Only yesterday, I received the Cold Steel Lone Star Hunter. At 173 grams, this is one solid folding knife! The blade is flat ground from AUS-8 stainless steel and a full 4 inches in length. Scary sharp from the box, too. It locks with the Tri Ad mechanism, a fantastic improvement on the traditional lockback system. The lock bar takes a deep push to close, it cannot happen by accident. I cannot make out any bladeplay, the overall workmanship of the Lone Star Hunter is clearly first rate.
I ordered the version with a nail nick blade instead of the ambidextrous thumb studs due to the latest legal complications in Germany since 2009 concerning the carry of one-hand-opening knives with locking blades. Criminals couldn´t care less, the good guys worry.
Removing the studs from other knives has always seemed like castration to me and looks obscene. The Lone Star Hunter has a classic design, the nail nick fits the general look. You can also grasp the spine and flick the knife open by using gravity and the smooth action in an emergency. Opening the blade with your thumb and middle finger (as if there was a hole there in the blade) can be done with dry hands, but makes it easy to slip on the edge.
The whole knife has a somewhat slippery feel to it thanks to the polished surfaces and smooth faux stag scales screwed to the frame. I strongly would suggest Cold Steel to offer this knife with G10 scales (Dark blue? Light brown?) with rounded edges and a rougher finish. The look of the “cowboy” scales fits the overall design and is a bit cheesy at the same time, reminding me of cap pistols for boys or 1950s TV western heroes. I have not made up my mind if I like it or if the look has to “grow on me”. It remains to be seen if the material holds up to abuse or being dropped on hard surfaces.
The 3.5mm spine of the blade is sharp edged. A fire steel will love this, if you do a lot of carving you might want to file the edges down a bit. The stainless handle is long enough to fit the largest hand with gloves on.
I have not carried the knife around with me a lot yet, but it certainly feels comfortable despite its weight and size, even in tight fitting Wrangler jeans. Retrieving the knife from your pocket is not as easy as you might think. There are two pocket clips shipped with it, for right and left handed users. They are so tight you will have to bend them a bit to be usable. Also, the knife carries quite deeply in your pocket and the slippery end of the handle is quite hard to grasp. You will need some dexterity for this operation or go the old fashioned way and use a belt pouch.
In a defensive situation, forget about it. While I consider knives to be tools first, an urban EDC folder should stand up to this task in a pinch. Have your Lone Star Hunter out and open in a dark alley! Maybe this knife is not “urban” at all.
The sheer size will dramatically lower social acceptance. I also understand that a 4 inch blade is not legal to carry in many jurisdictions. Measuring from the handle end to the very tip, the LST is acutually a tad over 4 inches in blade length.
Overall, the LST impresses me with its heft and workmanship. The blade shape makes it a real slicer. The Tri Ad lock and flat grind make it mucho superior to a Buck 110 in my opinion. If a folder is all you have in a survival situation (Remember the movie “The Edge” with Alec Baldwin and Antony Hopkins? The lack of equipment seemed quite realistic to me…), I can think of none better than something like the LST. Most of us do not carry Kukris when on a day hike with the family.
I would like to see redesigned clips (or a different spot for them on the handle), a lanyard hole, different scales and a more compact version from Cold Steel. And I want many more Tri Ad knives from CS in 2013!