(photo credit: Cold Steel)
Longtime fans of Cold Steel's classic SRK (Survival Rescue Knife), take note! The Ventura, California based knife company is planning to release a CPM-3V high carbon steel version of the SRK sometime in the next few weeks.
This is great news. Cold Steel's original SRK, built with Camillus Cutlery Company's Carbon V High Carbon Steel (a high quality carbon steel similar to 1095 steel) was widely praised for its edge holding, toughness and ease of sharpening.
Sadly, Cold Steel was forced to stop using Carbon V after Camillus's bankruptcy in 2007. Since then, the SRK has been built with AUS8 Stainless, a serviceable but slightly inferior Japanese stainless that is roughly equivalent to American 440B Stainless.
Having owned several Carbon V and AUS8 SRK's over the years, I've found the AUS8 versions to be inferior in edge-holding and ease of sharpening compared to their Carbon V predecessors. If you check around the knife forums, you'll find that most longtime fans of the SRK tend to agree with this sentiment.
One of my original Carbon V SRK's:
I should note that Cold Steel also offers the SRK in their laminated San Mai III VG-1 stainless, which has received great overall reviews since its release a couple of years ago. But for most of us who owned the original Carbon V version, an SRK milled from a solid block of ultra-tough CPM-3V steel is music to our ears, and what the SRK was meant to be.
I definitely plan to get my hands on this knife sometime this year and give it a test run. Now, if only Cold Steel would give the SRK a factory convexed edge, an exposed pommel, and a firesteel loop on the sheath, it would be survival knife heaven.
For more information, visit Cold Steel's website at:
About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for the The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)