Review: Cold Steel Knives Laredo Bowie
Pat Cascio 02.28.16
I’ve been a huge fan of Cold Steel knives since they first came on the scene with their unique Tanto fixed blade knife–still the best of its breed if you ask me. It never ceases to amaze me, year after year, the new knife designs that Cold Steel comes out with. Most are the brain-child of Lynn Thompson, the owner. He lives knives. If a particular knife design is around more than 3-years, that attests to how good the design is.
Many knife designs are only around for a couple years before the buying public tires of them and they fall by the wayside. One particular knife I’ve had my eye on for several years is the Cold Steel Laredo Bowie with the 0-1 High Carbon steel blade. They make another model with a different steel, but I really like 0-1 High Carbon steel in a blade. It holds an edge for the longest time, and it is really easy to re-sharpen as well.
Needless to say, the blade is a Bowie type design, made famous many years ago by legendary knife fighter and Alamo defender, Jim Bowie. There’s just “something” about the Bowie blade that has captured the attention of folks for close to 200-years. The blade length on the Laredo Bowie is 10.5-inches, and it’s 5/16th of an inch thick. Overall length of the Laredo is 15 11/16 inches. This is a monster of a knife, no doubt about it. The handle material is polished Micarta–super strong stuff–and it is shaped just perfect for my hand.
The weight of the blade is slightly over a pound, coming in at 16.3 oz.
The knife comes with a Secure-Ex sheath, so it won’t attract and hold moisture. One of the shortcomings of Carbon Steel blades is that if they’re not properly cared for, they will rust. The Secure-Ex sheath helps in this regard because it won’t hold water like a leather sheath does. Plus, the sheath will fit on a military pistol belt, too. Nice!
The Laredo Bowie is precision ground and heat-treated in Cold Steel’s state-of-the-art factory in Taiwan. And please, all you detractors who have something about knives made in Taiwan get over it. You get as good of a knife as you want from overseas–PERIOD! The Laredo Bowie was designed to rival the strength toughness and edge retention of the Cold Steel Japanese swords. And, if you’ve ever held a Cold Steel Japanese sword in your hand, you’ll understand just how tough and sharp the Laredo Bowie is.
Testing and Use
As many readers know, I like big knives. They are more useful for many situations than smaller knives, especially when it comes to survival, or for that matter, combat. I wouldn’t care to go up against an enemy with any knife. However, if I had the Laredo Bowie in my hand, I’d sure feel I had the upper hand against someone with a lesser blade, no doubt about it.
When it comes to survival, it’s really hard to beat a long blade knife. You can chop wood, dress out game, and do all manner of camp chores with this knife. It’s very impressive, to say the least.
Like all Cold Steel knives, the Laredo Bowie came scary sharp out of the box–amazing the edge that is put on the thick 5/16th inch blade. I’ve owned quite a few custom made knives, some I even designed myself, and many custom knife makers are just plain horrible when it comes to putting an edge on the knife. Custom makers are artists, but not very good about putting a super edge on their blades. The Laredo Bowie blows ’em all out of the water when it comes to being super-sharp! You can very easily shave newspaper with the edge–very thin slices. That’s sharp, no doubt about it.
For such a large fixed blade knife, it balances extremely well in the hand. It surprised me that it balanced so nicely. The polished and contoured Micarta handle felt great in my hand, and it stayed in my hand when doing some chopping on some large trees on my small homestead. The only thing I would change on the Laredo Bowie is that I’d like to see a lanyard hole in the butt end of the handle. A lanyard just makes for a better hold on the knife when chopping. However, this is a personal preference, and I can easily live without it on this knife.
My wife used the Laredo Bowie in the kitchen for all manner of cutting chores, and I almost didn’t get it back. Many comments from the wife about what a great kitchen knife it was. I’ve lost more than a few knives to her after she did some testing. I also stabbed the knife into stacked cardboard, and it easily stabbed all the way to the brass hilt on the knife, attesting to the Bowie blade design and the sharpness of the blade–impressive, to say the least.
I often can be caught using knives as throwing knives, just to abuse ’em a little bit. However, I simply couldn’t bring myself to throw the Laredo Bowie. It’s just too darn pretty for that kind of abuse. Nor did I honestly think I could make the knife stick in a target. I’m not knife throwing expert in any way, shape, or form.
If you’re in the market for a new “hunting” or “survival” type knife, you could do a lot worse than the Laredo Bowie. And if you’re a military man, especially one who goes behind enemy lines, I’d sure feel secure with this knife on my hip if things got “that” bad. If you were forced to go in close and dirty to take out an enemy soldier or if forced to survive behind enemy lines until rescued, you could do a lot worse than having the Laredo Bowie on your hip–a lot worse!
Quality never comes cheap, but if you buy a cheap knock-off, you’ll be replacing it in short order. In my Golden Years, I insist on quality in everything I purchase. I just can’t afford to buy junk. The Cold Steel Laredo Bowie has a retail price of $284.99. Yes, it’s a bit spendy, but then again, you’ll never have to replace this knife. It’s that good, in my humble opinion.