RR: CS Black Bear v. R1 v. Bush Ranger v. Trailmaster

Apr 24, 1999
OK, here's the deal: I'm thinking about (when I get enough money--yeah right) getting one of these knives for FIGHTING PURPOSES ONLY. NO utility, no rope cutting, not throwing, just defense. No, I probably won't be carrying it around w/ me, it'll probably be next to my bed or stashed somewhere in the living room. In any case, I'd like a comparison of all or most of these knives in their ability to handle as a fighter. That means balance, secureness of grip, ease of indexing, speed, etc. Truth to tell, I'm really only interested in the R1 or Black Bear, but threw in the other two just to see. Thanks in advance
Thrawn, you may want to throw another one into the mix; the Ontario Bagwell Bowie, I have the Fortress which is the bead blasted version and it is incredibly quick handling, much more so than my trailmaster. It may not be as tough, but you don't care about that, anyway.
Can you take one more suggestion? I had a chance last week to handle a Junglee Hattori Fighter, and was surprised to find it to be a very nice knife, well made light and fast. I'm not a knife fighter and all I would hope is that you handle these knives first, and find the one that feels right for you.
Id go with the bush ranger. Ive never
handled the black bear but own a bush
ranger and trailmaster. The bush ranger
is lighter, faster, and more stealth than
the trail master. The kraton grip configuration is alot better to. The trailmaster is tough as nails but also
heavy and the kraton handle is total
Figured I'd hear some non-CS suggestions, but for now, I'd like to keep it just to CS fighting knives. I am considering the Bagwell Bowie, and find the Hattori Fighter to be an interesting sub-hilt suggestion, too, especially since I'm not a big fan of AUS-8, but just want to hear more about the CS products for now. If anything, I probably will get an Ontario or a similar blade.
Well the only ontario that even comes close to CS is the Bagwell. If you will stay with CS, I would say that the subhilt fighter or the Randall copy would be good.
Hi, again.
I'm trying to push past the 100 posts mark as soon as possible!!

But seriously folks;
I own two of those knives mentioned. and let me tell you the trailmaster is pretty heavy, so I wouldn't recommend it as a first choice fighter, but I'm a big guy and I'm not that quick. That's why I have mine hanging on my coat rack right next to my door in my apt.
But next to my bed is the tai pan.
Excellently balanced. IMO one the best fighting daggers out there. If you like daggers as fighting knives, that is. It is a little more expensive, but worth it to me. It feels very light and I guess it is what they call "quick in the hand" because of both balance and weight. It also has a much better tip retention than 99% of daggers, and it is not that thin, so you could also get in effective slashes if you needed it. (I think, but I'm not even close to being a knowledgable knife-fighter)
Yes, I know you're only looking at cold steel, BUT WAIT!!!! I think you should consider KA BAR's next generation fighter. It's bigger, It's badder, and it's tough, and it's a good fighter. (you seem to want a bigger/longer knife, right?)
And then there's the Ontario Bowie. Read Goucho's review. He said he's worried the handle might be a little slick. It's smooth, with a resin coat, but it tapers toward the guard, and it would fit any size hand.
And yes, I do love subhilt fighters, and I almost bought the black bear. I can't say a whole lot about this particular knife, but the idea of the subhilt giving you that extra control and holding power really appeals to me.
Confused yet?
My personal vote would be for
Not in any order::
1) Ka Bar next gen. (good price too!!!)
2) Tai Pan
3) Bagwell Bowie.
4) Black Bear

They are all great fighters, but you're going to have to decide based on your fighting style. the Ka Bar is definetly the cheapest, though.
I wouldn't count out the Hittori fighter either............

Now if price is a serious consideration, and you're still look for something that won't break on you, look at the Ontario line. They have a lot of Ka Bar look a likes, and they come in many shapes and sizes, from what I remember.


PS It sounds like you live in a bad neighborhood, my sympathy, man.

PPS And I'm really glad you gave up the idea of using a culloden as a tac. knife. really, really, glad.

One small step for man, One giant leap for frogs, One mile for fleas.
It's all about perspective.

[This message has been edited by edrozen (edited 03-19-2000).]

[This message has been edited by edrozen (edited 03-19-2000).]
I have both the knives you are really intrested in purchasing. Considering grip, balance and speed the Black Bear is the knife I'd go with for defense. If money is an issue, you couldn't go wrong with a Bush Ranger second from the Cold Steel catalog.

[This message has been edited by Aries59 (edited 03-19-2000).]