Cold Steel Vaquero Grande Folder

Reviewed by corwin99 on December 4th, 2009


I’ve reviewed several Cold Steel knives, even though I am not a huge fan of their knives. The Vaquero Grande is one of their old school designs, one of the ones that have made them popular. It is an affordable lightweight folder, with a massive 6″ blade.

The construction of Cold Steel’s knives is very similar to Spyderco’s lightweight clipit knives like the Endura. The biggest difference is that Cold Steel uses an inferior steel and used to hide the type of steel they are using, and still do to some extent.

The Vaquero Grande has what they call a Nogales Clip point blade, and has a wavy handle that would fit the hand a lot better if it was smaller, but then again this isn’t an EDC, and not a knife that anyone would likey use regularly. To me this is one of many Cold Steel knives designed to shock and surprise – a show knife, albeit a cheap one.

The blade grind on the Vaquero Grande is like a convex grind, but with a final grind and Cold Steel’s Micro-style serrations that are great for cutting cheese. The serrations however are impossible to sharpen without changing the edge geometry because of the size of the smaller teeth – one of the most annoying things about Cold Steel serrations in my opinion. The surface of the blade as you may have noticed from the pics is also somewhat striped, indication that the level of finish on the blade is somewhat mediocre. The serrations are also only one one side.

Given the low cost of this knife most of the issues I mentioned above are not really a big deal, but they are distracting as Spyderco does not have them at the same price point and also provide a much better steel. The blade opens and closes with a stop partway through the action to prevent accidently closure on the fingers due to the difficulty in controlling such a large blade.

Overall, a knife that doesn’t really have the level of finish that I would have hoped for, and the size combined with the odd knife shape and overly large handle makes the knife impractical for EDC or even general use.

Blade Steel: AUS-8
Blade Length: 6″
Overall Length: 13 1/4″
Handle Material: FRN

Video Review:

4 Responses to “Cold Steel Vaquero Grande Folder”

  1. Bob Says:

    But it’ll keep the bad guys at arms length won’t it?

  2. corwin99 Says:


  3. John Roberts Says:

    I love Cold Steel knives and Spyderco knives, and when I found this old review, I couldn’t disagree more with its conclusions. Having two Spyderco Enduras, several Natives and one or two others, I can’t see any differences — substantive or otherwise — in edge holding between the Endura and my CS plain edge Voyagers! As for the serrations, I have no problem sharpening them on my Vaquero (which is a very intimidating knife). Also, Cold Steel’s heat treat is outstanding. True, I don’t like the vertical lines in my blades, but there doesn’t seem to be any negative effects on my cutting power). But the proof of the proverbial pudding is the cutting power of Cold Steel’s plain edged knives, which BTW, keep a fine cutting edge every bit as good as my Endura, which is a great knife. Alas, Spyderco doesn’t make any 5- or 6-inch blade knives.

    It’s disheartening to hear reviewers poo-poo CS’s AUS8A steel, which I have zero complaints about. The only thing that ticks me off is that when CS upgraded its steel to VG-1, it promptly withdrew it and downgraded it back to AUS8A! Having bought several VG-1 Voyagers, I can say the new VG-1 knives were a noticeable improvement over the old AUS8A models — but I never had a complaint about its AUS8A.

  4. corwin99 Says:

    The Cold Steel AUS8A is a perfectly decent steel, however, it does not compare to the VG-10 Steel that Spyderco uses, and used at the time of the review. Cold Steel continues to use AUS8A steel in their blades now, and it continues to be inferior to VG-10, even with Cold Steel’s “superior” heat treating.

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