KA-BAR VS Cold Steel: Comparing Vintage Steel With Modern Design



When it comes to selecting the perfect knife for outdoor adventures, survival situations, or everyday utility, two brands have consistently captured the attention of knife enthusiasts: KA-BAR and Cold Steel. These renowned companies have carved their places in the history of blade craftsmanship, each with its unique strengths and loyal following.

This comprehensive article delves into the realms of KA-BAR and Cold Steel, examining their respective backgrounds, design philosophies, and specifications. We explore the iconic offerings from KA-BAR, such as the Cro-Van steel Jarosz Turok and the time-tested Folding Hunter Knife, and evaluate the craftsmanship of Cold Steel’s standout models, including the Finn Wolf and the innovative Secret Edge.

By presenting a detailed breakdown of these knives’ features, materials, and purposes, we aim to assist you in making an informed decision. Whether you prioritize tradition, reliability, or cutting-edge design, this article will guide you toward selecting the right knife for your needs.


They are comparing Vintage Steel Knives With Modern Design. Vintage knives are both functional and elegant. But which is the better maker? Here is the ultimate KA-BAR VS Cold Steel face-off!

KA-BAR is a classic American knife manufacturer.  We’ve written about them several times, and they are some of our favorite fixed-blade knives (see a complete breakdown of them here).

KA-BAR has many designs, with their most popular models frequently used by servicemen and women in the United States Military and other branches of local law enforcement. On the other hand, Cold Steel has a less storied history and matches up well against the veteran KA-BAR offering similar fixed and folding blades that radiate craftsmanship.

KA-BAR may have the edge over several manufacturers, but Cold Steel has a strong brand following, and many people trust their knives for EDC and outdoor tasks.

1. About KA-BAR


We’ve talked about KA-BAR in several different articles.  You can see some of their history both here and here.  They are a stalwart as a US Knife Manufacturer and have been making knives for well over a century.

Few knife makers in today’s marketplace boast both the history and longevity that KA-BAR does.

2. KA-BAR Specifications

KA-BAR has a wide selection of different knives, and here are some of our favorites:

Jarosz Turok: The Jarosz Turok is made from Cro-Van steel and has an overall length of 11.5”. The blade length is 6.25”

TDI Hinderer Hellfire: The TDI/Hinderer Hell Fire is an impressive knife co-designed by a seasoned police lieutenant. This fixed-blade knife is 7.25” in overall length with a blade of 3.56”. It is manufactured from 1095 Cro-Van steel.

Neck Knife: The  KA-BAR Neck Knife comes with a skeleton handle designed to wear around the neck. It is made from Cro-Van steel and has a blade length 3.87.”

Folding Hunter Knife: The Folding Hunter Knife is a lightweight product with a popular design. It is 8.87” in length with a blade of 3.87”. This knife is made from stainless steel.

EK/Jarosz Boot Knife: The EK/Jarosz Boot knife is made for carrying in your boot and is manufactured with a 4.25” blade. Made from S35VN steel, this is a sturdy yet lightweight knife with a double-edged blade.

Dozier Folding Spear: The Dozier Folding Spear is an excellent choice, as it weighs just 0.14 lb. and has a blade length of 3”. Made from stainless steel, this is a sturdy knife but is also easy to carry around.  The spear point blade can be attached to a long stick or branch to manufacture a rudimentary spear.

3. About Cold Steel

cold steel knife

Cold Steel is a newer manufacturer when you compare them to KA-BAR.  That said, they still have produced some very reliable, sturdy products.

Cold Steel started in 1980 and has built up a solid reputation with outdoor enthusiasts, survivalists, and regular Joes during that timeframe.

4. Cold Steel Specification

Some of our top picks from Cold Steel include:

The Finn Wolf: The Finn Wolf is fitted with a Tri-Ad lock for additional safety. It has a Japanese AUS 8A stainless steel blade, which is 3.5” in length. It weighs in at 3.4 oz. with a thickness of 3mm. You can also opt for one of the Broken Skull folding knife series, designed in collaboration with Steve Austin.

The Secret Edge: The innovative Secret Edge is a fixed-blade knife that’s known for its superior power when it comes to cutting. Made from stainless steel, the blade length is 3.5,” and the overall length is 6.5”

Micro Recon 1 Spear Point: If you are looking for a smaller knife that’s a folder with a spear point blade, then look no further.  The handle is made of G-10, and the small blade is only 2 inches long.  Power comes in small packages, though, and this knife can be affixed to a long stick or branch to serve as the end of a spear in a pinch.

Machetes: Cold Steel has several machetes.  One of their top models is the Black Bear Bowie Machete. The Black Bear Bowie Machete is made from 1055 carbon steel. It has a blade length of 12” and an overall length of 17.75”

Trench Hawk Axe: Cold Steel isn’t just a knife company.  They manufacture different cutting tools and dip into the survival niche with their tactical tomahawks.  While they didn’t crack our top list, our editorial staff viewed the Trench Hawk Axe very highly.

5. Choosing the Right One

When deciding whether to go for KA-BAR VS Cold Steel, you must consider various factors. KA-BAR has far more experience in this industry compared to Cold Steel, which is a relatively young manufacturer in comparison.

However, both KA-BAR VS Cold Steel has good product choice and offer high-quality knives for different purposes. Cold Steel offers the most competitive pricing, but its range of knives is not quite as extensive as KA-BAR.

Overall, it’s hard to make a wrong pick with either manufacturer.  KA-Bar tends to be a little more expensive as most of its products are in the United States.  Cold Steel may have something more in your price range if budget is an issue.


In conclusion, the KA-BAR VS Cold Steel face-off has shed light on the strengths and offerings of these two renowned knife manufacturers. While KA-BAR boasts a rich history and extensive experience in the industry, Cold Steel has quickly established itself as a reliable and innovative brand. Both companies have demonstrated their commitment to producing high-quality knives for various purposes, whether outdoor adventures, survival situations, or everyday utility.

KA-BAR’s collection of knives, such as the Jarosz Turok and the Folding Hunter Knife, showcases their dedication to craftsmanship and durability. On the other hand, Cold Steel has impressed with models like the Finn Wolf and the Secret Edge, highlighting their cutting-edge design and functionality.

Choosing between KA-BAR and Cold Steel ultimately comes down to personal preferences and specific needs. KA-BAR’s extensive history and longevity provide a sense of trust and reliability, but Cold Steel offers competitive pricing and a range of options that may fit different budgets.

Regardless of the brand you choose, both KA-BAR and Cold Steel have solid reputations within the knife community, and their offerings are sure to meet the demands of outdoor enthusiasts, survivalists, and everyday users alike. Whether you value tradition, innovation, or a combination, both manufacturers offer exceptional knives that will serve you well in various situations.

In the end, the ultimate decision rests in your hands. Consider your requirements, weigh the pros and cons, and choose the knife that best suits your needs and preferences. With either KA-BAR or Cold Steel, you can be confident in owning a quality blade that will accompany you on your adventures for years to come.

The Out sider

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