Cold Steel Finn Bear: Blade Win, Grip FAIL

Image courtesy Cold Steel Knives

I almost bought another knife at the gun show yesterday. The ‘Finn Bear’ is Cold Steel’s interpretation of the traditional Finnish Pukka knife, and for $14 I wasn’t sure I could pass up a chance to test it against a similarly-priced Mora Craftline.

But then I handled it.

The blade was extremely sharp. It didn’t have a traditional Scandinavian grind, but I’m not a purist when it comes to that. The grip is the problem: it has no guard, no finger grooves, and tapers slightly toward the blade. None of this would matter if it weren’t made of a hard, slick plastic with only the shallowest cosmetic texture.

As I gripped the knife, it felt like my hand was sliding down the grip toward the unguarded blade and serious injury. The harder I gripped, the more I slipped.

Here’s the Cold Steel promo vid for the Finn Bear. I’ve always given Cold Steel a fair shake here, and their Kobun is a truly excellent blade at an outstanding price. If the Finn Bear had the same Kraton grip material as the Kobun, Cold Steel would pose a serious challenge the mighty Mora at its own price point.

I would have bought one or two of them as Christmas presents, but I like my fingers the way they are and I suspect my friends do the same so I’ll wait for the (hopeful) redesign.

I hope Lynn Thompson doesn’t give up on the Finn Bear. Give it a grippier grip (and send me one to review?) and we’re all good.


  1. Robert says:

    Rough that handle up a bit with some Scotchbrite.

  2. Paul B says:

    Handles that taper towards the blade are never good. Knife stops and hand will always slide in the direction of the point. No guard and you will be getting stitches.

    Mora still wins in this category.

  3. jwm says:

    I have one of those also. I think, I haven’t tried it yet, that an old gunfighters trick might work on the handle. Take a leather thong about a bootlace thick, wet it and tie it tightly to the handle. Do this in about 3 even spaces in the handle. Position thew knots on the thin under side of the handle and trim off the loose ends. Once the leather dries and shrinks it’ll never come off.

    I have so many knives that I’ve been too lazy to give it a try on my finn bear.

  4. DQ says:

    Slightly off topic but I noticed that they were batoning the blade through 2×4. If I remembered correctly, a youtuber had chipped one of their blades through batoning and Cold Steel honored their warranty with a letter warning its not meant to be abused in such a fashion. What’s the point of them doing all these toughness demonstrations of batoning and puncturing of car hood if “it is not designed for the intended purpose”?

    1. Nathan says:

      Reference my previous article on this

  5. Daniel says:

    Barely noticeable handguards is why i passed up on the kobun, despite the knife being all around decent otherwise. There are styles of knives that traditionally come without handguards so you choke up the blade better (survival knives), but there is no excuse for the kobun.

  6. travis m. says:

    These knives were meant to be used in a pulling motion, unless you were carving, in which case you’d push the knife blade behind the tip with your non dominant thumb while holding it in your dominant hand. Most mora knives are designed nowadays to allow for pushing, excepting the most traditional ones.

  7. Sam L. says:

    It’s my understanding that Finnish soldiers use this type/shape of knife as a combat weapon; but I would not use one without a guard.

    1. travis m. says:

      Shape of the blade, not that shape handle, if you look to see what shape the handles of nice puukkos are online, they don’t look like the Finn Bear’s.

  8. Jim says:

    I have the Pendleton lite hunter and Canadian belt knife from the same series. Both razor sharp. The lite hunter has a decent grip. The Canadian is a bit smallish but it seems obviously designed as a slicer/skinner. I think these are intended more as game processing tools than say, an all purpose bushcraft knife so stabbing motions arent really a factor. But I do agree that the added safety of even a small guard would be nice. A more substantial grip would be even better. I think a lot of focus goes to blade length and grip size/shape is often an afterthought or maybe compromised to achieve a certain look. A knife with a larger grip and shorter blade can be be awkward to look at but handy in use, but looks do sell so I think that wins out most of the time.

  9. PubliusII says:

    Here’s a review of the Finn Bear from a bushcrafter’s point of view:

    That blogger also reviews a slew of other knives from the same perspective (check the tab). FYI, his standard of comparison for most is the Mora #2.

    I have a Finn Bear and like it, but don’t do heavy cutting with it. The handle’s OK from my perspective — the ribbing keeps it firmly in my hands, at least.

  10. Ti-Rod says:

    I have the Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife. Same slick polypropylene handle. A couple of pieces of skateboard tape stuck to the handle takes care of slippage issues. I’ve used this trick on Benchmade, Spyderco, TOPS, etc. knives. Every company produces a neat knife with less than optimal grip characteristics.

    1. Sam L. says:

      I just bought one of these. Sharp? Yes. Handle? Not overly slick, but I see your point. I’m thinking about filing some grooves in it.

  11. Fast says:

    I cut handle off replaced with apiece of black walnut sanded finger grooves insanded it down to two thirds of the thickness as original handle pinned and expoyed it on now I have an awesome knife for as cheap as I got it screw the warranty wish I could send a pic its awesome now

  12. jNemes65 says:

    those Scandinavian ppl just love sharp blades without an old Vikings tradition to let your enemies use your knife before battling. this is the same reason I don’t like most of their scandi knives. try wrapping some black friction-tape around the handle or use a reverse grp. I dunno? it’s a fantastic present for someone you really don’t like ..

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Cold Steel Finn Bear: Blade Win, Grip FAIL

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