Kershaw A100

The Kershaw A100 is one of the most fascinating tools in my collection and makes a refreshing change from the ‘PST-like’ format that many manufacturers have copied. The A100 brought several new innovations and build quality is excellent, although there’s a case to argue that over-engineering may have brought production to a premature end! (more)

Kershaw A100Kershaw A100

When introduced in 1997 the A100 was the first tool to offer a OHO (one handed opening), liner locking knife blade together with adjustable, locking pliers. As with traditional ‘mole’ grips, the plier jaws are adjusted using a knurled screw at the end on the handles and there’s even a release lever to assist in opening the pliers when locked onto something tightly. I have no other tool in my collection that functions as well as the A100 in this area.

The A100 however suffers from a couple of problems that probably eventually lead to it’s lack of popularity as a viable tool and eventual decline, namely:

Kershaw A100Kershaw A100 Kershaw A100

Over Engineering – It’s difficult to handle the A100 without marvelling at the incredibly intricate design. Rather than the 4 rivets / bolts that we are accustomed to seeing hold a multitool together, the A100 has 9 pairs of bolts visible on the exterior of the tool. Looking in the handles shows various intricate springs and levers which whilst adding to the tools performance, provide plenty of nooks and crannies for moisture to accumulate and plenty of potential for something to fail! Equally, the production costs of such a tool must be vast compared to the simpler “PST” design, and consequently the A100 was an expensive tool with much potential for problems. The example I have has received much TLC and refurbishment to return to the state you can see in the pictures.

Kershaw A100 Kershaw A100

Dimensions – The adjacent picture shows the A100 alongside a Leatherman PST. It’s pretty clear that the A100 is a BIG tool, and this (for me at least) makes it impractical to carry it.

Regardless of it’s practicality though, the A100 is truly unique in modern multitools, and a very interesting collection piece. More facts and figures about the A100 can be found in the multitool encyclopaedia.

7 Responses

  1. glkdc58 says:

    Hi DaveK,

    Being a Leatherman aficionado, I was unfamiliar with the multi-tool given to me a couple days ago by my dad (he had found it some time ago). A little research at and here at your wonderful site reveal it to be a Kershaw A100. I agree with you in that it is very intricate in design and of very high build quality, but too large for an EDC. Mine has a very rusty sawblade (apparently common with this tool) that needs replacing, and some various other rust that should clean up pretty well. It doesn’t look like the Kershaw/Kai company supplies parts for their discontinued models, nor do I see any current listings on ebay for this tool/parts/accessories. Anyway, I am happy to have this tool and look forward to bringing her back to life. Thanks for your very informative website. GregK

  2. DaveK says:

    Hi Greg,

    That’s a great present from your Dad, these things are becoming very scarce nowadays.

    Enjoy bringing it back to life – although it’s a bit big for EDC it’s a great tool to have at hand for home DIY tasks and it’s a very ergonomic tool in use.


  3. Justin Pediment says:

    The Kershaw really is the Bentley of EDCs. From the start it was over engineered and sold as a loss leader. That is, if you now are lucky enough to possess one you have a piece of kit designed outside the box and a bargain to boot.

    Kershaw said, and I paraphrase, we give you a tool with all the essentials and none of the nonsense. That is exactly what they did.

    If you have this rarity, count yourself lucky.

  4. Robert B Darroch says:

    I have 4 of the a100. As for being to large to carry every day I do I use it a lot . This is is for the braindeads who think it to big what other multitool can you open with one hand and use
    I own SOG paratroopers and the power plier and leather man and gerbers nobody beats the a100

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