When first introduced at the beginning of 2020, the Kershaw Lucha raised some eyebrows. Could Kershaw, a brand known for its high-value knives, really compete with the likes of BRS, Squid Industries, and Benchmade? The last three years have given us a clear answer: Yes, it can. The Kershaw Lucha has solidified its place in the butterfly knife community as a must-have flipper for everyone, from beginners to pros. In this review, we’ll look in-depth at the Kershaw Lucha, what makes it such a fantastic and sought-after balisong, and why you should pick one up.
Since its introduction, the Lucha line has expanded with new colorways, a trainer model, and even a premium model. We’re also proud to offer an exclusive Stormtrooper Lucha that has a full white cerakote finish on the handles and blade with black hardware, giving it that iconic Stormtrooper look. The materials for these models are constant throughout, with the exception of the premium model.
Let’s look at the stats:
- Overall Length: 10.25”
- Blade Length: 4.60”
- Blade Shape: Clip Point
- Blade Steel: 14C28N
- Handle Material: Stainless Steel
- Weight: 5.90 oz.
- Lock Mechanism: Latch
- Overall Length: 10.25”
- Blade Length: 4.60”
- Blade Shape: Spear Point
- Blade Steel: CPM 20CV
- Handle Material: Titanium / Carbon Fiber
- Weight: 4.94 oz.
- Lock Mechanism: Latch
KNIFE LIFE SCORE
Knife Life is about representing your personality and passion through the knife you carry every day. Quality and performance are key, and tasteful design and ritzy details are also important. You can be confident carrying any knife with a high Knife Life Score. Each section is scored out of 10 with a grand total score out of 100. We’ll rate the Lucha based on its Uniqueness, Materials, Look, Ergonomics, Deployment, Sharpening, Fit and Finish, Cutting Power, Ease of Carry, and Wow Factor.
UNIQUENESS / IMPORTANCE
For the longest time, butterfly knives have fallen into one of two categories: inexpensive and flimsy or incredibly expensive and built like a tank. The Kershaw Lucha enters the market as a fair middle ground allowing more people to get into flipping without the need to take out a second mortgage (we jest, but it does feel that way sometimes). The Lucha is important because it proves that high-quality balisongs can be developed, produced, and become successful at a decent price. Kershaw has a knack for making high-quality, affordable knives; the Lucha is such a knife, providing incredible value at a reasonable price.
Part of the reason the cost of the Lucha can stay so low compared to other balisongs is its use of less expensive materials. The standard Lucha models have stainless steel handles that provide adequate weight and durability without sacrificing ergonomics and control, and their Sandvik 14C28N steel blades that resist chipping and breaking better than many of the super steels on the market; however, it will also get dull quicker. Overall, these materials are great for a butterfly knife: They’re durable, easy to maintain, and look great! The biggest downside here is the weight of the steel handles, which some users find obnoxious to flip around.
The premium Lucha model gets an improved score of 9/10. It boasts titanium and carbon fiber handles that reduce the knife’s weight by over an ounce! This handle upgrade dramatically improves the flipping experience. This Lucha also sports a premium blade steel: CPM 20CV. This steel type will stay sharp for much longer; however, it’s also more prone to chip and break. If you think you might drop your Lucha on a hard surface, this steel type may not be ideal for you.
LOOK / STYLING
Balisongs are often seen as statement pieces. They look flashy no matter how you open them, drawing lots of attention. You’ll receive even more wowed looks when you get good with the knife. The Kershaw Lucha has a ton of flare thanks to its clean lines, prominent grinds, and milled handles. It has a modern but simple look that places it somewhere between the classic Benchmade 42 and the stylized BRS Alpha Beast. It’s sleek and simple but cool and streamlined.
The standard Lucha, when compared to other balisongs, has average ergonomics. The knife is well-balanced but a little heavy for some. Though its handles look great and provide great control for spins and flares, the edges can feel a little sharp when doing ricochet tricks—your knuckles will definitely feel it. The Lucha has great handle length allowing for more purchase when performing more technical tricks.
As in the materials section, the premium model gets an improved score. It gets an 8/10 for being more lightweight and having carbon fiber overlays, which fill-out the handles without sacrificing grip or control.
DEPLOYMENT / LOCKUP
If we had to choose one word to describe the Kershaw Lucha, it would be “smooth.” This knife seriously floats when flipped. KVT ball bearings give it excellent action and completely remove any blade play. Like other balisong knives, the Lucha locks open or shut by using a simple latch mechanism, which is removable. It’s nothing special, but it’s practical and optional for those who dislike latches on their balisongs.
SHARPENING / BLADE
As mentioned briefly before, the Kershaw Lucha features a 14C28N stainless steel blade. This blade steel is particularly good for balisongs thanks to its softer, more forgiving characteristics. The premium model’s CPM 20CV super steel is better for edge retention and general utility, but balisongs don’t typically see as much cutting action and tend to require blade steels that can withstand regular drops without chipping or breaking. For everyday carry and light use, this blade is great and isn’t terrible to sharpen. It doesn’t, however, hold an edge super well.
Generally, production knives have minor flaws and inconsistencies. That being said, the Kershaw Lucha is exceptionally well-made and has virtually zero flaws. The grind on the blade is consistent, the handles are well-finished and without blemish, and the tolerances around the pivots are tight and smooth. While this knife is a fraction of the cost of other butterfly knives, it’s actually quite incredible in its construction and consistency. The Kershaw Lucha is proudly made in the USA.
CUTTING POWER / CUT TESTS
Though the Lucha is a knife—by definition, it’s designed to cut things—it isn’t necessarily meant for regular cutting tasks. Its blade design is great for general utility and performs quite nicely, especially the premium 20CV blade, but flipping is the primary function. The standard Lucha is a great option if you see yourself just cutting open packages and letters. If you foresee your Lucha getting more hard use, try the premium model, as it will perform better and for longer.
EASE OF CARRY
If you’re used to carrying a regular folding pocket knife, the Kershaw Lucha will be an extreme change. This knife is bigger than most folding knives and doesn’t have a pocket clip. The knife is slim and fits decently well in your pocket, but we don’t recommend keeping it in the same pocket as your phone or wallet since it monopolizes space. If you’re someone who carries a bag or pack, the Kershaw Lucha will fit well in an accessory pocket and carries enough weight that you won’t forget it’s there. This knife isn’t terrible to carry, but it isn’t easy either. If you opt to remove the latch, we don’t recommend pocket carry at all, as it may open in your pocket and cut you. Look into getting a balisong sheath if you want to carry a latchless butterfly knife in your pocket.
WOW FACTOR / POCKET JEWELRY
It’s safe to say that having this knife and using it around others will draw attention. The Kershaw Lucha is very cool to look at and play with. It has its own unique flavor and adds value to any everyday carry rotation. The knife isn’t necessarily a grail knife or a crazy exclusive piece, but it has swagger and carries its own sort of clout. It has what it takes to be considered pocket jewelry, from its modern design to smooth flipping action. However you slice it, the Kershaw Lucha is one stellar knife!
TOTAL KNIFE LIFE SCORE: 81/100—84/100
There are lots of reasons why the Kershaw Lucha gained popularity as quickly as it did. This knife is unique and incredible, taking it beyond many other cutters we’ve seen come our way in the last few years. With people becoming more and more excited about everyday carry, matching their gear to their lifestyle, and just balisongs in general, the Kershaw Lucha makes a perfect addition to any gear collections. It’s a slim, large folding knife with an excellent blade profile and comfortable ergonomics.
If you’re looking to hit that sweet spot with your next knife, look no further than the Kershaw Lucha. If you want to step up your game even more, consider the premium Lucha model or our exclusive whiteout Stormtrooper variation. If you’re just getting started and concerned about the safety of your fingers, try the Lucha trainer and hone your skills for when it’s time to flip a live blade bali.
Knife customization is a big part of the knife community. Tons of aftermarket handle and bearing options exist for the Lucha, many of which are produced by Flytanium. I customized my Lucha, pairing custom anodized titanium scales with the standard Sandvik 14C28N steel blade. I also upgraded my bearings to ceramic instead of steel. It gave me the best of both worlds: the superior flipping experience from the lighter handles and the chip resistance of the tougher blade steel. With the Kershaw Lucha, the possibilities are almost limitless!
If you’re still on the fence about the Kershaw Lucha, take a quick minute to watch our Blade HQ overview. In this short video, we look at the specs and stats of this awesome balisong!