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10/22/12

The Cold Steel SRK


Here's a nice survival knife I bought unused but secondhand for $50. I bought it for a solid deal on a fixed blade for backup purposes or to stash, but the SRK has fast become one of my favorite knives.

Big reason: it feels great in hand. The grippy Kraton handle is comfortable and works in whatever grip you need. The just over 8 ounce SRK is light and fast while still be tough. The balance - often an oversight - is pretty much perfect. It shifts and rolls to various grips without trouble. Comparing it to my ESEE-4 and Becker 7, the SRK feels quick and nimble. Good stuff.

This one is in AUS-8A steel, which is a middle-tier but totally serviceable blade steel. Cold Steel makes the SRK in their well regarded San Mai 3, too, for a blade steel upgrade. SRKs in the Carbon V steel, another good one, are no longer made, but can be found second hand.

At 3/16 inches thick, the blade strikes a happy medium between too thick and too thin, and the 6-inch blade length is big without being clumsy. The shape is handy and utilitarian; nice, pointy-point and a good straight edge. I've done some abusive hammering/prying with the tip, and it performed flawlessly - passed that test for sure.

I hate coatings, and you can already see the coating wearing off near the end, but at least the SRK's coating doesn't interfere with throwing sparks from a ferro rod. In fact, the SRK throws the best sparks of any knife that I have. It's impressive, and just as good as a purpose-built striker.

The sheath is actually pretty good, too. Good retention, pretty good materials, lots of mounting options if you won't want to use the removeable belt loop.

For $76 shipped on Amazon, the SRK is a solid, capable and agile survival knife that won't break the bank. I'm favoring it over my ESEE-4 these days, which cost significantly more and was in pretty desperate need of an aftermarket sheath. If you can find a deal on an SRK, jump all over it. I would pickup an uncoated SRK in San Mai 3 if money were no object.

I would only change one thing about the knife - adding an exposed hammering pommel on the end of the handle. The very similar, but pricier Fallkniven knives have this feature, and it's a nice-to-have if you need to do some hammering/smashing or need to baton the tip of the knife into something. Certainly not a dealbreaker though.

I've owned a dozen or so Cold Steel products over the years and handled many more, but none of them have really wowed me like the SRK has. Definitely a knife to take a look at! I know others have spoken well of the SRK, too - if I remember right, it was one of Dave Canterbury's favorites back in his early YouTube days.

9 comments :

  1. I have at-least liked, if not more, every Cold Steel product I ever tried. All affordable, and high quality. If I have "complaints", the plastics used in the hilts could be a lot heavier, and a "me-being-stupid" complaint- the CS super-fine serrated edges (like the folding tantos) need a "No, REALLY, it's THAT f'ing sharp out of the box! I'm not kidding!!" warning label.

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  2. When looking for a "survival knife" my initial impression was to get something super tough. I found the thicker and longer the knife the less like a knife it was, and the more like a hatchet it became. Even with its relative short length, the Becker BK2 is like 70% hatchet to me. So I ended up on Moras for nice rubber ergo grip and sharp yet still rugged. On the knife to hatchet ratio scale the mora is all knife(my opinion)but obviously lacks the strength for worry free battoning. I have given in to the idea that I just prefer more than one tool. That being said I still search for the mystical perfect single survival knife that is tough enough to use hard with confidence but still feels handy and "knife" enough for me. I commented on the esee 4 review i felt the handle wasn't for me. BK2 too heavy. I'm not up for investing in a convex like the falkniven or a bark river. I have the kraton handled ka-bar mark 1 and i do like it a lot but heads up it is handle heavy (for those who care). So basically that is the longest possible way to say . . . you peaked my interest. Also I've considered a spyderco bushcraft or an enzo trapper and I'm not sure why the srk was off my radar but now you have me thinking . . .

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    Replies
    1. Recurved BoomstickOctober 22, 2012

      Have you checked out the Kabar BK-15, BK-16, and BK-17? The 16 is pretty much a small BK-2, overall length 9-1/4", blade length 4-3/8" 0.165" thickness.

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    2. I'll have to check them out. thanks for the heads up!

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  3. Good blade, I bought an SRK early in the 90's, one of the Carbon Vs (1095 steel I believe is actual formula). A little thick for slicing veggies or filleting fish, but its up to the task for most other duties.

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    Replies
    1. Should have also mentioned the new Opinel #8 Outdoor knife. Opinels are very lightweight but tough knives, and this, paired with the above SRK would provide a lot of utility.

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  4. The Cold Steel Master Hunter is the exact same knife just shorter, and a little more practical. i have both and love their products.

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  5. I have to agree with you, excellent knife for the price. It's super lightweight in comparison to most knives its size. The sheath is very functional for the price (most knives of this price point come with sub-standard sheath's). You came off with a good deal Alex!

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  6. I have always loved the AK 47 bayonets like the AKM1 as fighting/survival knives. they are solid, heavy and hold a good edge, oh and cheap, at around $24.00 each used of course. you should check these out, they are a good bargain and a good blade, you just have to make or buy a sheath for them.

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