Gear Review – Cold Steel Bushmaster Knife

Cold Steel has a reputation for making good knives.  Expensive ones, so when I saw the Bushmaster Knife on Amazon for $23 I had to give it a try, so  I ordered one online and it showed up a couple of days later.  Here are a few thoughts on the Bushmaster after using it for a few days.


Cold Steel Bushman

This is a fairly good sized knife with a 7” blade, which is big for a survival blade in my opinion.  It’s got a hollow handle, but it’s made from a single piece of steel thus there is no joint between the blade and the handle.  When you first open it there’s a note on the knife saying that it will rust, so be sure to keep it clean and lightly lubed and not to store it in the sheath for any length of time.

It came with a good sharp edge on it out of the box and I left it as it was.

Performance-wise there are a couple of things I don’t like about it out of the box, but with a little ingenuity these issues can be taken care of.

First, the round handle and light weight of the knife causes it to twist in your hand when chopping.  Even batoning wood was a little tricky because of this, so I looked online and found a lot of people had the same issue.

My idea was to put some hockey tape on the grip, so it wouldn’t turn and this was one idea of many put out there by readers and viewers on Youtube.  Other ideas included wrapping paracord around the handle (I tried it and it just came loose, but there were other ways to weave it as shown on Youtube), and putting tape around it.  I’ll probably opt for the tape option although I haven’t done it yet.

The cordura sheath confused me at first because I wasn’t pushing down on it hard enough to get it all the way in.  The pommel should be at the same level as the loop on the sheath and it requires a good bit of force to get it down in there.  Not necessarily bad, but it does take getting used to and it doesn’t strap in, so make sure it’s good and tight.  It has a small pocket on the sheath for fishing line and hooks, or a firesteel, or whatever you want to store in there.  I put a Gobspark firesteel in mine.

One of the more interesting features is the hollow handle.  It can be used to store small items of survival gear or – get this – you can put it on a long stick thus making a spear.  I highly doubt I’d ever need to do that, but it’s a pretty fun idea.  Supposedly the knife can take the abuse although I haven’t subjected it to that kind of treatment yet.  Check out this video of Lynn Thomspon – the owner of Cold Steel – abusing one of his Bushmaster knives.

You can throw them, put them on a stick to make a spear, or just use them as a regular old knife and at the $23 price tag ($22.79) if you break or damage the knife it’s not a bank buster.

The bottom line:  a great blade for the price.  Yeah, it’s a little big, but if you’re looking for a backup knife or one to store in your extra BOB, or whatever then I would recommend this knife.  Chances are good you’ll never have a good reason to make a spear, and throwing your knife in a true survival situation is never a good idea (at least for me), but if you want to play around with it you can.

I like this knife for its versatility and its utility.

3.8 out of 5 stars.

-Jarhead Survivor

21 comments… add one
  • kevin March 30, 2012, 8:31 am

    ive had one for years and love it

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. March 30, 2012, 9:03 am

    Makes for a great Johnny-on-the-spot pole cutter as well, I’ve used mine for cutting limbs that I was unable to reach on foot when cleaning berechas (roads through brush) and brush ax.

  • Sput March 30, 2012, 9:51 am

    go to CDNN and get a Remington FAST knife for a better cheap knife
    The Bushman does make a good spear tip though

  • Nor' Coutry March 30, 2012, 11:11 am

    I’m like Kevin… Have had one for years.

    I have skinned caribou, moose and bears with it as well cutting the heads off fish… Perfect knife for just about everything except micro-surgery…

  • T.R. March 30, 2012, 12:49 pm

    I have the Cold Steel GI Tanto knife , Its dirt simple but If this thing is made from the same material mine is , all I can say is go ahead and abuse the crap out of it , it can take it . My tanto came with a secure ex sheath , same thing , you have to push hard at first till it gets used a bit . I describe my Tanto as a sharp hammer , I paid about the same as what you paid for it , you wont be disappointed .

  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. March 30, 2012, 1:35 pm

    Dang it, should have added above – you should keep a brass or other metal material eye bolt secured to the thong hole, so that you can haft it securely.

    And if you find this one too large, CS some years back made the Mini-Bushman, about 2″ smaller in overall length, about medium Mora knife long. Discontinued, but if you hunt around, might find one – some folks prefer the smaller size for kits.

  • royg March 30, 2012, 8:56 pm

    I hav the bushmaster bowie….. And i love it.. i put skateboard grip tape on the handle an grinded it down for a comfortable grip and have several leangths of wood, bamboo and steel for handles depending on what im useing it for… I use around the yard hacking and cutting wood and palm branches with no issues… And for 29 bucks for the bowie im not worried about how i use it.. this one definatly goes with me if i bug out…

  • NoMEPreppy March 30, 2012, 9:46 pm

    Funny. I just got the Cold Steel catalog in the mail today. Many things caught my eye. If i only had the funds for all of it…

    • T.R. March 30, 2012, 10:21 pm

      Yeah ,
      I like their products , but they are pretty proud of them price wise .

      • BillyB March 31, 2012, 9:21 pm

        I got their catalog a couple of days ago, too — even though I’ve never bought anything from them. The stuff looks very cool; but, having more than one or two of their knives is pretty impractical.
        Speaking of impractical, I always had wanted a samurai sword, and thought about getting one of Cold Steel’s, but I opted for Hanwei instead. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to use it, and rarely dare pull it from the scabbard for fear of damaging either the sword, or (less importantly) myself. I dropped $600+ bucks on the thing, and it just sits in my room.
        It does LOOK pretty badass, though.

        • T.R. April 2, 2012, 2:04 am

          LOL , Well if you haven’t already , go to their web site , the videos are worth the look for entertainment value alone . All I have from them is two of their knives and the spetznaz shovel , no complaints about any of them , I stay away from stainless blades , so I cant comment on what theirs are like .

  • sillyMe March 31, 2012, 10:48 am

    For those who hike if you have one of these in a daypack or backpack and you also have a hiking stick you could have an awesome defense weapon ready in seconds. never mind TEOTWAWKI this would work for real life situations.

    • T.R. March 31, 2012, 3:49 pm

      If your hiking stick is long enough , and its a common thing for you to carry on your outings , getting training in either the Bo staff or quarterstaff would make you deadly with impoverished weapons . It would also serve you in most areas , urban or rural as all you need is a stick , rebar , etc , laying on the ground or street to be armed and very dangerous . I would go with the quarterstaff option because your sparring almost immediately , Martial arts are superior , but there main drawback is that they take YEARS to learn before they will actually practical to serve you , things like Krav Maga are more realistic , fast to pick up and will serve you very quickly .

  • Chef Bear58 March 31, 2012, 10:16 pm

    I have the Bushman… The big brother of the knife reviewed here (a bit more heft, widder blade, probably similar length). I found it to be one of the best skinning knife I have ever put to use on larger animals, not to mention it does an excellent job seperating muscles in skilled hands. I was given my knife by my father a few years back. Since then I have hand carved caps to secure the small first-aid/fishing kit I keep in the handle of my version. My father also had a custom sheath made for my knife, it is made of vaccum formed plastic; It works hundreds of times better than the piece of junk that came with it. The knife is carbon steel, it is ecceptionally well suited to hoding an edge, not so mutch on fending off corrosion, I just give it a little Rem-Oil every few months. I am VERY picky about my knives (for example, I take my own chef knives with me everywhere I go), and the Bushman is one of my favorites. The only thing I would change (beside the sheath) is a hilt to protect your fingers when thrusting (not that I have had any practical use for the technique), if you happen to be needing that particular skill and your hands are damp AT ALL (sweat, blood, or whatever), they are gonna get cut, and if you keep your knives in the ready condition I do, you will have the neatest cut fingers around! Count on it hurting pretty bad a few seconds after it happens, and for some time after!

    • Chef Bear58 March 31, 2012, 10:21 pm

      Almost forgot…. I keep a simple deck screw in the kit inside the handle of my version, just in case I happen to need a spear (haven’s had to use my 1911, doesn’t mean I don’t like having it on my hip just in case!). The knife has a small hole in the handle to secure it to the stick/broom handle to make the spear. The deck screw goes into wood a little easier than my first thought, which was a self-tapping screw.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. April 1, 2012, 12:05 pm

        Chefbear58, an eye bolt does not require any tools to install it, a branch inserted through eye works fine. But it does portride above the handle.

        • j.r. guerra in s. tx. April 2, 2012, 8:48 am

          sorry, spellchecker is horrible in guerra household 8^) – portrude above the handle.

          • Chef Bear58 April 4, 2012, 11:33 pm

            I could see how it could be secured if you get the right sized stick, pole, etc. Don’t mind me, I’m just picky and like to be sure it stays in place. I have had enough nasty cuts in my day to know that a sharp blade that is at all loose is a bad idea. Could always use a strip of duct tape to make a field expedient quick fix to… Which is always nice to have on hand anyway.

  • T.R. April 2, 2012, 2:08 am

    You also could ” dip ” the handle , they make the material in a can that gives whatever you can dip into the can the same grips as a pair of lineman’s pliers have .

  • TMac April 3, 2012, 3:05 am

    You can also better the grip by use of a piece of bicycle inner tube. Slip it over the handle (You might want to tape the very front to secure it). If you want a little extra, you can tuck the excess into the open space of the hollow and this will also help secure items that you may have inside it. In a BOB, this supplies you with a small amount of firestarter or elastic strapping material as well.

  • SGI April 8, 2012, 12:08 am

    I love cold steel, they really make some great stuff. I have seen this knife in a number of catalogs, and though it looked interesting, but always left it at that. Based on your review and a reminder on the price I might have to consider getting one. I really do like the fact that it can be made into a spear so easily.


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