I can’t remember a time when I didn’t carry some kind of folding knife in my pocket – and I’m now eligible to collect social security benefits. I do know that back when I was a kid, there weren’t any lock-back folding knives that I ever recall seeing. I carried a folder for everyday chores, as well as self-defense. And, more importantly, at least when I was around 6-10 years old, I had a folding knife for whittling – a long lost pastime that was sure a lot of fun when I was a kid. A person could spend all day long, just whittling on a tree branch and making a little pile of wood shavings in front of them. Believe it or not, it was fun for a kid – today’s youth have missed out on that wonderful pastime – all they know are video games.
These days, I rarely, and I mean rarely carry a folding knife that doesn’t have some kind of blade locking mechanism, and for good reason, a folding knife that locks the blade open is just a lot safer than one that doesn’t lock the blade. And, if you carry a knife for self-defense, a locking folder is a must in my humble opinion. Also, if a knife – any knife – doesn’t feel good in my hand,then I’m not interested in it.
Consider the Cold Steel Talwar folder. There are four different Talwar variant models. I received their 4-inch plain edge model for testing, but you can also have one with a serrated blade or in the 5 1/2-in blade length. The Talwar is just one of those folders that once you pick it up, you can’t put it down. It just fits my hand perfectly and feels “oh-so-right” to me. The G-10 handle scales are shaped in such a way, that the knife almost grips you back – hard to explain, but the darn thing just feels great. And, to be sure, I’m rather picky about how a folder fits and fills my hand, and the Talwar just feels like it belongs in my hand. And, it has plenty of handle to hold on to as well – many folders are a bit skimpy when it comes to having enough handle for me to grab. The handle is shaped in a sort of Scimitar shape, with the butt of the handle curving downward, which aids in a strong grip on the folder.
Steel on the Talwar is AUS 8A – one of my favorite stainless steels, it’s a very affordable stainless steel, holds an edge a good long time and it’s easy to re-sharpen. Some have taken me to task, when I claim a blade steel is easy to re-sharpen, and I claim no special skills in sharpening knives, but I’ve found this steel much easier to re-sharpen than some of the other harder stainless steels out there. Weighing only 5-ounces, the Talwar isn’t too heavy, nor is it too light – you don’t even know you have the knife clipped inside your pocket. Overall open length is 9-1/4-inches – so you can really reach out there and touch someone – if you have to, in a self-defense situation. Make not mistake, I believe the Talwar was designed and is best used as a self-defense folder. Not that it can’t be used for everyday chores, but there are better designs for chores – the Talwar is best reserved for use against two-legged attackers. BTW, the front of the handle also slopes downward, affording you some protection against your hand slipping forward onto the blade.
The locking mechanism is Cold Steel’s Tri-Ad lock, and although it appears to be a basic lock back design, it is not – it is much stronger than the ordinary lock back folding knife design. Additionally, it is placed in such a position on the back top of the blade, as to alleviate it from accidentally opening when grasped in your hand in the fencing grip. And, it is certainly a very stout lock. The pocket/clothing clip can also be reversed from one side of the handle to the other, for a blade tip up carry.
One thing that I like on the Talwar is the Andrew Demko designed ambidextrous thumb plate – not a thumb stud – on the blade. And, with a very little practice, the Talwar can be drawn from the pocket, and it opens faster than any automatic folder does. When drawing the Talwar, you simply give it a little backwards pressure, towards the rear of your pocket, while drawing the knife upwards – you do this with one swift and fluid move, and the blade pops open when the knife is completely drawn out of your pocket. The little thumb plate actually “catches” on the back of your pocket, causing the blade to start to deploy as you draw the knife out of your pocket. Check the Cold Steel web site, and you’ll see Cold Steel’s owner, Lynn Thompson demonstrating this…it’s actually easier done than explained.
Needless to say, and I’ve said this hundreds of times, I believe Cold Steel set the Gold Standard for sharp blades many years ago. Prior to Cold Steel coming on the cutlery scene, it was pretty much a hit or miss proposition when it came to getting a super-sharp knife blade. Cold Steel knives are wicked sharp, right out of the box. Thompson wouldn’t have it any other way.
I also like that the Talwar is designed not only for slashing moves, in self-defense, but the blade is designed to stab deeply. Having spent 35 years in the martial arts, I taught knife fighting skills to my advanced, Black Belt students. I’ve also designed several knives over the years, that are still being produced. My heart is in knives meant for self defense – even more so, than for survival. The Talwar is one great folder for self defense use if you ask me. And, the best part is, full-retail is $131.99 – a great buy, in my opinion. So, if you’re in the market for a new folder – one designed for self-defense use, check out the Cold Steel Talwar – I give it my 100% endorsement. The Talwar is just one wicked blade. – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio
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