Pros: Blade Sharpness, Ease of Opening, Sheath, Blade Material, None
Cons: Handle Feel, Lock Ease of Use, Handle Material
Could've Been So Much More...
I'll start with the positives. The blade was super sharp out of the box, and I really like the shape and angle of the blade. The knife has a good solid feel (it is heavy, but I like that in most knives). The leather sheath is nice and functional, but isn't as nice as say the one you get with Case Changer. And for clarity's sake, the sheath is made in the USA, but the knife itself is made in Taiwan. I knew this when I made the purchase, but felt it should be pointed out. Now, the negatives. On my knife the lock is very, very stiff. Possibly the hardest to manipulate I've ever had and I have fairly large (and fairly strong) hands. I'm hoping that it will loosen up with use and feel that it probably will. Also, and this is somewhat picky, it came out of the box with what looked like metal shavings stuck to the oil all over the blade. Aesthetically this was easy enough to fix: I simply wiped the blade clean. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that there are more of those shavings down in the locking mechanism and this is part of the reason the lock is so stiff. I've yet to be able to clean any out if this is the case, however. And finally, for the biggest negative (for me). The handles are very disappointing. I read in another review on here where the person said the handles look "tres tres faux". This was an understatement. I had in my mind that they would be fake looking like the ones you see on cheap Browning fixed blades (very shiny and plastic looking). I would much have preferred that. This instead have a very dull painted on look that in no way resembles stag or even "fake stag". To me they look more like someone attempted to do a flame paint job on a black background with an unsteady hand (think orange on black). Mine also have a somewhat off putting chalky feel to them. Maybe I received a particularly bad example. Overall, I am somewhat disappointed in this knife. I don't really doubt that it will be a good knife, but it should've also been a much better looking knife. At this price point I don't expect real stag handles, but I also don't expect handles that make the knife scream "Cheap!" every time you pull it out.Cold Steel could make a real winner out of this knife if they would just change the handles or offer more options and watch the quality control just a bit more (the shavings and tightness of the lock).