Do I hate Cold Steel? Not really, I just hate Lynn Thompson. Does that qualify as a personal attack? As for the products, some of them are just STUPID. I myself am not a big fan of the Triple Action Folder, but James Keating is, so obviously, to each their own. The prices are right? Sorry, have to complain about that, too, w/ respect to certain products that actually fall into that "stupid" category. For instance, why the hell is a shillelagh so damn expensive? It's a piece of wood w/ a knot in it. Oh, sorry, it's a "handpicked" piece of wood w/ a knot in it. OTOH, some of the other stuff is priced OK, but they're still a far cry from Newt Livesay's prices. Additionally, b/c I'm a martial artist, I feel that Thompson's approach to knives as weapons and his shameless promotion of that concept is inappropriate. It only encourages the sheeple to crack down harder. From what I've read on the website and read about him in articles and heard from folks who have met him, he seems to be proud to associate the bulk of his products w/ their possible applications in a combat situation. To contrast, take Sal Glesser, who got pissed b/c they used a Spyderco Civilian in the book "Hannibal." Can we say "potential lawsuit" in Thompson's case? It's just plain lack of judgement.
I do/did own some of his products, though, and their quality was pretty good in all aspects. And the one good thing about Thompson's lack of social tact w/ regards to edged weapons is that I can always count on him to come out w/ some new weapon that I might be able to hang on my wall a la katana displays. Don't think he makes many weapons/weapon designs: Here's a list:
Norse, Frontier, Vietnam, Rifleman's Hawk
Desperado/Nogales folders (utility? what?)
Kukri lineup (sure, you can use them for utility too, but what did the Ghurka's use them for?)
Black Bear Classic
Need I say more?
Anyway, enough ranting. I'll throw in some more compliments, in a vain attempt to balance this obviously biased posting out.
CS stuff is sharp, some designs are pretty cool, and I wouldn't mind buying some of them just for a weapons display (but that's b/c CS is the only company that makes them!)