Cold Steel Desperado

Oct 9, 1998
Cold Steel Desperado
- Special Thanks to Blackdog For the Knife -


Handles: The knife handle is egg shaped and made of Kraton. It measures 2.5" horizontally and 1.25" vertically. Most people would think this handle has no practical usage and is just there to be different from everyone else, but it does work relatively well for slashing and heavy cutting, though the angle isn't quite right for precision work, but obviously this knife isn't for precision. This handle is very comfortable, and fits my hand very well. During heavy chops at a wooden block, I experienced absolutely no discomfort. The Kraton grips absorbed the shock easily.


Note that in that picture, I wouldn't hold it in the way pictured on the very top. Hitting a cardboard box with that position made my index finger go numb after one or two cuts.

Blade: The blade is made of AUS-8 stainless steel and features a Nogales clip point with Cold Steel's usual pattern of serrations (which I shall complain about soon). I believe it is flat ground, but it could possibly be a very gradual hollow grind. It tapers to a relatively thin point for piercing and works very well for this (tested by many layers of thick cardboard). The spin is 4mm thick.

I noticed that the recurve blade for some reason combined with the serrations did cut through cardboard with relative ease compared to my previous fixed blades (Buck Mentor, and Buck 6" Special). I can't explain it really, but it seems to work. One explanation is that the recurved edges' inside section (concave portion) catches the material and then the convex portion cuts it. I've also heard that there is more edge surface area cutting into the material. The August 2000 issue of BLADE Magazine has more information on recurved blades starting on page 12.

Sheath: The sheath is manufactured from Concealex and has a cute plastic clip on it for waistband or belt carry. The clip has a little lip on the end that catches the seam of the waistband or the edge of the belt so the sheath won't slip. It's relatively secure, and I've tried hard to pull the sheath from the my waistband without lifting the clip a little, and it is not easy. I've come to the conclusion that the sheath simply cannot fall out of your waistband even if you are turned upside down and shook vigorously.

Note, that just because the sheath won't come out, this doesn't mean that the knife will not come out. The Concealex sheath has a little lip inside the sheath that holds the knife in, but it will wear, and even in new condition, it isn't that strong. The Concealex sheets are 1/16" thick and so I was concerned that the knife would eventually cut through, but a little bit of research here on BFC revealed that nobody has had their Desperado go through their sheath, though the lip holding the knife in does wear out making the sheath less safe.

Edge Retention: After spending about 10 minutes in the attic chopping thick corrugated cardboard, the teeth on the serrated edge got a little bit dull. This was fixed relatively quickly with a 3000-grit polishing tape and about 2 minutes of time. I proceeded to go back and hit boxes for another 10 minutes. And the edge was quickly restored again with the same polishing tape. Note that I sawed through some relatively thick cardboard and I hit cardboard boxes with a good deal of force and my Buck knives would have need more than a polishing tape after 20 minutes of vigorous cardboard cutting (I always keep my edges hair popping sharp, and so that doesn't mean they would be dull, just not shaving). I can't really give a very definitive figure on edge retention, because serrations do hold their edge longer slightly and I don't have much experience with serrations, but I am fairly impressed with the AUS-8 steel.

Resharpening: OK, this is where the trouble began. After I started hitting wooden blocks, the thinly ground serrations started to deform (chips and dents on the inner serrations, and slightly rounded teeth). Resharpening was done on the Edge Pro's round ceramic stick. I went down the inner teeth and realigned the teeth. The teeth were too closely together to reach the little areas, and I feel the only way to really resharpen the knife after it is truly dull is to grind on the back side, and this wears out the serration pattern
and it will gradually look more and more deformed.

I was able to get the edge shaving sharp again, but they look somewhat deformed now. Bottom line is if you want a knife to stay pretty and still use it alot, get a plain edge. It's too hard to remove dents and chips from the serrations.

Carrying: Actually this knife carries relatively easily for it's blade size because of the sheath and the short round handle. I carried it easily in my waistband. It is easier to carry it closer to the center (near the groin area). Of course, this has it's risks and I usually don't do this all that often. You see, I'm afraid if my fat rolls put too much pressure on the knife handle, it will jam the tip through the Concealex and into my family jewels. It butts out from under my shirt a little bit if I carry it on my hip section and kind of gives it away for concealed carry. It is also very uncomfortable to wear in the car that way with the seat belt. It isn't too uncomfortable in the groin area carry, but if we crash the knife rams through the Concealex...

Chang the Asian Janitorial Apparatus

[This message has been edited by Comrade Chang (edited 09-24-2000).]

An unbiased, well rounded and informative review. Excellent!! Any ideas for future editions of the "Chang report"? I'll check the knife box and see what else is in there.

Good Job Dude.


Good review. I have carried my Desperado for about 8 months now with no serious complaints. I also agree with you that this knife cannot truly be held like a push dagger, as in the photo. The plane of the metal stem just beyond the egg/handle is vertical (as opposed to lying flat or horizontal)and just is not comfortable to be held through the fingers. A more natural grip is just as solid and offers even more flexibility.

The only changes I would like to see in this knife would be:

(1) Offer the blade in a non-serrated format. Do this CS!

(2) Set the clip on the sheath a bit higher, so that the knife rides lower IWB with the egg just above the belt-line. The way it is now is fine, but I find that the handle tips out/forward and "prints" or shows a bit if worn under a somewhat less than loose t-shirt.

Other than that, no real complaints. Still one of my favorite defensive blades.
Yes, a plain edge version would be better, and a higher clip might help too. It does poke my fat roll a little bit, but if the clip rode higher, it wouldn't.

Chang the Asian Janitorial Apparatus
Blackdog, my next Chang Report will be on the BM 730BT, which I just got in trade from 2Sharp for my ex-MT UDT.

Chang the Asian Janitorial Apparatus