Updated on 16 October, 2021
The Cold Steel AD10 is a mid sized folding knife, from the Demko-made brand, which is really quite well done. It s a smaller model of the classic mid-tech Demko AD10, using a 10 inch blade, which is still quite a bit above the other models of the same size. However, it still has all the great features of the larger model, in a scaled-down version suitable for those who don't have the space to buy the full size. It still has the full index (the part you'll really want to look at) as does the Demko, but also comes with some other interesting features.
The cold steel ad10 has a traditional lockback design. This means that once you've picked the lock, which is a typical step on most knives, then picking the blade is just as easy. The lock is usually a bar or clip that you press up against the side of the blade, which then locks into place. There are some models, however, that use a screw lock, which is a little more secure. This is good if you intend to leave your knife in your pocket or bag overnight, but only when you need it. In my case, however, it's not really necessary to take it out.
The cold steel ad-10 also has an innovative deployment process. The entire blade is unlocked and then the handle and the tip are pressed down until the lock clicks into place. At this point, the blade is protected by a safety cutout, which prevents it from accidentally hitting your finger. I find this kind of system a little confusing, because the first time I saw it, I thought the lock had to be manually deployed, but it isn't - the blade just sits there and releases automatically, making this a very smooth process. I suppose it depends on how strong you're finger.
The cold steel ad10 is available in two different types. A folding knife is one model that has a large, solid, fully-functional blade. The other is the s35vn (which is smaller than the full-sized Adhiba model, but larger than most pocket knives). The s35vn has a rubberized handle that makes opening it a bit easier.
The fixed blade of the Cold Steel Ad10 can also be manually deployed in much the same way as the s35vn, but offers more control. For example, you can lock the blade at a desired angle and then either push it all the way down to the butt jamb or pull it back out to the open position. Either way, you won't damage the lock at all, only the sheath. This lock bar is actually a pull tab, so even if you have a dry-cleaning appliance, you'll need to wipe it down afterwards.
I found that the fixed blade was the easiest to use in comparison to the folding knife. After pressing the button to lock the blade, my only challenge was getting the knife into the bag without messing up the sheath. The big bonus to using an ad-10 is that you can choose from three different sizes: small, medium, or large. The s35vn offers only the small size, so if you're planning on using the knife a lot, you probably want to go with the larger one. That said, the medium size fits nicely in a number of carry-on luggage bags, and I preferred the large over the small because it's easier to fit into some pants pockets.
A lot of reviewers have suggested that the knife's weight may be a problem, especially if you carry it in the bag for long periods. However, I found that I didn't notice a significant difference in grip strength, even after carrying it for five minutes. It's also important to note that the lock bar secures the blade to the handle, not the handle itself. So if you feel more secure when carrying a heavier knife, you should go ahead and do so. The lock does nothing to affect sharpness, ease of use, or balance.
To conclude, the Cold Steel Ad10 is probably the best pocket knife on the market. I liked the weight, the design, and the fact that I could easily take it on and off all day. Unlike some other models I've tried, the ad-10 performed better than I expected, even though there were fewer positive reviews than I would have liked. Despite this short review, I plan to purchase another s35vn Ad10 in the near future.