Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gear Review: Cold Steel Spartan Folding Knife. UPDATE 5/28/16

There comes a time in every man's life when he must retire a knife. It's like losing an old friend that's been around forever. Earlier this year my Beretta AirLight Tanto gave up the ghost and lost the screws for the pocket clip. I've had this knife for 10+ years and loved everything about it. It's lightweight, ultra thin and holds a nice edge. The screws are the weak point. The ones that hold the clip in place stripped out from the frame. So, that brings me to my next adventure. Finding the right knife for me.

I'd been trolling several web sights looking for something similar to the Beretta but never really found the right one. I finally just gave up and decided to get something different in the less than $100 market. The choices were endless. While looking at many blades, I noticed that the Tanto style I was used to wasn't going to be good for skinning or hunting use. My next blade should be useable for such since my boys are getting to the age where I will be taking them in the field soon enough. A nice curved folder would suit me just fine. What size should I get? Well, bigger is better, right?

Sales video from the Cold Steel website.

Cold Steel Spartan Folder. Glock 17 and mags for size reference and cool factor.

My first impression is that this thing is HUGE. The blade itself is is 4.5 inches long with a total length of 10.5 inches. The weight is 9.2 ounces so it's a hefty knife. Definitely one you will be hard pressed to forget it's in your pocket. The grip has a good texture with internal steel liners and a positive locking mechanism that is about as robust as they come. There are videos on the web site showing the locking mechanism holding a 300 pound load. A very well built knife for the price!

I started carrying the knife around six months ago and noticed it's bulk right away. The length is so long that it tends to rub the keys at the bottom of my pocket. This gets annoying at times when seated for long periods. The blade itself came very sharp and held it's edge well for quite a while. The locking mechanism needs to be operated a few times and lubricated a little before it's perfect. The clip is very sturdy as well but it's losing it's black coating on the leading edges. The finish on the knife is a bead blasted stainless look with the lettering near the handle. The Aus 8 steel isn't a very robust stainless. Mine is getting bits of rust or corrosion on it in several places.  It seems to be only on the side that rests against my leg so it must be a moisture/salt issue. Makes me wonder how well it will stand up to opening bags of ice melt this winter.

Corrosion on the blade. The lines are from sharpening a pencil Friday afternoon.

Overall, it's a very nice knife. The blade itself is easily sharpened and fairly tough, but not nearly as hard or resilient as many others I've had. I nicked the blade when I was cutting zip ties off a fence. I was disheartened when it happened but I wasn't being very careful. The blade was easy enough to bring back into shape that it wasn't a big loss. My only other annoyance is the fact that you really need to put your fingers inside the hilt where the blade goes to operate the safety lock. I cut myself once trying to snap it closed due to the design. I'm not a fan of leaking, so that one was pretty big.

I like the knife for what it is and it's really nice to take bushwhacking because it doubles as a machete in the dense brush. A swift whack with the blade is all it takes to cut back brambles and vines. The handle is shaped to hold your hand in place and not lose the knife or allow the edges of your fingers to be exposed while chopping. Great feature for a knife of this heft and type. Another great feature is the pocket grabbing plate at the top of the blade. It catches the edge of your pants pocket and opens the blade for you if you draw it properly. My only issue with that feature is that the thumb piece seems to be a little loose fitting. You can move it slightly but the screw seems to be tight.

My thoughts are that I'm going to keep the knife and use it for weekends in the woods or certain special times when a small machete is needed. I'm going to continue my search for another knife of the size and caliber of the Beretta I previously owned.   


  1. Thanks for the review. I've been looking to replace my edc tanto so i'll keep my eyes open. Have been looking into bad blood knives, if I pick one up I'll let you know.

  2. I usually go for outdoors survival trips like camping, trekking and hiking. I always take along with me the best survival knife from Cold Steel which is generally fixed blade. Without the cold steel knives, I can't dream to going into the woods.


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