I have never owned an assisted opening pocket knife before, but I have always wanted one. From the outside, they seem like they would be flimsy and that their action would be all for show. Most of the people I had met that brandished an assisted opening blade were of the “mall ninja” type.
I had no real basis for that thought process, but it was a gut feeling. Since I love a good knife – and I’m always looking for a new one to try – I decided to take the plunge to find an assisted opening blade for my EDC.
My only real concern was that I did not want to spend a lot of money on something that I had never tried before, but I also didn’t want to waste my money on a piece of junk – quality control is important to me.
In this review, I will be discussing the Kershaw OSO Sweet pocket knife in terms of price, quality, function, and whether or not it’s worth picking up.
Let’s take a quick look at what this product has to offer:
Kershaw OSO Sweet Specifications:
- Speed safe assisted opening
- Liner lock mechanism
- Reversible (tip-up/tip-down) pocket clip
- Blade material: 8Cr13MoV stainless steel with satin finish
- Handle: Glass-filled nylon
- Blade length: 3.1 in. (7.9cm)
- Closed length: 4.1 in. (10.cm)
- Overall length: 7.25 in. (18.4cm)
- Blade thickness: 1/16 in.
- Weight: 3.2 oz. (90.7g)
- Lanyard hole
- Scales come in black or olive drab
- Country of Origin: China
Kershaw OSO Sweet Review
Like many manufacturers, Kershaw knives have a rather wide range of prices. They go from being quite affordable to rather pricey.
When I saw the price for the OSO Sweet, I was kind of on the fence because it was the cheapest knife that I found under this brand. But how cheap was it?
Under $20 Bucks
I found the Kershaw OSO Sweet Assisted Opening Pocket Knife on Amazon for under $20 and figured I couldn’t go wrong for that price, especially for Kershaw knives. I had been eyeballing a few other brands, but the price was either way too high or it was a brand that I wasn’t even willing to throw five bucks away on.
At under $20, the OSO Sweet found the sweet spot in my budget.
Please keep in mind that prices of products are always subject to change.
Weight and Size
The first thing I noticed when I took the knife out of the box was how lightweight it felt.
I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first when I took the OSO Sweet pocket knife out of its packaging because it felt so lightweight. I was used to pocket knives that were a bit heavier, such as Buck 110 folding knives. Because of this, it felt a little out of place at first, but it didn’t take long for the OSO Sweet to feel right at home.
At 3.2 ounces, I almost didn’t even notice the knife in my hand, let alone in my pocket. At four and one-eighth inches long, this knife fits diagonally in the palm of my hand with the blade closed and it has a comfortable contour to the frame that allows it to fit snugly in my pocket.
Assisted Opening Engaged!
I felt a bit like a kid in a candy store the first time I engaged the assisted opening. Along the back edge of the handle there is a small tab (flipper) that protrudes out from the frame. It doesn’t take much effort when running your finger over this flipper for the blade to swing open.
The quick hard snap of the blade opening and locking up was quite impressive. Shutting and opening the blade one handed is very easy and requires almost no practice as long as you are familiar with pocket knives
The first day that I had the OSO Sweet, I probably opened and shut the blade fifty times, just because. Like I said, kid in a candy store. Closing the blade is just as easy with a quick push to the side of the liner lock with your thumb.
Normally, I am not a huge fan of stainless blade material for certain tasks, but this particular knife came razor-sharp out of the box. Yes, it shaved hair off of the top of my arm. This isn’t the best method for testing how sharp a knife is unless you want to look like a hairless wonder.
Thus far, the blade has had great edge retention through extensive use every day for months. I have used the Kershaw OSO Sweet Assisted Opening Pocket Knife for cutting cardboard, carpet, rope, opening packages, zip ties, rubber tubing, and shaving tinder from branches.
This knife wasn’t really meant for the use I have put it through because it is not a survival knife, nor is it a utility knife, but the stainless steel blade has held up well, and I like to test my everyday carry blades outside of their normal use parameters.
Since my plan was to have this blade be a part of my everyday carry, I wasn’t just concerned with edge retention. I tend to sweat a lot, and it’s not uncommon for me to be in humid or wet environments.
After months of riding in my pocket and being exposed to these conditions, the satin finish on the stainless steel blade on my OSO Sweet pocket knife hasn’t shown a bit of rust. Although, I do tend to keep my blades well maintained.
At 3.1 inches, the blade length isn’t too short or too long, but just right for an everyday carry pocket knife that I plan on using a lot. The classic drop point blade has a fine point that gives me more control for detail work, and it is well-suited for penetrating certain materials. Overall, I find this to be a utilitarian drop point that works great for my daily use.
Keeping It Sharp
The Smith Pocket Sharpener does an OK job putting an edge back on the blade, but I have much better results if I put in the time with some Arkansas stones at home. I like to carry a pocket sharpener for light touchups at the end of the day, but if the edge has really gone downhill, then I will use a stone to sharpen it.
Just be careful when using a stone to sharpen a knife, as I think people tend to use them too much, incorrectly, or not in the right circumstances – all of which can end up causing more harm than good.
The black injection-molded glass-filled nylon handle has held up extremely well to the abuse I have put it through. I cannot count how many times I have dropped this knife onto the concrete or how many times it has rubbed up against other tools, and there is not a scratch on it. The glass-filled nylon handle seems to be some pretty sturdy material.
In some customer reviews that I have read, they have negative opinions of the handle, though, from an aesthetics standpoint rather than functional one. I have even seen a few reviews that call it ugly.
Personally, I like the “spider web” look of the scales and the feel of it in my hand. I think part of why I like the look of it, is that it is different than most popular knives. Plus, it does give the scales a textured surface, which in turn provides a better grip.
All knives are slippery to a degree when they are wet, and this knife is no different. The few times I have used it while wet, the slippage was not great enough to be a concern.
What has also helped me to maintain my grip is the small half-moon shape cutout towards the front of the handle. This provides a great spot for my index finger when holding the blade normally, and a place for my pinky finger when using a reverse grip.
The Kershaw OSO Sweet pocket knife comes with a reversible pocket clip. Having a reversible clip allows you to carry either tip up or tip down. I guess I have always been more of a tip up kind of a guy, but seeing that it’s more of a personal choice, there’s no wrong way to clip it, as long as it works for you.
If I remember correctly, the knife comes in the tip up configuration, which is my preference. However, if you prefer to carry tip down, the OSO Sweet gives you the option of doing so by having a reversible clip, which I think is a nice feature that Kershaw added.
For me, the clip did become the biggest downfall of the OSO Sweet. When it was brand new, the clip’s retention was tight and felt very secure when attached in my pockets. After a week or so, it loosened up quite a bit and eventually the knife seemed like it was falling out of my pocket more than it was staying in.
I was rather surprised by this, as I have owned other Kershaw knives, and this has never been an issue with any of those.
I was able to fix this by removing the clip, placing it in a vice, and carefully bending the metal back into shape. While this was an easy fix, I don’t think it was something that should have had to be done in such a short period.
I think part of the problem is that at the end of the clip, the metal swoops up bit. This upward swoop makes it much easier to for the clip to catch the edge of a pocket and to slide into place. However, since it sticks out more, it also catches on things easier, which can constantly pull on the tension of the clip.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Pros and Cons
- Very affordable
- Speedsafe assisted opening deploys the blade quickly
- locking liner secures the blade
- Great size for everyday carry
- Comfortable overall length
- Good edge retention
- Easy to sharpen
- Extremely sharp right out of the box
- Reversible pocket clip (tip up or tip down carry)
- Pivot screw for tightening handle and blade
- Excellent durability
- Some people find the blade difficult to sharpen (I don’t think so)
- Some people find the scales to be ugly (that’s a personal choice)
- Pocket clip became loose after use
Q: Is changing the position of the pocket clip difficult?
A: Not at all. As long as you have a small enough driver, there are just a few screws that need to be removed. Place the clip where you want it and reinstall the hardware. Easy!
Q: Is this a switch blade?
A: No, this Kershaw knife is not considered a switch blade. A switch blade is under constant pressure from a spring and fully opens when engaged. The OSO Sweet pocket knife requires your finger to move the flipper to lever the blade open.
Q: Is the OSO Sweet pocket knife good for salt water environments?
A: This has been my pocket carry knife for daily use for months and it has endured a lot of sweat getting on it. However, I tend to wipe my knives down and oil them frequently.
I would say that this is a corrosive resistant blade that would need a bit more frequent care in a salt water environment.
If you are looking to purchase an everyday carry, assisted opening, stainless steel knife, that won’t break easily and won’t break the bank, I encourage you to take a closer look at this knife. Kershaw makes some good products, and even though the OSO Sweet is on the cheaper end, it’s still worth noting.
Out of all the EDC knives that I have owned over the years, this knife is not only a good knife, I think that it is a great knife! For the price, the Model 1830 Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife cannot be beat. I love the balance of the knife when it is deployed, especially when transitioning from a standard forward position to a reverse hold position.
It is just as fast to deploy as it is to put away, which I think is an important aspect to note for a knife that you plan to use for everyday carry. One other EDC knife that I owned had an additional safety lock on it. I can see why they would put such a feature on a knife, but it did make it difficult to close and place back in my pocket quickly.
I think the satin finish makes the blade not too reflective, but also not too dull-looking. While this is more of a personal choice, I do like the appearance of the finish.
I was also pleased with how well the locking liner secures the blade when it is open and how easy it is to disengage it one-handed.
Kershaw did an outstanding job on this model, although I would have liked if the pocket clip was more durable. But, overall I think the OSO Sweet pocket knife is pretty sweet!