Monday, May 10, 2010
Cold Steel Double Agent I
I recently felt the need to obtain a couple of small Cold Steel fixed blades. Maybe it was Lynn C. Thompson's propaganda hard at work, as I kicked back with the newest Cold Steel "Proof" dvd, in which LT and the gang subject Cold Steel's items to obscenely damaging torture tests and the knives come out without much damage at all. I got the newest Special Projects catalog, which came with an updated 2010 x2 dvd set of "Proof". It's extremely entertaining and lots of fun to watch. Regardless of how you feel about Thompson the Showman, I can't argue that Cold Steel is a modern factory knife innovator which tends to make really rugged stuff at pretty reasonable prices. As I paged through the newest catalog, I counted the number of in-production CS items I own...the number was higher than I thought! Turns out I own 27 Cold Steel items, not all knives of course, one of their Sjambok whips, throwers, and the Grivory plastic Nightshade knife series, in addition to various actual cold steel knives.
So, it's safe to say, I do like their products. They're not the prettiest, they don't always use the best materials, but ever since my first tanto voyager back when I was but 16 or 17, there's just something about a Cold Steel knife. I guess they're sorta like the Tonka truck of edged weapons. Usually fairly inexpensive, but tough as nails and very utilitarian.
Karambits have been the knife industry hot item in the last 2 or 3 years, and I own a few. If you care to page back through older posts here, you'll find a surprisingly positive review for United Cutlery's Undercover Karambit, which is dirt cheap and very decent. I think I reviewed it some time last year. When Cold Steel launched the Double Agent series, I liked them enough, but not enough to buy them. It wasn't until a friend came over with his recently ordered Double Agent I, plain blade, that I decided I needed the fully serrated version of that knife. The Double Agent series is extremely thin, and made out of a solid piece of AUS 8 stainless. the handle area is coated with some sort of zytel/grivory-esque thermoplastic, your typical glass-filled nylon. You've got about a 3 inch blade, with an overall length of just under 8 inches. That overall length creeps a bit over 8 inches in the sheath, which is pretty well designed, but a little tricky.
Double Agent Specs:
Blade Length: 3"
Overall Length: 7 7/8"
Steel: Japanese AUS 8A Stainless
Weight: 2.5 oz.
Handle: 4 7/8" Long w/ Grivory Grip
Sheath: Secure-Ex Neck Sheath
The sheath for this series of knives is made out of Cold Steel's proprietary Secure-Ex, which is basically thermoplastic that works much like real Kydex, and probably costs a heck of a lot less to make. The sheath is light and highly functional. You use your thumb to gently push a button to release the blade, and the concept works nicely. Now it's a little trickier to insert the blade back into its home quickly and smoothly. I noticed sometimes, due to the curved nature of the blade, the tip would catch inside the sheath, or upon insertion, the tip might hit the release button and snag, or I'd just feel like the sharp edge was grinding on certain spots until I wiggled the knife to get the sheath button to engage with the handle's front finger ring. Regardless, once you play with your Double Agent knife for a bit, you'll get used to it, and unless you've no brains in your head, it'll become clear how to easiest resheath and unsheath your knife. I wonder why they didn't just do a friction/tension fit sheath like many other fixed blades? Oh well, the sheath takes some practice to use quickly and smoothly, but other than that, it functions well.
I found that despite the length of the knife/sheath package, it is worn really easily around the neck. I'm surprised Cold Steel didn't fit it with a clip, as on their Safekeeper series. This piece is curved, but still might do fairly well as a boot knife. So far I've slung mine on the included black bead chain around my neck, in the front kangaroo pocket of a hooded sweatshirt, and in a side zippered pocket in my Eddie Bauer fleece jacket. It's nice that such ferocious cutting power in such an intimidating looking knife can be simply dropped into a pocket and feel so light. It didn't make the side of my jacket sag suspiciously, nor did it print clothing too obviously around my neck. The Double Agent series' lack of weight may just be its finest feature.
The handle is amazingly comfortable, for such a thin piece. The dual finger rings would make a disarm almost impossible. The knife is just as comfortable in standard and reverse grips, and the ring holes fit my enlarged knuckles just fine, as well as being comfortable to another buddy who is much smaller a person than myself.
These knives retail for about 45 bucks, USD, but I got mine on a good knife retail site for under $30, before shipping. The full-serrated edge I chose was sharper than HELL. Shaving straight out of the box, a stark contrast from my Safekeeper III, which needed a light touchup on its plain edge before I felt comfortable carrying it. All around, as a generalization, Cold Steel's knives are, IMO, the sharpest brand right out of the box, that's an aspect I've always really liked about Thompson's knives.
So, with the Double Agents, we've got a comfortable handle, light weight and an adaptable, if not tricky-at-first sheath system. That's all good! They even throw in a blackened ball chain for neck-carry. On mine, the usual wicked Cold Steel serrations are present, and cut as good as I've ever seen serrations cut, aided in part by the curved blade which pulls material into itself.
For under $30, I'm satisfied with my newest knife, and now I've gotta lay off the purchases for awhile, while I look for better employment to feed my steel addiction!
I really think that, much like Cold Steel's Safemaker and Safekeeper series, that all of the knives in the Double Agent series (they have a variant blade style as well) would make a great discreet carry self defense knife that would compliment many different martial arts styles, but especially Filipino martial arts. I have a few years of Korean and Filipino martial arts training, but I'm pretty sure that even a novice with simple, basic fighting skills would be able to make the most of these knives as a defense tool. Heck the karambit style like mine looks intimidating enough! I know I would walk away from somebody who pulled one out!
For those who might want something different Cold Steel offers these in a more traditional clip point as well, both plain edged or serrated:
See Cold Steel's Special Projects site for more info