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Cast Iron Or Competition Style?

I really enjoy competition style more. The handle diameter makes grip less of a failure point and the horn/bell geometry feel better in the rack.

I had been using cast irons for the last year and hadn’t used comps in a decade. I forgot how much better they feel and it’s one of those that once you go comp it’s hard to go back.
Cast iron.
Completion style is awkward for TGU.
Goblet squats are much better with cast iron.
Two arm swings are better.
Clean is not an issue if you do it right: grab in the middle and finish with the vertical forearm, not fist on the sheet, but thumb to the shoulder.
I was dreaming of a competition bell, before I have tried both and before I have taught myself a good clean.
Another one for comp bells. I have never had my hands tore up with comp bells. Cast Iron bells almost always leads to tears. As long as I sand the Cast Iron handles every now and then I'm usually good. Never an issue with Comp bells.
I prefer cast iron. I used to have a nice 6 bell set of competition bells, but I sold them eventually and replaced with cast iron.

Few reasons: goblet squat with was uncomfortable with competition bell. The handles got rusty and I just didnt like the way they felt compared to my first cast iron bell. And the cast iron bells just look way cooler.
Depends on the job. I have mostly cast iron bells. But I have also and adjustable KK (from 12kg to 32kg) and find it useful. I do not like how my 24kg cast iron sits in my forearm and for that weight and certain exercises I just love the comp KK 24kg over the cast iron.

Another example: I'm small, and for doubles I find cast iron are easier since they are more compact.

So it will depend on many variables: kb exercise, body size, training history...

Just get a bell or two. Doesn't matter which. Just get started and get moving. Tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles won't mind where the load comes from. Then, after 5000 TGU, or 100.000 kb ballistics you will have your preferences...
Here's my standard answer to this question:

I'm a big fan of comp bells. I don't think there is anything about hardstyle that makes it more suited to cast iron bells or less suited to competition bells.

I have a ton (almost literally) of cast iron DD (some going back the first ever DD production run) and Rogue bells, but I much prefer my competition bells for almost anything. Other than for goblet squats and bottoms up presses, I NEVER choose a cast iron bell over a competition bell (I have a lot of duplicate sizes in both). I'm 5'9" with relatively short legs, and have no problem with clearance for doubles with comp bells. Petite women use double comp bells for long cycle with no problem.

I have both Kettlebells USA and Kettlebell Kings comp bells. My favorites are the Kettlebells USA Paradigm Pro Elite comp bells. The 35mm handle is "right-sized," the finish on the handle is smooth, but with a little grain to it that works with and without chalk, and the geometry feels really good. The Kettlebell Kings comp bells have a little smoother finish to the handles that I find less secure, and the paint chips much more easily, although any paint or powder coat finish will chip with doubles. 35mm is only very slightly smaller than most cast iron bells. You can definitely feel a difference, but it's not dramatic. There are also comp bells with 33mm handles, and that's obviously a larger difference, and the difference in circumference is greater than the difference in diameter. I've never personally tried 33mm handles.

Although I don't really do any two-hand swings, both comp bells actually have more space under the handle than cast iron bells for two hands, plus the horns are vertical so they don't squeeze my fingers as uncomfortably as the inward curving horns of cast iron bells. There are some brands of comp bells that have narrower windows, but not these two brands.

KBUSA has an FAQ page about competition bells compared to cast iron bells for two hand swings.

Just get a bell or two. Doesn't matter which. Just get started and get moving. Tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles won't mind where the load comes from. Then, after 5000 TGU, or 100.000 kb ballistics you will have your preferences..
Yes, ultimately it doesn't really matter in terms of results, personal preference will vary, and the only way to really develop a preference is to have experience with both. But having done a lot of reps over a lot of years with a variety of bells, it's worth it to me to get and use the ones I prefer.
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My first bell was cast iron, so because I'm cheap all the other ones are too just to make them match aesthetically. Cast iron bells are a lot nicer now compared to the crappy welded handle jagged edged bell I picked up from the local sporting goods store back in 2008.

But I've used comp bells in random gyms before and they are low key kinda nice. I found most of the old criticisms of them were not true for me. Two hand swings didn't seem any more difficult (the "window" was the same size as cast iron bells). Getups didn't seem to be any more difficult. Single hand swings were a bit easier because it has a "better" grip (smaller diameter handles).
I much prefer the cast iron bells. I own one comp bell (24 kg) and never liked it. I should really sell the thing... It's a Rogue.

StrongFirst kettlebells are the absolute best! I have a 10 and 2 x 14s kgs in them.
I have cast iron bells. One of the reasons I chose cast iron is because they were advertised as a better choice for two-hand work. But for me, most sizes are still not very comfortable for 2H swings, hands do not fit very well between horns. So I keep thinking maybe I should have picked comp bells, the same size for all weights is kind of tempting.
If I was to do it all over again I'd get an adjustable competition bell (12kg to 32kg). If ever you start doing doubles then you only need to get one extra bell.

I sold my first comp bell, which was my first kettlebell, to get a cast iron one thinking it'd be better for 2H swings but it barely had more space for my pinkies than the comp one. The comp bell I had felt good for TGUs too. Slightly less for goblet squats than a cast iron.

Bells of Steel even has a special price for doubles.
Finding comfort or enjoyment or easy on your hands, some of the things that were mentioned by those preferring competition style bells, aren't our concern at StrongFirst. We design and sell StrongFirst kettlebells because we think they're the best tools for the strength and conditioning training we recommend.

I would also recommend adjustable 12-32 kg competition bell, it's cheaper than a set of 16, 24 and 32 (and includes all sizes in between) and takes less space. For me 32 comp is not comfortable to hold from horns for goblet squat since they are straight but I can go for uncomfortable or keep the bell upside down on palms if I want to concentrate more on squatting than on holding the bell.
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