Alternative to Cold Steel SRK

Jul 2, 1999
I'm looking for a knife that is as durable and inexpensive as the SRK but without the Kraton handle. What knives, with the exception of a ka-bar, are available?
Try Spec Plus. Damn near the same steel and a great price to boot!

Try our links to 8 dealers at the following URL

The Spec Plus Fighter is a good one.

Also the Marine Combat is good as well.

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Mike Turber
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I have heard the Buck Nighthawk series of fixed blades is very good, especially with their new "edge 2000" grind. I'm not certain of the price, though.
The Buck Nighthawks are great, but they also have a plastic/rubber type handle. I'd suggest a Newt Livesay custom. The smaller ones can be had for around $100, and are tough!
I can vouch for the Spec-Plus line. I have the fighter pictured above. The handles are rubbery, but lean more toward the plastic end of rubbery, rather than the soft, fall-apart end of the spectrum if that makes sense. I think it's hit or miss as far as quality...grinds are usually a little off and you'll have a bit of sharpening to do, but otherwise nice knives for the money. Not much flash or bragging right to them, but they are worth their weight in gold.

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Don't forget the Buck Special #119 or the General #120, not tactical, but easy to replace if lost, and can be bought at many places.

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I must disagree with James and tknife.
The Nighthawks should UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES be purchased by anyone that wants a quality functional knife. Believe me and I mean Believe me when I say that YOU DO NOT WANT THIS KNIFE!!! The blade does not hold an edge, it cuts poorly, the handles feel horrible they are slimy, bumpy, absolutely uncomfortable. I have tried these knives myself, do not waste your money. There is an article on the MadDog website(which I don't remember)that explains all the downsides of these knives. The article explains that the original KaBar knife is a better choice. I know you don't know me but I am very very serious about what I have said here. Please don't buy an Nighthawk. Buck makes some great knives(Intrepid, General), but these aren't them. Trust me go with the Spec-Plus knives they are worth much much more than you pay for them. I hope you take my advice.
Thank you
The problem is that it's hard to match the SRK's general strengths even at a much higher price. Perhaps you should reconsider your requirement to not have rubber handles. All the knives mentioned in this thread are fine knives, but I don't think any of them are necessarily better than the SRK, and the Spec Plus and Buck both either have rubber handles or at least rubber inserts. It makes little sense to look at them.

I've played with and sharpened an old Buck Nighthawk. It was a disaster, mostly because of the edge. With the new Edge 2000 hopefully it'll be a much better knife. But still, the steel is kinda mediocre, and although I like the handle, opinions vary widely on it.

If you're willing to reconsider rubber handles, the knife I'd consider over the SRK is the Fallkniven. It's stainless (VG-10), but very tough, holds an edge very well, and most importantly has better edge geometry than the SRK out of the box. Otherwise, the kabar with leather handles seems like your only other choice.

In your position, if I really dug my heels in and said no rubber handles, I would up my price limit to $150, and start looking at the custom knives of guys like Livesay, Madpoet, Rinaldi, Dozier, etc.


[This message has been edited by Joe Talmadge (edited 08 July 1999).]
Pholt, what is your problem with the handle on the SRK? If it is comfort then I would severely doubt that you would want any of the Spec Plus line as their handles can do wonderful things to your hands during extended use. If it is durability then as Joe mentioned the the A1 from Fällkniven is a possibility. It does have a similar handle but it wears less than the Kraton CS handles. It is a fair bit more expensive than the SRK though.

One option would be to go with a very different blade shape but one which is still capable of similar work. A Village khukuri from HI would be about the same price as the SRK and would be as durable easily. It would outchop the SRK and probably out slice it as well. It would be more awkward to use on light tip and slicing work though. The handles on the village khukuris are usually wood. The downside to getting a village khukuri is that they generally have a poor finish (grinding marks visible) and the edge will probably need some work when you get it. Which are a couple of the reasons why they are so much cheaper than the regular HI khukuris.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 08 July 1999).]
I thought the Buck Nighthawk handle was pretty nice, but only saw it for a few minutes, so can't say how the blade is. I heard thos Spec knives by Ontario are weak? They that good?
Ever tried a SOG Government? try that if u don't like the SRK (can't see why u don't like that knife)
I've owned a SRK for about nine years, and abused it for about that long. It hasn't failed me yet not bad for a $50.00 knife and haven't had any problems with the handle just my 2 cents
The Spec-Plus knives aren't the best knives in the world of course, but most places sell them for between $30-$45. Trust me you get alot for the money.
I can certainly second the recommendation of the Ontario Spec Plus. Like, the Ka-bar, they are a lot of knife for the money. If you can stretch the budget, look at the Fallkniven line. They have a handle material that grips quite well and comfortably but aren't as soft and damage prone as Kraton. They have high tech stainless blades as well (black only in the 4" model, though.) Take care.

Knife Outlet

Can't say I have ever had a problem with CS Kraton grips. I have both a SRK and a Master Hunter, and found the Kraton to be totally functional. Wet, cold, covered with animal fat, groping around inside a moose, they just don't slip. Maybe not as durable as some materials but I've yet to wear one out.
Thanks to everyone for the prompt replies. I originally ask the question because of concerns about the durability of the Kraton handle (e.g., vulnerability to chemical solvents), and the issue of moisture penetration beneath the handle.

I have one more question. How has the rubber guard on the SRK held up?

Thanks again for the helpful replies.
The guard on the SRK will hold up very well. I have CS Recon Tanto which has the same handle and guard. It may not be very large but it should serve you in your everyday tasks, and even in some of your not so everyday tasks. If you are considering the SRK may I suggest the Recon Tanto. I think it's the same price maybe a little more. I have personally experienced the superior strength of a tanto tip it can preform all the tasks of the SRK as well.
Fred (Knife Outlet)

Just to clarify your statment that only the 4" Fallkniven come in black.

The A1 model with a 6" blade like the SRK is also available with the black Teflon coating. BTW this black A1 model has just been adopted by the Norwegian Navy SEALs to be their fighting and survival knife.

We distribute the Fallkniven line and carry all models and options.

You can email me directly for dealer information.


pholt I wouldn't let the problem of moisture penetration under the Kraton bother me too much. My old SRK has been used and abused and surprisingly enough it has held up better than the CS Trailmaster I had a problem with.
The rubber guard is holding up well too. Just watch the juncture between blade and handle and squirt some rust preventive in there if it comes loose.


The civilized man sleeps behind locked doors in the city while the naked savage sleeps (with a knife) in a open hut in the jungle.
The guard on the SRK won't go anywhere, but it won't stop your fingers from sliding over the blade with a strong thrust either if the handle is slipery with blood, oil, sweat, etc. Indeed, there are few knives that have really decent guards that I care to carry anyway.

The solution is to learn to use a lanyard loop properly. Appropriately short (customized for *your* hand) and held between the thumb and forefinger, it will stop your hand from moving forward of the handle. I don't worry about guards on most of my knives, but I *always* insist on a lanyard hole... The SRK has one of course...