Enemies of Liberty are ruthless. To own your Liberty, you'd better come harder than your enemies..

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fighting Blades: Cold Steel

We've discussed the importance of training for the inevitable CQB that will come with serious SHTF transitions.

If you are not comfortable getting close and wet, you'd better decide whether you intend to be predator or prey now and adjust your attitude and training appropriately. Pistols run dry and in the real world you do not always have a chance to reload. In a real Death Fight you will usually get buckle-to-buckle before killing or dying. And as Mosby noted: If you can't fight to your gun, you won't be able to fight with your gun.

So, whether at the beginning of a fight or the end of a fight, most fights will involve very close quarters and weapons other than your favorite pistol or rifle.

I have trained with blades for a long time, in serious dojos and beyond, and I know my skillset is better than most. No, I will not elaborate. Don't ask me no questions, I won't have to tell you no lies...

Here's a simple truth: If you get into a knife fight, you will get cut. Shoot him or hit him with a Chevy if it is possible. 2 men with knives will almost always result in 2 men being cut to pieces, and I do not care how many years, how many styles, how many times you've done it for real. Knife-fighters get cut. Bleeding out is a constant threat, even if you only lose enough blood to make you slower, woozy or stupid. You'd better have a damned good medic in close proximity, even if you "win".

There are many factors that must be considered when choosing your blades. As in most gear, your final decision must be personal. Budget and quality factor in, of course. Also, there will be times when leaving your blade behind will be prudent. If you know going-in that you'll be leaving the tool in a neck, most of us would prefer not to leave behind our $400 tanto.

Also, there are times when you'll reach for a blade in sudden, unexpected self-defense. There are times you'll slip a knife from it's sheath to go on offense. There are times when you'll go with a single blade, and there are times when you'll fill both hands with live edges. There are times when a folder is more practical for whatever task may be at hand. There are times when you'll want 12 inches of penetration and deflection available to you, and times when a seven-inch blade is better suited. (There are also times when a tomahawk or spike are preferred - but those are other topics for another day.)

I own many knives, in many styles, and sizes, for many tasks. Not all of my knives are the same brand, but most are Cold Steel.

Why bore you with the details, here's my bottom line on Battle Knives: Cold Steel makes the best in the world and for most real world applications I recommend a Tanto point with a small amount of serration, if possible. I have personally trained with every knife style offered by Cold Steel, and at IIIGear.com I have listed the blades I recommend.

Let's start with the knife you will carry in your Go Bag, when you are entering circumstances not yet defined, that may put you on offense or defense.

The Cold Steel Magnum Tanto Series, built in San Mai III steel, are my first choice, always.

I do not believe in the premise of not scoring on Defense (I have no use for any such sport). You'll note the steel, spike pommels on the Tanto Series. There are times when you'll need to crush through a sphenoid while retracting, offering a backfist, or turning into a defense. The pommel of your knife must be designed to inflict damage.

Next: A primary Battle Blade needs a handguard. Ever had your knuckles rapped while training with wood or even hard-rubber trainers? You will not appreciate what happens in a real knife fight if you get your knuckles mashed or sliced open. Forget the pain, adrenaline goes a long way to dulling the pain during the fight.

But when you cut tendon or muscle that allow fingers and wrists to work, you lose the knife fight. When your handle gets slick with blood, you'll be surprised how hard it is to keep your grip, and how easily you can lose your knife entirely with a basic side-slap. If your knife grip gets bloody, let it be the other guy's blood.

The steel in the Magnum Series is San Mai III. Without getting into a debate, it is probably the best steel I have ever handled for a Battle Knife. It may be the best since the Japanese of old...

The problem with the Magnum Tanto Series: Cost. You can buy an M4 for the cost of 2 XII Tantos, even at wholesale.

Moving on...

I own several GI Tanto blades. The design, strength and cost of these Cold Steel pieces make them unbeatable for anyone on a budget who still wants a damned good knife designed for battle. I must admit, I do not own any with the current handle, mine are older, when they offered para-cord as the wrap. But I would not hesitate to buy them with the current panels, and I'll test a few for you in the coming weeks.

The price and overall quality and utility of this knife even takes away the butt-hurt of the "Made in China" stamp near the hilt.

The Leatherneck:

Many readers know I have only recently started handling a genuine KA-BAR, and I have found it to be an outstanding knife in all respects. I'll be adding the KA-BAR page to IIIGear soon. Cold Steel is offering a Tanto version of the classic KA-BAR, also on a damned good price-point.

Folders: I have carried one version or another of the Voyager for about 15 years. I keep it clipped to my pants near the fly, for a right-hand draw. Only a fool under-estimates a man holding a 3-5 inch folding knife. You simply can't go wrong with any of the Voyagers. If you prefer a black blade, go with the Recon I.

Seconds, Closeouts & Counterfeits: Cold Steel is one of the most counterfeited knife brands in the world, for good reason. When you decide to arm yourself with a Cold Steel product, be careful of the lowest prices. They are probably either counterfeit (very hard to tell it's a knock-off until it breaks when you need it most) or a factory Second (a piece that, for whatever reason, failed final Quality Control and is therefore discounted). At IIIGear, we offer only Factory Firsts.

Finally, for you Swordsmen:

Think there is no place in modern combat for the sword? In many forms of combat, range matters. The ability to strike your enemy from a place he can not reach you in return is ideal. Just ask that Big Five you are about to take in Africa...from 100 yards with your arm-held cannon. Or a sniper. Or any guy in a knife fight with the shortest knife.

The Cold Steel O Katana is the best combat-effective sword available on the market today, and to you trained Swordsmen, yes I am considering the modern blades available through modern swordsmiths. The mega cost difference for the modest blade difference makes the Cold Steel the better choice, in my mind, unless you know your only CQB will be sword on sword against Obata Sensei...in which case may I return your thoughts to the Chevy, because that's our only chance at victory, anyway.

There you have it, folks. Kerodin's .02 on Cold Steel.

And they are all available now at IIIGear.com. (I'll add the other pages at IIIGear later - it is actually a lot like work.)

I have only listed the blades at IIIGear that we are stocking. If you prefer any other Cold Steel product, just let me know what it is and I'll get you the same discount I can offer on our IIIGear selections. This is one of the primary reasons we set up Dealer accounts with several vendors - to help you get the gear you want at prices that beat the typical mark-up.

If you are in the market for a Cold Steel blade, go to IIIGear.com now.

And remember, it is a 527 project, which means all proceeds go into the 527 so we can keep building the III.



  1. I am one who voted for cold steel in the poll!For those who have no money,cold steel Kukri machete makes a good dirt cheap survival blade.If you can't afford one of their pricey blades get the Kuk,cord wrap that hard handle,sharpen the factory edge and you are good to go!


  2. China: The Kukri blade style is outstanding for both combat and survival. The combat aspects take a bit more training to get the most from the design, but anyone who picks one up and starts swinging is going to make a bad guy take pause, training or not. ;)

    This is a good example of what we can get:

    Anyone interested in the "True" Kukri design from Cold Steel in San Mai III Steel (The best) your cost will be $425.

    In SK5 Carbon Steel the price frops to $220.

    The Kukri Machete (13" Blade), which is a blended design, sells through III Gearjust $26.

    So folks, go to the ColdSteel.com site and feel free to ask me for our price on any item. Just get me all the details so I can get the right one off the price list.

    Thanks China!


  3. Bought one of their $80 Kukri's years ago,(same pattern as their $20 machete). Worth every cent.
    Long time ago in the Philippines at JEST School I acquired a local made bolo machete their guides sold (since stolen from me). What a jungle tool!!! I am still sold on the idea of always having a bolo/kukri at my side, beside my WW2 Kabar and Swiss Army knife. And a Hudson Bay axe on my pack also.
    Semper Fi, 0321

  4. If you don't have a Cold Steel Boar spear you're not fully armed...


  5. Are they branded III? Does cold steel laser etch or inscribe? I'm gonna buy, just wondering...

  6. KL: Yep. I have all Cold Steel gear ready for engraving by a local shop. It's included in the price.



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