I still haven't received my Cold Steel Recon Scout to comment on but I did finally receive another knife I ordered, the Ka Bar Heavy Bowie. I have to say...WOW! I'm loving it. Now that's a big ass knife - the name may be lame but it's descriptive. I know I said I was cooling on the big carbon steel blades due to rust concerns due to where I live, but for this price, I'm willing to reconsider.
Not sure if I will do a video review on the knife, doesn't seem like much point when there are already some good ones out there including cutting demos (check out nutnfancy for those). In my opinion, the positive reviews are accurate. Great blade shape, very sharp out of the box, and CHEAP! Even in Canada I was able to order one up for about $65 USD including shipping. Amazon has some for sale for $49.99 right now (they don't ship here though, which stinks).
Yes, the sheath is kinda lame (cordura and leather) but it's functional, has some decent retention without the snaps (knife doesn't just fall out) and there are two retention snaps - snaps, not garbage hook and loop. There are some rubber? or something liners around the inside edges of the sheath that keep the knife from rubbing on the rivets or cutting the stitching, that was well done. I definitely would prefer kydex, we'll see. I might try making some of my own soon.
Overall, besides the great price and the awesome blade shape, what impressed me was the handle. I've had some crap ka-bar knock off for years with a slippery plasticy handle. I thought that's what most of them were like - not at all. The handle has a very nice feel, good grip, and I love the interesting guard. With it flared on the sides, there is no worry of your hand going up on the blade and there is less risk of smashing (and breaking) a large guard into a log when chopping. It's even possible to choke up right onto the blade for fine cutting though it's not very comfortable - the hoodlum was waaaaaay better for that.
Still, I can buy three of these bad boys for the price of one hoodlum, that's tough to beat. And the knife is so much more comfortable in my hands, it just feels "right." It feels very light and nimble for lack of a better word, I'm very surprised. I suspect the hoodlum would be a better chopper due to the handle shape and it would definitely be better for fine work, but overall I prefer the more traditional handle of the ka-bar. It would also make for an excellent tactical/defensive knife, good back up for military if you could handle the weight.
This knife gets high marks in my books and the sheath is totally acceptable for the price. There is little chance that I would carry this monster on my belt* for hiking but it would be great strapped to a pack. Here's a cheap, useful, and relatively light axe replacement.
Well done Ka-Bar, well done.
* there is also a short version that may be easier to carry on the belt, link and pic below, selling for $54.99 on amazon
April 17 Note: I loved this knife so much I ordered another one! Still waiting to check out that CS Recon Scout but this may become my main backpack knife. Can't get over how good this sucker feels in my hand. The handle is a little thicker than I would prefer but that's my only quibble so far, can't wait to test it out.
It's not going to replace my Fallkniven as a carry knife (too big) but it's far more useful for me than carrying an axe and, with the price, I'm not going to freak out if it does start to rust a little.