When searching for a pocket knife you’re not typically thinking about a five and a half inch monster like the Cold Steel XL line of folding knives, until you have owned one that is. Now when I’m searching for folding knives I wonder why all the other companies aren’t producing folders of this size.
The purpose of a large folder
Slightly over kill for opening your mail, a self-defence or tactical blade are more likely the reasons you would buy this knife. That being said, it will also work for all the small every day applications you might need it for. A couple years ago while carving the Christmas turkey, unsatisfied with the edges on the knives in our house, I whipped out the Cold Steel Voyager which cut through that turkey with ease. This would have been quite difficult with a standard three-inch folder. When you swing the blade out and feel the significant weight it has to it you get an inspiring sense of confidence. Along with the weight, the length of the handle and the reach it gives you when holding it by the bottom is quite impressive too.
Overall feel of the knife
This knife feels large right off the bat but you will notice there are quite a few different places to hold on the long grip. There are finger grooves near the top for choking up and doing fine work, or hold at the bottom where the grooves in the crook of the knife give you a confident grip and a long reach. The textured handle has decent traction with its iron cross pattern on the side panels. When open it feels top-heavy making it a great for chopping or slashing. Although other Cold Steel knives like the Recon or Lawman with there diamond cut G10 aluminum grips feel slightly better to me they are much more expensive. I find when knives I buy are too nice I tend to use them less often. This knife however, is perfect for an everyday carry knife because I don’t mind it getting a little banged up.
Specks build quality and construction
Weighing in at 7.7 ounces this is quite a lightweight knife considering the overall size. With a four millimeter blade thickness the blade looks anything but weak and has a nice weight forward feel. Made from CTS BD1 alloy steel, these blades come razor sharp out of the box, so you will have to be careful as its easy to accidentally cut yourself. Heat treated aluminum liners provide the handle with a good amount of strength and rigidity. The tri-ad lock mechanism feels completely solid and this ensures there is no wiggle or play in the blade when opened. A torx head screw holds the main pivot point of the blade so if it ever gets loose, which can happen with hard use, it can be tightened easily. A sturdy pocket clip is an absolute essential on a folding knife and this one fully fulfills that requirement. The clip is very high up on the blade end of the knife leaving only about an inch sticking out of your pocket, giving the illusion that you are only carrying a small pocket knife. The pocket clip is transferable from one side to the other using three torx heads screws and the thumb stud is ambidextrous and can be removed with a flat head screw driver. Over all build quality at this price point is pretty damn good.
Performance and testing
You can cut through a pretty significant branch or sapling with one good swing of this blade and as I mentioned previously if ever in a jam when carving the holiday turkey this knife has got you covered. The blade swings open under its own weight with the XL version leaving little use for the thumb stud. Be careful not to let it fly out of your hand when that blade hits the lock, not that I’ve ever done that of course. If there’s ever a question of the durability of a Cold Steel knife just go on their website and watch some of the testing videos. Not only are they hilarious and entertaining but they are also very impressive and allow you to see just how dependable their brand of knives are .
Is this knife for you
Short answer; if you are into tactical folders yes! if you need a box opening, apple peeling, utility knife then no!! This would be an ineffective knife for everyday mundane chores in the XL tanto version, but a perfect one in the smaller three or four inch clip point or other smaller blade configurations. Tanto blades are designed for tip strength and tactical applications. The lack of belly on the blade and thin pointed tip take away from its usefulness in some more practical ways. However, if you are looking for a bad ass knife that discretely fits in your pocket and won’t bother you when siting down or performing every day activities then this is the knife for you.