Cold steel has been one of the leaders in the knife industry producing all manner of cutlery ranging from affordable to extravagantly high-end. The all time favorite is the Cold Steel SRK—Survival Rescue Knife. It features a simple clip point design and class leading strength which quickly made the SRK one of the most sought after survival knives of all time. I own and have heavily used one of the original Carbon V steel SRK knives. Unfortunately the old famed Carbon V steel has been discontinued however the new AUS8 SRK version provides similar performance with a few upgrades over my old version.
By Major Pandemic
Fit, Feel, & Features
Like all Cold Steel knives the SRK delivers outstanding fit and finish from the handle to the blade to the Kydex sheath. The perfect weight, handy size, and balance of the useful clip point SRK blade are the features which have made the SRK so popular over the years. On the update of the SRK, Cold Steel updated the handle grip and slightly changed the overall dimensions of the knife over the original to provide a little extra room in the finger choil area in front of the handle finger guard. The old SRK was epoxy coated, the new version has a much more durable Teflon coating to protect the upgraded AUS8 blade from the elements.
Cold Steel hit the mark perfectly with the SRK design however the old cardboard/nylon sheath left something to be desired. The new SRK features a Kydex which provides tremendous flexibility for carry and assures secure and safe retention. The sheath has a design I prefer which has plenty of holes along the edges for securing other items or lashing to a pack. Those same holes can be used to attach and secure the sheath via Tek-Locs or other Chicago Screw attached carry systems such as the included belt loop. The nylon belt loop provides for easy belt attachment and removal without removing your belt which is another nice feature. The great utility of the SRK knife itself with the sheath system make this not only a great knife to use, but an easy knife to carry as well.
I actually am a big fan of AUS8 steel, it holds and takes a very sharp edge and does not require a diamond hone to do maintain like the hard crucible steels. The Carbon V steel is a bit easier to resharpen, however the AUS8 do not have a rust issues like the Carbon V. In a time when there are so many funky knife blade designs, this no nonsense steel and versatile clip blade shape works well for a variety of tasks and can take a beating.
Need more justification for the SRK – the Cold Steel SRK is actually the standard issues knife for SEAL BUDS training. My old SRK was my first real high quality sheath knife. Sure I owned others however Cold Steel’s famous razor sharp edge and edge holding made it perform unlike any other knife I had owned back them.
My testing including a number of camp and bush craft type chores which my old SRK has seen and performed perfectly time and time again. Some of the sap and other goo that ends up on the blade used to cause some rust. The new SRK’s stainless AUS8 Steel seemed to be significantly less sensitive to neglect. Today I am happy to see that the SRK lives on in this new and improved version that is better than the original and still remains one of the best Survival Knife buys on the market.
Where does Cold Steel’s SRK rank on your top survival knife list? Share your answer in the comment section.
Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. www.MajorPandemic.com