Cold Steel Inc. is a company that was founded in 1980 and since then they have been producing some of the highest quality knives around known for their use in and out of combat. Cold Steel’s OSS is a testament to that tried and true spirit they represent. In this Cold Steel OSS review, we will go through each aspect of this knife, detailing all of the good points and even looking into the bad if we can find any.
The OSS is a modern fighting knife with a sub-hilt handle that offers reliability and control. Not All of their knives are made with this sub-hilt handle and that makes the OSS unique. Overall this knife looks sleek and durable so let’s get into some of the details.
Knife Dimensions and Design
This knife has an overall length of 12.75 inches which gives it the reach and length needed to connect with your target on sweeping and stabbing blows. At this length, it’s also able to penetrate multiple layers of material such as leather or armor to ensure a wound even when your opponent is protected. The length of the OSS allows the leverage needed to support strong attacks.
Making up most of the overall length of 12.75 inches is the blade’s length of 8.25 inches. The blade length is the aspect of this knife that makes it ideal as a fighting knife for its reach and penetration ability. With a blade thickness of 4.7 millimeters, which is .188 inches, you can rest assured this knife will not break during a combat situation. This knife has 3/4 tang meaning the metal attached to the blade runs 3/4 of the way to the end of the handle. We feel 3/4 tang was the right decision for this knife because its very strong where it needs to be.
The OSS is forged with Japanese Aus 8A Stainless Steel. While this type of steel is not the highest-end steel it still is very good quality because it is easy to sharpen to a razors edge and is very strong. Aus 8a Stainless steel does not hold an edge like some of the higher-end steels but this is countered by its ability to be resharpened very easily and will stay very sharp for a good amount of time. It is rust-resistant steel and is cheaper than high-end steel while not lacking quality.
Another great aspect of this knife is the fact that it’s very light at 9 ounces. This is a huge advantage when looking at this knife as a combat knife. We found a review that actually faulted the knife for its lightweight. The fact that this knife is light is great because it can be wielded quickly and accurately with deadly force. Another benefit of the light weight is that when carrying it on a long trip along with your gear the weight of the knife will not be as noticeable as a heavier knife would.
One of the drawbacks of the knife being light is the tip of the knife. The point/tip of the knife is very fine and it can be broken off when using it to pry or open things. The design of the knife makes its use primarily for fighting and combat, not so much for tasks such as batoning and prying. Even with these things taken into account this knife still performs with some of the best combat knives.
Handle and Grip
Moving onto the handle and sub-hilt of the OSS it’s made out of one piece molded Kraton. The sub-hilt on the handle is what makes this fighting knife unique. A sub hilt is an outcropping of the knife handle that allows it to be held between two fingers while the rest of the handle supports the other fingers. This sub-hilt allows an excellent grip that is hard to lose along with the rest of the textured handle. There’s also a small hole for tethering in the butt of the handle and a guard at the top to ensure your hand stays on the handle and not the blade.
San Mai III Version
During our Cold Steel OSS review, we did notice one thing while looking up places to get this knife. There are two types of metals you can buy this knife with. One is the Japanese Aus 8A Stainless Steel model and the other is the San Mai III version. While there is not much of a difference in the overall design of the knife we wanted to make a special note of this because this steel significantly increases the durability of the knife and the tip-breaking issue is virtually resolved. We have included this version for purchase below.
Another great feature of the OSS is the sheath that it comes with. Cold Steel has included their Secure-Ex® Sheath for this knife and it’s a great sheath for the money. It comes packed with places and ways to attach and carry the knife while not giving away strength or durability in the sheath. It also is very good at holding and protecting the knife and does not add much weight to the knife for those needing to carry it long distances.
Overall Great Value
Overall the OSS is one of the best combat knives you can purchase especially at its price of around 60 dollars and the San Mai III version around 120 dollars (which is a great price for a knife this good with this steel). The weight of the knife is also great because when making long-distance travels it’s hard to feel a difference when it’s there and when it’s not. The OSS is a great choice for a fighting or combat knife and is one that any soldier should feel comfortable carrying into the field.
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