Cold Steel is returning to a modern Demko classic, the AD-10, for a budget-oriented Lite model. The AD-10 Lite makes the expected changes to blade and handle material to create a knife that is both more affordable and lighter than its predecessor.
The first Cold Steel AD-10 was part of Cold Steel’s 2019 catalog reveal. Released alongside the AD-15, it was, like that knife, modeled on an Andrew Demko custom. That Scorpion Lock-sporting sibling got a Lite variation last year, so we suspected that a similar expansion would eventually come to this Tri-Ad Lock model as well.
While things can vary slightly from one to the next, Cold Steel’s Lite designation brings a generally standard set of material alterations, designed with cost-saving, rather than weight-saving, in mind. The first is the blade steel, transitioned from whatever comes on the standard model to AUS-10A. Thus the AD-10 Lite loses its S35VN blade for this mid-tier Japanese stainless, which is likened to 440C in some circles, although not chemically identical to it. Blade length is the same, of course, as are the blade options, the classic Demko drop point or an American tanto.
Gone are the G-10 scales, with GFN ones in their place – again, a change that is pretty much standard across all the Lite models. GFN certainly has its fans and detractors, but its implementation here seems to have had an impact on the overall weight. The AD-10 Lite drops about half an ounce compared to the standard model,with a weight of 6.4 oz. Everything else is carried over wholesale from the original, including the stout Demko clip (with a leftie version included in the box), and, of course, the Tri-Ad Lock, which functions like a lock back but with significantly upped strength thanks to Demko’s clever engineering.
The new AD-10 Lite is hitting the streets alongside the Engage series, a new for 2022 folder line that is the debut platform for the Atlas Lock, a mechanism designed by Cold Steel’s in-house team in the wake of GSM Outdoors’ acquisition of the company.
Knife in Featured Image: Cold Steel AD-10 Lite