I tested the award-winning EDC knife from Blade Show West, the WE Knife Shakan. It did everything right — so why was I left wanting something more?
WE Knife deserves a lot of credit in the pocketknife world. As one of the first Chinese manufacturers to up its production game, WE has become all but synonymous with well-made, high-quality tools.
On the other hand, it (and its various sub-brands) are also responsible for unleashing a deluge of new products on the market. And with so many variants and trim levels to choose from, how is a new model supposed to stand out?
Well, winning an award usually helps. Such is the case with the new WE Knife Shakan ($250), which took home the “Best Factory EDC” crown at 2022’s Blade Show West.
This attractive framelock flipper features an in-house design, along with a spear-like, drop-point blade flanked by a colorful handle. So, when WE reached out to offer a loaner for testing, it didn’t take long to agree. After all, who am I to argue with some of the leading minds in the industry?
In short: The WE Knife Shakan is a solid, award-winning knife from a quality manufacturer. Its strong blade-to-handle ratio, reliable cutting performance, and comfy/gorgeous handle argue for its place in your pocket. But with the just-OK action of its titanium frame lock, I can’t help but feel as though something is missing.
WE Knife Shakan Review
- Overall length: 6.87 in.
- Blade length: 2.97 in.
- Blade width: 1.11 in.
- Blade thickness: 0.13 in.
- Blade steel: CPM 20CV
- Blade style: Drop point, flat grind
- Handle length: 3.91 in.
- Handle thickness: 0.40 in.
- Handle material: Titanium
- Weight: 2.63 oz.
Take a gander at Shakan’s specs listed above. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Overall, it’s a pretty impressive list. Though available in four different handle configurations, each version of the Shakan utilizes the same 2.97-inch blade, wrought from CPM 20CV steel.
From the slightly brassy look of the pivot screw to the rounded flipper and spine, WE’s manufacturing chops are on point. The materials and finishing are well in line for a knife costing $250, and the edge came sharp and ready to go.
So, why do I find myself uncompelled? There’s a lot to like here, on both the visual and ergonomic sides. Let’s examine the package in detail.
In the hand, one of the first things I noticed about the Shakan was its ratio of blade-to-handle. With just under 3 inches of cutting surface (not to mention a nice sharpening choil), it feels like you’re getting a lot of edge for something with less than 4 inches of grip.
This gives the Shakan a bit more reach than I anticipated. In the kitchen, it tackled carrots and onions with aplomb, though the blade does feel a bit thick behind its edge. This wasn’t as much of a factor when it came to other daily tasks, however. The knife performed well as a slicer of boxes and packaging, with a secure lock and grip.
Also, the weight. At just over 2.5 ounces, the Shakan carries quite well. It doesn’t exactly disappear in the pocket, but its titanium clip is narrow and unobtrusive, making it a breeze to draw and replace.
And the way the blue grooves on the show-side catch and play with the sunlight? Gorgeous.
The letdown here comes with the action. Whether it’s the low blade weight or an iffy detent, my tester proved to be a middling (if functional) flipper.
In an effort to add some snappiness, I disassembled, cleaned, and oiled the Shakan. This also gave me a chance to appreciate the interior millwork and finishing which, I have to say, is definitely nice.
The ease of its takedown process also drove home the simplicity of this blade, which is something I appreciate.
Unfortunately, my efforts yielded little gain. The knife moves a bit more freely but, overall, it still feels like throwing a punch underwater.
There’s also something missing here that’s less than quantifiable. As a pocketknife, the Shakan fulfills its function — it cuts, rides, and appeals to the eye. But there’s more polish than personality here, and I can’t help but feel like it could use a character quirk or two.
WE Knife Shakan: Conclusion
In the end, the Shakan is a fine EDC knife. The blade and handle come together to showcase fine materials, craftsmanship, and cutting performance.
But it’s also just … fine. Despite my love for ergonomics and patterned titanium, there isn’t much that advances or captures the spirit of the hobby. Frankly, it feels like what it is: another serviceable (if elegant) framelock flipper.
Don’t let my grumpiness persuade you to dismiss the Shakan, however. While it may not have the personality of the Spyderco or Benchmade headliners, the worst that can be said about this WE knife is that it cuts well, looks gorgeous, and opens a little slowly.
I also enjoy the narrow profile and, if the company can dial in action, the design might have some legs. In fact — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — a larger model would probably be extremely compelling.Check Price at Blade HQ