Pros: Lock Type, Blade Material, Handle Feel, Handle Material, Overall Quality, Weight, Ease of Opening, Blade Sharpness
Medium Vaquero Voyager
This new lockback design seems very secure (seems like a traditional lockback, but at the actual lockup point the mechanism is a little different). As usual the Taiwanese construction from Cold Steel's contractor is first rate - no wobble or play anywhere. Difficult to release lock - you have to REALLY push in the lock bar. Make sure you aren't putting too much pressure on the blade to start the close at the same time, or you might chop your fingers (remember once you fully release the lock bar, it takes VIRTUALLY NO pressure on the blade to disengage it from the lock).I much prefer the new "hastily done, semi-unfinished" satin look of the blade, compared to their old "you can use it for mirror signaling" approach with ultra shiny finishes. The satin look is very functional (its not so coarse it feels like a rust magnet), but to a casual observer it will look like the blade wasn't finished very well - don't be fooled, everything about this knife is quality.The handle is fatter, wider, and more abrasive than any prior Voyager in my collection. It will probably be hard on pockets and iPhones, so a small Russell style slip case might be a good investment, or just adapt an earphone or similar small pouch to hold it, with a little sewing.This is a factory knife that rivals the grip you can get on an Emerson. There is a bottom finger notch that is nice and functional too and will protect your fingers from slipping onto the blade. There are no blade top ridges for indexing, but there are some ridges on the last portion of the top of the handle.A second clip is provided in a small plastic pouch in case you want the clip on the other side. Or two clips.Ambidextrous (both sides) thumb studs.Clip carry (which I don't use) is point up. FWIW (since I don't use clip carry) my preference is tip DOWN, which has to do with safety and not with orienting the withdrawn knife in my hand: as you pull the knife out of your pants pocket (where you presumably have the clip oriented so the blade top is against the pocket seam to keep it closed) it is SLIGHTLY possible the thumb stud could catch enough on fabric to start to open the blade. With tip DOWN, fabric pressure would help to keep the blade CLOSED. Experiment with your own carry and withdrawal technique, and remember that with tip up it is best to pinch the top of the knife between thumb and finger when withdrawing it to keep the blade closed.Quality of finish and assembly are simply incredible to me. Cold Steel has always made sure the Voyager series get a lot of TLC at the factory.This is the Vaquero curved blade configuration, which I like for its romantic throwback (to the old California "Mission" days) and also for its utility in food preparation. It is a nice variation and alternative to the traditional Bowie style blade profiles. This is a straight bevel grind all the way to the top, not a hollow grind.I highly recommend this whether it is your only knife or an addition to your factory lockback collection.Compared to the Kershaw Chill which arrived on the same order, this is a FAT (and also wider) knife. Assuming you can find room for the new Medium Voyager in your pants pocket or jacket pocket, it is worth the extra heft (not weight - weight is a reasonable 3.1 ounces in Medium).