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Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
 Cold Steel Knives bought out by GSM Outdoors. 
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Not gun stuff, but if you are familiar, Cold Steel is a knife brand that is known for middle to upper end knives unapologetically marketed for self defense purposes.

https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/eve ... l.1762900/

It has been recently bought by a brand Called GSM outdoors. The likely speculation is that Cold Steel's knives are likely going to go down in quality or be less of a brand than it used to be.

If you have any desire to purchase those knives we recommend you do it now.


Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:27 am
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With the way most companies start to cut costs, pump margins, and otherwise pad the bottom line to make themselves look as attractive as possible in preparation for a sale, I would already expect a drop in quality for their current production. Maybe there’s new old stock to be had somewhere, but I’m not sure how you could tell before buying.

Thanks for the heads up.


Thu Dec 03, 2020 11:31 am
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How good are they now? The old Microsoft word font branding always made me think they are a waste of money

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Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:53 pm
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bubblewhip wrote:
Not gun stuff, but if you are familiar, Cold Steel is a knife brand that is known for middle to upper end knives unapologetically marketed for self defense purposes.

https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/eve ... l.1762900/

It has been recently bought by a brand Called GSM outdoors. The likely speculation is that Cold Steel's knives are likely going to go down in quality or be less of a brand than it used to be.

If you have any desire to purchase those knives we recommend you do it now.

Mediumrarechicken wrote:
How good are they now? The old Microsoft word font branding always made me think they are a waste of money


Quality already went to shit when they stopped using Seki Japan steel.

Buying any "new" stuff, even prior to the takeover, merger, whatever, you are already sacrificing quality. If you really want a Cold Steel you can be proud of, find some older NOS. It will most likely cost you a premium.

I HAD a nice san mai "seki" magnum tanto that, to this day, I have nightmares about selling.

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Thu Dec 03, 2020 4:03 pm
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Most of their stuff was made in Taiwan for a while now. I have an old Recon Tanto that was US made, that was the last knife I ever bought from them. Most people in the Knife community refer to them as Cold Steal because they have a habit of just copying other people's designs and making them overseas. There is a widely whispered story that they bought a Green River belt knife from Grohman and flat out copied it for their "Canadian belt knife" and then sent it back to Grohman for a refund after their R&D thieves were done with it.


Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:36 pm
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Ace wrote:
Most of their stuff was made in Taiwan for a while now. I have an old Recon Tanto that was US made, that was the last knife I ever bought from them. Most people in the Knife community refer to them as Cold Steal because they have a habit of just copying other people's designs and making them overseas. There is a widely whispered story that they bought a Green River belt knife from Grohman and flat out copied it for their "Canadian belt knife" and then sent it back to Grohman for a refund after their R&D thieves were done with it.


That's true for a bit of it. Their history and relationship with the knife community is a bit complex. Somewhere in the early years they kept just making cheap versions of established designs like the Khukri, various swords, and selling them as the only tough and reliable knife in the whole field. This both irritated the knife community which I guess you can say more or less is "cultural appropriation" before its time, and some HEMA people since some would say their swords are not authentic and of quality to be used for real sport. Their marketing also seemed pretty tasteless and a lot didn't see it as a good look for knife enthusiast.

Somewhere they hired Andrew Dempko and their Triad lock started gaining massive respect in the knife community as without a doubt the strongest folding knife design in the market today. Although criticized for their mid grade AUS-8 steel and arguable performance of VG1 San Mai 3. Looks like they transitioned to using American CPM S35V in their higher end knives.


Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:54 pm
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I wonder how much Lynn got for the company?? He lives two doors down from my friend in Ventura CA. My buddy used to get free swag and knives from him all the time.

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Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:24 pm
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I bought some Cold Steel edged items in 1996, it is great stuff. If they are no longer good, who do I buy from now?

The only complaint I had with cold steel back in 1996 was their Spetnaz shovels, they are awesome, EXCEPT for the wood handles, they are not hickory like what is used for quality axes or hatchets, and thus they snap if you use the shovel too hard. The shovel is otherwise awesome.


Thu Dec 03, 2020 10:12 pm
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Tod wrote:
I bought some Cold Steel edged items in 1996, it is great stuff. If they are no longer good, who do I buy from now?

The only complaint I had with cold steel back in 1996 was their Spetnaz shovels, they are awesome, EXCEPT for the wood handles, they are not hickory like what is used for quality axes or hatchets, and thus they snap if you use the shovel too hard. The shovel is otherwise awesome.


Kabar, Ontario, Esee, some SOG for fixed blade brands. Gerber's non-chinese lines like the LMF are satisfactory. Of those bunch ESEE is probably top of the line in terms of balanced price and performance.

Folders, Spyderco, Kershaw, some of CRKT are fine.

These are arguably better than Cold Steel anyways, by no means we were saying Cold Steel was the best but they were a character in the industry and we can all agree that they will be missed for all their eccentricities.


Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:27 pm
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bubblewhip wrote:
Ace wrote:
Most of their stuff was made in Taiwan for a while now. I have an old Recon Tanto that was US made, that was the last knife I ever bought from them. Most people in the Knife community refer to them as Cold Steal because they have a habit of just copying other people's designs and making them overseas. There is a widely whispered story that they bought a Green River belt knife from Grohman and flat out copied it for their "Canadian belt knife" and then sent it back to Grohman for a refund after their R&D thieves were done with it.


That's true for a bit of it. Their history and relationship with the knife community is a bit complex. Somewhere in the early years they kept just making cheap versions of established designs like the Khukri, various swords, and selling them as the only tough and reliable knife in the whole field. This both irritated the knife community which I guess you can say more or less is "cultural appropriation" before its time, and some HEMA people since some would say their swords are not authentic and of quality to be used for real sport. Their marketing also seemed pretty tasteless and a lot didn't see it as a good look for knife enthusiast.

Somewhere they hired Andrew Dempko and their Triad lock started gaining massive respect in the knife community as without a doubt the strongest folding knife design in the market today. Although criticized for their mid grade AUS-8 steel and arguable performance of VG1 San Mai 3. Looks like they transitioned to using American CPM S35V in their higher end knives.


Nope it's a regular theme with these guys, The OSS was a straight up copy of the the Bob loveless fighter, the Halo is a Randal no1. Hell they even released a tawainese made Kabar look alike called the Marine Fighter and their MSRP was more than what a real Kabar went for. There are few things original from them, but I will give them credit for introducing high end Japanese style fighting knives to the American public and making them in non traditional paterns. I need to point out that what they do is perfectly legal, Knife patterns can be slightly altered and not infringe on any copyright or patent which is what Cold Steel does, it's just wrong, and frankly I have not been impressed with the quality of their knives for some time, you can get better U.S. made knives for the same or less money and really good U.S. made knives for a little more.


Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:00 pm
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Ace wrote:
Nope it's a regular theme with these guys, The OSS was a straight up copy of the the Bob loveless fighter, the Halo is a Randal no1. Hell they even released a tawainese made Kabar look alike called the Marine Fighter and their MSRP was more than what a real Kabar went for. There are few things original from them, but I will give them credit for introducing high end Japanese style fighting knives to the American public and making them in non traditional paterns. I need to point out that what they do is perfectly legal, Knife patterns can be slightly altered and not infringe on any copyright or patent which is what Cold Steel does, it's just wrong, and frankly I have not been impressed with the quality of their knives for some time, you can get better U.S. made knives for the same or less money and really good U.S. made knives for a little more.


This gets into a weird territory with "appropriateness" of copying designs of knives since the design is kind of half art and half practical purpose.

I don't think people are too incensed that Cold Steel made a $100 version of a $10,000 knife. But people can make arguments that they should have asked permission or made some acknowledgements of the original design. Making cheaper versions of hugely expensive knives not in the same galaxy of price point is not seen as super inappropriate so long as you aren't passing it off as a counterfiet, but people still have an issue with appropriating the designs regardless of its nature without the originators permission.

This seems to be an issue mostly unique to the knife community (and wrist watches).

No one in the gun community seems to demand that Winchester, or Thompson center ask Ruger for permission to make 10/22 clones. Or that RIA and Wilson Combat be shouldn't be able to make 1911s when the originator Colt still exists selling 1911s with their history. Hell, no one seems to acknowledge or credit the original design of these guns, and sometimes when they do we give them hell because we think they are appropriating the name and misleading customers (Springfield Armory). It would be ridiculous today to say that Colt and Armalite have some artistic ownership of the AR-15 and that producers like the Rock River and DPMS should have no business appropriating the design and passing off cheap copies of the original.

The closest argument we have on it in guns is the Q Fix rifle vs the Sig Cross, but the vast majority of the gun community has a "deal with it" attitude to that to Q.

The argument people make against Cold Steel doesn't hold up to scrutiny if you don't bat an eye of this happening with guns as the norm.

As far as quality, they are generally middle of the pack, but its generally agreed there isn't a folding lock mechanism in the industry that beats the tri-ad lock for strength and lock up from any other manufacturer.


Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:17 pm
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The difference with those gun designs is that the Patent ran out for the 10\22. Same thing for the 1911 and the AR15. Cold Steel will straight up take that design and run with it like they did with the Canadian Belt knife. Like I said what Cold Steel does is perfectly legal and they are free to do so, but I am not going to reward them for it. Cold Steel was one of those companies I was a fan of in my formative years, once I learned what they do as a company and that there are better options I gravitated to other brands. The only reason they caught my attention in the first place was because they were the loudest barking dog in the room, now I look for quieter, sturdier breeds.


Sat Dec 05, 2020 3:57 pm
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I put an 8" Cold Steel tanto in the latest book. It's a wicked blade.

While I was active in kendo I lusted after a CS katana. I knew the iaido guys liked the CS as it was right where a decent functional sword started, expense-wise. They were the Glock 19 of that world, at least from what I saw.

Maybe I should have jumped on one since a big conglomerate is probably not going to carry those fringe designs; they're going to focus on the blades they can pack into every Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse from here to Bangor, ME.

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Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:05 pm
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