Originally Published on the APN Product Review Blog
Knifehog.com was most gracious in donating the Cold Steel Magnum Machete for this review, be sure to check out their great selection of knives & edged weaponry.
There’s few who doubt the need for a stout blade. Most tend to focus on pocketknives or tactical fighting knives, but there’s a lot to be said for a knife with a bit more to it than close up cutting and slicing. There’s a real need for a blade that can reach out and touch. Although it’s overkill to sport a Scottish Claymore, a Rapier is too light and a Cutlass just too dramatic to hang on your hip all day long, a more practical class of swinging steel fills the bill quite well… The Machete.
Survival experts agree one of the most indispensable tools to have in the field is a high quality machete. These long bladed tools span the gap between knives and swords and are well suited to campsite chores, survival activities, and forest or jungle expeditions. Machetes can span a wide range of tasks as well as deliver in combat. No matter what your ultimate mission, a machete is a must have addition to any expeditionary kit.
Cold Steel Magnum Kukri Machete proves gaining an edge needn’t be expensive! The unique blade brings reliable & capable cutting power in a very affordable package. I jumped at the chance to review it, knowing the dependable reputation beforehand of Cold Steel Knives, I wasn’t disappointed.
My yard in the South Carolina Low Country is truly a jungle, what better place to put this blade through it’s paces. Plenty of vegetation to test the Magnum Kukri. The end result… I learned plenty… about this handy, capable Machete, and of my capability to make it do it’s thing. Admittedly, it’s a better “Bushmaster” of the two of us.
Let’s pause to get familiar with the Kukri. Not the typical straight-edge blade you picture when you think of a Machete, this classic design has been used for years in the highlands of India and Pakistan, and features a powerful blade tip that dips down towards the ground. This creates a powerful leverage point allowing the Kukri to slice and slash with great effect. The Kukri has a noted history as a superior fighting weapon, in fact, “Gurkhas”, the special forces troops of Nepal, were historically issued Kukri. Members of the modern Brigade of Gurkhas receive training in its use & are renowned as formidable opponents, specializing in close-in combat using this blade.
The blade geometry has a superior cutting advantage, with greater mass forward of the sweet spot, adding additional centrifugal force to it’s impact. Add a diagonal cutting surface cutting like a guillotine, it’s a one-two punch that makes hacking through brush & bone that much easier, and gives out of shape, wheezing fat guys like me, a better chance at cutting through stuff with a lot less effort.
On to my review: Right off, I was impressed with the stoutness of the spring steel blade. Though relatively lightweight, the Magnum Kukri is stiff & sharp right out of the box. The molded polypropyline contoured handle is permanently bonded to a full tang, with a finger relief separating handle & blade. The handle sports a nylon lanyard if you’re inclined to sling it to your wrist.
The Magnum comes with a tactical black Cor-Ex™ nylon canvas sheath, sporting a hard plastic tip protector, and two snaps along its spine to make extracting the blade easy. The sheath is a bare minimum as sheath’s go, but it is up for the task as a carrier for the blade, when slung from the hip. In other words, nothing fancy, but still fully functional.
Blade Length: 17″
Overall Length: 22″
Steel: 1055 Carbon Steel w/ Black Baked on Anti Rust Matte Finish
Weight: 18.2 oz
Blade Thickness: 2 mm
Handle: 5″ Long Polypropylene
At just over 18 oz. the blade indeed feels light but as for it’s heft, it just like Goldilocks assessment of Baby Bears’ Porridge… it’s just right.
FIELD TEST: With plenty of overgrowth all around the edge of the yard, I set to the task of cutting back most of the creeper vines and Mimosa saplings ,which without a seasonal trim quickly crowd out the sun. With Kukri in hand, I started in. Right off I was impressed in the blades ability to chop into green wood of sizable girth, and with a few strokes was felling 2 -3″ saplings easily. Like a much heavier hatchet, the blade chopped easily into branches. It was actually the smaller more flexible targets that needed a few more swings. I learned later, much of that was due not to the Kukri, but rather to my technique.(Or lack thereof)
I learned that holding the machete in a death grip is counterproductive. Not only does it transmit the shock of impact up the arm & shoulder, but actually slows the velocity of the strike. A loose grip on the handle allows the blades momentum to travel further into what it’s striking, and with less shock moving up the arm, less fatigue.
It took a while for me to figure that out.
The Magnum Kukri feels lighter than other machete’s… mostly because it is, and a lot of my white-knuckle gripping was due in part to not feeling much heft. But once I eased up on my grip, and let the swing become more fluid, I was cutting through things much more easily, & not having to hack at stuff as much.
The stock edge of the Magnum was plenty sharp, however it doesn’t take much to hone it razor sharp, and if you know your way around a whetstone, do so. You can count on the 1055 Carbon Steel to hold an edge despite tons of abuse. A full day of yard work, the Magnum showed little wear, even after chopping it’s way through heavier deadfalls. Time and effort in the heat made for some heavy perspiring on my part, but thru it all, the molded polypropylene handle kept it’s grip, not becoming sticky or greasy. The Magnum Kukri is definitely an all-day work blade.
As an Edged Weapon:
I slain no rampaging Zombies during my review. But it’s obvious that if there were any brain-eaters in my path, they’d quickly be chasing their noggins down the street. The Magnum Kukri packs a whallop, and can easily hack it’s way through flesh & bone, due to the blade geometry imparting greater forward momentum to a diagonal edge. If you’d like an example of the blades hacking prowess upon dangerous pieces of meat, seek no further than Colds Steel’s own video of the Kukri in action.
As edged weapons go, it’s obvious mid-sized blades like the Magnum Kukri deliver. But the utility of the blade is what makes this Machete a natural choice as a reliable tool, and in the field, an everyday carry. This isn’t for cutting your steak, but if needed, you’d have plenty of blade up to the task. As for it’s ability in the field, no doubt you can buy higher quality, higher priced, heavier steel, but nowhere will you find the superior cutting ability of the legendary Kukri, coupled with the quality that Cold Steel is known for, at a price point so low ANYONE can afford to pack one or two in their essentials.
When it gets down to where the work meets tool, swinging the Cold Steel Magnum Kukri is quite possibly one of the sharpest & smartest choices around.