One to Watch: Cold Steel Warcraft Tanto
Tony Sculimbrene 07.31.13
The purpose of this series it to preview upcoming or newly released products that might have flown under the radar and are significant for some reason. The first of these products is the Cold Steel Warcraft Tanto.
A word about Cold Steel, first. I know that the company is polarizing. I know some people love their ginormous folders and heavy metal approach to marketing. I also know some people dislike this stuff. Whatever side of the fence you come down on, though, you have to recognize that they do make some very good products, especially fixed blades. Their Recon Scout and their Trail Master Bowie are among the most well-respected, time tested production fixed blades out there, short of Busse products. On a dollar for dollar basis, there is little that matches these two brutes. As general outdoor knives and big choppers, they rock. But as with all Cold Steel products, the steel leaves me wanting a little more. Cold Steel seems permanently stuck in 1994 in terms of their steel choices.
The Warcraft Tanto is a 7-inch blade of CPM 3V steel. If you are steel aficionado you already know about 3V. If you aren’t be prepared to be amazed–this is the bleeding edge of tough cutlery steels. Here is the datasheet. The awesome thing is this little snippet: it has both incredible toughness and incredible wear resistance. It can replace M4 when that steel is used in applications that cause chipping, and D2 and A2 in applications that cause them to wear out too fast. In other words, this is an ideal steel for a big chopper, perhaps the perfect steel for an outdoor knife. It’s not stainless (7.5% carbon content is well below the 14% required to earn a stainless designation), but aside from that, 3V seems like a dream material.
Taking that material and combining it with Cold Steel’s fixed blade know-how is enough to get even the most jaded knife knut excited. The Warcraft Tanto is 5mm thick, just under a 1/4 inch, and it has a contoured G10 handle (it appears, thankfully, that the kraton kraze has run its course). The sheath, another thing Cold Steel does well, is a Secure-Ex (read: Kydex) number, making it both secure and weather resistant. All of these things make this knife incredibly tempting…
But it is a Tanto. I like tanto blades for piercing (which is where they excel) and for their appearance, but they fall behind the bowie and especially the plain old drop point in terms of their utility. Cold Steel made their name on the tanto so it is easy to see why they chose it for their first Warcraft/3V knife, but I am holding my cash in reserve for a drop point Warcraft blade. That would seem to be just about the perfect chopper on paper. Plus, if there is anything you can bank on when it comes to Cold Steel, it is their tendency to release variants. The tanto is tantalizingly close to perfect. The drop point just might make it across the finish line.
This isn’t a cheap knife, retailing around $170, but it is among the cheapest knives of its size with a 7 inch blade of 3V and for that it is definitely one to watch.