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American Lawman First Impressions from a first time Cold Steel-er

Discussion in 'Cold Steel Knives' started by jylong_away, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. jylong_away


    Nov 13, 2006
    So I finally bit the bullet and got an 2015 American Lawman as my first Cold Steel knife. I've passed the brand over for a number of years, but the steel upgrade to XHP(I honestly think something like S30V would have been a better choice, but still..) and watching *many* videos putting the linerless, 'structural' G10 to the test helped to convince me. In all honesty, some of the more recent Demko testing of the Tri-ad lock was what really tipped me over - they seemed to convey enough confidence/pride in the lock technology without overhyping things.

    The American Lawman was my first choice mainly because it fills in a 'happy medium' in many aspects that I look for in a blade:

    1) Medium size
    Blade is big enough for most tasks, but nowhere near the size of some of the 'large' models that CS produce. In fact it looks almost 'bland' enough to be sheeple friendly, in that sense. I understand that the 2015 model has a somewhat slimmed-down and smoothed-out handle, which I honestly appreciate.

    2) Non-specialist blade
    I think dropped point-type blades are excellent for overall utility, and again don't have the 'scariness' factor of alot of the purpose-styled 'combat' blades. The actual blade seems a tiny bit short for the amount of handle, but I think that's mostly a trade-off for the choil, and a bit more space take up by the Tri-ad lock. Totally worth it. The blade shape combined with the essentially flat spine does mean that grinding a good 'wave opener' into it would be quite tricky. Might try adding an attachment at the tumbstud area.

    3)Strong lock
    Nuff said. It also has the advantage of being harder to disengage, which I really like in a locking system.

    4)Ambi carry
    The clip and thumbstud aren't necessarily the easiest to swap around. You have to fiddle with 6 screws and 2 clips to change the carry side, and I can't help but wonder if designing the angle of the mounting position slightly differently would have allowed for a single kind of clip to be used on both sides. Tip down carry options would have been nice too, but it looks like that would be really hard to pull off withouth liners. The clip itself is stiff enough not to bend by accident, but can be bent with pliers if you need to loosen. I've had trouble with some other company's clips, which are extremely stiff, and snapped when I tried to bend them to any degree.

    5) Ergonomics for multiple, *multiple* grip styles
    I read a bit about the ergos, but my happiness meter really only went through the roof when I physically handled the knife. This thing handles like a genetic hybrid of the Spyderco Manix, PM2 and Native all in one. I'm primarily a Spyderco guy nowadays, and do feel that they have the best overall ergos, so this is a big complement. the Lawman even holds well in the Reverse-Edged grips. And the choil...*contented sigh*

    6) Overall QC seems to be pretty darned good for the price point. I'm especially impressed how they managed to get such little blade play in the pivot, yet have the lockbar move so freely. There was a decent-sized chip/roll in the blade from out of the box, however, which was a bit disappointing. It does look a bit like there's a slightly burned/discolored bit on the very edge of the blade, so I guess I would have had to sharpen it out anyway. A bit annoying, as I don't look forward to sharpening XHP very often!

    Very happy with the purchase in general. Would have still *really* liked metal liners, however - just 'cos ;P When I get the guts to take this thing apart, I might thing about making a set of Ti Liners for it. Have some scrap 6/4 sheet lying around, and it should work...in theory ;P

    As an aside, I also managed to gouge the slot in the thumbstud trying to swap it around for left-carry (it's in there *tight*). Contacted CS CS who offered to send me a new one. More to be impressed about!
  2. ourgon


    Feb 27, 2013
    Pics or didn't happen.:D
  3. GCG199


    Apr 26, 2001
    Yes, they did a great job on the changes for the American Lawman for 2015.

    The steel upgrade will get the attention of those that always passed up the previous Aus-8A versions.

    I didn't think that thinning out the handle scales would be such an improvement, but it works really well.

    The handle looks a bit blocky, but is surprisingly much more ergonomic than I would have figured.

    I don't like or use the 50/50 choil on various Spyderco knives that I have.

    Yet, this one works very well. I guess, because of being larger cut-outs or finger grooves.

    It is a great EDC for general utility use.
  4. Popsickle

    Popsickle Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 25, 2010
    Im wondering if we will see a stonrwashed or satin version?
  5. benchwarmer380

    benchwarmer380 Valyrian Member Platinum Member

    Sep 17, 2012
    Great review and spot on in my opinion. The Aus8 liner-less version was my first Cold Steel and it is a great affordable and well rounded knife. The upgraded steel will also put it on more folks radar.

    I too like steel/ti liners on my folders, but i dont think it would add enough strenght to justify the added weight. Those g10 handles are plenty strong.

    I dont mean to defer you as i would love to see the final results or a WIP thread if you choose to do it.:thumbup:
  6. insta9ves


    Apr 3, 2007
    Great choice for your first CS! The lawman and the recon 1 are what sold me to CS too. I have had 3 aus8a and 3 xhp lawman since then. For anything in the 8inch category of medium sized knife, nothing really beat lawman in terms of performance, strength and price.
  7. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    The AL was a great folder with AUS-8. Been carrying it for years, I'm a steel snob and still this knife kept me hooked. I will be upgrading a few of my current CS models, the AL being one of them. The better steel will make a difference, and I'm glad CS is drawing a bigger crowd because of it (they deserve it IMHO) but practically speaking, there was no need.
    But like I said, I'm a steel snob. And for the record, I prefer XHP over S30V.
  8. Vicarious Reality

    Vicarious Reality

    Apr 9, 2008
    Mine does not work properly without loads of lube, it will not close and the blade hangs out about an inch, i can not understand why, as if the lock bar gets caught on something i can not see, maybe the lock face
    Managed to strip two of the clip screws as well

    Other than that it is an ok knife when you grid down the sharp handle point

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