Cold Steel Lone Star Hunter Review: Take Two

Image: Henry Robinson for TTAK

I had some time to play with the Lone Star Hunter before I got motivated and mailed it to Henry. Now that he’s done all the hard work, I thought I’d share a few of my own thoughts about this Texas-sized folder. 

The Blade

The broad Bowie blade has a lot of usable edge and belly, and it whizzed through meats and veggies like a laser beam.

Image: Chris Dumm

The full flat grind makes this knife it an efficient cutter and easy to sharpen, but FFG  blades are weaker than hollow-ground blades of the same thickness. This photo illustrates why: the Mackinac Hunter’s Buck-style clip point blade has its full thickness for several millimeters from the spine, while the Lone Star Hunter’s FFG tapers straight from the spine to the edge. The Mackinac blade (especially the tip) will survive and forgive much rougher handling than the Lone Star.

Carry Ergonomics

There are some larger folding knives out there (and Cold Steel seems to make most of them) but four inches is about the most steel I can comfortably carry in my pocket.

Despite this, the Lone Star Hunter carries pretty comfortably. It’s thin enough that it doesn’t bulge out of your pocket, and the pocket clip (and its weight) keeps it from going anywhere. On the other hand, the knife is big enough that quickly extricating it from your pocket is tricky.


The blade was fairly sharp from the factory, and it proved quite satisfactory for general food preparation tasks. The blade got the job done, but for me the Delrin grips looked a lot better than they functioned. I found them fairly slippery when wet, and the whole knife is so slender that it doesn’t give the best grip even when dry. The long grip gives you a lot of leverage on the blade, but not a lot of traction.


I concur with Henry that the blade is a bit hard to open with the thumb stud. Your thumb has to overcome the stiff lock spring to open the knife, and the stud is too close to the pivot. This photo shows that the thumb stud is a rounded-off screw, and ours was screwed a little too far into its threads. The stud gave a decent thumb grip with your right hand, but it was extra-difficult to open with my left hand because there wasn’t enough thumb stud on that side of the blade. I didn’t try it, but it’s possible that you could simply back the screw out a few turns and Lock-tite it in place for left-handed use.

Tri-Ad Lock

People love to say that a folding knife is a fixed-blade knife that’s already broken. This may be true of some folding knives, but the Cold Steel Tri-Ad lock (along with the Benchmade Axis lock) is vastly stronger than stamped-steel liner locks or 1960s-era rocker locks. The Tri-Ad design, shown here, uses an angled locking hook and a second reinforcement pin behind the shoulder of the blade. The Tri-Ad and Axis locks are usually stronger than the blades they’re attached to: one of the few documented failures of a Tri-Ad lock was found to be caused by the tester accidentally unlocking it.

I also second Henry’s note that the lock was too hard to open. As he suggests, I think better leverage would be the key to improving this.

(My) Favorite Feature

I really dug the size and look of the knife, and I like the bomb-proof Tri-Ad lock also. (I guess that’s two favorite features.)

(My) Least-Favorite Feature

Awkward blade opening/closure.



  1. Mark Davis says:

    I’ve found that the best way to deploy large CS folders is with an “inertia” opening. You simply flick the blade open without using the thumb stud. However this works best on knives with a big, heavy blade (i.e. an XL Voyager).

    I’m interested to know if this technique might work on the Lone Star Hunter.

  2. I will have the Mackinac review up in a day or two. I have been putting it through its paces and have just been behind on the keyboard.

    @mark… I can open the Mackinac with an inertia flip, but its strong spring makes the closure bias difficult to overcome. Good for safety, bad for speed. About half the time I need a second flip to get it open.

    1. Mark Davis says:

      Thanks Clay. I agree that the Tri-Ad spring is strong. For a reliable inertia opening I suspect that more blade mass is required. I’m looking forward to your review of the Mackinac.

  3. David Quist says:

    I have both the Mackinac and Lone Star Hunters. I prefer the LS, perhaps because of the size. The inertia opening does not work on my LS, but flicking it open with the thumb stud is no big deal. I have a lanyard that runs around / thru the clip, so I can retrieve it from my pocket quickly.
    The Mackinac is also a nice handful of steel, though closing mine is not as easy as the LS. Still, I like both knives and can appreciate Lynn not using Stag for the handles. I do wish he had used G10 or at least made aftermarket scales available. The Mackinac has a lanyard hole and is a nice knife overall. Worth the money for both.

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Cold Steel Lone Star Hunter Review: Take Two

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