The Cold Steel karambit Steel Tiger is an update on a traditional Southeast Asian knife that was originally used in agriculture and as an all-round ‘daily carry’.
It made its way from a tool used by peasants into the warrior class and was especially favoured by Filipino women as a self-defence tool. It is widely used in Filipino martial arts, something which Cold Steel Founder & President Lynn C. Thompson is both a fan and a practitioner of.
Lynn C. Thompson worked in collaboration with the late master knife maker Steven Likarich on designing this blade to have all the effective features of this classic tool with updated manufacturing and materials.
The Cold Steel Steel Tiger is a distinctive Karambit style blade with a sweep curve with a needle-sharp point and a very sharp ‘Cold Steel’ edge. You can see the agricultural history of the design, with the sharp curved blade being ideal for added cutting power when clearing brush or raking roots. Its popularity spread across Southeast Asia as trade routes developed and the knife was used by more and more people.
The 4 3/4″ blade is made from good quality Japanese AUS 8A which has been vacuum heat-treated and sub-zero quenched for extra strength. The blade is stonewashed and has excellent edge retention and is very resistant to corrosion. AUS 8A is very similar to AUS 8 and is an upper mid-range steel ideally suited to making tough knives with good corrosion resistance.
Some people prefer a mirror finished knife, but the stonewashing on this blade is really nice, and doesn’t show up minor marks and scratches as readily. Out of the box the blade is super sharp, as you would expect from Cold Steel.
The handle is full tang and is enveloped in dual core Griv-Ex which is then coated in rubbery Kray-Ex for extra grip in all conditions. The handle has a ‘thumb shelf’ and finger ring which helps with the traditional carry of blade down, as well as being comfortable when using a hammer grip.
In the hand, whether using a traditional holding technique (pictured) or a hammer grip style, it is extremely comfortable. The handle is ergonomically shaped for good finger and thumb placement and the rubbery Kray-Ex coating feels very grippy. This would be a knife that stays grippy even in cold and damp conditions. The way your finger and thumb utilise the thumb shelf and finger ring feels entirely natural and you could use this knife for extended periods of time and not feel fatigued.
The sheath is made from super tough and impact resistant Secure-Ex which holds the blade very firmly even without a handle strap. In the sheath there is no movement at all, and once in the sheath the knife is staying put until you need to deploy it again. Even when given a firm shake, the knife stays put and there is no movement at all. The sheath has a removable but non reversible pocket clip and enough lashing holes to create a number of carry options.
The Cold Steel Steel Tiger is a great quality karambit style knife that is wonderfully comfortable to hold thanks to its ergonomic handle design. It is made from good quality materials and the curved blade gives it excellent cutting power.