To try to limit Cold Steel to one single, best knife is probably a course in lunacy. Cold Steel has, in recent years, become one of the preeminent suppliers of edged tools. There are, of course, other knife makers that are probably better respected, like Buck, Benchmade, and Spyderco, but to deny the quality of Cold Steel knives is unfair. Nonetheless, because of the breadth of their product lines, it’s difficult to single out one “best” Cold Steel knife. That said, for survival, camping and hunting, the SRK in SK-5 makes a very good bid for the title.
The SRK in SK-5 is a winner in both specification and ergonomics, and user regard for the model bears this out. It is consistently ranked among the most useful and most popular Cold Steel knives – so what makes it a contender for the laurels of the best Cold Steel knife?
It’s balanced, comfortable to use, and extremely tough. Overall, it is 10 and ¾ of an inch long, a little bit small for a camp knife, but big enough to be considered more than a survival knife. It has a blade that is 6 inches long and a handle that makes up the remainder, filling the hand perfectly.
The handle, which is made of Kray-ExTM, is extremely grippy, textured, rounded to eliminate hot spots, and indexes perfectly. It is stout enough to allow the knife to be used for hard tasks like cutting, chipping and batoning without feeling so bulky that it is unwieldy for precision carving applications. At the same time, it is not “slight” by any means.
The blade is a nondescript, gracefully sloping drop point profile with a straightedge that is ground hollow, about halfway up to the shoulder – something like a half hollow grind. This grind is ideal for slicing and processing food and game, while remaining stout enough for campcraft applications.
The steel really makes this knife shine. SK-5 steel is very similar to 1080 steel, which can be used as a tool steel and has properties that are not entirely different from the more ubiquitous 1095. SK-5, for its part, has about .8% carbon and a little bit of manganese added in for toughness. The high carbon content enables the steel to be heat treated to a high Rockwell hardness – near 65 – allowing for excellent edge retention without compromising on durability.
This combination of features makes for a great fixed blade knife that you can beat up but which will not flinch. Truthfully, most users will flag before this knife does, and as a bonus, it is easy to carry.
It comes with a Secure-ExⓇ sheath that both secures the blade excellently and provides for a variety of different mounts. While it comes from the factory ready for hip carry, it can also be made compatible with pack mounting and scout carry, with a bit of paracord and a little experience rigging lashings.
For hikers, hunters, backpackers and campers, this just might be the best Cold Steel knife for these very reasons – but it is far from the only one that can make a pass at that title. Cold Steel also produces a wide variety of other fixed and folding knives with different locking mechanisms and blade shapes.
Whether you’re looking for a high performance pocket knife with a Tri-Ad lock and a stainless steel blade with a spear point, or some other form of folding knife with a tougher tanto point, Cold Steel will deliver on your expectations. The genius of Lynn C. Thompson has developed these, as well as a wide range of spears, knives, arrowheads, and axes (which are excellent) along with many others.
As for your venue, visit White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com. With a wide representation of excellent Cold Steel knives and tools, including the SRK in SK-5, their selection and prices are set to please. Plus, orders in the U.S. get free shipping – visit their website today!