Pat’s Product Review – Cold Steel’s Espada

I like big knives, especially for camping and survival purposes. They can handle most chores with ease, whereas, smaller knives usually require more work. The Cold Steel Espada line-up for folding knives are awesome, to say the least. While they are made in Taiwan, you get as good as you want from that country. We live in a global economy, and we’d all better get used to products from other countries.

We’re taking a close look at the G10 Espada, large size folder. They also have a medium and an extra-large, as well as the polished G10 series. However, I’m only covering the G10 “economy” model, which is not quite the right term for this massive folder. Where the G10 polished series is a little bit higher in price, the handles are polished, and the bolsters are also polished, the G10 Espadas have a simple, checkered G10 handle scales with no bolsters and partial stainless steel liner, but still 90% of the strength of the polished G10 model.

The large G10 Espada has a 5 1/2-inch blade, made out of AUS 8 stainless steel– one of my all-time favorite steels because it holds an edge a good long time, and it’s fairly easy to touch-up the edge. Plus, we have the added advantage of the steel being a stainless steel. Keep in mind, no steel is really “stainless”. It just means that it stains less; you still have to care for it or it can rust. The 5 1/2-inch blade is 4mm thick. With the blade open, it is 12 1/4 inches long. Oh yeah! This is a handful of a folding knife. However, the knife only weighs in at 8.2 ounces. I’ve had smaller folders to test that weighed more.

The large G10 Espada has a large bowie-style clip blade, and it is meant for serious cutting, too. With the belly of the blade, you can cut, slice, dice, and slash through just about anything. As I’ve mentioned before, many knife fights involved slashing moves. However, with the long 5 1/2-inch blade, you can stab and stab deeply. The Espada gets its name and design origins from Spain. Cold Steel’s owner, Lynn Thompson, is a very serious student of history and cutlery. For my two cents worth, he got the Espada right. It just looks like something from Spanish cutlery.

The Espada has the Tri-Ad Lock, and this is one of the strongest, if not the strongest lock I’ve encountered on any folding knife. To prove how strong the Tri-Ad Lock is, be sure to check out the video on the Cold Steel website. You’ll be amazed at the demonstrated strength of the lock. Thompson puts his products through some serious testing, to be sure. While the Tri-Ad Lock “appears” to be nothing more than a simply lock-back lock, it is NOT!

The checkered and nicely configured handle scales have been designed to put your fingers on the handle, where they belong in a fencing grip. I also like the gracefully curved butt end of the handle scales. You get two pocket clips– one for right pocket carry and one for left pocket carry. They are on the butt end for a tip-up blade carry. The curved handle sticks out of the pocket, so it is easy to grasp in order to draw the knife, which is easy. There is a “disc” on the top rear of the blade. As you draw the knife from your pocket, if you apply a little pressure to the side of your pocket as you pull the knife out of your pocket, the disc will catch on the top of your pocket, and as the knife comes out, the blade will “automatically” open and be fully opened when it comes completely out of your pocket. It’s faster than any “automatic” folder. It only takes a few minutes of practice to learn how to deploy the knife, with the blade open, as it comes out of your pocket.

One of the methods I use for testing a knife blade is chopping down blackberry vines. They are extremely tough, and many knife blades simply don’t have what it takes. The large Espada sample I had didn’t take much effort at all to slice a blackberry vine in two. A light swing of the blade and the vine was easily sliced in half.

For survival purposes, the large or extra large Espada can replace a fixed blade knife. You can chop with the large Espada, and it chops quite well. No, you can’t chop down a tree with one, but it can chop all out of proportion to what any folding knife should be able to do in the chopping department. I also used the knife around the kitchen. I do a lot of the cooking in our house, simply because I’m a very good cook and find it relaxing. Meat, frozen or thawed, was no patch for the large Espada. Veggies and fruits were no challenge at all; the knife just zipped through it all.

Now, I honestly thought that the large Espada was gong to be too big for my pockets. However, I wear one brand of cargo pants and one brand only, and they have extremely DEEP pockets. Once the Espada was put in the pocket, I didn’t notice the knife in my pocket at all, not even when seated. My friend, Lynn Thompson, at Cold Steel, carries two of the polished extra-large Espada, one in each pocket.

The Espada reminds me of the original Crocodile Dundee movies, where a mugger is attempting to rob Dundee and pulls out an automatic folder. Dundee reaches behind his back, pulls out a huge fixed-blade Bowie knife, and tells that mugger, “That’s not a knife (referring to the mugger’s knife), now, this is a knife”. I’m sure the mugger peed his pants. Well, the Espada reminds me of just such a knife. You’d better believe that if someone pulled out the large or extra large Espada and threatened me with it, I’d sure remember an appointment I had across town and get there, in a hurry. The Espada is not for the faint of heart. It’s an awe inspiring folder, and when you pull it out of your pocket, anyone standing nearby, will wonder where you had that big folder hidden.

I’m sure the large and extra large Espada won’t be legal for pocket carry in a lot of jurisdictions, so please check your local and state laws before carrying this folder. Like all Cold Steel knives, the Espada is always in demand, and they might be a little hard to find, but they are well worth it. Full retail on the large G10 model is $167.99; it’s worth every red cent of it, too. If you’re in the market for a folder than can act as a fixed blade knife and a new knife for your survival gear or BOB, take a close look at the large or extra large Espada. I think you are going to be quite impressed. The knife is awesome, to say the least. Some folks have just described it as “scary”, and I can’t argue with them on it. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat CascioPat Cascio

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