The Leatherneck–A Better-Than-Kabar?

Cold Steel Leatherneck SFNot too long ago, Cold Steel came out with a new model–The Leatherneck. Obviously, this knife bears a striking resemblance to the classic Navy Mk. II, commonly known as the USMC knife (even though the Marines– aka leathernecks– never had a monopoly on the design), or a “kabar” (regardless of whether it was made by KaBar, Camillus, Ontario, or another company).

But how does it really compare? It took awhile, but I had to get one in my hands in order to know.

I like it. *The tang is wider (by almost 1/4 inch), which should mean that the handle is stronger. *The blade is thicker. *The bevels are wider. *The fuller (blood grove) is gone.

leatherneck handle detailLeatherneck buttcapLeatherneck back blade*The clip is straight instead of concave (good), and *is not sharp (a big help when used as a drawknife, or when batoning–doesn’t destroy the baton as fast–improving utility while preserving most of the penetrating ability of the Mk. II). *The steel is mid-grade stainless (I’m sure that this is going to be an advantage for anyone who is processing food or working around salt-water). *The handle is rubber, not leather, and *is not perfectly round. (A lathed, perfectly round handle gives poor purchase for torque, and poor tactile indexing when one cannot see the knife.

The sheath is a classic Cold Steel molded-plastic-and-webbing setup. It offers double retention, and a belt loop that opens up to allow quickly adding or removing it to a belt. Cold Steel sheath belt loop detail This can be a real benefit for those who don’t want to disassemble a setup in order to get the knife re-located onto their pants belt, or to another rig.

04 belt loop closedAs we know, one easy time to get lost is right after you pick a campsite, and then wander off to do something, and can’t find it.  So, be sure to have your knife, flashlight, and firestarter on your person IMMEDIATELY, when you set your pack down.

So– if I had my choice of options, what would I do different? I’d eliminate the black blade coating, and replace it with a bead-blasted finish.

So, for a working man that needs a substantial knife at reasonable price, this package runs for the same price as the old classic–$65.  I’d be happy to get one for you!


About christophersknifeblog

I am a knifemaker and dealer, and live a very diversified life in the mountains of central Idaho. I love nature, agriculture, and homesteading. My knifemaking motto and advertising slogan is, "Knives Built for the Bush." I intend them to be efficient, durable, comfortable, functional, graceful equipment for life's challenges and opportunities. My website is Please visit!
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