There’s something about a tiny knife that always draws me in. They are very fun to own, carry, and otherwise have around. But they can be tricky to pull off in a manner where they feel worth using over a more traditionally sized pocket knife.
WESN’s Microblade, Spyderco’s Ladybug, and any others I have tried over the years, always failed to ‘stick’ because they didn’t do small tasks well enough, or they couldn’t do big tasks at all. Too much of a compromise given the pricing and such.
That’s not the case with Cold Steel’s Micro Recon — this is a gem of a knife and it’s about $30.
Steel & Size
At $30, you knew there would be a compromise, right? Here they cheaped out on the steel, it’s: 4034SS stainless steel. Don’t bother looking it up if you don’t know what it is, there’s no good news to be found and all you will see is that it is pretty low end steel.
How low end? Well it doesn’t hold an edge for very long, but it is easy to sharpen and resists corrosion well. Thing is, even though I am a huge steel snob, this steel doesn’t bother me. Because in practice the blade shape and small size means that the wear across the blade is pretty even and it lasts long enough. It also sharpens back up trivially easy on a strop.
Let’s talk about the size: here we have a 2” blade with a 1.75” cutting edge. All the way open, it’s just under 4.5”, closed it is sitting at about 2.6”. That’s pretty crazy small. But it’s taller like the WESN, which means that it doesn’t feel that small to grip.
Though it is still a two finger grip. I’ll stop with the specs here, by saying: I wish it had better steel, but not enough to care — dimensions are spot on.
In Use & Carry
I bought this knife because it looked fun, then I ended up carrying it a bunch. I did find it not great to carry without a lanyard strap on it. If you don’t have a lanyard it is so small that you tend to fumble trying to get a hold on it when plucking it out of your pocket. But with a lanyard, you can easily find it, and orient the knife for use.
That’s good too, because the handle is only good for about 2.25 fingers to grip it. However the textured scales offer a lot of non-slip grip, and the contouring and shaping of the handle mean that it feels comfortable and secure in those 2.25 fingers you are using. I like to have the lanyard just long enough I can stick my pinky finger through the loop, should I actually lose my grip the pinky will catch the knife before my toes do.
However, the knife isn’t too large to carry really easily in your pocket. It’s lightweight, not too bulky, and drops in place nicely. All of this, and you still get the Cold Steel Tri-ad lockback and a dual thumbstud to open the blade. It snaps open, though is hard to flick given grip issues for me.
The clip point blade shape handles most tasks well — I never once felt like I needed a larger blade to do most of the tasks. It will struggle with food prep as the short blade means the thumbstud will be a perennial issue for that use case.
I also found the steel to be fine. It strops back to sharp really easily and generally held enough of an edge for me not to complain. Could it be better steel? Yes. But then the price would go up, and I rather like the price right where it is.
This is a stout little knife, which won’t likely threaten a rational person, and yet it is capable of knife things. That’s what using it is like, and I have almost no complaints about doing so.
I dig it, especially for roughly $30. It feels like a small version of a big knife, without the compromises (grip, bad blade shape, not actually small to carry) which so many of the other knives in this size class have.
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