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Cold Steel Gunsite I Folding Knife Review

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Cold Steel Gunsite

Like most of the Cold Steel products, Gunsite is a good buy for its price, I mean the street price. On the Internet that can be somewhere $60-$70, may be even less, not $115 CS is asking on their website. For those 115$ price one could get a knife notch above Gunsite. In short, Gunsite is an Ok folder especially for 60$, nothing extraordinary, has its pros and cons. Gunsite is almost a twin brother of the earlier Cold Steel extra large Voyager Tanto, in some sources Gunsite is even referred as a Cold Steel Gunsite Voyager, the major difference is slightly different blade geometry & the Gunsite Logo on it, aesthetically I like Gunsite much more than Voyager. Make no mistake, no matter how it looks on the picture here or other pictures this knife is HUGE :) so is its predecessor Voyager. Well, both are quite some monsters for the folding knife class, sporting 5 inch blades each, but on the other hand the term Tactical Folder itself somehow makes me think that 5 inches are better then 4, for a knife of that class ;).

Blade

 - Comes razor sharp right out off the box. 5 inch long, AUS-8A stainless steel, 50% serrated, equipped with a thumb opener, which (the thumb opener) could've been done better, after approximately a dozen of openings you can feel your thumb getting sore. On high-end knives such as Benchmade, not to mention Speedtech or TiNives, it's done much better, though even cheaper Beretta Airlight Lockbacks have the better studs ;) Tanto point blade that long looks very impressive, especially on the folding knife. Nicely finished, no uneven grinds, machinery marks etc. For both, Gunsite & Voyager, a factory edge is sharpened at somewhat thick angle, however since AUS-8A is not the best steel in the edge holding area, thinning it down won't do any good either.
    The blade on both, Gunsite & Voyager is quite thick 1/8", strong enough (hollow grind from the edge & at the top transforms into tanto point). After all tanto blades due to their configuration specifics are meant to be strong tipped stabbing weapons. So is Gunsite. Except that Cold Steel will void your warranty if you experiment with stabbing steel drums or fridges. Having a few knives from Cold Steel, I felt I could experiment some with their strength. Basically all I did was stabbed my old fridge door several times, driving a knife into it about couple inches. The point held just fine, unfortunately can't say the same about the edge & serrations. About the edge holding I've mentioned already, it's far from great, no matter what Cold Steel claims, their AUS-8 will never be better then ATS-34.
    Now about those serrations, the teeth are too thin & fragile. I've broken them on the coke can, all it was just a stab in the coke can top, Ok, it's harder then the can walls, but still, the knife should've held up, there's no question to it. This would explain why Cold Steel is so anxious about those CS knife owners repeating CS tests ;) One thing is when they test their own knives in the factory, in a controlled manner, another is when the uncontrolled knife user tries to repeat them. That immediately becomes an abuse & voids the warranty. Terrific. Anyways, other even those "dull gray steel" ATS-34 blades, despite their brittleness, passed this can piercing test with no problems, let alone M2, A2, D2 blades. Also, considering the total inability to sharpen those serrations, they better not be there at all, IMHO :)

Handle

 - Zytel handle is 6 inches long, light, so balance is kind of strange, but feels Ok, same as on the Voyager. Zytel provides an ok grip when dry but quite slippery when wet. It's tough enough to withstand impacts w/o damage. However quite a few people complain that Zytel deforms eventually, that in turn means loosening up the whole knife, which will suck big time honestly. I can't confirm this info or disregard them either, haven't had my knife for that long & haven't used heavily, so we'll see. The ergonomics are as of a brick ;) Practically there's none. The clip is integrated with the handle & despite of carrying it on my belt it was comfy enough, as you can guess, the knife that is 6 inch closed, is not an easy thing to carry in your jeans pocket ;).

Locking Mechanism

- Gunsite (& the Voyager as well) is a lockback folder. Well known, tested and nothing new there. Many knife companies are switching to more modern lock types such as axis lock, rolling lock, arch lock, etc. According to Cold Steel they have some remote plans to switch to Liner Lock, so much for the knife company that claims to be the top notch & innovative. I wrote this few months ago, by the way I was wrong :) For 2001 Cold Steel came out with the Ultra Lock, which looks as some breed of Benchmade's Axis and SOG's Arc locks. Some folks claim that it's an Axis rip-off, other say it's Arc Lock rip-off, CS says it's their own development, etc, etc. Cold Steel claims that their locking mechanism on the Gunsite can withstand a load up to 130 Lbs. Not that bad :). After all this time I am not so sure of this. Yes, the video shows that, but I do not tend to trust Cod Steel adds anymore. I would strongly recommend to take any of their statements not with a grain, but with a pound of the salt. For an instance, in 2001 CS started using 420 steel that they've been cursing for years. Who knows what else.

Conclusion

 - If you ignore(& you should) Cold Steel's over hyped & hyper aggressive claims & statements regarding their products such as AUS-8A outperforming ATS-34 & other things, & think of Gunsite as a $60-70 stainless steel folder with bricky handle you will not be disappointed :). It's a tool that can be used, and abused (to the limits of course) and it's not finicky. Requires minimal care & frequent sharpening ;). This may not be as high quality as 710 Axis Lock, but on many occasions it's enough to do the job. For field use & abuse it's a good choice, well, depending on the use, may not last long ;)

Last updated - 09/01/11

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