Cold Steel Survival Edge Review

Posted by Leighton Taylor on


When talking about survival knives, many of us imagine a big, strong blade with a hefty handle that can withstand just about any abuse you can think of. Some of us even imagine a Rambo knife that's so huge, it could be a machete. But, of course, size is not what a survival knife is all about. At least, not JUST that. There are several other knife features that are essential to ensuring your survival. So today, we're going to take a look at Cold Steel's Survival Edge to talk about whether or not it has what it takes to be a true survival knife.


Let's start with the basics - the specs. The Survival Edge has an overall length of 9 1/4 inches and weighs 3 ounces. The bowie blade is 2.5 mm thick, measures 5 inches long, and is made of German 4116 Stainless Steel. The handle is made from Polypropylene with several rubber "O" rings and a double quillon guard to provide a secure grip.

The handle is hollow with a waterproof cap at the end, allowing the owner to store small survival aids within it such as cotton balls, bandaids, tinder, matches, hooks, and thread. Obviously, the Survival Edge is not a full tang knife. The knife comes with an ambidextrous Secure-Ex sheath and a ferro rod that has its own hidey-hole.

So, does this sound like a good survival knife? I would say yes, for the most part. The length is just about right - not too long, not too short. 

The rubber "O" rings give you the traction you need to secure the knife in your hand even when wet. The double quillon guard works great for protecting your hand AND has lashing slots so you can tie the knife to the end of a stick to create a spear.

As an added bonus, the Survival Edge is extremely light so you won't feel burdened carrying it around. In fact, I doubt you'd notice it was there on your hip until you needed it. Plus, the knife is so light that it actually floats on water so you won't have to worry about losing it if you're on a river excursion or something.

Since the handle is hollow and watertight, you can store enough gear in it to get you out of a pinch. If you somehow lost your backpack where all your stuff is, having a few extra supplies in your knife will definitely save the day.

BUT I do have some reservations based on the specs. Because this is a hollow handle knife, it definitely isn't a full tang blade which I believe is an essential feature of a true survival knife. Partial tang blades have a weak spot - the point where the blade and the handle are joined. If these two parts aren't properly joined, even the lightest of use can cause them to separate, leaving you without any knife at all.

I also don't like stainless steel as the material of my survival knife. Carbon steel, in my opinion, is the better material because it is generally stronger, easier to sharpen, and can be made razor sharp. Of course, stainless steel does have its benefit; it's more rust resistant.


One thing you can say about Cold Steel’s knives is that they are razor sharp right out of the box. But how does it hold up in the great outdoors? Well, it actually exceeded my expectations. Because the knife is very light and is not a full tang blade, I had some misgivings about using it in performing some heavy duty tasks such as batoning.

Even Cold Steel stated that it’s not made for batoning. Of course, since I want to see how well I would survive with just this knife, I just had to test it. And it did the job pretty well without breaking or falling apart.

As for chopping, I don’t think the knife performed well. When used on a thick rope or block of wood, there were some dents made but not as great as one would expect from a true survival knife.

Cutting rope also required quite a bit of effort. It did the job but it’s not as easy as you might expect it to be. All in all, if I were to be stuck in the wild with this knife, at least I would be able to perform heavy duty tasks decently (with a bit of effort on my part) without the knife falling apart.

What about light duty tasks? I’d say that this is where the knife excels. It’s very sharp and the handle gives you a very firm grip so you can easily do any fine detail work. You can easily dress game, carve wood, clean fish, and make fire.

To be honest, I don't think the Survival Edge is a true survival knife since there are a lot of other knives out there that perform way better. But, in a pinch, I'd say I'd get by pretty well should I find myself stranded somewhere with just this knife to help me survive. The fact that you can carry other small supplies inside the handle is definitely an added bonus.

Survival situations aside, Cold Steel's Survival Edge is the perfect tool to take with you if you're backpacking or hiking in the woods since weight is a concern. Plus, it’s a basic fixed blade that can be relied on to perform camp chores quite adequately.


While it’s not an ideal survival knife, the Survival Edge is a tool that is not to be taken lightly. It can perform both heavy duty and light duty tasks quite decently. It fits well in the hand and can be used to store additional survival supplies like hooks, needles, bandaids, etc. The best thing about this knife is that you can put it in your bug out bag or tool box and forget about it until you actually need it.

View the Cold Steel Survival Edge on Amazon (in black or orange). 

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