Sturdy performance and excellent working ergonomics at a surprisingly comfortable price, the new Kershaw Launch 19 automatic folder is a bullseye for dependable everyday carry

by Dexter Ewing; photos by Marty Stanfield Photography

Kershaw Knives’ Launch series of USA-made automatic opening folders has been a big success for the company, offering modern tactical and EDC folder designs using premium materials and blade steel — all for a great price value that ensures you get the most bang for your buck. They are meant for heavy, hard use and, surprisingly, are on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to pricing for USA-made automatic folders. In 2024, Kershaw released the Launch 19, which possessed all the hallmarks of the Launch series in an exciting new working folder design that will delight knife users everywhere with its ergonomic, two-piece handle and clip point blade with integrated choil to assist in more precise control.

Ready to take an in-depth look?

Review: Kershaw Launch 19 Automatic Folder

The blade of the Launch 19 is a classic clip point shape, measuring 3.3 inches in length. It sports a full flat grind with a swedge on the spine. Blade steel is CPM154, as it is on the other Launch models. This is basically a particle version of 154CM steel, ensuring a fine grain structure for superior edge holding, wear resistance, and toughness.

The blade sports a high contrast finish with its Cerakote black flats and machine satin bevels and swedge. There’s also the inclusion of a finger choil at the blade tang, allowing the user to choke up further on the handle and blade for optimum control during cutting tasks. The thumb rest portion of the blade spine has traction notches cut in to provide your thumb a comfortable, non-slip place to rest and apply downward pressure if needed.

Review: Kershaw Launch 19 Automatic Folder

The handle is machined from aircraft grade T6 6061 aluminum alloy and is given a black hard coat anodized finish that is highly scratch resistant. On the presentation side of the handle, there’s a section of earth brown G-10 for appearance as well as further lightening the overall weight of the knife. The G-10 does add an interesting visual texture.

On the reverse side of the handle is a steel, deep-carry pocket clip mounted to carry the Launch 19 in the tip-up position in the pocket. There is another set of clip screw holes in the G-10 side to accommodate left-handed users.

Review: Kershaw Launch 19 Automatic Folder

The overall handle shape is conducive to prolonged use, with a deep finger groove at the pivot that helps to form an integral lower hand guard. It is a well-designed handle.

The Launch 19 is a perfect choice for a working folder. The blade, handle, and materials all work together to provide a strong, stylish, and handy EDC folding knife that anyone would be proud to own. The blade’s grind and edge geometry are excellent right out of the box. The flat grind allows the blade to cleave through a variety of tough materials with ease, and the acute blade tip permits the Launch 19 to perform tasks involving delicate cutting and scoring. The CPM154 stainless steel ensures the blade holds an edge for the duration of your cutting tasks.

When it comes to resharpening, CPM154 is easier to sharpen when compared to S30V, S35VN, S45VN, and other high-end blade steels. Cost-wise, it seems to be a good compromise for a higher performance blade steel without being too expensive, pushing the knife outside of its targeted MSRP range.

Review: Kershaw Launch 19 Automatic Folder

As for handling, I really liked the ergonomics. My hand fit perfectly on the handle, and I love the integral forward guard formed by the primary finger recess. This allows you to lock your grip against the guard, giving you heightened control of the knife at all times. This instills user confidence as well, and it makes the Launch 19 one of those knives you will repeatedly reach for when you have tough cutting tasks at hand.

The chamfered handle edges soften the grip feeling considerably, and I didn’t detect any hot spots during use. The choil on the blade is a way to provide an alternative grip, one that chokes up onto the blade for enhanced control. I really like folding knives that offer this option, as at times you do need that extra measure of control. This is something that most knives on the market do not offer. So, if you are one who likes choils on your folders, the Launch 19 is worth looking into.

At all times I felt in control of the knife, and the Launch 19 never failed to disappoint. In the pocket, it carries low and, due to the aluminum and G-10 handle, weight is kept to a bare minimum. You barely feel the knife in your pocket, which is a characteristic that is a must when you shop for an EDC folding knife.

Review: Kershaw Launch 19 Automatic Folder

Overall, the Launch 19 is one of the better EDC folding knives that I have used that has really impressed me. It is made in the USA and has an MSRP of $279.99. The price is quite good for a high-end USA-made automatic folding knife. Keep in mind that you usually can find it at a lower price when you purchase from a reputable online knife retailer — another fact that makes the Kershaw Launch 19 an attractive value.

Dexter has been writing about knives for over 25 years. He currently serves as Field Editor for BLADE Magazine, and he runs a knife and tool sharpening service. Dexter has a passion for knives and knife collecting. His specialty is production (factory-made) knives and the trends and technology associated with them.

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