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    Rowan McDirk
    Rowan McDirk

    1. Specifications:

    Blade Length: 7 1/2″ 19,1 cm
    Overall Length: 12 1/2″ 31,8 cm
    Steel: SK-5 High Carbon, new version O-1 steel
    Weight:15 oz 0,43 kg
    Blade Thickness: 5/16″ 7,9 mm
    Handle:5″ 12,7 cm Long Kraton
    Sheath:Secure-Ex® Sheath

    2. Official Product Description:

    In almost every respect, the Recon Scout® is simply a 7 1/2 inch Trail Master® Bowie. It offers the same steel, heat treatment, blade thickness, blade shape, and handle.
    Unlike other combat knives, the Recon Scout’s® broad clip point is highly resistant to bending or breaking. It’s ideal for long range cutting and slashing. Additionally, the blade is equipped with a slightly concave false edge that measures approximately 3 1/2″ long.
    Like the Trail Master®, the Recon Scout® has a slight curve along the entire length of the blade. This curve allows the blade to be used in a draw cut as well as a chopping stroke. Plus, the extra curve near the tip provides plenty of “belly” for emergency field dressing and skinning.
    These very popular, time tested knives have been in our line for many years and are ideal for just about any mission. Made out of SK-5 High Carbon Steel, they are precision ground, heat-treated and Mar Tempered in our state of the art factory in Taiwan to rival the strength, toughness, and edge retention of our famous Japanese swords. Check out their absolute superior fit, finish and above all sharpness and then put them to work and we are sure you’ll agree they are an incredible bargain.
    Official Cold Steel testing video of the O-1 model:

    3. Why did you get it?

    I own a SK-5 Cold Steel Laredo Bowie as a large knife and a Cold Steel Carbon V Master Hunter as a hunting/utility knife. I can do all tasks of the Master Hunter with the Laredo Bowie but carried together they form a perfect combo. Carrying both outdoor or in the garden can be a bit cumbersome so I wanted a knife that combined the best of both knives.
    It has the forward weight to do chopping but is still good enough to do finer tasks. It is the knife I carry most around the house.
    It is as much a utility blade as it is a fighting knife and a camp or survival tool, it is Cold Steel’s Jack of All Trades.

    4. What do you like about it?

    -I like the steel, it has a carbon steel blade. Cold Steel blades are perfectly heat treated blades. . The blade sharpens easily, holds an edge well and is though. It has a flat grind which I prefer due to the better cutting ability. It is though enough due to it’s thickness The back of the blade is not rounded, even with the coating on it was sharp enough to throw sparks with a ferro rod.

    -Sturdy guard to protect the hand

    -It has a full tang on which the Kraton (new models have Kray Ex) handle is molded. The Kraton is a rubbery substance that gives a good grip even when wet. I like the molded handle because in winter time it is nice to have no metal touching the hand. I have had no problems with the handle coming loose. It has a lanyard hole which I don’t use.

    -Sturdy sheath in Secure-Ex. A knife is as good as the sheath you can carry it in. Cold Steel sheaths are no top of the bill, custom sheaths but they do their job very well. The knife fits the sheath well, there is no rattling. The Secure-Ex is hard and though, some say you should take care when inserting the knife back in the sheath, so the Secure-Ex doesn’t blunt the blade. I made a habit of keeping the back of the blade against the sheath when sliding it down. The sheath has a lot of holes and ways to attach to almost anything. The best part is the belt loop. It is made of Cor-Ex/Nylon, which is very durable. It has a Velcro strap and a push button so the sheath can be removed without opening the belt. I modded the belt loop with a zip tie so it hangs higher on the belt.

    -If you don’t like carbon steel knives due to the maintenance or your climate, there is the possibility to buy the same knife in VG-1 San Mai III, a sandwiched steel blade with a VG-1 core which has excellent edge retention.

    5. What don’t you like about it? How could it be improved?

    I have the older black finished blade. I prefer a polished blade, sanded the coating off and polished to a satin polish and give it a patina. It think any blade performs better without a coating.

    Another thing I modded was the choil. I like the choil large enough to put my finger of the guard to fine cutting tasks. I took a file and made the choil large enough.

    6. How did you hear about it?

    I read about it in the Cold Steel catalog and on the Cold Steel forums and watched the testing videos.

    7. Where did you get it?

    I got the SK-5 second hand for a good price. I try to get doubles of all good user knives I have and will get one in O-1 steel.

    8. How did it help you in the past? (Personal experience of using it)

    The mother of my best friend called. She found a roadkill Roe Buck near where she lived.
    It was too hot and had been lying too long for human consumption but still good enough for the dogs. She has a Czech Wolf Dog and a I have a crossbred German/Malinois Shepherd. They both like meat a lot…
    Her husband was out of the country and she wanted my help skinning and buchering.
    I took my knife set and went to help.
    I opened my set and saw that I forgot my skinning knife at home. I did have my Recon Scout (SK5 China Doll, took off the black finish and polished to satin finish) in my backpack.
    The buck was swollen, I wanted to skin it first before gutting.
    The Recon Scout was razor sharp and skinned effortlessly. I left it lying on the ground while skinning.
    I cut off the lower legs and used the false edge to chop through the neck to cut of the head.
    I cut of the front and back legs and the back.
    I dug a pit and gutted the remainder of the buck in it.
    I hung the rib cage in a tree (ribs horizontal) and tried stabbing at it. Stabbing with the edge down took a lot of force to get through the ribs, with not enough force the knife bounced to the side. With the edge sideward it slid through without effort.
    I chopped the rib cage and spine in pieces with the front edge without any damage to the blade.
    Without stropping or sharpening I cut the back sinew out (maybe one day I’ll have the time and skill to make a bow), cut the back in pieces, deboned and cut the legs in pieces.
    The deboning and tendons seemed to have taken of the edge of the knife.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the performance of this knife.
    It’s not a dedicated hunting knife and is a bit too large to be one, but it performed extremely well.
    The blood gave the polished steel a very nice patina, oily rainbow. Has anyone ever experimented with blood for aging a blade?
    I didn’t use any other knife of my butchering set.
    It took me about 15 minutes on the Arkansas stone to get it back to razor sharp.
    The dogs have very good days…

    After using the blade on the buck I kept carrying it and use it in and around the house and outdoor.
    Bushcraft use as baton to get kindling, make feathersticks with it, cut rope, wood, … When carried on the belt I don’t notice it and have to remind myself to take it off before going out the door.

    The knife has been used by Special Forces Operatives since the war in the Persian Gulf. If it is good enough for these guys, it’s good enough for me.

    I have added pictures of my Recon Scout, one without the black coating, the two other with a rust protecting patina compared to it’s big brother the Cold Steel Trail Master and the Cold Steel SRK.

    You must be logged in to view attached files.
    Profile photo of freedom

    Cold steel makes great knifes. There are made to take everything.


    Great review, thanks Rowan!


    Awesome review Rowan and another knife added to my wishlist. I love the handle and the big guard. Im a big fan of big guards after I saw a friend slipping his hand into the blade…

    Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")

    Rowan McDirk
    Rowan McDirk

    The Finnish say a real man doesn’t need a finger guard, but I prefer one just in case.
    Really a knife worth getting. Let me know if you get yours.

    Profile photo of MidSouth Mitch
    MidSouth Mitch

    Thanks for the review Rowan. I believe that I’ve read other articles written by you. While I’ve lusted after the Recon Scout for years- I really haven’t  come up with a real reason to pull the trigger. With limited means, I need a reason beyond desire.

    Profile photo of Jayman

    My only minor complaint with this knife is – who ever designed the contour of the handle?  Most knives that feel best in the hand – especially the custom ones – have a ‘palm swell’, the handle is slightly larger in the central area so taht the fingers close around it naturally. But this one had an inward contour at the central part of the grip, and this makes mine feel too small. I may try some grip tape to fill in the hollowed out space. Am I the only one to ahve this trouble? My hands are not that large; and none of the other CS knives, or the SOG or KaBar brands  – none of the others have that.

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