Although Kershaw is not a household name when it comes to throwing knives, the Kershaw ION throwing knife set is a compelling set for its price.
While the Kershaw brand has a rating of only 2.2/5 on Trustpilot based on 23 reviews, the ION knives themselves have a 4.2/5 star rating on Amazon. Despite being a controversial brand when it comes to quality control and customer service, Kershaw ION is well-known as a viable entry-level knife.
So far, most of the complaints we have read about the company have been about their other products. As such, could it be that the ION is a set of full-tang knives that is worth it?
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Kershaw ION Throwing Knife First Impressions
Unboxing the Kershaw ION throwing knife triple set is a pleasurable experience. Sure, there is no proof of intensive craftsmanship, but knife owners do not expect it at this price. What you do get are the three knives, a nylon sheath for storage, and that’s it. The item model on the box is 1747BWX.
While the box itself is fairly low-end, the knives feel a lot more premium than comparable knives at this price. The spear point blade feels like it is of the correct weight, and the durable, sure-grip paracord seems like it would provide adequate balance for target throwing. The edges are not as sharp as that of a standard pocket knife, so certain throwing knife tricks may not work. The oversized ring pommel is a nice feature though, and the black-oxide blackwash finish looks slick.
The Kershaw knives come in a triple pocket nylon sheath. The storage sheath also has a belt loop if you want to attach the knives to your belt. Altogether, the knives with nylon sheath do not seem bulky, as the sheath is incredibly slim. However, the nylon carry smacks of poor build quality, and I cannot imagine using it for too long.
How I Reviewed the Kershaw ION Throwing Knives
Note: Please remember that I do not suggest using a live tree as a throwing knife target (as the video does above). You can use our printable targets or… pretty much anything else. This can do a lot of harm to the tree and if that doesn’t put you off – it’ll get sap all over your knife.
While I had tried other Kershaw products, this was my first pair of knives from the company. Having used the product for over a week, I tested the knives the way they are meant to be used, by throwing them.
Even though I am not a professional knife thrower, I have used and tested numerous knives prior to this. As such, I am first going to list the pros and cons of the Kershaw ION fixed blade knife, and then compare it to some of the other awesome knives I have used in the past.
How the Kershaw ION Throwing Knives Compare
The Ergonomics Are On Point
The handle is steel with paracord wrapping. The black and white paracord grip covering the stainless steel knife handles is comfortable to hold, and also helps with balancing the knife as most of the weight is concentrated toward the wide profile spear point.
The oversized ring pommel also makes it easy to draw the knife out of the black nylon belt sheath. I have personally found it difficult to draw knives when using a sheath on my belt, but the extra-wide ring pommel makes it a piece of cake!
Great For Beginners
The Kershaw ION throwing knife set is extremely lightweight, making it perfect for beginners. Even in online user reviews, a lot of people have remarked that they bought it for their kids who are getting into throwing.
Due to the edges not being sharp, injury while using the set is not a worry. The sturdy, high-chromium stainless steel is also able to handle rough use. However, in order to make the knives affordable, the company has used Chinese steel (3Cr13). While that does provide mild corrosion resistance, it can break when thrown on certain surfaces. As such, I recommend using the knife on a wooden board target.
They Look Beautiful
While this is by no means an innovative design, it is difficult to find knives that look this good at this price. The black oxide coating makes the matte finish impervious to fingerprints and marks.
While I will not be personally using the Kershaw ION as my main throwing knife, I am definitely going to be hanging them on the wall in my shed, something that the ringed pommel will help with.
Lack of Throwing Options
The oversized ringed pommel is a double-edged blade (haha), as it means that I cannot perform a no-spin throw. That said, the ION is perfect for half and full-spin throws.
The throwing range of the knife also suffers due to the lightweight construction. I found the blade not being sharp enough to stick to a wooden board when thrown from a long-range. While it could be due to my weak arm, the knife is definitely meant for short-range throws.
The Paracord on The Handle Loosens Easily
The paracord wrapped around the handle started to come apart fairly easily. While it is not that difficult to tighten, it is a hassle having to tinker with your knives after just a few throws.
Users have also reported the knives breaking easily. While I did not personally experience this, those on a tight budget that want to exercise caution should avoid throwing at really hard targets.
Kershaw ION vs SOG Throwing Knives
The SOG Fling Throwing Knives are much better than Kershaw ION in every possible way but one. They are studier, have a paracord wrapping that does not fall off, and come in a nylon carrying case of a much higher quality.
The only place where the Kershaw ION excels over the Fling is the blade. Not only does it look better, but its blade has the perfect amount of sharpness required for close to medium-range throwing. While the Fling is really good for close-range throwing, it struggles to stick to surfaces beyond 15 feet. The ION, on the other hand, is good enough for up to 25 feet.
I have a full review of the SOG Fling and, if you’re serious about knife throwing, you might want to check that out instead.
Kershaw ION vs Smith & Wesson Throwing Knives
The Smith & Wesson Bullseye range offers a lot more options compared to the ION, as you can select the length of your knives, and even opt for matching cleavers and axes.
The knives are cheaper than the ION despite having steel of similar quality. However, they do not have a paracord grip. Most important, however, is the fact that the knives are not identical. The product dimensions and weight varies by a slight amount between different knives, which could cause even experienced throwers to misjudge their throws.
Lastly, the metal mixture used is not of the highest quality, and it easily chips away. I have found the blackwash-finished stainless steel on the ION to be better in this regard. As such, I would prefer the ION over the Bullseye. However, there are other knives in the Smith & Wesson range that I would rate much higher than the ION.