Old Orig Style
I've been using the original Vipers for 3 years and they are strong, a tad heavy but very framing-hammer like in top balance. I believe the shaft is rotated 90 degress on the new ones for a sleeker bend. I warn people when buying vipers to ensure you get the new ones - I've heard of people getting old ones (not on BC.com though). I also mounted the leashless elements on mine (shrike and fang). It comes automatic on the new ones. I bought 2 hammers as I never cut steps, playing 99% on steep ice or preferring crampon maneuvers to old style mountaineering. All in all a solid tool. Not the lightest if that's what you want. Honestly, though well served by them, I would probably buy a lighter tool like if I had to switch. As others said, can be hard to pull out, but you do get first swings in often due to the top heaviness.