Looking for a rock-solid, big blade folder? Cold Steel's Recon 1 fits the bill. It has a 4" AUS 8A cryogenically quenched stainless-steel blade, a handle made of G-10 reinforced with stainless steel liners, and sports a unique "Tri-Ad Lock" mechanism.
First picking up the Recon 1, I felt its considerable weight (5.3 oz) which is indicative of its overall quality construction. The thumb stud was easy to manipulate, the blade opened very smoothly, Cold Steel's Tri-Ad Lock cleanly snapped into place, and the handle fit very comfortably in the hand. There was no blade play whatsoever either vertically or horizontally. The blade's black teflon finish was done very well with no missed spots or smears. The edge was extremely sharp out of the box, be careful!
The handle on the Recon 1 is very ergonomic. The G10 grip is excellent and the angle of the handle along with the deep finger grooves provides you with a strong iron grip in either forward or reverse grip. Both the thumb stud and the clip are reversible making it usable by either left handed or right handed users. The clip retains the knife well in the pocket and the knife rides lower than previous versions of the Recon 1. The blade can be deployed swiftly with the use of the thumb stud. While it may not be as swift as some of the assisted blades on the market, a decent handler can deploy it quickly and smoothly.
G-10 is one of my favorite knife scales since when you grip it, it grips back! Because it has a very high coefficient of friction it feels great to hold and is very secure. The use of G-10 combined with good grip geometry make the knife easily handled in slippery conditions.
The clip is thick, tight, and small - it goes unnoticed by the hand while cutting. It is attached by three smaller torx bolts, and can be switched to the other side of the knife. The Recon 1 allows for tip-up carry only (tip of knife faces up when clipped into your pocket). There is some concern that in tip-up carry, a knife can open in your pocket, but because of the Tri-Ad Lock in the Recon 1 (discussed below), this is highly unlikely. The clip as it arrives from the factory is quite tight, keeping the knife very secure. The positioning of the clip means that about of an inch of the handle stays out of the pocket. Though this makes the knife easier to take out, it also tells the world that you're carrying a large knife - this may not go over so well in politically correct or high security environments. The knife also has a lanyard hole large enough to accommodate paracord; this proved very useful in the field.
The Recon 1 is deployed with a single thumb stud. The thumb stud is easily reversed with a screw driver, but if I had a choice I’d rather see it be ambidextrous out of the box. Due to the powerful backspring on the lock of this knife (a modified back lock) it will be difficult to flick this knife out rapidly. However, it does deploy smoothly, thanks in part to phosphor bronze washers.
The Recon 1 uses what Cold Steel calls the Tri-Lock mechanism which is a completely ambidextrous lock alleged to be able to withstand up to 200 lbs of closing pressure. At first glance this looks like nothing more than a typical lock-back. The difference is the addition of a stop pin that will absorb much of the shock of hard use instead of the blade where it engages the lock and the lock bar itself. These are the last two parts you want taking the wear and tear. At first, I was skeptical of Cold Steel's claims, but quickly learned to like the Tri-Ad Lock for a few reasons:
- It locks up like a vault, without a hint of blade play either vertically or horizontally. It is unlikely to accidently disengage (as can happen with a liner lock or frame lock) because of its positioning.
- It appears very strong; for it to fail, either the locking pin, or the pin that the blade rotates on would actually have to shear. Considering that they are solid steel, that would require a tremendous amount of force (especially as compared to the amount of force necessary for a liner lock to simply bend).
- Finally, it's easy to use. The last comment I have on this lock is that it provides resistance to the initial opening of the blade - this keeps the knife securely closed while riding in your pocket.
All in all, this is a great knife! I don't have any doubt as to the Recon 1's workmanship or quality aside from the blade finish; it can definitely take a beating. This robustness comes at the cost of weight, which makes it more of a blade for camp use than for every day carry. It's very easy to use, smooth to operate, secure and comfortable, and both takes and holds a very sharp edge. To put it simply, I'd recommend this knife to a friend.
To buy or get more information on the Cold Steel Recon 1 with Clip Point 4" Plain Blade and G10 Handles, click the link below.
Cold Steel Recon 1 Clip Point 4" Plain Blade, G10 Handles
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