Choosing a folding knife is always a balancing act between design, features, and price. On many occasions, we've found knives that look good and provide features we like — for example, a strong locking mechanism and deep carry pocket clip — but use poor-quality stainless steel to maintain a low price. Alternatively, knives sometimes check every feature box but use fancy materials that drive the price up beyond our budget. And then there are times when a specific feature turns us away (e.g. tip-down, non-reversible pocket clips). The new Cold Steel Engage line of folding knives aims to bridge these gaps, allowing buyers to choose from a variety of blade steels, shapes, and price points.
This configurable approach reminds us of buying a truck — for example, even if you know you want a Toyota Tacoma, you can save money by getting the base model or splurge on a TRD Pro with all the bells and whistles. You can also pick a regular cab or four-door cab, short bed or long bed, and numerous color choices too.
In the same vein, the new Cold Steel Engage series offers a 2.5-inch blade, 3-inch blade, or 3.5-inch blade. Steel choices include basic 4116 stainless steel, mid-range AUS-10A, and premium S35VN (one of our favorite knife steels for an EDC tool). You can choose between clip-point and tanto blade shapes, satin or black PVD finishes, and even glass-filled nylon or G10 polymer handle materials (we usually prefer the latter). And to top it all off, there are handle color options as well: black, gray, FDE, OD green, and blaze orange.
Of course, there are some commonalities in the Cold Steel Engage line. The handle design remains consistent, with a prominent forefinger notch plus front and rear quillions to keep your grip locked in. It includes a lanyard hole and a left-to-right reversible tip-up pocket clip. The locking mechanism is Cold Steel's new slide-action Atlas Lock — it looks similar to a classic lockback/back lock at first glance, but actually uses a bar that slides over two pins in the handle.
In the typical over-the-top fashion we've come to expect from the brand, a Cold Steel representative demonstrates the strength of the Atlas Lock in the video above. It's shown supporting more than 700 pounds of weight, and is also smashed repeatedly into a metal “whack test” jig.
MSRP for the Cold Steel Engage series ranges from $70 (4116 stainless 2.5″ blade) to $250 (S35VN 3.5″ blade). For more information, go to ColdSteel.com.