Cold Steel Rep Reveals the Best Way to Get Factory Seconds

Peter Stec
January 24, 2018

Are you looking to buy a great cold steel knife? Cold Steel makes lots of awesome blades from folders to machetes. Every so often, the Cold Steel sells factory seconds at a reduced price. These are knives that have not fully made it to the standard and, therefore, are sold at a discount. Don’t worry, these knives are still amazing and great. With a little searching and luck, you can find some great Cold Steel factory seconds that are pretty much identical to retail Cold Steel knives. For this article, we went to the source and contacted a seasoned Cold Steel representative for the full story.

What is a Factory Second?

This is an example of a factory second. Looks just like a regular retail knife to me.
This is an example of a factory second. Looks just like a regular retail knife to me.

Factory seconds are knives that have not made the cut to be sold through normal distribution channels. They usually have cosmetic issues or a little rust. All factory seconds are exactly the same as retail Cold Steel knives in performance. If a knife does not meet performance standards, it will not be offered as factory seconds. Also, most factory seconds have very small flaws that, without close inspection, would be unnoticeable. These range in everything from scratches during manufacturing to blemishes during painting.

Factory seconds are graded by levels.

Level A

Level A factory seconds are knives that have very small cosmetic flaws. These include blemishes, dust, and signs of wear. Some factory seconds are first quality knives that have been used as demos during tradeshows and videos; hence, they are retail knives that have only been used once or twice.

Level A factory seconds are only slightly reduced.

Level B

Level B factory seconds are seconds who might have small cosmetic imperfections like level A but, in addition to that, have serious structural issues. For example, a knife that has a chip in the handle would be a level B factory second.

Level C

Level C factory seconds are knives that have severe faults. The main issue is rust. Rust can be removed and treated but will never be cured once it occurs. Level C knives are good as play knives and test knives. Level C knives are also good for trips where you’ll abuse your knife more than normal and quality may not be a number one priority.

Level C knives are greatly reduced.

How Much Do You Save?

Savings are an item by item thing. It depends on the knife, fault, and severity of the fault. Items like rust spots will be greatly reduced compared to small scratches.

What Else Is Different With Factory Seconds?

Factory seconds do not come with Cold Steel’s warranty. Most of the time, they do not come in the normal retail packaging.

What Kind of Knives Are Available?

Everything Cold Steel makes can be available as a factory second. If an order comes in with items that do not meet the standard, it will be a factory second. This ranges from knives to swords to machetes.

How Do You Buy Cold Steel Factory Seconds?

Cold Steel sells it’s factory seconds twice a year during sidewalk sales. There is one during the third weekend of May and another during the weekend after Thanksgiving in November. Their address is 6060 Nicolle Street, Ventura, CA 93003. Other opportunities to buy factory seconds might appear throughout the year and they are announced on Cold Steel’s newsletter.

Factory seconds are also available on online forums such as Cold Steel’s forum.

Beware of Counterfeits

Since Cold Steel has such a good reputation, many companies have been selling Cold Steel counterfeit knives. These knives are of much lower quality and are nowhere close to Cold Steel’s standard. When they are sold as genuine Cold Steel products, the consumer is lied into believing that their purchase comes with things like Cold Steel’s warranty, quality, and craftsmanship.

Double-check to make sure the factory second you intend on buying is a genuine Cold Steel product. Cold Steel has listed some photos of previous counterfeits to help consumers out.


If you are looking for a good deal on some Cold Steel knives, folding knives, swords, machetes, tomahawks, axes, and other blades, try a factory second. Cold Steel does not make balisongs. They are great knives that are greatly reduced in price. And, trust me, buying a factory second is a lot more fun than buying a knife off of retail. It is more like a garage sale than shopping.


About The Author
Hey Knife Up gang! I'm Pete, and I'm just another man like you in a small rural town who loves the outdoors as much as the other million internet users that cruise sites like every day. The difference is that I like to share what I know and research what I don't totally know so that YOU can have all the info you need to feel confident and prepared for all things outdoors-related! And, for those who care, I have 42 years of wilderness canoeing and bushcraft experience in Northern Ontario and spend most of my Summers covered in mosquitos and fish slime, but hey, it's a lifestyle choice, eh?

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