Pros: Finish, Blade Sharpness, Overall Quality, Weight, Blade Material, None
Cons: Handle Material, Sheath/Scabbard
Terrific value for the money! Try this for bushcrafting.
I like a longer blade for processing firewood & bushcrafting. This thing is a dream. At 7" it will replace a hatchet for many jobs. One less tool to carry - and a hatchet or axe is heavier. Carry this and a Japanese pull saw instead. SK5 is a tool steel, I've seen it in low-cost blades at only 54-55 RC (lookin at you, CRKT), where it is totally wasted. No deal there. But KnifeCenter claims this Cold Steel Recon is hardened to 64RC - close to max for SK5 (65RC) - and I believe them. What a performer! I've processed hardwood for hours with this thing without noticeably dulling the edge - it's still razor sharp. Chops through small stuff (<3 in.) acceptably - doesn't have the weight of an axe, obviously - but for removing branches etc. it's effective, and more controllable. Too long for whittling, obviously, but light enough that if you choke up on it it isn't unsafe fiddling with small stuff. And the choil lets you do that without fear for your fingers. I like the tanto blade: there are shelters you can build using the blade like a chisel to chop out square holes for squared timber ends to form a joint (similar to post-&-beam construction of a barn). I'm not going to carry a chisel in the woods. And chopping squared holes through small logs (4-6" diameter) is not something you do with a sharp-pointed knife. You'll want to be careful punching straight down into hard woods - I doubt it's impossible to break or bend a blade - but a tanto with sufficiently squared end does the job of a chisel. Bashing the end of the hilt does muck up the rubbery finish on the handle, though. I'm doing most such cuts with a 5" tanto instead to minimize risk of bending the longer blade and bashing up the handle, but much prefer doing almost everything else with this. The Kray-Ex finish on the handle is really grippy. The knife doesn't slip in the rain. And the Tuff-Ex finish on the blade seems to work well to deter rust. This came razor-sharp and still is. I could slice vegetables with it after battoning a lot of birch and maple firewood. Sheath is acceptable; an obvious compromise to keep the cost down. I haven't yet seen dulling of the blade from the sheath, though I have seen complaints about this & understand why it might occur. I would MUCH prefer a leather sheath and would be willing to pay for it! I would be happy to buy one as an upgrade: could you offer one made specifically for this knife, please? Pretty please??? In black to match, I guess. Weight is pretty light, especially given the size of the blade. Overall quality is great. I love this knife! Terrific value for the money! Thank you KnifeCenter! Now offer us a leather sheath for this thing. It deserves a leather sheath! I WILL buy it!