Kershaw Black Out--what do you folks know....

Nov 16, 1999
Hello all, I'm very new to this forum (this is my first new post), and I wanted to ask your opinions about the Kershaw Black Out. I have relatively little knowledge of knives when compared to you all, so anything would be helpful. I was especially wanting to know about the blade material though. It has 440a steel and I'm wondering what people think about it. From what I can tell, it doesn't seem to be as good a quality material as say ATS-34 or 440v, but again, my knowledge is relatively limited. I really want to get this knife, but want to be absolutely sure I'll like it, as my funds are rather limited (hooray for college...). Any testimonials from those that actually own or have owned one would be great. Thanks for your time in helping a newcomer to this great community.
Grendel - welcome to the forums
Hope you like what you see.

As to 440A, you are correct - its not as good as ATS-34 or the CPM stuff. From Kershaw's perspective, the blades for the Black Out are fine blanked (stamped) and 440A is more conducive to blanking than ATS or 440V. Plus, blanking blades is more inexpensive than laser cutting, which helps to lower the cost of the knife. In terms of performance, 440A is an okay steel IMO - easy to get a good edge on there. Doesn't hold an edge as long as the others you mentioned.

Another thing - the Black Outs come sharp as heck out of the box. I've seen a few of these knives, as well as its brother, the Whirlwind, and the edge quality is spot on. Hope this info helps!

Dexter Ewing
Knife Reviews Moderator
AKTI Member # A000005

I'm with Dexter on this one. I have a Whirlwind and I really like it. 440A isn't the latest wonder-steel, but it takes a great edge and resharpens easily. The torsion bar assist opening is pretty cool and I think it's a good deal for the dollars.

i hear you on the college budget bit. i personally don't like the knife. i don't like the speed safe. tried it few times and i don't think i'd ever be comfortable with it. the handle and blade shapes are exceptional. very practical and comfortable. i could learn to live with the 440a if i liked everything else about it. not my favorite steel by any means. doesn't hold its edge forever, but then again, it's real easy to sharpen. so if you like everything else about it, don't let the steel stop you.
Welcome Grendel!
I received a Kershaw Blackout, when I got a 3 year subscription to Blade magazine, 36 magazines and the knife for $100. I'm happy with the deal, and the knife. I really like the shape of the blade, it did come very sharp, the handle fits my hand well, and the Speedsafe, is a kick. I really like Ken Onion's designs, this is all I have right now with his name on it. You might just want to go over to the Custom Forum, and get Ken's opinion on that collaboration. I'd like to hear what he says. That's what so great about the Forums, getting to the source, and the wealth of the combined knowledge of your fellow members. Every day here for me is a learning experience. You're really going to like it here.

Hey thanks everyone for the responses! Just as a side note, I have handled the knife several times and absolutely love the way it feels--the blade and handle design are superb, I feel, and I like the speed safe (though I've had to get used to it). I've only been "into" knives for the last year and a half or so, and I really hope to use this forum to expand my knowledge.

Oh, and PhilL, I saw that Blade mag offer as well, and was quite tempted by it, but in the end figured I really didn't need 3 years of the mag taking up space (though it is a very good magazine).

Anyway, thanks for the input folks, I'll get my Black Out a.s.a.p. now!

I got the Blackout about a week ago just to see how I like the Speedsafe action. I really like the action alot. I know I took a compromise on the steel, but it sure did arrive sharp. My only complaint is that the thumb stub is making my thumb raw. The stud does not protrude out of the plane of the handle. This requires a lot of thumb pressure to get the blade started. I am thinking about filing a ramp on the handle so that less thumb pressure is required.

I would like to see spyderco or benchmade buy a license for this speedsafe technology, though its more of a gadget than a necessary option. I think I can open my Benchmade Ascent just as fast as the Blackout.