Pat’s Product Reviews: Cold Steel Hold Out II

There’s a couple things I like about Lynn Thompson, over at Cold Steel knives. One is, and I’ve said this many times, is that I believe Cold Steel put the “sharp” in sharp knives. I’ve yet to run across a single Cold Steel knife that wasn’t scary sharp right out of the box. Lynn set the trend for super-sharp knives, and everyone else had to either jump on the band wagon or get run over. Second, I like that Thompson isn’t afraid to take classic knives and give them his own twist on things – and it always seems to be an improvement over the original in many ways.

Enter the Cold Steel Hold Out II.” What we have is an updated version of the ancient Black Knife or Skean Dhu (Gaelic) that the ancient Scottish warriors used as a back-up or utility knife, worn under a sleeve, tucked inside a jacket or slipped into the top of a stocking. The Cold Steel interpretation of the Skean Dhu has a 4″ blade made out of AUS 8A stainless steels – one of the better stainless steels in my humble opinion ’cause it’s fairly easy to re-sharpen and they hold an edge a good long time – a very good compromise in a stainless blade if you ask me – and it also keeps the blade affordable – something I always look for – value!

The Hold Hold II has an overall length of 9″ and only weighs 4.2 oz, however, it feels much lighter than that. The handle scales are textured G-10 laminate, some of the toughest stuff around for handle material on a knife. There is also a stainless steel pocket clip on the hand. The Hold Out II also incorporates the Tri-Ad lock – which looks like a lock-back type of lock, but don’t let looks fool you – it’s a super-stout lock that won’t fail you under some pretty harsh conditions. Can it fail? Sure, any folding blade knife, no matter what type of locking mechanism it uses can fail. However, I don’t think you’ll be the least bit disappointed in the Tri-Ad lock – it’s not gonna let you down when you need it the most.

The blade shape is dagger(esque) in shape – while it looks like a double-edge dagger, it’s not! The top edge has not been sharpened–a “false edge”. However, the Hold Out II will pierce with the best of ’em when thrusting into living tissue in a life and death scenario. Besides, there are a few states that don’t allow double-edge knives for some reason – the Hold Out II gets around these stupid laws.

I especially like the textured G-10 handle material – it almost hugs you back when gripped, and there’s not much chance of this baby slipping out of your hands under the most grueling circumstances.  There are also some “friction” grooves on the top (front) of the handle as well as on the top (back) of the blade for a sure grip. There is an ambidextrous thumb stud, so if you’re a southpaw, you’ll really appreciate this. And, this is my one very minor complaint with the Hold Out II – I’d like to see slightly larger thumb studs. Under stressful conditions, you might not get a good purchase on the thumb studs and miss opening the blade. Others who tried the sample I had didn’t have any complaints, and I’m probably nit-picking here – but its a subjective thing.

Blade thickness is 3.5mm – it’s stout – however, I wouldn’t use the blade for prying – and leave the Hold Out II to what it was really meant for – it’s a self-defense weapon – that can either be your primary weapon or your back-up, and I believe this is where the Hold Out II really shines – as a back-up weapon. Light chores can easily be handled, however, I’d leave the heavier work to a slightly thicker blade. In my estimation, the Hold Out II should be reserved for “hold out” purposes.

I did some light cutting chores around the kitchen and the sample I had worked perfectly. Now, you’d be surprised at how many knives (cheaper ones) can’t handle simple cutting chores in the kitchen. If they can’t hack it in the kitchen, they aren’t gonna do you much good in a self-defense situation. I also tested the penetrative power of the Hold Out II. Normally what I’ll do is thrust a blade into a pot roast to see how far they will easily penetrate. I did something a little different this time around. I held the Hold Out II by the handle, point down, about a foot and a half above the pot roast and dropped it into the meat – it penetrated completely to the handle – no problem. I can see this blade penetrating some light body armor – the concealable type if thrust hard enough.

I think this outstanding blade from Cold Steel is worthy of consideration for a back-up weapon, in that, it’s slim and light-weight. You can slip this folder inside your trouser’s waist-line and clip it behind your belt and no one would see it, except on very close examination, and it short order, you’ll forget you have this knife hid on your body – until you need it. It would work great if you were out jogging in your work out shorts or a pair of sweat pants – slip it inside the waistband and clip it – and you’re good to go.

I don’t want to get too wordy talking about the Hold Out II from Cold Steel – I was totally impressed with the sample I received – then again, I’ve never been let-down by any Cold Steel product in all the years I’ve been testing and using ’em. And, regular readers know, that I sincerely appreciate a value. I work hard for my money, and I like to think that I usually spend it wisely. Full retail on the Hold Out II is $104.95 – and you’re getting a great value, in a folder that won’t let you down when you need it most – in a life and death scenario.

I’ve got my Cold Steel Hold Out II – now go out there and get one for yourself, or as a gift for someone you love – they’ll think you spent a lot more money than you did, for such an outstanding folder. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio