Cold Steel Swords are some of the best known swords for sale on the internet – partially as a result of their aggressive marketing campaigns combined with a reputation for proving the quality and cutting power of their swords in a series of promotional and sometimes very gruesome free DVD’s (the “Proof” series, also published on their youtube channel here).
While Cold Steel swords are made in at least 2 separate forges (one in China by smiths trained by Fred Chen for their Japanese swords and one in India for the European swords) they pride themselves on keeping close control over the swords they commission – striving to create a product that is a little heavier than the historical equivalent it is based upon – yet extremely sharp, very durable and with excellent cutting abilities.
In late 2020, founder Mr. Lynn C. Thompson sold the company to GSM Outdoors, but agreed to stay on as a consultant and the business rebranded with a new logo design, but otherwise remains largely unchanged.
The price range on their swords varies quite dramatically from seller to seller, though if you shop around most can typically be obtained within the US$150 to $300 price range.
In a unique and rather broad ‘shotgun’ approach – they typically produce at least one model for each genre of sword, from
Military Sabres, Chinese Jian to medieval swords and everything else in
between (though no ancient Greek, Roman, Celtic or Fantasy Swords).
As such, it is very hard to neatly categorize their blades other than to say that they produce at least ‘one of each broad type’ – and quite a few varieties of Japanese Katana.
The quality of some models of their swords can be something of a hit and miss affair – notably with regards to the structural integrity of their hilts. In particular, the Hand and Half Sword and the Gross Messer have had reported issues in this area -– with the Hand and a Half sword often reported as falling apart at the handle for no good reason, and the pommel of the Gross Messer occasionally dropping of during use due to an insufficiently long pommel screw.
Regardless though, they do not shy away from these issues and state in their FAQ:
“If you are ever dissatisfied with a Cold Steel product because it breaks in normal use or is in some other way defective, please return it to us with a short explanation of what happened. We will be happy to evaluate the situation and resolve the problem.”
Otherwise, the most common issue on their swords involves sharpness – or lack of it. The overwhelming majority of their swords are ridiculously sharp, but there are occasions where some bad ones slip through that are as blunt as a butter knife. While the good ones far outweigh the bad, the sheer volume of swords on the market magnifies this problem exponentially.
Many of the rejects end up being sold off on ebay. And a warning that a given retailer is selling the factory seconds is an unusually low price (though there are exceptions such as Trueswords.com where their swords are sold at the lowest price on the internet, but are pre-inspected and covered by their excellent commitment to customer service should a lemon slip through the net).
Prices for their swords fluctuate wildly, with the most expensive place to buy them being directly from Cold Steel! (not an usual practice, as if they were to compete with their retailers on price, their retailers would not be able to sell enough product to make it worthwhile).
Our recommendation is to buy them here from Kult of Athena - who price them almost at HALF the price of the MSRP and approx $10-20 lower than their closest (legitimate) competitors.
I hope this information on Cold Steel Swords has been helpful. To return to the Sword Manufacturers Dossier from Cold Steel Swords, click here