "EDC". I know I risk showing my ignorance here by asking this, but I have yet to find the site's list of common terms and abbreviations. If it means Every Daft Customer, well then yes, it must be obvious - 'cause I missed it. :-)
There is no Damascus in the knife, so it's not Extra Damascus Compatible (which is obvious by the way....so I'll give you that one). You state you wanted a smaller EDC, but Easy, Discrete & Concealed is not the context in which you spoke.
You do refer to it as an all-purpose/EDC type of knife, so EDC must mean some sort of function (and as stated, you want a smaller one) - but unless you are a crane operator and you mean Elevated Drag Control, I'm not sure where having a smaller one really adds value.
I think I have successfully determined what EDC is not. I've also concluded that an EDC is both a thing and a function - because you identified it by being something smaller than you usually carry, and you combined it with all-purpose, which implies functionality. And Jan comments that it is an EDC you can be proud of, implying a thing again (like a sharp edge - a functional thing)
So...what is an EDC and what is it's purpose? Sorry - it wasn't obvious.
Thanks for indulging me...I'm sure I'll get educated!
EDC = Every Day Carry. Hope that helps...and Welcome to iKC!
Ha! Of course it does...go figure. Now if he only used WSK, there would have been no need for this dialog...but EDC threw me for a loop. Every Day Carry....won't soon forget that one!
Thanks Steve - very much appreciate the help.
Any time. Glad to help!
Ha! I was hoping someone would ask....WSK = Wilderness Survival Knife. Common term among fixed blade folks, like EDC is to folder folks I guess. The distinctive "Tracker" blade style was first designed by Tom Brown Jr. Dave Beck was the second maker who perfected the the knife design and first coined "WSK" back in the day....early '90's I think.
A good example: https://xoknives.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/wsk/
The Original one: http://www.drbeckknives.com/
Makes for good reading and all around info -
Thank you! Some good info there and some GREAT knives!
I have a Cryo and I agree it's a nice knife, but I either need to get an aftermarket scale for the non-lock side, or maybe sell it and get the Cryo G10 - because it's too darn slippery. I can't seem to hold on to the darn thing.
UPDATE: I just checked the price of aftermarket scales - I think I'll sell mine and get a Cryo G10! MUCH cheaper than adding a scale - the scale costs as much or more than the knife!