Cold Steel Spartan Review: Is This Survival Knife Worth It?

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By Bryan Lynch •  9 min read

Years ago, I was introduced to knives made by Cold Steel

and have enjoyed using them ever since. Not only does the company put its products through brutal testing, but many of their knives that I am interested in are also quite affordable. 

If memory serves, this is not the first Cold Steel knife that I have reviewed, and I am certain it will not be the last. The model I will be looking at today is the Spartan.

Now, this knife has been out for quite some time, but it remains one of Cold Steel’s most popular pocket knives, and now I get to take an in-depth look at it. If you are interested in monster folding knives, keep on reading! 

Last update on 2023-09-24 at 10:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features and Specifications 


The Spartan weighs in at 9 oz

Blade thickness


Blade length 

4 ½” 

Blade Steel

Japanese AUS10A

Handle Length 

6” Griv-Ex with steel liners 

Additional Features

Country of Origin 

The Spartan is a product of Taiwan 

Hands-On Review

I wanted to quickly explain why it has taken me so long to get this knife. First, and I’m going, to be honest, I think the Spartan looks cool which firmly places it into the guilty pleasures category versus a necessity. 

Secondly, the knife was out of my price range. The Spartan is certainly not the most expensive knife offered by Cold Steel but it does normally retail for over $100. Lucky for me, I recently found it on sale which allowed me to go ahead and pick it up. 

When I first slide the knife out of the box I almost laughed at its size. I do not mean this in a negative way, but, well just look at the picture below. 

On the top of the photo is the Spartan and on the bottom is the pocketknife I have been carrying for a while, the Kershaw Cryo.

There is a little bit of a difference in size, wouldn’t you say?

Also included in the box was an additional pocket clip with hardware, which I will talk more about later. 

The Scales 

The scales are deeply grooved on either side of the handle. This provides ample grip for my hand when the knife is open or closed. The scales are held in place by five small screws located along the spine of the handle. 

What really caught my eye about the Spartan is the shape of the handle. Most handles are fairly straight and solid. But the Spartan’s handle is slightly curved and deeply recessed in the region where my fingers wrap around it. 

This area is even more recessed in two areas, where the index finger rests and where the pinky rests. The butt of the handle also curves back on itself so much that it effectively creates a “hook” that holds onto the bottom of my hand. 

If I put the knife in my hand and let go but extend my fingers to the side, the knife stays in my hand. 

The handle is a great fit in my hand but there is one thing that I do not like about it. On the inside of the handle, the edges of the frame are completely straight which makes them a little sharp.

They are not sharp enough to cut my hand but when the knife moves around it does scrape against the skin. I would have liked to have seen the edges rounded a little more to prevent this.

The Blade

Everything about this knife seems large, including the thumb plate. This is found on the spine of the knife just in front of the handle and it is used to extend the blade from the closed position to the open position. 

On some pocketknives, these can be rather small and difficult to operate. That is not the case with the Spartan and the thumb plate is large enough that I do not have to fumble with trying to open it. 

Another thing to notice about the thumb plate is that there is a deep groove in front of it. This area can be used to assist in opening the blade when removing it from a pocket. 

The back portion of the knife spine is straight, while the front portion gives way to a drop point that allows the tip to be used in small detail work. Drop points are also well suited for using the tip to penetrate materials. 

On the edge of the blade, you will notice that there really are not any straight lines, and it is basically one big curved belly. The belly of a knife is great at one thing and that is slicing. 

Cutting it Up 

As it should be, the Spartan was razor sharp right out of the box. I grabbed a scrap piece of paper and performed everyone’s favorite paper cutting test. The knife had no problem cutting through the material and producing several thin ribbons. 

What about a single strand of 550 paracord? Easy. 

Six strands? No problem. 

Stabbing through 10 layers of cardboard? Like butter. 

Locking Mechanism

This knife comes with Cold Steel’s popular Tri-Ad lock that when engaged is extremely solid. The one-button release along the back of the handle makes unlocking the blade simple and easy. 

Safety Sidenote: I thought I would share with you my dumb, rookie mistake, to help you avoid doing the same.

I absolutely knew better than to do the following, but we all make mistakes from time to time. I had the knife in the open, locked position, with my hand wrapped around the handle, and attempted to close the knife one-handed with the blade pointing upward. DO NOT DO THIS!

I pressed the mechanism to unlock the knife and the blade is heavy enough that it swung down and popped me on top of the finger. No stitches were needed but it made a decent cut. 

Instead of being like me, unlock the blade in the following way using two hands because that is the safest way. Use one hand to hold the blade while the other hand is holding the handle. Unlock the blade with the hand holding the handle and close the knife. 

Pocket Clip

The Spartan comes with a pocket clip already installed but it also comes with an extra, loose clip and hardware. 

I have never had a pocketknife with two clips, so I am not sure if the intention is to have them both installed at the same time to give you more carrying options or if the extra clip is a backup in case the installed clip breaks. 

Either way, changing the pocket clip is not hard. You will need a small Allen wrench to remove the three set screws. Once the hardware is removed, place the clip where you want it and replace the hardware. 

Lanyard Hole

On the butt of the knife, there is a small hole that can be used to install a lanyard.

I do not see lanyards used much with pocketknives but installing one will depend on how you use your knife. Generally, I think lanyards area good way of holding on to your tools and for keeping track of it when it is not clipped into your pocket. 

However, there are times that a lanyard can get in the way but it is nice having the option to install one or not.

Spartan Pros and Cons 




Is the Spartan a good EDC knife?

That all depends on what you use your knife for and where you are carrying it. Personally, I think it is a little large for an EDC knife, but to each their own. However, some locations do have restrictions concerning the length of a knife you carry. Be sure to check your local laws to make sure you stay within compliance. 

Is the blade hard to sharpen?

The blade is quite easy to sharpen but it will take a little more patience than sharpening a straight edge. If you are having difficulty sharpening the blade on a flat stone, try a sharpening rod to help with the curvature of the blade. 

Is the Spartan a throwing knife?

I have not known my knife nor will I. I do not consider pocketknives to be throwers because there is a high probability you will break them. If you are looking for a throwing knife I recommend a fixed blade that is a full tang. 


The spartan does not fall into the category of an outdoor knife so it is not something I would take to the woods. I think it is better suited for carrying around the house or in more urban environments. 

Having said that, I think the Spartan is another great product by Cold Steel. Its unique style is an eye-catcher, it is a great slicer, and I found the handle to be extremely comfortable in the hand. Plus, there is something about having a BIG folding knife that is just fun.

If you are looking for a new and fun folding knife that is also huge, I would recommend the Spartan. 

Thanks for reading and stay sharp! 

Do you have any experience with The Spartan? If so, sound off in the comment section below and let us know about it! 

Last update on 2023-09-24 at 10:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.