Essential Cold Steel

Joined
Jan 23, 2011
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2,917
What do you think people should consider picking up?

I generally get inexpensive ($50 and under) and outdoor oriented, so here are my recommendations:

1. The Spetznaz shovel, large or small. Just get one. You don't think you need one, but you do.
2. A tomahawk. Lots of kinds to choose from, just pick one that speaks to you.
3. Machete. I suggest getting a more fighting oriented machete, like the Bowie. Because you can get a plain ol' machete from anyone else.
4. Folder. I love the Prolite series (you can still find some). I have the tanto version, and I gifted away the Sport. That 4116 takes a nice edge.
4.5 Kudu. One day you'll be glad you did.
5. Small fixed blade. One of the original 4116 series: Canadian Belt Knife, Finn Bear, Roach Belly, Pendleton Lite Hunter, or my favorites, Peace Maker II or III.
6. Bushman. For when you need a spear.
 
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coloradowildman

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
1,021
What do you think people should consider picking up?

I generally get inexpensive ($50 and under) and outdoor oriented, so here are my recommendations:

1. The Spetznaz shovel, large or small. Just get one. You don't think you need one, but you do.
2. A tomahawk. Lots of kinds to choose from, just pick one that speaks to you.
3. Machete. I suggest getting a more fighting oriented machete, like the Bowie. Because you can get a plain ol' machete from anyone else.
4. Folder. I love the Prolite series (you can still find some). I have the tanto version, and I gifted away the Sport. That 4116 takes a nice edge.
4.5 Kudu. One day you'll be glad you did.
5. Small fixed blade. One of the original 4116 series: Canadian Belt Knife, Finn Bear, Roach Belly, Pendleton Lite Hunter, or my favorites, Peace Maker II or III.

I agree with you on 1-4. As for others, I think the best picks are the really unique pre-GSM/Lynn Thompson or Andrew Demko designs that still use steel like AUS8A, AUS10A, have crazy price to function ratios, or are very unique, have no market competition and/or likely to be discontinued/outlawed etc. Here my top picks-

1) The 2021 Outdoorsman Lite 6" Fixed Blade in 4116-- Recently discontinued but still in stock on Amazon and a few other retailers. The 2021 version (20PH) has to be the best overall deal on the market and soon to be gone. As thick as a Ka Bar, carves like a Mora, has a tip that's thicker than the SRK, and has an exposed full tang on the rear of the handle. I've owned Cold Steel SRK's going back to the 90s, and I like this crazy cheap knife so much that I bought several when they were on sale at Midway and put them in all my survival packs. It's a much better woods knife than the SRK because it carves better and has a much thicker, tougher tip than the SRK for digging out grubs, etc. It's a big game skinner, bushcrafter and a survival knife all in one for a $25 street price- insane. 4116 is certainly no super steel, but it's extremely tough and break resistant, gets razor sharp easily, doesn't rust, and is the same steel used by Victorinox for their Swiss Army Knives (aka proven in the field).

2) Rajah II Folding Kukri in AUS10A- Possibly one of the most awesome and unique folders ever made. If they stop making these, the quality drops, or if the steel is replaced with junk steel, these will be highly sought after and worth many times their original price. Right now to be able to buy one for $75 is nuts. Get one while you can or at least while they are made with AUS10A

3) Cold Steel FGX Balisong Butterfly Knife 5" Double Serrated Edge Griv-Ex- Has anyone seen the Cold Steel videos on these? -
It is crazy what this plastic knife did to a dead beef carcass. A knife that has no metal in it, folds into its own sheath, and does incredible damage as a self defense tool. All for $14. if there is any knife that will be outlawed/banned or discontinued in the near future it will be this one and its tanto bladed sibling. No one else in the world makes something like this, and with the world becoming more authoritarian every day, no one will ever make one again after they are banned. Yes, you can get those cheap CIA letter openers, but they are nothing compared to the FGX Balisong. Super high collectability factor!

4) Espada - any size or configuration. Just like the Rajah II and the FGX Balisong, this has a high likelihood of being outlawed in many states, discontinued, or replaced with cheap steels. A very politically incorrect blade yet strangely legal to carry concealed in states like California and Maryland where you can't get a permit to carry a gun. This alone makes it worthwhile to grab one if you ever plan to visit or work in those states because it is a legal self defense tool there.

5) Cold Steel Heavy Sword Cane- Totally unique, highly effective, totally concealed. No one makes one like the Cold Steel version. If they stop making it? Good luck finding something else with its features and at anywhere close to its price. If its legal where you live, it is the stealthiest large self defense weapon you can find. Totally hides in plain sight and might be the only thing you can carry that doesn't attract attention.

6) Large Luzon 6" Folder - See #2 and #4 as the reason you should grab one of these now. Also is an awesome alternative if you can't afford to grab an Espada or Rajah II. I love mine.
 
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Joined
Jan 23, 2011
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I agree with you on 1-4. As for others, I think the best picks are the really unique pre-GSM/Lynn Thompson or Andrew Demko designs that still use steel like AUS8A, AUS10A, have crazy price to function ratios, or are very unique, have no market competition and/or likely to be discontinued/outlawed etc. Here my top picks-

1) The 2021 Outdoorsman Lite 6" Fixed Blade in 4116-- Recently discontinued but still in stock on Amazon and a few other retailers. The 2021 version (20PH) has to be the best overall deal on the market and soon to be gone. As thick as a Ka Bar, carves like a Mora, has a tip that's thicker than the SRK, and has an exposed full tang on the rear of the handle. I've owned Cold Steel SRK's going back to the 90s, and I like this crazy cheap knife so much that I bought several when they were on sale at Midway and put them in all my survival packs. It's a big game skinner, bushcrafter and a survival knife all in one for a $25 street price- insane. 4116 is certainly no super steel, but it's extremely tough and break resistant, gets razor sharp easily, doesn't rust, and is the same steel used by Victorinox for their Swiss Army Knives (aka proven in the field).
Thanks for your recommendations. I've been on the fence with the Tanto lite and the Outdoorsman lite for a while. I think I would have pulled the trigger on the Outdoorsman lite ages ago except for the cheesy "bone breaker." I just don't want that on the spine. Also I am left handed, and the sheath is not ambidextrous. Love me some 4116, though. I like the Lite models with the reduced ricasso, those look super nice.
 

coloradowildman

Gold Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2009
Messages
1,021
I agree with you on 1-4. As for others, I think the best picks are the really unique pre-GSM/Lynn Thompson or Andrew Demko designs that still use steel like AUS8A, AUS10A, have crazy price to function ratios, or are very unique, have no market competition and/or likely to be discontinued/outlawed etc. Here my top picks-


Thanks for your recommendations. I've been on the fence with the Tanto lite and the Outdoorsman lite for a while. I think I would have pulled the trigger on the Outdoorsman lite ages ago except for the cheesy "bone breaker." I just don't want that on the spine. Also I am left handed, and the sheath is not ambidextrous. Love me some 4116, though. I like the Lite models with the reduced ricasso, those look super nice.

Yeah, the bone breaker probably seems cheesy to some and I can understand that. However, I've found that it is great for striking a ferro rod, scrape tinder, or for saving your blade from having to crack bone or using it to delimb small dead branches. For how cheap it is, you could always grab one and then pick up left hand kydex sheath on the aftermarket. As I mentioned in my last post, it is a superior wilderness tool compared to the SRK. I've owned the old Carbon V, AUS8 and SK-5 SRK's and none of them carve wood like the Outdoorsman Lite. The older SRK's had strong tips, but the current SK-5 version seems to have intermittent heat treatments and snap their tips a little too often for my taste. The Outdoorsman Lite has been a tank for a tip by comparison. Combine that with the 4116 and you could beat the crap out of it without having to worry:)
 
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Zulus

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Joined
May 29, 2020
Messages
1,480
What do you think people should consider picking up?

I generally get inexpensive ($50 and under) and outdoor oriented, so here are my recommendations:

1. The Spetznaz shovel, large or small. Just get one. You don't think you need one, but you do.
2. A tomahawk. Lots of kinds to choose from, just pick one that speaks to you.
3. Machete. I suggest getting a more fighting oriented machete, like the Bowie. Because you can get a plain ol' machete from anyone else.
4. Folder. I love the Prolite series (you can still find some). I have the tanto version, and I gifted away the Sport. That 4116 takes a nice edge.
4.5 Kudu. One day you'll be glad you did.
5. Small fixed blade. One of the original 4116 series: Canadian Belt Knife, Finn Bear, Roach Belly, Pendleton Lite Hunter, or my favorites, Peace Maker II or III.
6. Bushman. For when you need a spear.
1. don't have even one - I got few original e-trenchings from 1950'
2. got two SOGs, never used
3. a lot of them, mostly Cold Steels
4. folder - Vintage Vovager Tanto VG-1 and BIG bunch of others
5. several too, not really worth to mention
6. few Bushmans - originals and modern too
7. and many others ...

But basically good starting list :^)
 
Joined
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Messages
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Yeah, the bone breaker probably seems cheesy to some and I can understand that. However, I've found that it is great for striking a ferro rod, scrape tinder, or for saving your blade from having to crack bone or using it to delimb small dead branches. For how cheap it is, you could always grab one and then pick up left hand kydex sheath on the aftermarket. As I mentioned in my last post, it is a superior wilderness tool compared to the SRK. I've owned the old Carbon V, AUS8 and SK-5 SRK's and none of them carve wood like the Outdoorsman Lite. The older SRK's had strong tips, but the current SK-5 version seems to have intermittent heat treatments and snap their tips a little too often for my taste. The Outdoorsman Lite has a tank for a tip by comparison. Combine that with the 4116 and you could beat the crap out of it without having to worry:)
Doesn't that bone breaker chew up your baton, though? (You have almost talked me into one)
 
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coloradowildman

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Oct 28, 2009
Messages
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Doesn't that bone breaker chew up your baton, though? (You have almost talked me into one)

No, because the bone breaker is in the middle of the blade where I'm usually not hitting with a baton. It has ample room towards the front and rear where it is flat that I can hit it without damaging the baton.
 

coloradowildman

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Joined
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Messages
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Doesn't that bone breaker chew up your baton, though? (You have almost talked me into one)

Another thing you could do is dremel or file more of a flat area on the bone breaker and just leave a small area with it. I guess treat it kind of like a Cold Steel Hawk in that it could be easily modified to suit your needs.
 
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Messages
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Some kind of tanto, maybe? CS invented the "Americanized tanto" after all.

Also hard to leave out the SRK, it is the outdoor blade everyone knows.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2019
Messages
2,547
What do you think people should consider picking up?

I generally get inexpensive ($50 and under) and outdoor oriented, so here are my recommendations:

1. The Spetznaz shovel, large or small. Just get one. You don't think you need one, but you do.
2. A tomahawk. Lots of kinds to choose from, just pick one that speaks to you.
3. Machete. I suggest getting a more fighting oriented machete, like the Bowie. Because you can get a plain ol' machete from anyone else.
4. Folder. I love the Prolite series (you can still find some). I have the tanto version, and I gifted away the Sport. That 4116 takes a nice edge.
4.5 Kudu. One day you'll be glad you did.
5. Small fixed blade. One of the original 4116 series: Canadian Belt Knife, Finn Bear, Roach Belly, Pendleton Lite Hunter, or my favorites, Peace Maker II or III.
6. Bushman. For when you need a spear.
Recon Tanto or SRK. Just pick one. Solid field knife for the money.
Recon 1. Pick whatever blade shape. It’s the ultimate tactical folder!
Tuff Lite. Don’t have this yet, but it looks like a reliable utility tool.
Voyager L/XL. Aus10a, Tri-Ad lock, reasonable price.
Canadian belt knife. Good for light food prep and practicing sharpening.
 

whp

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Apr 26, 2009
Messages
3,420
Everyone who appreciates Cold Steel folders should have the basic two work knives. The Recon 1 and the smaller American Lawman. Possibly the best large and mid size edc/work knives on the market. Certainly the highest value work/edc knives around.
Less expensive, the Voyager and the Air Lite in AUS 10. Also good workers and great values.
And, one of my favorites, the Ultimate Hunter. Great all round knife. Maybe the answer to the question, “If you could have only one knife?”
 
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Jan 26, 2000
Messages
2,266
For a practical fixed blade for outdoor utility use, I really like the Recon Tanto. I've had mine since 1997 and have used it extensively. It is my main fixed blade even though I have others that are much more expensive.

I've "retired" it recently to test one of my SK5 Recon Tantos I purchased last year. So far I haven't had much work to do with it.

For just around $40.00 is is a good deal.

Alternately the SRK is another good choice, being basically the same knife but a little shorter and with a different point.

The original Tanto is iconic of Cold Steel, so I'd add the Master Tanto and Magnum Tanto series to the list.
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2011
Messages
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For a practical fixed blade for outdoor utility use, I really like the Recon Tanto. I've had mine since 1997 and have used it extensively. It is my main fixed blade even though I have others that are much more expensive.

I've "retired" it recently to test one of my SK5 Recon Tantos I purchased last year. So far I haven't had much work to do with it.

For just around $40.00 is is a good deal.

Alternately the SRK is another good choice, being basically the same knife but a little shorter and with a different point.

The original Tanto is iconic of Cold Steel, so I'd add the Master Tanto and Magnum Tanto series to the list.
I think I'm more likely to use the SRK instead of the Recon Tanto, but the SRK tip design in SK-5 just seems too weak and prone to snapping. Thanks for the recommendations.
 
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XJ-linux

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Feb 4, 2007
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Couldn't resist commenting again... my choices might actually be less specific per se; to me Cold Steel was "tanto", for better or worse, so I'd suggest picking a favorite. Cold Steel was also always associated with steel, again for better or worse. So, with that in mind you need at least some model with Carbon V, AUS-8 or VG-1. Pick your favorite model. That's two, now pick a melee weapon of some type - hawk, sword, or ???. Those three together I think would represent the Cold Steel I recall fairly well, on a few levels.

I'd personally be going for a SRK, a smaller tanto from Japan, and maybe a melee weapon along the lines of a Laredo Bowie or a northern European axe of some era in Carbon V.

YMMV
 
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