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Cold Steel AD-10 Review

Cold Steel Knives are known for being some of the toughest knives out there. They earned that reputation, at least partly because of the innovative locking mechanisms developed by custom knifemaker Andrew Demko found on many Cold Steel knives. If you wanted a real Andrew Demko design, you’d have to get on his books, order a knife, wait six months or more, and then pay a pretty penny for it. That all changed when he licensed his AD-10 and brought the knife into regular production. You can now get a Demko knife delivered with free two-day shipping from Blade HQ all for around $200.

Why I Chose to Buy One

As ridiculous as spending $200 on a knife sounds, I decided to pony up and buy one. My knife collection consists of dozens of unique models from various manufacturers, but my Cold Steel AD-10 has the most pocket time. If you ask me what knife you should buy, I will tell you to get the Cold Steel AD-10.

The Materials

The knife’s materials strike a perfect balance of strength and resilience. The blade uses CPM S35VN stainless steel. This alloy’s edge retention, wear resistance, toughness, and stainlessness have earned it a reputation few steels can match. Other steel alloys can outperform it in some areas, but not many are as versatile, and those that are usually hike the price far higher than $200. The handle has G-10 scales with a gentle texture over aluminum liners. This gives the knife strength without being overly heavy. All in all, an excellent blending of premium materials into a fine tool.

The Mechanism

The knife utilizes the Tri-Ad lock, which functions much like the lockback mechanism on your grandpa’s hunting knife. Upon close examination, a trained eye can see that there’s a little more going on under the surface, like a stop pin and wear track, making the knife stronger, and ensuring the lock won’t slip, even after years of hard use. Andrew Demko developed this lock, and you can only find it on Demko customs and Cold Steel production knives.

The Design

The design of the AD-10 is where it shines. The handle provides a comfortable, secure grip, and won’t chew up your pocket when you carry it. The blade has a utilitarian drop point profile, proven for centuries to be the most versatile blade shape. This knife performed great on campouts, packaging, food, skinning, etc.


Some might criticize it for being overbuilt. After all, a knife is a cutting tool. A thick blade can sometimes make the knife hard to push through rigid materials. The knife is also pretty thick and heavy in the pocket, so if you’re carrying it, it will regularly remind you of its bulk. None of this ever bothered me, but if you prefer sleek, lightweight stuff, I’d suggest you look elsewhere. But for me, the Cold Steel AD-10 is perfect!