Cold Steel Leatherneck SF Review

Posted by Leighton Taylor on

It’s always exciting to check out a survival knife that you’ve never used before. And since we’re always on the lookout for the best survival knife, it pays to know what all the ones in the market have to offer. Today, we’re going to do a Cold Steel Leatherneck review. Cold Steel is known for producing high quality knives, many of which are favorites of outdoorsmen and survival experts. How does its Leatherneck SF stand up to similar products in the market today? Let’s find out.

This Cold Steel Leatherneck SF review will discuss several important aspects that concern any knife-buying consumer. First, we’ll check to see what features of the best survival knife can be found in this particular knife. Secondly, we’ll see how well each feature “performs.” Hopefully, at the end of this review, readers will have been able to conclude whether they want to buy this particular survival knife or not.

Features of the Cold Steel Leatherneck SF:

If you want to read up on the most important features of a survival knife and the reasons why they’re deemed important, you can do that here. For now, we’ll simply be checking to see if the Cold Steel Leatherneck SF has the features we are looking for in an excellent survival knife.

Fixed blade – check!

Overall length 9-11 inches – this survival knife is a bit longer than is generally recommended but not by much (11.75 inches overall)

Full tang – check!

Straight Edge – check!

Good versatile sheath – check!

Sharp point – check!

Blade material (carbon or stainless steel) – check!

Flat-ground spine – the newer version of this knife has a hollow grind.

Looking at our checklist, it seems that this particular knife by Cold Steel has the features that we want in a survival knife except for the fact that it has a hollow ground edge rather than our preferred flat grind. Safe to say, in the “features” aspect, the Cold Steel Leatherneck SF passes this part of our test.

Just in case you’re wondering, below are the specifications of the Leatherneck SF (including features that weren’t discussed above):

Blade Length: 6 3/4"

Overall Length: 11 3/4"

Steel: German 4116 Stainless

Weight: 12.3 oz

Blade Thickness: 5 mm

Handle: 5" Long Grivory & Kray-Ex™

Sheath: Secure-Ex® Sheath

Pros and Cons of the Cold Steel Leatherneck SF:

While passing our checklist is a good thing, it’s not the only thing you should look at to determine if you have a potential best survival knife in your hand. It’s also important to see how the knife “handles” real life. And, let me tell you, the Leatherneck SF handles it pretty good.

Though I wouldn’t say that this knife is the best in the market today, it has a lot going for it that it has made it to our list of truly reliable survival knives. It's well balanced so you're able to comfortably and easily use the knife without straining your wrist. The blade is very sharp straight out of the box and, for a stainless steel blade, it's quite easy to sharpen. One of the best features of this survival knife is the handle.

It's quite grippy so no worries on having it slip through your fingers. And if you're a novice when it comes to using a knife like this in the outdoors, the presence of the double quillion guards also ensures your hand remains protected. It's also has quite a comfortable feel mostly due to the finger grooves designed into the rubber handle.

What else do I like about the Leatherneck SF? Though it's a bit longer than what I recommend, it's still quite comfortable to carry and use. In addition, it has a steel butt cap that's solid and tough - perfect for hammering things into place.

The sheath is also not something to scoff at. It's an extremely durable Secure-Ex sheath that can easily be attached to your belt loop. The great thing about this sheath is that the knife locks into place once it is pushed into the sheath. With the addition of the restraining strap, you won't have to worry about your knife falling from the sheath at any point in time.

There's a lot to praise about the Leatherneck SF but that doesn't mean there are some things that I'd prefer to be different (though, to be honest, this is merely my preference so take it as you will). Personally, I prefer a survival knife made out of carbon steel rather than stainless steel. Carbon steel is tougher, easier to sharpen, holds its edge longer, and can be sharpened to a razor edge. Though stainless steel is rust resistant (and carbon steel is not), that’s not enough of an advantage if you’ll be taking your knife to a place that has a mostly dry environment.

Another feature that comes under the heading of preference is the type of grind. I'd prefer a flat ground edge since it performs a little better and is more robust. Hollow grinds are great slicers but they're quite susceptible to chipping. And since this is a stainless steel blade rather than a carbon steel one, it's not as tough as I'd like it to be especially since we're talking about "survival" here.

Based on this Cold Steel Leatherneck SF review, it looks like this knife has a lot more going for it rather than against it, not to mention that most of the “disadvantages” I’ve mentioned are more about my particular preferences. In conclusion, I'd say the Leatherneck SF is an all-around great choice for a survival knife, especially considering the very reasonable price for a knife that would perform so well in so many survival tasks.

View the Cold Steel Letherneck SF on Amazon!

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  • I have this knife in German D2, not the German Stainless. I absolutely love this knife and I can do almost any task with just this knife alone. I don’t like full flat grind because it will look like a steak knife, and honestly, after years of experience handling a vast collection of knives, there’s really nothing major about the differences of full, saber, or hollow grind. Edge retention, heat treatment, and steel is what really matters to me most, and of course the sharpness and angle thereof. This knife to me, is a Kabar on steroids. I can use this knife in any weather and not worry about getting the stacked leather handles or sheath wet. This knife can take almost any abuse and still hold an edge. I live in Canada and winter is coming up fast. I will test this knife in minus -40 degree Celcius weather since quite a few people think that D2 will not endure extremely cold temperatures. The Russians absolutely love the Leatherneck Tanto and there’s video of some hard usage in their weather and their knives seem to do fine. All in all, I highly recommend this knife, it is perfect for a variety of tasks and can still shave hair off your arm afterwards , it’s that sharp and durable!! I don’t care if the only reason that this knife is inexpensive because it’s made in Taiwan with imported Geman steel and therefore not U.S.A made. I live in Canada so I really don’t give a turd as long as I can get a great quality blade that is affordable by a reputable company. That’s what matters to me. I don’t buy knives just because they are made in the U.S. I buy them because they are great knives that will out perform U.S.made knives anyday and are definitely more affordable. I will be buying the Leatherneck Tanto very soon, also in German D2. I know I will not be dissapointed!!! Cold Steel is so awesomely affordable I can buy a few as stocking stuffers for Christmas this year. It’s companies like Cold Steel that I respect because they think of the people rather than how much they can milk out of you selling you a knife.

    Rice Villatoro on

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