Field Test: Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel

I’ve been looking for a proper entrenching tool to add to the toolbox of my truck. I think I’ve finally found one.

Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel, with sheath
Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel, with sheath

A friend turned me on to the Cold Steel Special Forces Shovel a while back, but I hesitated to order, mainly due to being cheap. I finally relented when I found it on Amazon for about $27 with the sheath. I wish I hadn’t waited, and that I had ordered two.

This is really a great tool. It’s supposed to be modeled on the shovel Spetnaz troopers carry. It’s very sturdy, but not unreasonably heavy – thick, carbon steel blade, and a tough hardwood handle, which looks like hickory. It comes sharpened to an ax edge on the tip and sides, and the blade has a lip on the top so you can use your boot to shovel. The handle is easily replaceable – it’s force-fit into a socket and secured with two hefty screws.

The shovel is really well balanced, as you’d expect from a tool designed to be thrown. I practiced with it a bit and got pretty good at hitting trees center-mass. The injury that would cause in a person would be horrific. Luckily, the shovel is also good for light ax work, as a field expedient machete, and, surprisingly, as a decent shovel.

I just put the shovel to some tests out on the woodlot. Check it out:

Bottom line: great tool, and a great value if you shop around and don’t get rooked on shipping. This will be in my get-home gear, and I’m going to order another one for Mrs. P’s car.

 

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