Kershaw 1660ST Leek Review

Kershaw Leek Serrated

The Kershaw Leek comes in a wide variety of styles, being one of the most popular EDC knives sold.  Perhaps it’s the success of the Leek that catapulted Kershaw into a household name (at least in the knife enthusiast’s home).  One of the models, knife guru Ken Onion’s 1660, is perhaps the most common of the many variants of the Leek out there.  It’s the version most sought after, and it’s the Kershaw 1660ST Leek that I’m reviewing today.

Specs

  • Total Length: 7″
  • Blade Length: 3″
  • Blade Material: 14C28N
  • Blade Shape: Modified Clip Point (Some Say Wharncliffe)
  • Deployment: SpeedSafe Flipper
  • Lock Type: Liner Lock
  • Handle Material: 410 Stainless Steel

TL;DR

The Kershaw 1660ST Leek is a handy little knife to have.  It’s not too large but it has a nice weight to it that other similarly-sized knives lack.  The thin blade means it’s really only suited for light work, however.

Table of Contents

First Impression

The Kershaw Leek 1660ST is an all-steel knife that’s isn’t very large, but also isn’t tiny like the Spyderco Ladybug 3.  The blade is 3″ long, which allows it to avoid the frustrating aspects of a super short knife.  It also has what some call a Wharncliffe blade (I think it’s closer to a modified clip point) that ends in a very thin tip.

So, the stuff I liked about it was, obviously, its size.  Most people drawn to this knife are initially done so because of its perfect size.  It fits in the pocket easily and is held fast with its clips.  It’s difficult to lose, which is a concern I have with some of the other small knives I’ve carried.

I also like the blade shape.  Whether you want to think of it as a modified clip point or a Wharncliffe, this is a sturdy knife for chopping and small outdoors tasks.  Its also good for whittling.

Now, there are a few things I don’t like about it.  While it’s a very popular EDC, I tend to find the blade to be a little too thin for most of my purposes.  This is a preference of mine, of course, but I always try to get it to perform tasks rougher than it was meant for.  I admit that I’ve broken the tip off in the past.

Part of this I think is because knife makers are using harder steels since people hate sharpening.  If you have a knife that’s half serrated and half flat edge, sharpening becomes a little more time consuming (and a little more involved because most sharpeners don’t do serrated edges) yet.  Harder steels retain their edges longer, but they become brittle.  When that hardness is combined with thinness, you get a knife that’s wicked sharp, but that thin tip is very weak.

I also don’t like torx screws, but that’s just me.  I wish this knife used Phillips screws.

Other than that, it’s a great EDC and popular for good reasons.  I did have it come open in my pocket once, but it’s my fault for meddling with the SpeedSafe lock.  Whoops.

Blade

First off, the Kershaw Leek’s blade is very sharp right out of the box.  The Kershaw 1660ST Leek’s blade is 3″ and made out of 14C28N steel, which is an upper mid-range steel that manages to balance hardness with moderate corrosion-resistance.  It’s also an affordable steel, which is a great balance.

The blade’s shape is sometimes listed as a modified drop point, a modified clip point, and a Wharncliffe point.  My personal opinion is that it looks like a clip point had an affair with a Wharncliffe point and this is the result.  I don’t have the package mine came in any longer, so I can’t check to see what’s on it and have to take the Internet’s word for it.

Anyway, the blade doesn’t have much belly, so it’s not the best slicer around.  However, it’s good for cutting and chopping, and the relatively straight edge makes it a fine tool for whittling.  I’ve used this knife to whittling many walking sticks and it serves its purpose well in such regard.

Of course, it can do the usual of opening packages as we fuel our Amazon habit, so it’s good for office-type stuff as well.

The downside of the blade is that it’s thin.  It’s very thin, and that makes the point very fragile.  This isn’t a knife for stabbing things, and I’ve actually broken the tip on one of my Kershaw Leeks before.  This isn’t a knife to get rough with because it can’t take too much abuse.  With the right sharpener, some chips and cracks can be fixed, but the steel is kind of hard and the blade is thin, so be careful about how much steel you think you have to remove to repair any damage.

If you’re not sure about sharpening your own knives, we have an article about knife sharpening books as well as a list of our favorite knife sharpeners.

Handle

The handle is made of stainless steel, which gives this knife a little more heft than the last few knives we’ve reviewed.  If you like a knife with a little more weight than the Spyderco Ladybug or 284 Bantam, then this would be a great alternative.

Your mileage may vary on this, but the Kershaw Leek 1660ST’s handle is smooth.  Now, for me it’s just big enough that it doesn’t slip around in my hand like some of the other smooth-handled knives we have, but when I go boating, it doesn’t work too well if my hands get wet.  That’s nit-picking, though.  I really don’t have huge issues with how this handles.

My real problems come from the lanyard hole and the screws.  The lanyard hole is a little too small for my liking and Torx screws aren’t as good as Phillips screws.

Weight

This knife is heftier than other small knives around its size.  This is due to being all steel, giving it a rather solid feel.  Usually, I prefer a little more weight, but the fragility of the blade makes this weight feel a bit deceptive.  Be careful that you don’t assume the knife can take more abuse than it actually can.

Despite the heft, however, you’re still likely to forget that it’s in your pocket.  It’s heavier than other knives its size, but not that heavy.

Carrying and Deployment

First of all, I like the clip on this knife.  Some clips manage to pull loose a few threads on my pockets, but this one is snug without needing me to carefully pry the clip up to fasten it or remove the knife.  That’s always a good thing, I think.

The Kershaw 1660ST Leek is designed for right-handed pocket carry, so keep that in mind.

I also like the SpeedSafe opening mechanism.  Some folks hate it, but I find it smooth and easy to open.  You don’t have to flick your wrist to deploy the blade like some other openers.

That being said, be sure to check your local laws regarding assisted opening knives!

Also, make sure you press the blade in the lock when you close it, and don’t mess with the screws too much.  The lock is fantastic, but if it’s not 100% engaged, it’s possible for the blade to pop open in the pocket.  It has a lanyard hole, though, so you can carry it other ways, too.

Final Thoughts

This is a fine EDC knife that mostly lives up to its reputation.  If you don’t plan on doing anything heavy-duty with it, it’ll serve you well.  If you love whittling, I highly recommend it.  Just be aware of the limitations regarding its thin blade.

Interested in a Kershaw 1660ST Leek for Yourself or as a Gift?

You can nab it on Amazon, and they tend to run discounts on this particular knife, so you could get lucky!
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