Knife Preview: Cold Steen ‘Kobun’ Tanto

Image: Chris Dumm

This Cold Steel ‘Kobun’ Tanto might be a lot of knife for just thirty bucks. Cold Steel’s AUS 8A performed pretty well in our reviews of the Lone Star Hunter and Mackinac Hunter folders, and the full-tang Kobun uses almost ten inches of it. With no moving parts, the Kobun is noticeably lighter then either of the Cold Steel folders, whose indestructible ‘brick shithouse’ design philosophy gave them slightly elevated BMIs.

Image: Chris Dumm

The only shoddy thing about the Kobun (so far) is the abysmally cheap product packaging that Cold Steel is semi-famous for. And do I care? Not one bit. Spyderco’s foam-fitted boxes and Benchmade’s microfiber storage bags are cool, but Cold Steel’s prices are pretty darned cool in their own way too.

Image: Chris Dumm

Only time and testing will tell if the Kobun’s insanely thin grip works well for chopping rope and shredding mountains of cardboard.

Stay tuned for the full review, along with a ‘Lightweight Tactical Duel’ between the Cold Steel Kobun and the SOG Seal Pup. You’re been asking for more fixed-blade reviews, and we aim to deliver.


  1. Matt in FL says:

    I’m interested in this review. That is a handsome knife, and I might add a fixed blade to my toolkit if it comports itself well.

  2. jwm says:

    I had a tanto once. It’s not really a good multi use design in my opnion. It’s primary function seems to be punching thru an opponents body armor. Cold steel used to demonstrate this by punching thru car doors and such with it. So i guess if you’re planning on taking on a guy wearing a chevy this might be the knife for you.

    The only cold steel I own at this point is my SRK. A better general purpose blade style, IMHO.

    1. Chris Dumm says:

      It’s not exactly what this knife was designed for, but it’s got enough belly to be a pretty good food slicer. Tip control isn’t really up there with a good chef’s knife, as anybody would predict.

      1. jwm says:

        I already got a good food slicer. Married her a long time ago.

      2. Steve In MA says:

        Tanto’s work really well for opening food wrapped in plastic. I work in a deli BTW.

  3. Mark Davis says:

    For this review, I think TTAK should modify the knife testing protocol to include car door penetration. Oooh, and slashing animal carcasses. (sarc)

    In all seriousness, I’m looking forward to this review. Back in the 80’s and 90’s I lusted after the Coldsteel fixed-blade Tanto. But I couldn’t afford the $140 price tag.

    1. Chris Dumm says:

      If you’ve got the car (or the pig carcass) I’ll supply the gloves and the knife. And the surgical mask, if needed.

    2. Out_Fang_Thief says:

      I have the $140 – 6″ Tanto, for near about 20 years now.
      I can’t even find a current Cold Steel Tanto that is similar
      to mine. Mine looks like the Masters Tanto’s, but without
      the San Mai steel. Was San Mai steel around 20 years ago?
      It also has the discontinued brass hilt and pointed end cap.
      Safe to say, it’s some kind of stainless, I can’t remember.
      It has been just about everywhere and done just about
      everything I’ve ever asked of it. It’s 3/8″ wide at the spine
      and 1/2″ down to the top part of the grind. As far as I can
      determine, especially under abnormal use, this knife is,
      unbreakable, or as close to it that I have seen or owned.
      If you require more than this, you might need a pry bar.
      The Krayton rubber handle is grippy even when it’s wet.
      This blade is designed to do brute force work; stabbing,
      twisting, prying, and other hard deconstruction needs.
      Outside of prepping the carcass, a food knife this ain’t.
      Don’t even try. I’ve had more scary near-misses doing
      small work on small things. It’s just too heavy to use as
      a substitute for a thinner more nimble blade.

      This* 6″ Tanto is one of my best knife purchases ever.

      *My Tanto, not the Aus-8 Tanto.

    3. Lewie Paine says:

      And now the price is double.

  4. This one is my personal favorite knife.

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Knife Preview: Cold Steen ‘Kobun’ Tanto

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