Is 440V Twice as Good as 440A?.... Looking at Kershaws

Nov 26, 2000
I am looking at buying either a Kershaw 1560 Whirlwind with 440A metal or a Kershaw 1520 Richochet with 440V metal. The latter is roughly double the price. Although I have a fondness for knives I don't know anything about metals. Is the 440V twice as good? What's better about it?

Other comments regarding Whirlwind vs. Richochet are welcome.
You can not simply compare the steel in the blade to come up with the cost difference, there are other significant factors as well.

The Richochet features a polished G10 handle with titanium liners, the Whirlwind handle is molded zytel with steel liners. The G10 material is much much nicer and better looking. The blade shape on the Riochet looks better to me, there is a notched thumb ramp, and a thong hole. Looks like much better ergonomics, and I'm sure the internal construction is also better.

Now, as far as the steel (metal) goes, 440A is a the LOW end of the cutlery grade steels, 440V is at the high end. They are completely different materials. So much so, that the new name of 440V is S60V. The V stands for vanadium. The vanadium content and a higher carbon content, as well as crucible particle metallurgy technology (don't worry, I won't begin to explain what that means), make 440V very superior blade steel compared to 440A. In fact, edge wear resistance is probably much more than two times better in 440V compared to 440A.

The total package of the Richochet is worth at least two times as much as the Whirlwind. Handle both and I'm sure you will feel the difference. Of course, they are Both good knives for the money. Buy what you like, and buy the best you can afford.


[This message has been edited by Paracelsus (edited 11-26-2000).]
Sorry, I forgot...

Welcome to Blade Forums LeeBo337!

Just ask for knowledge and you will receive...something. You don't always get what you want, and sometimes you get more than you expected, but you will get something. Watch out for the idiots and you will do just fine.

Paracelsus, idiot
If it fits the budget , get the knife with 440V. It may seem like the type of steel used in the blade wouldn't make much of a difference now, but once you've handled a knife made with better materials you'll understand.I can still remember the first cut I made with my first spyderco. I had thought I was pretty good at sharpening before and had good edges on all my carving knives, but the spyderco cut better than anything I had ever seen. And it stayted that way.
A knife made with 440A will sharpen up pretty good, and will probably have a great edge when its new in the box, but it won't stay that way nearly as long as the 440V. And the other materials are also a factor, like paracelsus said. The G10 is a nicer handle, its stronger, and most people think it looks nicer. Zytel isn't bad stuff but its not as nice as G10 and not nearly as strong.
The best way for you to find out the difference that materials make is for you to get the knife in 440V and G10 and use it a lot. If you haven't used any high end knives before you should be surprised.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer... but I've got the sharpest knife in the room.
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize their was a difference in the handles. I thougt both were just fancy names for similar plastics.

You guys have talked me into the Richchet, especially since this is something I hope to find in my stocking.
on materials that are not severely hard on the edge....440V will hold and edge 5 or 6 times as long as 440C, which is a vast improvement over 440A. In other words... 500+ percent better edge holding. Check out for more info
President Bush sounds soooo much better than Loser algore!!


Welcome aboard.
If you want more info on the knives, check out the Kershaw website (if they have one, that is. I'm sure they will be more than happy to show you the differences between the materials. Also, Spyderco's website has a lot of information on the varios steels. If there isn't a Kershaw Website, many of the various knife selling sites has details. But if you AWESOME steel, get a KA BAR D2 extreme folder.!!!!! D2 is as hard as.... as... as.... well, as hard as D2!!!. (and also at least 2x better than 440A)
Sorry kids have to disagree..

440A is at the low end of knife-grade steel, but it still is a knife steel...SOG uses plenty of it...Most french folders are forged 440A. It holds an edge good enough for daily use, and is a lot easier to sharpen then CPM-440V. CPM-440V, if you buy both, will keep a better edge, but I doubt 2x better...depends on what you are cutting. If you cut hemp rope, it will keep an edge much more you cut wood, it'll fail.
440A is at least 3 - 4 x as tough....CPM-440V can have a chipped edge if you don't watch over it (thread broken tip on Native...Starmate review...didn't pass the brass rod test).
On the other hand, for use in like skinning, continous soft material cutting, I would prefer CPM 440V....for corrosion resistance, I would choose CPM 440 V. For beauty (440A can be mirror polished) I would choose 440A.
For easy of sharpening...440A. For toughness, 440A..but for simple edge holding..CPM 440V.

440A is often laughed at, but that's also the reason it so low priced in comparison to the would buy them if they were priced highly...CPM-440V is, let's face it guys, a way overpriced steel.
From a 440A blade, of which you expect not much, you'll be pleasantly suprised, from a CPM-440 V blade, of which you expect perfection in edgeholding, you'll be dissapointed.

just my opinion, don't shoot me for it.
I prefer 52100 and 5160...not in the same league as Any stainless.

You can always E-mail me...guaranteed reply.

greetz, Bart.

"If the world wouldn't SUCK, we'd all fall off !"

member of the BKS
Anybody interested in Kershaw should check out The Ricochet is listed for $83.00 there. If it's true it's fifty dollars cheaper than what I paid for mine at NWC. I don't know anything about cheaper than dirt maybe you would want to search GB&U.

[This message has been edited by chet (edited 11-27-2000).]
LeeBo337, Welcome to the Forums!

I want to add something in aid of Ricochet. As to my knowledge Kershaw is going to discontinue this nice knife soon.
Buy one before it's not too late!
It is worth to buy today but it will be worth even more when will be discontinued.
Yep - has them for $81.03 but only shows one in stock. Probably one that somebody returned...

Nonetheless, I will keep an eye on it.

I had my mind made up for the ricochet until one of the later posts stating that 440A was tougher. Sounds like I would be happy with 440A but that I owe it to myself to own at least one, what I would call, premium knife made of 440V metal.
If ya want 440V, and a premium knife, might I suggest a Spyderco Military?

One of the best designs out there, IMO.

The Spyderco Native is CPM-440V. A great knife. Reasonably priced too.



Trust no one...
"Sorry kids have to disagree..
440A is at the low end of knife-grade steel, but it still is a knife steel...SOG uses plenty of it...Most french folders are forged 440A. It holds an edge good enough for daily use",

And I disagree with you. I hate to have to constantly carry a sharpener with me. and If you've got any kind of a tip on a thin folder, forget about it. THE ONLY REASON SOG USES 440A, is because they actually know what they are doing, and put it through an excellent heat treatment. Compare knives yourself, there is a huge difference.
As far as cost goes, if a company puts in a lot of time and craftmanship into a knife, the increased price of better steel will be comparatively small, so why not use a better steel? If a verywell constructed knife used 440a, it would still be expensive, and you can damn well bet we'd all look elsewhere. Would you buy a rolex with a plastic handle? I think not. Or what about a Sebenza with 440a? I think not, again.

Formerly known as "EdRozen"
Are you calling me a POS knife? Huh? Just kidding.

I personally like the blade design of the Whirlwind better.

And yes, Kershaw does have a <a href="">website.</a>

Bart student You're supposed to say "Don't stab me over it" not "Don't shoot me over it."
This is, after all, a KNIFE FORUM.


I've memorized more of PI! This is from memory, I swear!


[The writer of this message apologizes for being off topic]





Amendment II
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the
right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

[This message has been edited by Whirlwind (edited 11-28-2000).]

well for what its worth i think 440A is plain garbage, in my mind if you buy a knife with that as a blade material i guess you deserve it.

Why do companys use it? Answer because its CHEAP!! and they dont care if you get any performance value out of it, they just want your money. I think after all the Good info on BLadeforums pertaining to
Steels and alloys that any consumer here that wants 440A hasnt done enough Reading.

my .02 Allen

Allen Blade
Spokane,WA USA

" You can make great knives and sell a few, Or make Great AFFORDABLE knives and sell many"
I don't know a lot about the diffrence of the steel i have six kershaw knives and there all pretty good for the price much better than some the new onions are a good knife i think but it is a kershaw not a microtech

I bleed when i am careless
The CPM steels may be a little more brittle than 440A but they are still very usable. If they weren't, they wouldn't be put in high end knives. If you take a look, they're actually hardened to a lower Rc than alot of other steels, because they have enough wear resistance without being overly hardened. I bet a 440V blade in the mid to higher 50's doesn't chip any easier than an ATS34 blade at RC62 from benchmade.
The CPM steels are bound to be more consistent in quality than 440A due to the way they're manufactured also. Crucible particle metallurgy is whats used to produce it. Theres a great article explaining on benchmade's website.
440A however is still pretty much just melted together and then sheared into strips or hot rolled as far as I know. Its cheaper because of the lower cost of production and the smaller number of elements involved in the alloy.
440A may be a big step up from some other steels, especially if heat treated properly, but its not nearly as good as 440V. If you ask me, especially when it comes to tools, buy good qualtiy and buy it once. Instead of buying cheap and buying it often.
Of course, I mean never need to replace it, you definitely should buy lots of knives

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer... but I've got the sharpest knife in the room.
Styling, finishing, and personal appeal can all be good reasons for someone to by a certain knife but edge holding wise there is no comparison.440V just does happen to be at the very least five or six times better. Is this knife wanted to cut real well or maybe just a little ?
Actually, I won't be doing a heckuva lot of cutting with it. I want a knife that has the following attributes: assisted opening (would prefer auto, but want to stay legal), super sharp, super reliable, super cool, super tough. About what everyone else wants huh?

I normally carry a Smith & Wesson SWAT in my pocket but would like a "high end" knife. Admittedly, Microtech makes a totally cool knife from what I've seen on the net, but the Missus would probably make it my ONLY Christmas present.