Over the years, I've tested quite a few knives from Cold Steel, and I've yet to be disappointed in any of them. We're going to take a closer look at the Cold Steel Recon Scout. This is one brute of a fixed blade knife, which is made In Taiwan, for those who ask. I've known Lynn Thompson, who owns Cold Steel, for at least 20 years or more, and he is one of these people who is dead serious about his knife designs and the final product. Lynn has, on more than one occasion, sent back an entire run of knives after he received them and inspected them. He won't settle for shoddy workmanship with the Cold Steel name stamped on his products. To be sure, once in a while a "second" will slip through or a customer returns a knife for "whatever" reason. He won't sell those knives as new; he sells them as "seconds" so you don't ever have to worry about buying someone else's used knife when you buy a new knife from Cold Steel. Once a year, Cold Steel holds a yard sale at their offices, where you can buy discontinued, "seconds", or returned knives at a huge discount.
The name of this website is SurvivalBlog, so many of the knives (and other products) we test and report on are designed for survival, not just wilderness survival but survival on the mean streets. We also cover products suitable for camping and hunting needs and products that you can use around your home all the time. However, the Cold Steel Recon Scout is without a doubt one of the absolute best all-around survival knives you will ever find. It is designed to take whatever you can throw at it and come back for more, again and again!
Just a quick run down on the specs from the Cold Steel website on the Recon Scout is in order. We are looking at a fixed blade knife with a blade that is 7 1/2 inches long and made out of SK-5 High Carbon, NOT stainless steel. However, there is a black powder coating on the blade to help ward-off rust. One of the things I like best about carbon steel blades is that they hold an edge for the longest time, and when they do dull they are easy to bring back to scary sharp in a couple of minutes. The overall length of the Recon Scout is 12 1/2 inches, and it weighs a hefty 15 ounces. The blade thickness is 5/16-inches. Read that again; it is more than a quarter of an inch thick. The handle material is Long Kray-Ex, and I'm not sure what it is exactly, other than it feels like rubber, hard rubber. It has cross checkers for a good hold, and there is a lanyard hold in the butt of the handle. The sheath is made out of Secure-Ex, and it is a polymer material.
I've tested a lot of Cold Steel fixed blade knives, as well as folding knives over the years, and I believe that the Recon Scout is my favorite of the lot for camping, hunting, military use, and survival use. If you can break this knife, you should join the U.S. Marine Corps. They can break just about anything. I've tried to do some serious damage to the Recon Scout, all to no avail.
First off, the Recon Scout came as sharp as sharp can be. I would have been disappointed if it wasn't up to my expectations. Then again, I've said it many times, I honestly believe that Cold Steel set the gold standard when it comes to sharp factory knives. I could take a piece of copy paper and slice off a piece from the top of the paper that was ever so thin. Try that with another knife that is 5/16th of an inch thick. It can't be done.
This knife was made for chopping, too. It has just the right blade length and amount of heft to it to enable you to really chop. I have a lot of timber on my small homestead, so I never lack for a tree or branch to chop on. The Recon Scout is like a hatchet, when it comes to chopping. I also took some free-hanging poly rope, which is tough to cut because it is so slick. I could easily cut right through it, with one swing of the blade. Try that with many other fixed blades knives.
One test I don't normally do with many knives is trying to break off the blade's tip. It's easier done that you think. How many times have you taken your pocket knife and used it for prying on something,only to have the tip snap right off? Yeah, that's what I thought. I pounded the Recon Scout's blade into a tree, about half an inch or maybe a little deeper with a hammer, and I "snapped" the knife out sideways numerous times trying to break the tip of the blade off. It didn't happen! It won't happen, either!
I took an old used car tire with steel belts and went to work on it with the Recon Scout. It easily cut through the rubber and the steel belts. Try that with many other knives and see what happens. I chopped on 2X4 wood, cut through cardboard boxes, and even used the knife in the kitchen a few times. It came through with flying colors. I threw the knife at a big pine tree, trying to make it stick. It never did. I did manage to finally scuff the black coating on the blade but just a little bit. I also did some digging in my yard, and we have a lot of rocks in our soil. I finally, at long last, managed to dull the blade. A few minutes on the croc stix had the blade scary-sharp all over again.
The Recon Scout used to come with a Nylon-type sheath, and while it was ok, I always wanted something more. Current knives come with the Secure-Ex sheath, and it is really a dandy one. You don't have to worry about the sheath getting wet, staying wet, and causing the knife to rust. Nor do you have to worry about the tip of the knife poking through the sheath, if you're not careful putting it back into the sheath.
The Recon Scout retails for $199.99, but you can sometimes find it discounted a bit, if you check around. Yeah, it's not cheap, but quality never comes cheap. Now, for the bad news. If you go out and get a Recon Scout for your survival purposes or camping/hunting use, it might just be the last fixed blade knife you'll ever need. I can't recommend this knife highly enough. It is impressive and will handle many jobs that lesser fixed blade knives can't handle. So, be advised, this might be the last fixed blade knife you will ever buy.