Cold Steel, Inc. was founded in 1980 as a company dedicated to making the strongest, sharpest, knives in the world. Over the last three decades, Cold Steel has been at the forefront of the many innovations that have helped to define the knife industry as a whole. Progressive accomplishment, including the introduction of the checked Kraton handles and the American Tanto point blade styles have gone from curiously interesting features to industry-wide hallmarks of quality and sophistication.
New ground was also broken with the introduction of unique new blade steels like San Mai III as well as the “Tri-Ad Lock” locking mechanism for folding knives. In fact, the Tri-Ad Lock has never been equaled by any of Cold Steel’s competitors and nothing they have produced yet has been proven to outperform it.
Therefore, Cold Steel has remained true to their core philosophy of constantly striving to make the world’s strongest, sharpest, knives and the Cold Steel SRK is a prime example of this advanced technology.
Consequently, when Cold Steel designed and introduced the Survival and Rescue Knife (SRK), they did so with this philosophy in mind. Therefore, the SRK is a no-nonsense knife with a very versatile blade shape that is able to withstand the most extreme abuse.
Also, the SRK features an overall length of 10 3/4″ with a Clip Point blade measuring 6″ in length made from 3/16″ AUS-8A stainless steel (Rockwell hardness unknown) with an extremely high, flat ground, bevel and a deeply checkered Kray-Ex grip with a single quillion. In addition, the blade is coated with a black, Tuff-Ex, finish to help protect the AUS-8A stainless steel from the elements (although it doesn’t really need it) and the knife includes an extremely well designed Secure-Ex sheath.
Personally, this knife has always struck me as being a particularly pretty and well designed outdoor knife and to my mind, it strongly resembles the Fallkniven A1 L survival knife. One of the features that I especially like about this knife is the long, slim, clip point blade shape because it is a very versatile design with the long straight edge providing plenty of length for carving and the 10 3/4″ overall length, combined with the 6″ blade, make it a fairly effective light chopping tool.
Also, the straight (non-convex) clip point tip on this knife acts like a drop point in that the lowered tip remains out of the way when performing fine tasks so that you can see what you are doing and, the angle of the sweep from the edge to the tip is about as perfect as a person could ask for. Thus, when the clip point tip is combined with the moderate belly of the sweep, it creates a very effective shape for skinning and butchering harvested game.
In addition, I also like the choice of AUS-8A stainless steel for the blade since, when AUS-8A is hardened to 54-58 Rockwell, it is an excellent compromise between hardness and toughness that allows it to retain a sharp edge when skinning and to only need light touch-up after chopping to bring it back to razor sharpness and yet, it is also tough enough to resist chipping unless the edge is struck sharply against something very hard like rock or bone.
Plus, being made from a stainless steel, the blade requires very little, if any, maintenance to keep it corrosion free and the addition of the Tuff-Ex finish serves to reinforce the maintenance free concept. Also, I particularly like the high, flat ground, bevel on the blade since the flat grind offers the best compromise between sharpness and strength and the high bevel allows the user to sharpen the knife to a razor’s edge.
In addition, when I am using an knife in an outdoor survival situation, I often find that my hands are wet, cold, or both and thus, I really like the deeply checkered Kray-Ex handle material on this knife because it is extremely tough (although not as tough as Micarta) and the deep checkering aids in keeping a positive grip on the knife.
Plus, the Kray-Ex handle material is impervious to heat and cold, it will not absorb moisture and, since the material is boned directly to the tang, there are no rivets or screws that can fail at an inopportune moment (I have actually experienced this problem in the field!).
Consequently, it is my belief that the Cold Steel Survival and Rescue Knife is an extremely well designed and exceptionally well constructed tool for the purposes of outdoor survival. In addition, the blade length and shape are just about as close to perfect as is humanly possible for a general purpose outdoor knife that has to perform many tasks well and does a great job of matching similar traits as its competitors with a decent price point.
In fact, my only complaints with this knife are the less than ergonomic shape of the grip and the overly large ricasso at the back of the blade which prevents the user from applying the maximum amount of leverage when carving because the edge is situated farther from the hand; thus lengthening the Moment Arm.