Staff Knife Review: Cold Steel Torture Test: Recon Tanto VS Brinks Safe
By: Cary Kieffer
I wanted to post a story and some pics of a recent impromptu “knife durability test” I conducted. The whole “right tool for the job” thing was not going my way and I ended up using my Cold Steel Recon Tanto to get into a safe. This was not an easy thing to do and the knife was subjected to abuse FAR past anything I have ever done to a knife before.
So a few years back at an old mans garage sale I bought this Brinks Safe for $15. It was in perfect shape. He said $5 when I went to pay him but the tag said $15, I pointed that out as it was obvious his sight was pretty far gone. He thanked me and said you’re right, $15. Still a great deal. I recently lost the only key that went to the thing and needed to get out my buddies cash for a car that I had sold for him. After a few weeks of looking for the key I gave up and decided to break in. I figured the key would surface 12 minutes after I had destroyed the thing but it hasn’t yet.
I thought this would be easy, I planned to cut the hinges and just lift out the door from the hinge side. Wrong answer! I never really paid attention to the design but the deadbolt thing latched on both sides. So with the hinges cut the door was still there to stay. At this time a crow bar would have been nice but mine was too big to get it in there so after snapping off one screwdriver within 20 seconds I went to the Carbon V Recon Tanto from Cold Steel. In case you were wondering a cutting wheel or torch was not an option. The safe also contained a first year Ruger Mk 1 in mint condition in its original box, a sweet 1964 Colt Govt. Model and an early 70′s Colt Combat Commander in 38 Super, plus the Commander was loaded. For those reasons I didn’t want wheels cutting inside the safe walls or heat.
Now I spent the next hour and a half grunting, cursing and busting a sweat. I bent that knife blade over probably pushing 30 degree’s so many times I can’t count them. It returned to perfectly strait every time, VERY impressive. One would be hard pressed to find a knife in most any price range that would do that.
Once I opened up a bit of room from all that prying I could have switched to the crowbar but by now I was wondering if I could do it entirely with the Tanto. I braced the backside of the blade against the door and just started cutting/tearing my way through the layers of steel and the fire retardant stuff. I forced that knife through several layers of steel, twisted it, bent it over time and time again and still it wasn’t damaged.
After a long while I heard a tiny little “snap” sound and felt something. I looked at the blade and I had snapped off just the very tiniest bit of the tip. It in no way put the knife out of commission but I have to note that it did break off. In all fairness though I don’t think out of 200 knives in my collection that I have a single one that would have lasted up to this point. I have all kinds of knives, Gerber, SOG, Randall and other Cold Steel knives. Military bayonets from 150 years ago till today’s, Buck’s, Khukri’s, Schrade’s, Henry’s…NONE of them do I think would have survived this. Not even close. This Recon Tanto is just one bad ass knife.
Eventually I managed to get the steel cut back far enough that I scraped one of the dead bolts by out of its hole and the door was off Finally…I wrenched on that thing so hard for so long I was getting tired and tired of it too.
So in the end how is the knife?? After all that unreasonable abuse it is fine. The tip will be easily fixed by my knife sharpener guy and the blade despite all that bending is perfectly strait. The finish shows a few scuffs, so what after all that. The edge is a bit dulled but not butter knife dull and it has NO chips or dings in the edge which is mind-boggling to me. This is by far the most I have ever asked of a knife and the Cold Steel Recon Tanto passed with flying colors. This was a safe! While I didn’t break into it in record safe cracking time the point is I managed to claw, cut, pry and rip my way into a name brand safe without any permanent damage to the knife. That says a lot for this knife.
This thing is tough folks!! It always has been my first choice in a field knife and this is why. The thing is nearly indestructible and at a fraction of the cost of a lot of knives that won’t take this amount of abuse. This is the best bang for any buck field knife I have ever used or ever will use. I can’t see myself personally using anything but a Cold Steel Carbon V Recon Tanto.
As always thanks for reading and train often.