I've got the Whirlwind and Avalanche. If I were to do it all over again, I'd pay a little more for the Blackout over the Whirlwind. Thats because I find that the Whirlwind has a bit of a belly that makes it a great "skinning" type of blade vs the Blackout which has the identical handle, but a more "droppoint" like blade which brings the tip lower. For most of my uses I'm starting with the tip ie cutting open a box, vs sliceing or skinning. The Blackout's blade is more like the Avalanche. As for the 440c blade, its easy to sharpen which I have to do more offten.
Most importaint, beware the assisted opening mechanism is addictive and will spoil your fondness of other everyday carry knives.
Don't be turnned off by talk of side to side blade play its nothing that can't be tightened, without sacrifice of the openning mechanism. If you can't properly adjust it then send it to Kershaw and they will do it for you, they've got a great customer service dept.
I also have the Whirlwind and Avalanche and if you can spend just 25.00 USD more I think it is better choice (the Avalanche). And if the torsion bar breaks for some reason the Avalanche is easier to take apart.
Or, if you can afford the extra expense to get into the Random Task or Ricochet, you definitely won't be disapointed. I've had my RT for about six months and it's been my daily carry ever since. I think the Whirlwind is a great way to get a Speed-Safe knife at an affordable cost.
Thanks for your replys. I went ahead and bought a Whirlwind yesterday. I love it! I normaly carry one of my two large sebenzas or other high end knives but this little knive is neat. Very sharp, smooth action.Maybe I can start looking at knives at the other end of the spectrum again! haha
I own the *Black out* (personal favortie) and hope to pick up a few more. Just waiting for the *right* price. I've seen them as low as 56.00. I also own the *Whirlwind* (tried to add to the collection but failed) and the *Avalanche". I guess it's safe to say I am a Kirshaw/Ken onion loyalist. The only critique I can conjure up is >increase the quality of the steal used in the blades< 440C is just so average, but also what makes these truly awesome knives accessable. The Avalanche sports a 440V, a little better, certainly on the right track, but also a few more pesos. They would also look better if the thumb stud met flush with the handle (when open), like the micro-tech. These are the worst things I can find to verbalize. In closing, I recommend everyone own at least one *Black Out*.
Maybe it's just me, but I thought the Whirlwind/Blackout used 440A steel, NOT 440C; the main difference between the two being the clip point/polished finish on the Whirlwind and the modified spear-point/titanium nitride finish on the Blackout.
Perhaps I am wrong on the blade material. i know for sure the Avalanche sports a 440V, which will be a bitch to sharpen, nut a higher quality steel. I'd like to see the Black Out with a ceramic blade!!! Way too cool...
I like the blade and the speed safe opening on the Whirlwind, but the handle feels cheap and the lockup on mine was terrible. It's a decent knife for the money, but it isn't a great knife in my opinion.
I bought a Whirlwind. It's a great size. The plastic handle is cheap feeling. It should have a soft rubber insert. It came in with a liner lock touching the right liner. I sent it back to KAI.
They sent me a replacement. It came in with a liner lock that could be easily moved with my thumb. I called KAI customer service again...they are very nice and would send me a call tag for this one. They will show it to their QC people...
KAI will hopefully hand pick me one that has the locks tightly flush left of the blades base area.
In the meantime, I bought a mini Random Task which has not showed up yet. I hope it is acceptable.