By Dexter Ewing
Specialist in Edged Weaponry
As I was writing the review for the Cold Steel XL Voyager, I was thinking: "I don't think anyone can top this one in size..." Well, how wrong I was! Lynn Thompson and his crew did it again. They unveiled another large folder dubbed the Vaquero Grande. And grande it is. The centerpiece of this knife is its 6 inch, S-curved fully serrated Nogales clip point blade. This knife is definitely one formidable cutting tool.
The AUS-8 blade is flat ground and features Cold Steel's exclusive serration pattern which has four small teeth separated by one large tooth. The purpose for this pattern is to offer the best of the smooth cutting performance of a plain edge coupled by the bite of a serrated edge. In essence, the blade glides over the material being cut with gusto. I've performed minor pruning tasks around the yard as well as opening bags of fertilizer, which proved the blade to be a suitable outdoor carry knife. The blade size makes short work of any big cutting task at hand. The curve of the blade forces the material being cut INTO the front part of the blade, making the Vaquero a lean, mean, slicin' machine. There are two thumb studs, one on each side of the blade, for ambidextrous opening. This knife proved no problem opening with either hand.
The ergonomic Zytel handle has all the curves in the right places. Upon opening the knife, your hand will grasp comfortably the middle of the handle. Due to its length, a variety of hand positions can be accommodated. Cold Steel's catalog demonstrates such positionings: from gripping it towards the back curve of the handle to a two handed grip similar to one that is used when brandishing a sword. The texture is the same as the rest of the Voyager lockbacks. The checkering provides good hand traction in whatever hand position you choose. Above the pivot there are parallel groove to aid in applying downward pressure to the blade.
( KnifeCe4nter note: The new model does not come with a sheath, but has a steel pocket clip instead. The following account is for the early models which included a sheath) A Kydex sheath made by Blade Tech Industries accompanies each Vaquero. The sheath encloses the handle, with only enough protruding to get a grip to unsheathe the knife. As with all Kydex sheaths, the fit is absolutely snug and requires a bit of force to unsheathe the Vaquero. On the reverse side, there's a large plastic clip to attach the package to your belt, back pocket, or waistband. Not to worry, this clip is heavy duty and takes a lot of force to break off. Waistband carry is possible, but whatever you do don't bend over. The handle protrudes in a way that will press into your abdomen if you do so.
The Vaquero is equally impressive in appearance as it is in performance. I discovered that the handle has a very solid feel to it, not like the lightness found in other smaller Zytel folders. Most of us have never carried a folder this huge before and I admit, it does take some getting used to. But after you become acclimated with the knife, you can really use the knife to its full potential. During my outdoors testing, it was a pleasure to discover that due to the handle size and shape, the knife can be used comfortably while wearing work gloves.
The Cold Steel Vaquero Grande is a knife that has to be seen (and held) to be believed. This knife takes advantage of the trend of Zytel handled folders to the max -- extreme size without the bulky weight. For those who think a 6-inch blade is a bit tough to tame, Cold Steel is bringing out a smaller 5-inch version. For those who fancy big knives, this one will whet your appetite.
DEXTER "Blade Man" EWING
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Have a knife day!