A Practical Review of a Cold Steel Tanto Knife (The Cold Steel Recon)

Cold Steel has been prolific in its production, creating several unique edged tools that pay homage to historically relevant designs. Among the many knives and tools that they have produced have been a plethora of sabers, tomahawks, axes, bowies, and other remarkably popular designs. 

One of their best-selling designs has been a Cold Steel tanto knife known as the Recon Tanto, specifically the model made with SK-5 steel, a Kray-Ex handle, and a Secure-Ex sheath.

Let’s Talk About Knife Steel 
This Cold Steel tanto knife is made with SK-5 steel, which is probably its most compelling attribute. SK-5 is a Japanese steel with quite a complex chemical composition. It contains these elements in the following amounts: 

  • Carbon: .9%
  • Chromium: .3%
  • Copper:
  • Nickel: .25%
  • Silicon: .35%
  • Manganese: .5%
  • Sulfur: .3%
  • Phosphorus: .3%

Its high carbon content (paired with manganese) enables it to be hardened and to afford excellent edge retention which is one of the hallmarks of the steel. Chromium helps prevent corrosion whereas a small amount of copper helps improve resistance to surface oxidation. As for the silicon and phosphorus, they offer higher durability and strength.

Overall, this is an exceptionally strong steel that holds an edge for a while and offers some great corrosion resistance, to boot. 

Grip and Ergonomics 
This Cold Steel tanto knife comes with a comfortable, well-contoured 4 ¾” handle made of Cold Steel’s special Kray-Ex material. 

It’s nicely formed, doesn’t have any uncomfortable angles or sharp edges, and has a gentle swell towards the rear to assist with a good grip. Since it’s square in cross-section, it doesn’t want to roll in the user’s grip. One of the great things about this material is that it remains grippy even in cold, wet conditions or when covered in slick material. Unlike natural materials, it offers an excellent grip even in adverse conditions, is not absorbent, and can take a lot of abuse, even without being afforded the proper maintenance. 

It also contains a lanyard hole for users that want to add a length of cordage for extra security or as a backup supply. 

Sheath and Carry Options 
Something we really love about this Cold Steel tanto knife is the Secure-Ex sheath it comes with. It’s not much for looking at, but it offers a really secure fit (excuse the pun) and a lot of flexibility with carry options. 

The way it’s set up, its design for tip-down belt carry – but with a little bit of paracord and some lashing experience, you can easily rig it to the shoulder strap of a backpack or even the lumber strap. With some cordage, you can improve a lashing to rig it for scout carry or cross draw, too. 

Tough, secure, and low maintenance, this sheath offers a lot of flexibility. 

Pick Yours up at White Mountain Knives 
Looking for a Cold Steel tanto knife that’s as practical and durable as this one? You can pick one of these up at White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com at a great price, and they even offer free shipping in the United States! 

They also offer a wide range of other tanto-style blades and countless other Cold Steel products. Take a look through their catalog online at the address above and get in touch with them at WhiteMountainKnives@gmail.com if you have any questions.

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