Underrated Knives – Ultimate Hunter Edition
“She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.” – Han Solo
Every knife enthusiast has picked up a knife that just “clicked” with them once it hits their hand. Sometimes these are the knives you hear about and have high expectations for, sometimes they are a surprise. In my case, it was the Cold Steel Ultimate Hunter that was a surprise for me.
In photos you can see the Ultimate Hunter has a familiar silhouette that evokes a Loveless drop point hunter, a classic shape that has proved its usefulness in the decades since its creation. Designer Andrew Demko did a fantastic job of translating the classic hunting knife shape into a folder. Once you get this knife in your hand the clever details start to show themselves and the usual compromises inherent in a folder start to fade away. The handle’s fairly neutral shape makes it comfortable in a variety of positions and angles, the contouring of the G-10 gives it nearly fixed blade ergonomics and hand filling shape, with the integral guard that prevents hand slippage in less-than-ideal conditions for added security. These design elements fit together perfectly to make a knife that punches well above its weight and nearly into fixed blade comfort and utility, while still having the compact nature of a folder, To top it off, you get all of this in a knife that is just under 5 ounces. The Triad lock is ambidextrous, ultra strong, ergonomically neutral, and easy to operate, making it the perfect choice for this application.
The blade that Demko designed is made of S35VN steel, an absolute benchmark for EDC and outdoor steel, it gives the Cold Steel Ultimate Hunter excellent edge retention, good toughness, and plenty of corrosion resistance for dirty tasks. The blade is 3.5 inches long and 4mm thick, which is an ideal compromise between portability and having enough blade to do the job. Cold Steel has their grinds dialed in on everything that I have handled, and the Ultimate Hunter has a great flat grind that is thin enough to slice quite well, while keeping enough meat on the bone to maintain durability. I’d love to see a hollow ground version as well, but for the sake of durability I am quite happy with a flat grind.
One of my favorite details on the Ultimate Hunter is that Cold Steel chose to keep the knife linerless. It has thick slabs of contoured G-10 on each side which is plenty durable for even heavy use while being significantly lighter than if they had insisted on having steel liners as part of the handle construction, especially when mated with the Triad lock.
If I had to choose one knife for the rest of my life for every situation, it would be the Ultimate Hunter. The versatility is off the charts with the strong ergonomics, great size, light weight, ability to fold, bang-for-your-buck pricing, and great materials; combining all of these factors, this knife is the closest to a one-size-fits-all solution that I have encountered. I highly recommend checking this knife out. The Ultimate Hunter has got it where it counts.