For many years now I’ve written about the virtues of the recurved blade. The “S” shape works in such way that it catches within its curve the material you are slashing at and forces it into the edge rather than letting it slip as you would see in straight or simple curved blades. With the Nogales tip that Cold Steel uses in their Vaquero, you still have a narrow tip that penetrates well.
The latest Cold Steel Vaquero XL has several improvements over the previous models.
Cold Steel Voyager XL Vaquero Plain Edge Knife $50.97
The blade in the Vaquero XL is indeed large for a folder, 5 ½” inches long and 4mm thick. The steel is Aus8A, which Cold Steel knows how to heat treat well and achieves satisfactory results in terms of toughness, edge retention and ease of sharpening.
The grip is without a doubt one of the greatest improvements from previous models. It feels comfortable with space to spare even for big hands. A deep depression where the index finger rests makes for a generous finger guard, which is something that adds security and confidence for defensive use and heavy duty tasks. The clip is smaller than it used to be which is a good thing. Its only as big as it needs to be, and it comes with a spare clip for left hand carry. It only allows for tip up carry though.
The “Grivory” handle is strong, reinforced on the inside with aluminum liners. The handle has an aggressive cross pattern texture for better retention. The locking mechanism, a back lock system called TriAd, is one of the strongest in the market. Bronze washers make for a fast and effortless opening.
In spite of the size the big folder carries well. Even when carrying it on normal jeans, walking around, driving or sitting, you simply forget abut it.
This is a big knife, especially effective for defensive purposes. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s as intimidating as few knives out there, which is something I got to personally test a few years ago. Where and when legal to carry, and when looking for a knife specifically for defensive purposes, this is what I would carry. I did in fact carry the old Vaquero for several years in Argentina.
The knife costs around 50 USD and for that price it has to be one of the best deals around these days. If defense isn’t the main role you have in mind for the knife, then the more classic Clip Point version may suit you better and will be easier to sharpen.
Check out my video Review: