Cold Steel Knives In Combat

Discussion in 'Cold Steel Knives' started by The Whip, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    I don't want to detract from the military theme of this thread, but the photo below of a Recon Tanto on the thigh rig of a SWAT officer was just too enticing to exclude. Besides, high-threat law enforcement activities often cross into the realm of combat in every sense of the word!

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    In the "Outside the Wire" column in the November 2018 issue of Knives Illustrated, Michael D'Angona interviewed retired Green Beret Mykel Hawke about the knives he carried while in uniform. Hawke responded with the following:

    My fixed blade before 9/11 was usually a Cold Steel blade like the SRK or Recon Tanto, always black with a rubber handle grip, of course. After 9/11, I was in the second class issued a serial-numbered Yarborough knife. I decided there was no use putting it in a box or on a shelf, so that was my carry for the remainder of my service as an officer from 2001-11, and I carried it to war in Afghanistan, too.


    Unfortunately, the article didn't contain any photos of Hawke as a soldier with his Cold Steel knives. So I'm including these pictures from his Man, Woman, Wild survival series to show that he actually is a Cold Steel fan.


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    Also, I'm throwing in this photo for anyone who might not believe that he really did use his Yarborough.


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    -Steve
     
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  2. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    I saw my brother-in-law over the holidays. He told me that he still carries his Land & Sea Rescue regularly, despite being issued other folders over the years. He said it's his "under way knife." I thought that was pretty cool! Unfortunately, he didn't bring it with him, so I couldn't take a picture to share. I'll get one up here eventually.

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    A 2016 SurvivalistBoards.com thread about knives carried by U.S. soldiers in Iraq generated some good Cold Steel content (including some from a couple of BF members). I've included the relevant posts here.

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    These troops are with the 2nd Infantry Division. The SAW gunner is wearing an SRK on his vest.

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    In his thread Knives Used By SEALs, Forum member WillB included this picture of the display of issued SEAL knives from the UDT/SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, Florida. The knife at the upper right is a Cold Steel SRK.

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    I've asked Will to provide a better picture of the SRK. When he does, I'll post it here.

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    U.S. Army MSG Sarun Sar, Special Forces veteran and recipient of the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars, in Afghanistan wearing what I'm fairly certain is a UWK (though it's possibly an OSS or ODA).

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    -Steve
     
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  3. nephron

    nephron Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 3, 2017
    Nice! Love this info./pix.
     
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  4. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007

    My nephew's Recon 1 after his recent nine-month tour in Afghanistan. She fared well!

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    He returned with a Bronze Star, so his was not an uneventful assignment. I thank God he's safely back stateside.

    At one point during the deployment, his convoy had a vehicle rollover and he had to extricate one of the occupants by cutting him out of his seatbelt. He didn't use the Recon 1 for that, though. Instead he used a Spyderco Moran that I had given him while he was in college.

    There's a lesson in that, by the way. For any of you who might be reading through this thread while contemplating which knife to carry when the time comes to lace up your boots and strap on a gun, take heed: Pocket knives are fine in garrison and as a final back-up. But rugged, reliable, rapid-access fixed blades rule on the battlefield!

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    Arizona Custom Knives recently had two Cold Steels for sale that, according to the write-ups, were carried by a Force Recon Marine Chief Warrant Officer. One was a Carbon V SRK in the early leather sheath, which I figured was worth including here but was hardly noteworthy.

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    The second knife, however, was quite remarkable! It's a USMC-issued, second-generation (no recurve), sterile Recon Scout supplied during Desert Storm.

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    There are two things that are awesome about this knife:

    1) It's the first one I've ever seen that was confirmed to be military-issue. I never doubted Cold Steel's history of the knife, but it's nice to finally see one that was legitimately issued to and carried by a soldier.

    2) It substantiates my long-held supposition that the units to which the original knives were issued were Marine Force Recon units. Obviously the knife's name was a flashing-neon-sign-of-a-clue, but Cold Steel has never publicly disclosed the identity of the outfits that received those first batches of knives. Now, almost thirty years later, we finally know at least one of them for certain.

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    In that same vein, a 1991 Special Projects catalog introducing the Recon Scout specifies that the first batch offered for sale were overruns from those supplied to the military.

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    The Cold Steel portion of the same catalog contained this very interesting write-up about Cold Steel knives in Desert Shield/Storm.

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    Happy Easter! (Genesis 3:15)

    -Steve
     
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  5. MississippiRifleman

    MississippiRifleman

    61
    Oct 16, 2013
    Just received this one at mail call today. Drop Forged Push Dagger for my belt rig, mainly to be on hand as an anti-take-away weapon in case anyone tries to get hold of my handgun. I used 90 MPH tape to secure the sheath to one of the belt loops on my rig, but I will be looking to make a more permanent solution soon, maybe after I get home.

    First impression of this blade is, it's a heavy SOB, but it fills the hand much better than I would have expected from a basically flat handle. I LIKE this knife!

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  6. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    Nice setup and great choice in the Drop Forged Push Knife! I also like that blade a lot. I agree that its comfort in the hand (despite being a single piece of steel) makes up for the weight. While I'm sure your field-expedient tape solution will hold for a while, I'd hate to see it fail on you should you need it. You might check some of the attachment pieces available from KnifeKits to find a more permanent fixture.


    If anyone doubts the usefulness of a push dagger in the role MississippiRifleman has chosen it for, those doubts should be allayed by a real-world battlefield example that I overheard Robert Vaughn relating to customers at the Cold Steel booth at Blade Show on Saturday. He said that Cold Steel had heard back from a French Commando who had used either a Defender I or II (Mr. Vaughn couldn't remember which) to kill an enemy in a close-combat scenario. According to the commando's account, a single chest punch finished the fight.

    The commando was not unscathed, however. The force of the punch was sufficient to drive the soldier's knuckles into the rear shoulder of the blade, cutting him. Because of that incident, Mr. Vaughn said, Cold Steel redesigned its push daggers, lengthening the tangs on the Safe Keepers II and III to provide more room for the fingers and inspiring the improved grip/tang designs of the Safe Makers I and II.

    The application of real-world feedback doesn't get any realer than that!

    -Steve
     
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  7. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    I recently found this interesting testimonial among the Cold Steel reviews section on Yelp (of all places!).

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    A Kraton handle would definitely be desirable in a frigid environment like Antarctica. I can't imagine a more taxing weather scenario for a knife, so the fact that his Master Tanto survived three deployments under such circumstances is remarkable.

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    Rummaging through the Battle Blades with Greg Walker archive recently, I ran across some interesting Cold Steel content relevant to this thread.

    It appears that Blade Forums' very own Spark carried Cold Steel during his service time in the Combat Engineers.

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    Also, the following noteworthy procurement history of the XL Gunsite was supplied by subforum moderator Greg Walker.

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    As an actively deploying Green Beret during the time period when he wrote this, Mr. Walker would have worked with numerous special operations units. I would love to know which team issued XL Gunsite folders.

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    Contractor in Afghanistan wearing his Safe Keeper II.

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    [Photo copyright 2005 Matt Moyer]


    Happy Veterans Day to all of you who have served America's Armed Forces in wartime!


    -Steve
     
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  8. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    In honor of this thread hitting the 50,000 views mark, I'm going to show you the Cold Steel knife that I carried during my last year in the U.S. Army (well, unfortunately not the knife, as I'll explain). It was an original Urban Skinner model in the leather sheath.

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    I loved this knife! It was very utilitarian, extremely comfortable in the hand, and easy to conceal. After I left the Army, I had a custom Kydex sheath of my own design made for it by those sheath-making artisans at Cutlery Shoppe's now-long-defunct Sheath-Tech. I carried the knife in this configuration for years.

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    Around 1992, I was wearing the knife while waterskiing with some friends on the Tennessee River. After many rough tumbles (I'm not very good at waterskiing), I discovered to my dismay that the river had claimed my beloved knife (along with a Tool Logic Credit Card Companion that I carried in the pocket of my swim trunks). The knife in the pictures above is a replacement that I bought as soon as I could afford one. It's a great duplicate that I continued to carry for years, but it can never replace my original.


    -Steve

    P.S. - If anyone drags or dredges the Tennessee River and finds a Cold Steel Urban Skinner in a Sheath-Tech Kydex sheath, it's mine!
     
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  9. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    I recently ran across some interesting historical items to contribute to this thread.

    Following the March 2003 initiation of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the below notice about SRK availability was included in Cold Steel's May/June newsletter to its dealers.

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    Back when Tactical Knives magazine existed, fellow Blade Forums member @John A. Larsen used to contribute numerous informative articles to that excellent publication. In the January 2003 issue, he wrote a piece entitled "Knives to Kandahar," in which he recounted his observations of the knives carried by combat troops that he met during his 2002 training trip to Afghanistan. In addition to those knives the soldiers were carrying already, Mr. Larsen also discussed the knives, generously furnished by various manufacturers, that he supplied to his trainees. I've included the relevant Cold Steel content.

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    A Special Operations soldier wearing his UWK somewhere in Iraq.

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    Happy Armed Forces Day!

    -Steve
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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  10. Blue Sky

    Blue Sky Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 16, 2002
    That is quite the interesting load he’s got. I wonder how long it takes him to get it all ready.
     
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  11. Hungryone

    Hungryone

    18
    Apr 10, 2011
    No idea what that load out is intended for. Belly crawling would be a bitch :)
     
  12. Asher Sympson

    Asher Sympson

    37
    May 10, 2020
    Not quite on topic (although he is in the reserves as an MP TSGT) My dad is a game warden in the state of Washington and I recently gave him a Cold steel Drop forged boot knife (the grey version) needless to say, he loved it and now carries it on duty.
     
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  13. The Whip

    The Whip

    700
    Jan 28, 2007
    Back in 1990, Fighting Knives magazine approached multiple knife manufacturers with a request to donate knives for a supply package that the magazine would provide to various military units preparing to conduct Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Naturally, Cold Steel was one of the companies that answered the call.

    In the magazine's Spring 1991 issue, editor Greg Walker inserted the following comment on Cold Steel's contribution to that effort into an article by Steven Dick reviewing the SRK.

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    In early 2005, retired police officer Clint Thompson traveled to the Sunni Triangle region of Iraq as an International Police Liaison Officer (IPLO) to train Iraqi police forces. During his four-month tour there, he worked with fellow IPLOs, security contractors, and various U.S. and coalition military units. He recounted his observations of the knives he encountered in an article entitled "The Real Knives In Use In Iraq" in the December 2005 issue of Knives Illustrated magazine. I found the Cold Steel content interesting and thought I'd share it.

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    The photograph below depicts members of two different French special operations units:

    1) Commando Parachutist De L'Air No. 10 (CPA 10), which is comparable to U.S. Air Force Special Tactics Squadrons

    2) Commando Hubert D’Actions Sous Marines (CHSM), which is the French equivalent of U.S. Navy SEAL teams.

    The Marine Commando on the far right, a member of the esteemed de Montfort team, is wearing a Recon Tanto attached to his left thigh rig.

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    The Recon Tanto in the following picture is carried by MSG Michael L. McNulty, a C Squadron operator in the U.S. Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta ("Delta Force"). Among many other exploits, Master Sergeant McNulty participated in the capture of Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003.

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    I regret to say that the reason we have this unobscured photo of MSG McNulty is that he was killed in action in Al Qaim, Iraq, on June 17, 2005, while raiding a known compound of terrorist plotter and founder of al-Qaeda in Iraq Abu al-Zarqawi. Also killed in that assault was McNulty's fellow Delta Force member, MSG Robert M. Horrigan, who was only two weeks from completing his final combat tour prior to retirement from the Army. The bodies of both men appropriately are interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

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    -Steve
     
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