The name Wes Crawford, and his company, are synonymous with high-end knives that are made of the best materials with the features that its target audience wants most. Of course, this lineup comes at a premium and puts them out of reach for a good chunk of the common EDC market. Cold Steel, on the other hand, has made a name for itself by offering a variety of well-built blades for a price that nearly anybody can afford. Well, the two happen to be friends and earlier in 2021 they released their first collaboration: the Cold Steel Crawford Model 1.
Now, don’t call this a knockoff because it certainly is not an $8 “gun show” special made to cut bait once and throw overboard (only to land on a pile of AR-15s, no doubt). The Crawford Model 1 is built from 4034 Japanese stainless steel and features a flipper that is part of the blade, eliminating that little post that often snaps off, or that finger hole that always gets caught on something in your pocket. The flipper has some deep jimping that acts like a hand-stop, which complements the shark-fin-like portion found at the top of the blade that is also textured to help provide a secure purchase. Aside from keeping the forward portion of your hand where it belongs during deployment, the three finger grooves on the handle seal the deal and are built with ample allowance for all hand sizes.
Adornments include uniquely textured rubber inlays that keep things cozy for long work sessions, as well as a belt clip that allows it to be carried point-down. Just below the belt clip is a special safety latch that can be slit towards the blade, further reducing the chance of it closing on you if you were to stab something that needed a little stabbing. Of course, the passively activated leaf-spring lock is going to work just fine on its own, but if time allows, it never hurts to have the confidence of a fixed blade when things get rough.
My field test included the usual protocol but I will admit it was delayed for a bit as I couldn’t stop flipping the damn thing open! Forget fidget spinners, this is way more fun and twice as exciting if it gets away from you! I found hitting the flipper while flicking your wrist opened it with 100% reliability but a good-deliberate rotation of the flipping lever also did the trick. This is important to check, because if you are ever in a situation where your mobility is limited, you want to be sure that you can get your blade functional in a split second.
I moved on to cutting and slashing and found classic functionality from the familiar drop-point design. The knife cut through a variety of everyday items and let me keep my hand exactly where I needed it. After my test I observed the blade for any sort of glinting or rolling and as expected it held up just fine, as did the handle and other supporting hardware.
I absolutely love when two great companies get together and build something that is intended to do nothing more than widen the availability of quality kit. With a name like “Model 1” I would hope that these collaborations continue and that we start to see more knives like this start to show up on dealers’ shelves. With a price tag of only $49.99, it won’t be hard to buy the entire collection. Boys and girls, sharpening just became optional. For more information visit coldsteel.com.
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