Kershaw Whirlwind: any experience?

Feb 18, 1999
I was wondering about the blade quality mostly on this new Onion/Kershaw design. The blade is supposed to be 440-A, which would probably mean good corrosion resistance but lower edge-holding ability, but I would like to hear from someone who has used one. I am assuming it is 440-A to keep it within a reasonable cost for those who may not be able to afford or want one of the Random Task knives.
Any comments welcome.

I use a Whirlwind as my everyday carry knife.
I first had a mini task that had serious pocket lint problems. The Whirlwind is as fast as most autos. I bought another one a week after I bought the first one. I would recommend anything coming from Ken Onion's designs. Get the Whirlwind or Blackout for carry knives.

Drac Noroc
I have a Whirlwind and am well pleased with it.After several hundred cycles it has lost nothing in speed and still locks up tight with no noticable blade play.The lock contacts the blade in about the center and has shown no wear beyond this point.The black finish on the clip is holding up well.My knife was extremely sharp out of the box.Edge holding could be better,but can easily be brought back to "hair popping" condition with little effort.I mainly use mine for opening packages and cutting tape and sharpening the occasional pencil.Not heavy duty use by any means.The blade is of a useful shape with plenty of belly.It`s an excellent way to get the Ken Onion design for a reasonable price.

never a dull moment
I looked at one at a local knife store. The knife felt very good in the hand and I like the blade shape. However the clerk tapped the back of the handle on the counter and the knife flew open. He also dropped it on the floor and the blade again opened. The assisted opening is a neat gimmick and it was fast, but I think in the long run things like that are best left off of using knives.


I was able to duplicate your experience but it took a pretty serious thump on the back of the handle for the knife to open. I`ve carried mine daily for 2 months now and it has never opened in my pocket.

never a dull moment
Got your message and sent you a reply, thanks!

Well, looks like another knife on the high-probability buying list!
Thanks for the replies everyone!

One question: If the knife is (sometimes) prone to opening when the handle is jolted, and if the knife is tip-down in the pocket, could an impact make the knife possibly open in the pocket and turn one into a candidate for the Jerry Springer show???
Or does the clip carry in a tip-up position?
I've had none of those problems with mine. Justa great little knife for the money. PLUS, the gimmick factor on this knife is off the scale! I'm glad I got one!

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.


The knife is tip down carry, but I would not worry about it opening in your pocket. I had to smack it on my desk about as hard as you would hit a nail with a hammer to drive it into a 2x4 to get it to open. It is not likely that you could ever cause it to open just by carrying it in your pocket.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "
I have a Black Out that I have carried for about two months. I have not had it open unexpectedly at all. As a matter of fact, I wondered when I got it if it would ever loosen up. It was very stiff and took some coaxing to get it open. After about a 1000 openings it did seem to loosen up some but, my thumb was so sore that I had to put it away and carry a different knife for a while. As for the sharpness of the blade, Wow, some kind of sharp right out of the box. Maybe even the sharpest factory edge I have ever seen!
I've carried a blackout for a long time now, everyday. Never have had any problems.... It's a great carry knife! As a matter of fact, just bought two more today... for presents.
Thanks for all of the support guys . The new stuff is even cooler New locks (plural)flippers. I'm dying to see what you forumites think . I'm sure that if I can make you guys smile I'll have a hit .
I'm listening give me the advice. I know there will alwayse be a nay sayer or two, I wouldn't have it any other way . as long as I'm pointed in the right direction.
I love my job
P.S I have never had or heard of a speed safe knife opening in the pocket. And most knives will open if droped. those that don't are usualy tight as hell.

Aloha!!! Ken
I bought both the Mini Task And The Random Task when they became available because they looked like real winners to me.Since then I've picked up A Whirlwind and A Blackout.As it stands of the four knives I like the Blackout the best for everyday carry. Each has it's particular good traits.For delicate work and carry in my suits I use the Mini Task and the others when I wear Levis.Also The steel 440-A in the latest two has been panned a little,But it can be sharpened to split hairs lengthwise.
i have a mini-task and a whirlwind and the whirlwind was sharper out of the box and, with about the same use, has stayed sharper. the handle feels a little cheap though- the seam on the back of mine kinda digs into my palm when i use it. i have just gotten into knives and i want one of all the good ones
but i think i will order a random task tomorrow for everyday carry. no problems with unplanned opening on either of mine. i would like an exotic material option for the handle but i can't afford an original onion

Well...looks like this one is on my list for sure! I really do want a Ken Onion design, and think the Speedsafe is a cool mechanism...but before, I had decided against purchasing the mini-Task. But the Whirlwind looks like the one for now...and hopefully Ken will have more collaborations with Kershaw!

I have bought myself a Whirlwind about two weeks ago (sorry Sal, the Starmates, Matriarchs, etc. are STILL not available over here!!). I've not really carried it yet, as I have MANY Spyderco's that I won't replace with any other knife for everyday carry.

However, I think that the SpeedSafe mechanism an the Whirlwind are responsible for a VERY welcome breeze of freshness in an otherwise rather stale design arena. Congrats on your efforts and accomplishments, Ken!

Just on a supporting note: IMHO, NEARLY ANY FOLDER WILL OPEN WHEN DROPPED! If it doesn't happen the first time, try it again... it WILL open (just try it on a carpet for repeatability, without damaging your knife)! Otherwise the "wrist-flick" and "the drop" opening methods would not have been possible...

[This message has been edited by Heyns van der Merwe (edited 07 September 1999).]
Love my Whirlwind. And I have to echo CAL's
statement, it's the sharpest knife I own.
The edge seems to have a steeper degree
of blade bevel - more razor-like (which I
prefer). It doesn't seem to hold an edge
as well as, e.g. my Benchmade; but it is
more easily returned to its' original edge.
I wonder if Mr. Onion bypassed industry
standards and used a sharper degree of
edge bevel on this knife? It works!
James.. I have had a whirlwind for about 2 months now, give or take. I carry it daily and never have had it open in my pocket.. I also carry it hooked to my waistband sometimes, hanging inside my pants and never have had it to open.. and have even dropped it twice and mine did not open... perhaps it was a too short of a distance.. being I am a shorty!

I absolutely love mine.. and look forward to future ken onion speed safe designs. Oh.. edge retention.. pretty decent .. and when you do sharpen it.. it comes back razor sharp with minimum effort.