Back in October of last year I purchased a Cold Steel Pro Lite
clip point folding knife to use as my work EDC. I found it on sale online for a pretty good price and since I have been intrigued by the Tri-Ad lock for a while, I went ahead and purchased it. I paid $26.74 for it.
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The Pro Lite series are budget knives (I think they are the cheapest that Cold Steel offers with the Tri-Ad lock). They come with three blade types, tanto, clip, and drop. I generally prefer drop points, but I don't like the Pro Lite's drop point shape, so I went with the clip point (I prefer the drop point blade that comes with the Working Man version, which costs about $13 more, presumably because it has Steve Austin's name on the blade (the wrestler, not the cyborg)). I purchased the black handle, though you can get it in a bright blue. The handle material is fiberglass reinforced nylon with a decently grippy texture. I like the curvature of the handle and the finger cut-outs. There are no metallic liners inside the scales/handle. This allows for the light weight of the knife, which my postal scale shows as 3.5 ounces. Overall length is about 8 inches.
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Right out of the box the blade is sharp. The box says the blade is made from German 4116 steel, though the knife is made in Taiwan (which, at this price point, is nice, as most in this class are now made in China). The blade locks out with authority and there is no
play when it is deployed. This seems to be the norm with Tri-Ad lock knives. The blade is 3.5 inches long, 1 inch wide before it tapers toward the tip, and is 3mm thick, just under 1/8 inch. The thumb stud is longer on one side than the other and that extra length is on the right side of the blade as it comes out of the box. However, it is reversible for left-handed folks. The belt clip is also reversible.
I’ve been carrying it everyday at work since October. I haven’t used it for a great variety of tasks, mostly breaking down boxes, cutting cardboard, and slicing through plastic shrink wrap (such as one would find around a flat of soft drinks), so I can’t really comment on its versatility yet. It is kind of wide when folded, causing it, at times, to get in the way when clipped inside my front pocket. Particularly, if I am seated in a car and need to pull my cell phone from that same pocket (they typically share the same pocket). I have had the knife pulled free and fall to the floor in my car, but this is a very rare occurrence and has not annoyed me so much that I have stopped carrying the knife. That being said, the pocket clip is stiff without being too stiff. I have no complaints so far regarding its function. As mentioned before, the Tri-Ad lock makes for a blade that is solid when deployed. It also allows for the blade to take a lot of force with out compromising the locking system. If you are curious about it you can learn more by watching the YouTube video below.
It would seem that the Tri-Ad lock's weakest link, with this model of knife, is the that the load-bearing stud is mounted in plastic and has no metallic liner to support it. Nevertheless, it would probably take a lot of misuse or abuse to compromise the integrity of the handle.