So what's everyone's opinions on Cold steel swords?

Discussion in 'Sword Discussion' started by AshesFall, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. AshesFall


    Jul 16, 2019
    They seem nice, but are they really? Is the quality good? Anyone have one and think that they are well worth the money? I like their knives, but am still unsure about the swords. The European swords in particular, but am open to opinions on their Japanese swords as well.
  2. The Zieg

    The Zieg Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    CS swords are made with decent steel (1050 and above) and are heat treated to good temper. They will flex and not break but still return to true. This is about all the good that I can say about them. First of all, they are terribly overpriced. As many are made by the same factory that produces Windlass Steelcrafts' swords, they cost as much as three times a fair retail price. Second, CS swords are about one and half to two times as heavy as they should be, particularly their sabers (in comparison to their historical counterparts). This is largely due to their lack of a distal taper. Without a distal taper, they carry too much steel at the point and besides being too heavy, they have terrible balance. In this respect, CS swords are sharpened crowbars. On the subject of sharpening, CS grinds the edges of their swords to resemble axes. I suspect the grinders are ignorant of what a historical sword edge should look like, but I also suspect they grind their over heavy swords this way because customers will use them to cut pallet wood, boxes, bottles, and ice blocks as CS themselves do in their videos. Swords are for cutting human flesh but the swordlike objects CS produces are marketed to destroying inanimate material. Swords are not for going up against armor, either, but CS would lead us to believe they are.

    So, if you want something that will cut and do not care about overpaying for an overweight, unbalanced, and poorly ground edged object with a handle on it, buy CS. Otherwise, save your money.

    Dergyll, bdcochran, TOMBSTONE and 4 others like this.
  3. AshesFall


    Jul 16, 2019
    Thanks for the info and advice! Appreciate the reply, and In light of what you just told me, I think I'm gonna stay clear of Cold steel swords and look elsewhere. I'm really leaning on a European long sword of some type. Any suggestions?
  4. BitingSarcasm

    BitingSarcasm Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    I picked up a bagua dao and jian at a CS parking lot sale in the mid 2000's, factory seconds due to sheath problems for $60 each. The fit and finish was good on them, they had received a final polish but not a finished sharp edge. The weight on them is unreal. I use them as training swords so the weight is fine for that, but I can't get over how heavy they are. They don't need an edge to be dangerous, they are heavy enough to be bludgeoning instruments. It reminds of how cavalry sabers sometimes don't have a fully sharpened edge, they figured a mounted man would be doing enough damage to put a human out of commission without one.

    So yeah, they sell sharpened pry bars. They can look nice enough, you don't have to worry about breaking them, and boy do they commit to a swing. Just don't expect to use the words "nimble," "light in the hand," or "well balanced" when you use one.
    JKpB611 and zyhano like this.
  5. Triton

    Triton Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 8, 2000
    Piease take a look at the neighboring thread about Viking swords. My recommendation would be the same for medieval style swords.
  6. horseclover

    horseclover Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 21, 2000
    The market has grown a great deal in the past twenty years or so and that hasn't exactly meant positive improvements from many of the producers.

    Some of the sabres are popular and the 1796 light cavalry is not horrible but somewhat better with some grinding. There are also variances from example to example but the one I had handled both before and after rework were both still in the ballpark of originals, as far as handling goes. Kult of Athena lists stuff such as distal taper.

    The one hand&half medieval I handled was not ungainly so much as not particularly comfortable for my grip. I have quite large hands and even then, the bulk and contour of its grip was a bit bulky (imo).

    I do own one of the English Backsword model and aside from the finish, I rather like it. One fellow has collected near a half dozen of them and has found the wide variance in blade thicknesses some have complained of. One case of blade breakage but mostly the posted thickness by CS never being met (touted as 6mm). Mine was right around 5mm at the hilt.


    Shown there with a Hanwei Mortuary sword . The CS is a bit of a modern styling and finish but otherwise, to me, not a horrible sword.

    Many of the other CS offerings also have a problem in the aesthetics department but as far as the early modern stuff, an outlet for those wanting a ready (somewhat sharp) sabre. I'll save a debate on cavalry and sharpness for another day but can point out that no producer I am aware of gets the sabres quite right. An exception being the Windlass US m1906 cavalry sword, which is quite close to the original and the US ACW light cavalry sword model.

    The CS medieval swords are by and large produced in China and share traits of the Dynasty Forge swords,

    As diverse a selection as CS offers, it can really boil down to regarding a specific model but there are some generalities that can be made. The more one looks and reads, the more prepared one will be in making a decision.

    Last edited: Feb 21, 2020
  7. Gary Hastings

    Gary Hastings

    Jan 5, 2020
    Who would you recommend for a katana made just as tough as CS? For less money?
  8. cannelbrae


    May 5, 2019
    Can you qualify 'good'? What are you looking for in a sword? A historical replica for display? Use - and if so, what sort of use?
  9. The Zieg

    The Zieg Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    I don't think I can recommend a katana just as tough as a CS sword because theirs are the toughest you'll find for that price. But if you were to handle a historical katana, the word tough would not come to mind. They are stiff, hard edged, but they are also fine, sometimes delicate, cutting machines. They are not built to cut blocks of ice or solid inanimate objects. They are meant to pierce and slice open human beings. That is why they handle the way they do. CS katanas do not handle this way. Their toughness guarantees this.

    So you have to decide what you're looking for; a sword, or a sword-like-object.

    Sorry to be such a pig about it, but it's what they are.

  10. YagyuShintoRyu


    Apr 15, 2020
    Cold Steel swords are generally thick, heavy, and completely unbalanced; which makes them sturdy, but awkward if not unwieldy.
    bdcochran and DocJD like this.
  11. zyhano

    zyhano Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    reviving this one with a bit of user input.
    The CS katana is a heavy and unbalanced sword (forward heavy) which gives a impactful downswing but makes it hard to stop the blade. You'll need some muscles for that.
    It sharpens easily and sharp (did so on DMT diamond stones) but I've left it at the pretty large angle (obtuse). mine did not come sharpened in any useful way when I received it around 2012 but after sharpending inspires respect (as most edged weapons will) and will cut pretty good.
    It will sing nicely (swish) when using correct angles and technique.
    Build quality is what you can expect. A big hunk of steel and a finish on both sword and handle that is nice on superficial inspection, but very basic. The tsuka is not tightly wrapped and not that comfortable. Is it too expensive? Not for me at that time, I wouldn't really know what to expect of a $100 other sword, but can you really get anything for that?
    the CS katana video is laughable/awesome/cringeworthy/amazing/stupid (pick one), but also gives a lot of insight in what it is good for and where it would serve a purpose:

    That it is not what a katana historically was, is not really a valid point _for me_. We are also not walking around in protective leather anymore (uhmm.. I hope). That it has some considerable weight and that it would serve as an impact weapon is just a different use case (as evidence has it from the duel between sasaki kojiro and miyamoto musashi). If put to use, besides that the whole world then would have gone crazy, it would serve fine I guess, and since sharpening services would not be so easily available then probably, such a sturdy katana would then be a good thing to have. So, it is a sword, denying that is just sword snobism. I understand that a real historical katana could be a work of art and will have superior weight, finish, handling, quallity etc, but that's the whole point, they were specialized for _their_ specific use case and historical period. And I don't believe that everyone in that era would walk around with a legendary sword either. A CS might have served them fine too.

    I'm not a swordsmith, sword expert, historian, nor trained sword fighter, so take it for what is its but have trained with weapons quite often in the past.
    I use their bokken katana and wakazashi trainers to train/play with the kids and find their training weapons very nice and much superior to other trainers (they are heavy and are pretty indestructible)

    All in all, I'm happy with my CS katana
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  12. The Zieg

    The Zieg Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    This is a nicely balanced description of CS nihonto swords and their use. Despite my earlier criticism, if I had one, there is no question I would get a lot of pleasure out of it. For the love the art of the Japanese sword, I have my very fine specimen of a late 1930s naval kyo-gunto, but for brutal cutting fun, I would have a CS o-katana.

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
    zyhano likes this.
  13. Mecha

    Mecha Titanium Bladesmith Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 27, 2013

    That video is awesome. WTF I want a CS Warrior Katana now! :eek:
  14. not2sharp

    not2sharp Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 1999
    Real swords are delicate things designed to be used by people who have been trained in its use. Toughness doesn’t matter if the other guy can turn you into a hamburger before you can parry. Cold Steel Swords are designed for people who want to play with sword like things. Let’s face it, when was the last time that someone in your area engaged in a live sword duel? If you have one you are more likely going to trim some bushes and that is what Cold Steel swords are for. Btw, zombies are poor at dueling, so these swords are perfectly suited for dealing with them. :)

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  15. zyhano

    zyhano Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    I think the exact same thing can be said about knives, and just about any knife brand. There's only one knife good for fighting and that's crocodile dundees knife btw, and maybe rambo's one. :p "that's not a knife, this is a knife" :D
  16. bdcochran


    Jan 2, 2012
    Let me add to what Not2Sharp related. Quality swords are delicate and expensive. Quality swords are not used in practice - too dangerous. Breakable bamboo swords are used. Various disciplines. Sometimes wooden sticks. Even then, a Bo can kill a person.

    The member of the public will watch a Cold Steel demonstration of one its swords cutting through a filled water bottle or a watermelon. Heck, you can do that with a $25 machete. You won't be crying when you have to restore a $25 machete blade after hacking with it.

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