Cold Steel’s American Lawman series was designed as a multi-functional knife capable of tackling the diverse needs of law enforcement officers. It’s simple but flexible design makes the Lawman an excellent choice for civilians in the market for an EDC (every day carry) knife as well. I’m going to focus on the full size American Lawman in this review, as it’s the one I own, but readers looking for a smaller more compact knife should bear in mind Cold Steel also makes a smaller version of American Lawman called the Mini Lawman.
What can this knife handle?
This isn’t a showpiece knife. The Lawman is meant to be used and can tackle a diverse number of tasks whether it’s on the worksite or defense. The knife is slim and compact, so its no hassle to carry and you can expect the incredible toughness and durability that has become the hallmark of Cold Steel blades. The teflon finish offers a degree of protection from the elements, which is nice, and its big belly and solid tip give it equal cutting and stabbing power.
Construction and Blade
Cold Steel chose AUS 8 for the blade, good mid-range steel that’s easy to sharpen. The blade is coated in a black non reflective Teflon finish. This is really nice if you work outside a lot where glare can be an issue. The only downside is that Cold Steel chose a poor quality finish that wears off pretty quickly. I don’t mind a little wear on my blades because I think it gives them some character but I was disappointed in how fast the Lawman’s coating wore off.
As far as specifics go, the American Lawman is 8 1/8” long with a 3 1/2” long and 3.5mm thick blade. It comes with a drop point tip and weighs in at 4.5 oz. It weighs a little more than some other knives in its class but I really haven’t noticed it. The sturdiness of the knife more than compensates for the extra weight.
Handle, Grip, and Feel
Cold Steel equipped the Lawman with textured G10 for the handle which provides
terrific grip and carries the extra benefit of being waterproof (a real benefit
for those in law enforcement or other fields which require working in the elements).
Overall the handle is well designed and you can feel confident in a sure grip.
The only problem I’ve had with the Lawman’s grip is that the texture
is so rough it can rub your hand raw when using it for long periods so be aware.
Jimping (small notches cut into the back of the blade or choil) and a finger groove on the handle offer a variety of options for gripping the knife. The jimping by the thumb ramp is especially useful if you need to use the Lawman defensively. Tempered steel liners accompany the handle and these have been milled to reduce the weight of the Lawman. A reversible clip also comes standard.
Cold Steel American Lawman features large twin thumb studs for deployment. If
you’re looking for a knife you can quickly whip out, the Lawman is not
for you. It’s a big knife with an extremely powerful locking spring, so
it takes a little longer to deploy.
The Lawman is equipped with Cold Steel’s famous Tri-Ad locking system. It’s quite simply the best locking system in the world. If you’ve ever seen Cold Steel’s promotional video’s you understand this. The Tri-Ad locking mechanism stands up to brutal impact and stress testing that would destroy lesser locks. You can be rest assured that once your blade is deployed and locked up, its not going anywhere. The Tri-Ad lock is an incredible system and one of the Lawman’s real perks.
Overall, Cold Steel’s American Lawman is solid multi-role knife. It may be a little to heavy for some, but potential buyers should keep in mind that Cold Steel does offer the Mini Lawman which may be a suitable compromise. My biggest gripes are the slow deployment time and the shoddy quality of the Teflon coating. None of these are deal breakers for me though, the knife can be used effectively as a weapon should the need arise or as a tool on a day-to-day basis. It’s kind of a simple design but the simplicity also affords it great versatility. The Cold Steel American Lawman is a dependable folder, ideal for getting the job done in inhospitable conditions.