It seems that everyone’s favorite piece of gear to carry and discuss are knives. With the variety of styles, shapes, sizes, and the jobs they can perform, it is easy to see why they are a favorite piece of gear.
When it comes to folding knives, I am very particular and will not carry any old pocket knife. I have seen a lot of guys carry five to ten dollar knives that you can find piled in a box on a gas station or sporting goods countertop. Those guys always love to show off that new, shiny, cool-looking knife.
Of course within a week or two…the blade locking mechanism has broken, the edge of the blade is as dull as a butter knife, and some of the screws or rivets are falling out.
Those guys might as well have thrown their money into the garbage can because that is where their cool new knife ended up anyway. For most of my life I carried a Schrade Old Timer , Swiss Army knife, or a Gerber Paraframe.
All three of these knives held up well, never broke, kept an edge, and paid for themselves time and time again. The only downfall of folders is that they generally don’t stand up to the activities I would use a fixed blade for.
I know that I should not expect that kind of strength and durability from a folding knife as it is a completely different from a fixed blade. However, I always wanted that out of a folding knife, and I think I have finally found one that will perform as closely to a fixed-blade knife as possible.
Enter the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman.
Before getting into the review, let’s get the details of the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman out of the way:
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Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Specifications and Features
4 1/2 inches
German 4116 stainless cryo quenched
5 3/4 inches 420 stainless steel
10 1/4 inches
Ram Safe Lock
Country of Origin
Hands On Review
Over the years I have owned a few fixed, full-tang knives from Cold Steel and have always been extremely happy. Good prices? Check! Incredibly durable? Check! Interesting designs? Check!
So, a awhile back I decided to purchase a pocket knife from them, the Pocket Bushman. It is probably one of the plainest looking knives you can buy. No frills, colors, textures, or anything that makes it stand out. It would be easy to mistake it for just some hunk of metal.
But boy, is this knife a BEAST!
The blade measure in at 4 ½” inches long which isn’t terribly long but the overall length is 10 ¼”! All the reviews said that this knife was big, and it did look big in the photos, but I really didn’t appreciate how big It was until I was holding it in my hands.
Opening The Blade
Honestly, it felt more like a fixed blade knife than a folding pocket knife. Unlike other pocket knives, the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman does not whiz open with a flick of your thumb even though it does have a thumb stud. It is rather slow and I have found you need both hands to properly open it and shut it.
When closing the knife you have to be extremely careful. The knife has a rocker lock – a ram safe lock – which is tough as nails, but it is a bit different to close than other folders.
In order to close the knife safely and properly, you need to place one hand on the spine of the blade, and the other hand needs to pull the paracord lanyard at the bottom of the handle. The first time I tried this, it was a bit awkward, and I almost cut myself. After opening and shutting it a few times, the motions became very natural.
The Cold Steel Pocket Bushman is the only knife that I have that has this type of locking system. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that you are aware of how to use this correctly. If you are looking for a knife that deploys and can be put away quickly, then this is not the knife for you.
The Handle Scales
Unlike many pocket knives, the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman doesn’t have any designer handle scales, it’s simply one smooth piece of metal. The handle has a very large and deep groove for your index finger. This helps in keeping your hand from slipping forward to the blade when working with the blade.
The handle is probably the only downfall – other than the somewhat awkward locking system – I can find with the Pocket Bushman. While I like the smooth steel finish, it makes it a bit tough to use the knife if your hands are wet. It would have been nice to see some kind of textured finished on the handle.
However, I will say that there have only been a few times that I have tried to use this knife in wet conditions and I am almost always I am wearing gloves when using the Pocket Bushman, which I highly recommend.
While this is a folder and it fits well in my pocket, I love that it can handle the big jobs as well. I have used it for making tinder, cutting cardboard, tape, ropes, tie downs, zip ties, carpet, to baton wood, gutted fish, and even split small logs. I really don’t recommend using a knife to baton or split wood, but I had to find out if the Pocket Bushman was as tough as it looked.
Even though this Cold Steel blade is big, I have been able to work on smaller projects and detail work thanks to its rather straight frame and the sharp clip point on the blade.
I still remember the first time I showed it off at work. The guys thought I had wasted my money on some big knife just to be a showoff.
While they were chuckling, I bent down and picked up a broken piece of wood from a pallet. I then commenced beating the back of the blade into a very tall, thick stack of cardboard. Once I got halfway down the stack, I turned to a pallet that was leaning against a nearby shelf.
The Pocket Bushman easily took chunks out of the pallet, and after a few minutes it came out the other side of the board. I turned around to the guys, showed them there was no damage to the knife and no wiggle in the blade, folded it up, placed it in my pocket, and walked away.
One last thing that I wanted to touch on is the pocket clip which, in my opinion, is one of the winning features of this product. For one, depending on how you want to carry the blade, the pocket clip can be removed and relocated to the other side of the frame.
And two, this Cold Steel blade has a ridiculously strong compression clip. After years of use, and unclipping it countless times, the clip hasn’t shown one bit of loosening up.
Pocket Bushman Pros and Cons
- Innovative ram safe lock is one solid lock!
- Can be used for tough outdoor tasks or emergency survival applications
- Affordable price
- Incredibly strong
- Have used it a ton for utility chores
- Unlocking the blade takes some practice and can be extremely dangerous if done so incorrectly
Final Thoughts – Verdict on the Cold Steel Pocket Bushman Folding Knife
A few years have passed, and I have used this knife so much – yet there is still no blade play between the blade and steel frame. It’s enormous strength seemingly makes it physically impossible to break when using it as a pocket knife.
It still sharpens very easily and keeps a fantastically sharp edge. I have had to add a piece of replacement paracord to the loophole in the lock release slide at the bottom of the handle, but that’s no big deal.
This is by far, hands down, the best folder I have ever purchased and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new tool.
The sheer simplicity of this blade, its toughness, and its affordability has made it the most dependable folder that I own and a great knife in the Cold Steel line of products.