Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gear Review: Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow

Ok, so I'm going to start by acknowledging that this isn't really a practical survival knife.  I know that.  It's double sided blade means that it isn't very practical for shaping wood or skinning game.  All great 'survival' knives are full tang, good hilt, thick grip, and almost always one sided.

The Shanghai Shadow popped up on Amazon's little scrolling panel "Customers who viewed this also viewed these".  It was so cool looking, and fairly inexpensive, that I wanted to check it out.  Along with a couple more 'practical' survival knives I added this one to the shopping cart.

It came in this week and I wanted to give a quick review and later on a little more depth.

This is a very cool looking knife, that's why I picked it up in the first place.  I mean, look at this thing, it just screams "THIS IS... SPARTA!!!"

The knife is weighted extremely well.  The balance point is right at the cross bar, which makes this knife feel incredibly light and fast.  It came with a nice edge, not as sharp as it could be, but a couple minutes with a wet stone and it'd be in great shape.

Ok, now a couple of complaints about it.

There is this huge chunk of unshaped metal between the handle and the blade.  It didn't turn out that great in the photo above, but believe me this is a huge eye sore.  I'm not sure why they didn't shape it down to the cross bar (which is also much thicker than it probably needs to be).

Second, the sheath holds the knife securely but looks cheap.  It's just one big chunk of plastic.

Third, from the photos on Amazon I thought this was some kind of Karambit style knife.  That is, that the loop was for a finger, to help keep the blade secure in the hand.  However, this is not the case as far as I can tell.  With how long the handle is, there's no way to put a finger or thumb through without having an awkward grip.  See the two photos below.

The next photo is a comparison between the Shanghai Shadow and a Karambit I picked up at a local Martial Arts Supply store.

The Karambit is a knife that has some serious history in Asia and in Asian Martial Arts.  The loop is for the pointer finger (most novices put their pinkie through it, have the blade facing up).  This knife is meant to be an easy to use self defense knife.  By putting the index finger through it, you form a fist comfortably around the knife.  Anyone who can throw a punch suddenly has a very dangerous self defense technique.

So, the Shanghai Shadow isn't a very practical survival knife, it's not a particularly practical self defense knife.  What is it?  What is it good for?

I pondered over this for a while.  I mean, I had the knife, now what was I going to do with it?  It seemed such a waste to just toss it in a drawer and forget about it.

After a while I came up with a fairly AWESOME use for this thing.  It might not make the best knife, but it would make one hell of a spear head.  Split a nice thick piece of wood about six inches down.  Take off the handle of the Shadow and put it in the split.  That blank section above the handle and the thick cross bar make easy points to secure the head.  Add in another splice or two a couple inches down and you have one hell of a spear.

Look!  I fixed it!  I took off the handle, wrapped it with 8 feet of 550 cord, and I have a ready-made Spear Kit!  That big blade, double sided, makes a perfect hunting spear head.

Forgive the sloppy wrapping job, I followed some very good instructions but whipped it up pretty quick so I could do this post.

To wrap your own knives, check out this link:

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