Alternative to Cold Steel SRK

No Costas, under the coating is what CS calls Carbon V. I believe they created this steel and I own several knives made from it.
Althought might be a little higher maintainence than stainless this steel is very tough, very strong holds a good edge and is sharpened easily. These knives(SRK in peticcular)are very nicely priced and will out preform most other more expensive knives.
But about the maintainence issue the coating on the SRK will protect these knives very well but applying a lubricate and rust inhibitor from time to time is a good idea.

No, the steel is Cold Steel's Carbon V high carbon steel, not stainless. According to their catalogue the black epoxy coating is applied to the blade and tang before the Kraton grip goes on so you shouldn't have to worry about rust on the SRK. On my Master Hunter though I peeled back the grip a tiny bit to squirt in some BreakFree to prevent rust. I took the Kraton grip off the first Master Hunter I had in order to put a wooden handle on (I'd used/abused/sharpened the blade so much that it became a 'kit' project) and noticed there was some minor rust, but that was after 5 or 6 years of use on the West Coast where it rains 50% of the time.
No, it is CARBON V I believe.

I don't think anyone has mentioned the fact that the SRK is often available in SECONDS from CS and that makes the price drop into the $40 range sometimes (I got mine for $29.95 both a second, *and* a Christmas special).

In my personal experience, I have not had as *strong* a knife at anywhere near the price, but strength isn't everything. I didn't particularly think it cut rope very well. I had the edge re-ground to a shallower angle, and after that it cut better -- still not great, but it still isn't a great camp-kitchen sort of knife because it is just too darned thick. My guess is its "rescue" feature is it's ability to act as a prybar if necessary!

I've not had any problem with moisture between the blade and handle material. Though most of its use has been in dry weather, it has stowed in a car out in the elements all winter without developing any problems.
The SRK is a hard act to follow performance wise. For what you pay, IMHO you get superior performance.
However, I feel that the A1 by Fallkniven is another one of those knives that give you more than what you pay for in performance, and you get a superior stainless steel (VG10) to boot! Woo-Hoo!!
A couple of Fallkniven notes . . .

The handles are a harder grade of "Kraton-like-stuff" than Cold Steel uses, and the F1 is available in both black and satin finish. Likewise the A1. The WM and the S1 are only available in satin finish, as they have convex edges.

Shopping around . . .

If you don't like even slightly soft handles, the Benchmade Nimravus and Nimravus Cub have G10 slabs, and they come in ATS34 or M2.

The forthcoming Edge Design Paratus (picture a Genesis 2 with no moving parts and a slightly longer blade, likewise flat ground to the spine) will have a hard synthetic grip (like Zytel, but with a bunch more fiberglass in it) and either A2 or ATS34. The sheath will be multi-position Kydex or Concealex (I forget which). Prices will be competitive with Fallkniven and Benchmade.

And you can also look at the Spyderco Moran.

Rubber inserts, but absolutely no chance of moisture penetration issues and a damn fine knife to boot.

Marion David Poff aka Eye, one can msg me at

I wrote a review of the Kasper AFCK variant, an interview of Bob Kasper, and some thoughts and brainstorms of the AFCK in general. It can be found in the Reviews Section. If you have the time, check it out and tell me what you think.

"I'm just an advertisement for a version of myself." David Byrne

Just wanted to mention that for about $75.00 you could probably get a Greco Knife. They are very strong using knives featuring 1/4" forged hi-carbon blades (A-2, or 1075/1085 steel) and linen micarta handles.

You can reach them at 270-932-3335
If the steel underneath the black epoxy of the SRK is not stainless, then how does Cold Steel use it for the Master Hunter and the Trailmaster?
If I'm not mistaken, these two knives use the same steel, but have no protection on the blade, so surely they must have rust problems? Rather strange for outdoors knives, isn't it?...

Hi Costas,
I read somewhere that Cold Steel puts a "High Satin Polish to help inhibit corrosion" on their uncoated Carbon V blades. I cannot remember where I read it, but I remember because I got a good chuckle from it. A high polish ("high satin polish" for example) removes and/or smoothes out deep grind lines in the steel surface. Most of'em anyway. Grind lines on the blade surface provide a little trough for moisture to creep into and that results in rust. Thus polishing removes those gaps and gives a small degree of protection from corrosion. please note that I said "small degree". Leave the surface of any carbon steel unprotected (no oil, tuff cloth treatment,etc.) and it will corrode almost in front of your eyes once it comes into contact with moisture. When I received my Carbon V Trailmaster and Master Hunter, they both had a light coat of oil on them and I keep them coated with the Marine Tuff Cloth and very little corrosion has come to live on those blades. I hope this helps!
P.S. I got my blades from a dealer, I don't know if Cold Steel sends them out that way or not.
P.S.S. I nearly forgot! Trailmaster and the Master Hunter both come in stainless versions using AUS8A. Trailmaster also comes in a SanMai format. Three layers of different stainless. The Middle is hard high carbon and the outer two layers are softer lower carbon (me thinks).

[This message has been edited by misque (edited 13 July 1999).]
That's right, those knives do come in a stainless, AUS-8. Those knives also come in Carbon V, which is the steel in the SRK, which is most assuredly not stainless. Non-stainless steel is not a strange choice for an outdoors knife. There are always people who are willing to do a little extra maintenance to get the performance advantages (real or imagined) of a carbon steel.

SRK good knife for the money.Do not collect fixed blades any more but own a SRK for an all around camp knife.Good user.Good price.


have a"knife"day
SRK is the biggest bargain knife out there along with the Recon Tanto. Both are almost the same blade (tanto 1in longer, tanto obviously). I'm still partial to the SRK, but they both are great...
Has anyone experience with the Cold Steel Bush Ranger? It cost just a few bucks more than the SRK but seems to be much more knife.
KABAR KABAR KABAR KABAR KABAR KABAR KABAR, GET ONE, THESE THINGS MAKE A FINE HAMMER.........By the way, i'm talking about the Black newer kabar, with epoxy coat and kraton handle and kydex sheath, the sheath is awesome, i even carried it on a trip to harlem with the kydex sheath strapped to my forearm under a loose MA1 jacket, well, my SIG p226 would be my first line of defense. They ain't gonna get mine....
The Bush Ranger won't have the tip strength of the SRK (though it has a sharper point for better penetration), and probably doesn't quite have the prying strength. On every other front, from ergonomics to cutting to chopping, the Bush Ranger handily outperforms the SRK.

If you're looking for a knife in this size range, my take is: if you're looking to do military-style abuse (digging holes, prying apart ammo crates, etc.), go with the more robust and less expensive SRK. For almost all civilian use, where you want robust but also great cutting performance, go with the better-performing Bush Ranger.

I've said this before, but I hate the Cold Steel coating. Yuck! I had a SOG SEAL once, great coating and handle (glass reinforced zytel) for CS to think about.

But the SRK is outstandingly sharp, and can hold up pretty well. I wonder if the KBARs can do the same.


Thanks for the review. I saw your email address. Do you work for HP?