1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Kershaw Whirlwind Knife

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by bad_dad_brad, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. bad_dad_brad

    bad_dad_brad Well-Known Member

    I ran across this bad boy at a local sporting goods store last weekend.

    A Ken Onion designed Kershaw SpeedSafe mechanical assisted opening folding knife. It seems, unlike a lot of the small knives of this type, pretty safe, as it takes a lot of effort to open the blade. But once it does, the knife opens with a commanding snap. Pretty cool. Liner locked it is easy to close with one hand as well.

    The blade is under 4" in length so it is legal in most locals. The only negative is cosmetic. The Zytel handle seems cheap. It isn't as it is really tough. But it seems cheap somehow. Perhaps it is the cheesy design. But don't let that detract you, it is an excellent tool.

    Manufacturer: Kershaw
    Name: Whirlwind
    Weight: 3.5 oz.
    Closed Length: 4 3/8"
    Clip: Stainless pocket clip
    Blade: 3 1/4"
    Steel: 440A stainless steel

    I recommend this knife. Fairly inexpensive at less than $50 US. I think it will soon become my primary self-defense carry knife.
  2. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Well-Known Member

    I won't own anything in 440 steel where I might actually need the folder to defend with.

    As every pocket/fixed knife I carry has that criteria as part of the process of ownership 440 is out of the question.

    Like the design but the execution leaves much to be desired.

  3. bad_dad_brad

    bad_dad_brad Well-Known Member


    What is wrong with 440A stainless for a folder? I am no metalurgist. Educate me.

    440-A [ AUS6(A)/(M) ] ; Very commonly used for Culinary Cutlery. The low carbon content makes this one of the most rust and stain resistant steels available. The low carbon content prevent this steel alloy from hardening to a long lasting edge.

    I don't plan on using this knife for anything other than self defense, so it should hold its edge shouldn't it? Latest reports on heat treating 440A seem pretty promising.

    Hey, I know it is cheap, but 440A seems like a reasonable compromise vis-a-vis cost versus durability. Like I said, I don't plan on using it other than for, God forbid, one time defense.

    I carry another utility knife for everyday use.
  4. brownie0486

    brownie0486 Well-Known Member


    440 in all guises is usually brittle under hard use and is prone to fracture when lateral pressure is applied too vigorously.

    I'm no metallurigist myself but my guess is it is the heat treat not the steel ingrediants that makes it cheaper to produce which is then passed on to the public.

    Others will think it is just fine for their particular intended purpose as may be the case with your thoughts.

    I did not mean to insinuate your choice of a folder was bad. I choose steel as my first criteria when buying. Then blade design. Everything is a compromise between steel, strength of the lock and the rest is just ergonomics really.

    If you like the knife I would get it. When one likes the choice he or she has made they are apt to carry it often. Thats one step closer to your personal safety level if you have the presence of mind to train deploying it under stress, then get some basic training if you are serious about knife defense.

  5. bad_dad_brad

    bad_dad_brad Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the advice. I already bought the knife anyway before I posted, just because I like to collect automatic folders amongst other knives (I am looking for a sand colored Glock field knife at present). I must say, I had not considered the factor of brittleness, but as I said, I consider the Kershaw a one time use knife.

    I will check out your website.

    I find metalurgy fascinating, mostly because I don't really understand it. It seems a sort of trial and error kind of science. Like the alchemist, he does not really understand why an alloy works, it just does. I have read a few articles as well about "liquid metal" and how it might revolutionize knife making.


    I am also trying to find an Swedish A2 composite Fallkniven bowie type knife. I have made several internet queries, but can't seem to muster one up.

    Most of the time I carry a Kelly Worden small tactical knife in AUS-8 (Japanese - like 440B) stainless.

  6. makdaddy03

    makdaddy03 member

    I have found Kershaw knives to be very good knives. I bought what was thought to be a Blackout but its made in China. I later found out the Blackouts are made in the USA, so I figure I have something simiular to your Whirlwind. I bought mine at Wal-Mart for $54. Great knife and holds an edge.. Nice info. that you posted Brad. This really will help me out alot with my next knife purchase.:)
  7. Gray_Fallen

    Gray_Fallen Well-Known Member

    I've never had a problem with 440A on a defense knife. Yeah, its cheaper than some steels and not my choice for a utility blade or knife I will use for a lot of hard work, but the cheapness of it comes from the cost of the steel in bulk, and not so much the heat treat. A goo dheat treat can be had for $5 a blade for a custom maker, in greater numbers, witht heir own furnaces, a knife company can do just as good a job of heat treat, and still keep the cost real low.
    Look at Buck... they make some $25 knives, that are excellently heat treated thanks to Paul Bos (Arguably the best in the business). Kershaw doesnt use Bos, but thats not to say they dont use good heat treating.
    I've owned Kershaw knives, and always found their heat treat to be good, and reliable... not bad at all.
    I also know someone who has had occasion, thanks to his line of work, to use a Kershaw with 440 blade steel, against offensive humans. He's never broken the blade.

    Dont worry too much about your knife choice, bad_dad_brad, I certainly wouldnt. Steel + flesh is a nasty combination, no matter if its a rusty can lid, or a $1200 custom witht he latest super steel.

Share This Page