Vosteed Corsair Review & Blade Testing

TL;DR: Vosteed’s a new name in the knife game. But they’re coming out swingin’ with the Corsair and its Nitro-V blade. Designed by Yue Dong (@doctor_edc). Incredible edge retention. Tastefully stonewashed blade. Lightweight. Canvas Micarta scales with satisfying grip. Buttery smooth action with an easy thumb flick. Well worth the $69 sticker price.

Vosteed Corsair Blade Specs

  • Edge Length: 3.18″
  • Blade Width: 0.91″
  • Blade Length: 3.25″
  • Edge Thickness: 0.016″
  • Spine Thickness: 0.11″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Steel: Nitro-V
  • Blade Grind: Full Flat Grind

Additional Specifications

  • Scales: Canvas Micarta
  • Handle Length: 4.34″
  • Handle Width: 0.95″
  • Overall Length: 7.59″
  • Width, Folded: 1.14″
  • Handle Thickness: 0.49″
  • Weight: 2.91 Oz / 83 Grams
  • Lock: Crossbar Lock
  • Opener: Thumb Studs
  • Clip: Stainless, Tip Up, Ambidextrous
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Model: CS29NWMK

The Vosteed Corsair Review

First impression: The Corsair has a finely tuned action. I always anticipate opening the blade on any knife for the first time. That interaction sets the expectation for everything to come. From first flick to four days’ worth of daily carry, the Corsair has not disappointed.

This shouldn’t be misconstrued as a demerit, but I’m disappointed the Corsair doesn’t have a flipper tab. The action demands it. Subtle bias toward closure from the crossbar lock gives way to a glassy action with mild pressure, making it a great fidget flicker. This knife deserves a flipper tab.

The thumb studs get the job done, though. I took the Corsair with me on an overnight fishing expedition to Grandaddy Lake in the Uintas Mountains. I had no trouble popping the blade open with one hand to cut line and free knots.

After the open, the Corsair comes to rest with decent ergonomics in the hand. This knife’s light in the grip, but the high flat grind and skinny blade keep everything balanced near the tang. It’s certainly not forward-heavy, something you don’t want in a 3″ EDC folder.

The Handle

The Micarta is surprisingly rough, but in a good way. It’s obviously canvas, which I quite like. I tend to avoid fiberglass, carbon, and other synthetic fiber-based Micarta. Those scales’ finished surfaces are always too smooth, and they feel like plastic.

Vosteed made a wise choice using canvas. These grips afford excellent dry and wet grip. It does a fine job wicking sweat and water without getting slippery.

I found myself wishing the scales were more substantial, though. The grip isn’t bad, but it could be more comfortable: These scales would benefit from being thickened up, and I’d like to see the edges contoured with more rounded bevels.

The Belt Clip

The belt clip doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it gets the job done without much ado. Easy retrieval with plenty of grip when stowed. Nicely polished stainless finish. Good milling and fitment between the clip base and scales.

Countersunk screws keep everything flush and prevent snags on your pockets. The clip is sufficiently rounded to prevent pinching and hot spots on the palms or fingers (depending on your handedness) when squeezed.

The clip is ambidextrous (yay!) and Vosteed provides a cover plate with two extra Torx screws (they’re T7 heads) to fill out the clip’s obverse mount on the opposite scale. Small nitpick here, though.

The scales have a subtle convex curve near the tip, but the cover plate’s machined flat. So, it sticks a tad proud of the scale when bolted down. Thankfully, it’s not significant enough to cause issues with the fitment or grip.

The Action

I love everything about this blade’s action. I’ve tried to find complaints. I almost couldn’t: The crossbar lock’s springs could be a tiny bit lighter. I’m sure the springs will fatigue over time and loosen up. But even with my decent grip strength and long fingers, I found the lock a bit tight.

That doesn’t matter, though. Thumb-flipping this knife is easy with one hand, and it’s quite fun. The caged bearings are glassy and the blade falls freely once the tang clears the lock. That brings me to a point of redemption about the lock springs:

The Corsair has the perfect amount of bias toward closure. It’s just enough to keep the blade shut when stowed, but the bias isn’t so heavy that it interferes with flicking and flipping. This may sound like a small detail — until you carry and earnestly use two dozen or more EDC knives. Then you come to appreciate fine engineering like this.

Aesthetically, all the fixtures and fasteners look sharp. The copper tang bolt liner looks great. The tang bolt caps display some detailed machine work, with a convex “tri-crown” on either side.

The thumb studs and lock sport similarly stepped and rounded crowns to complement one another. All the Torx fasteners are machined well, too. On the open, the tang locks up well against the crossbar and main pin. Good symmetry with no lock wobble and no ugly, off-center grinds you’d normally find on frame and liner locks.

The Nitro-V Blade

Decent scales and a nice action are important, but I care more about a knife’s blade than anything else. The Corsair handily delivers. This Nitro-V blade is, in fact, arguably my best performing blade to date (more on that later).

Designer Yue seems to understand the utilitarian nature of the deceptively simple drop point blade. Vosteed understands its the fine details — literally, as in the blade’s grind and final honing — that truly dictate any blade steel’s performance.

The Corsair’s blade is beautifully machined. It has one of the most consistent and silkiest apexes of any factory grind I’ve come across. It’s properly stropped and cuts confidently.

I’m a fan of the finer-grit stonewash found on the Corsair’s blade. It isn’t betrayed by any large gouges or blemishes — something I’ve seen on cheaper stonewashed steels — and it yields a pleasant satin sheen.

The Corsair’s symmetry along the spine and tip are fine. Neither side is ground proud of the other. The slight concave curves along the swedge complement the drop point’s rounded apex and bowed spine.

Out-of-Box Sharpness & Edge Testing

About blade performance: As always, I threw the Corsair atop my Edge-On-Up Tester and captured its factory sharpness rating.

The Corsair averaged a sharpness of 163 grams. The edge’s consistency was impressive. I tested the blade a third time (not pictured) to see if the nearly identical measurements — 162g and 163g — were just a fluke. But it measured 163 grams yet again.

This bodes well for long-term performance: Obtaining good consistency along the apex requires sharpening and proper honing. Refining an edge like this translates into better edge retention and cutting power.

But Vosteed also says this Nitro-V blade measures up to 62 Rockwell hardness. This level of hardness can instigate chipping and edge damage with hard use. So, how well did the edge hold up to being abused?

Quite well, in fact. While running the blade along my piece of ironwood (100 back-and-forth passes under five pounds of weight) it glided surprisingly well. Other, cheaper blades tended to pick up sawdust and bind as they form a wedge in the wood.

That wasn’t the case with the Corsair. It sawed a thin, narrow channel into the wood and never bound up, nor skipped or jumped. After abusing the blade, I tested it a second time to determine edge retention.

The Corsair measured 172 and 175 grams, averaging 174g. That translates into 94% edge retention. These data place the Corsair fifth for factory sharpness, first for sharpness after testing, and second overall for edge retention.

Knife / ModelFactory SharpnessSharpness After TestEdge Retention
Spyderco Para 3 12026545%
Benchmade 940 EDC17529060%
SOG TWI8-CP Twitch II12520063%
S&W Extreme Ops SWA24S16526063%
Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter14522066%
Spyderco Tenacious15022567%
Ontario Knife OKC Rat II SP18527069%
CIVIVI Elementum20127972%
Opinel No. 1228037073%
CIVIVI Praxis18323080%
Zero Tolerance 0450CF24029083%
KA-BAR Dozier Folder27532585%
Cold Steel AD-1018520590%
CRKT Endorser23025092%
CJRB Feldspar21522596%
Cold Steel Recon 1 Tanto17721582%
Kershaw Link CPM 20CV23226289%
CJRB Ria Folder (12C27)19628369%
Gerber Paraframe 1 (ATS-314)18622085%
CRKT CEO18320490%
Kershaw Leek13319269%
CRKT M16-10KS22833468%
CRKT Squid21537557%
Vosteed Corsair16317494%

The Corsair’s Blade Takes 1st Place

What’s really impressive about the Corsair is that it provides both high factory sharpness and high edge retention. These two attributes tend to combat each other: Duller, wider edges often hold an edge longer while finely sharpened edges tend to dull faster.

But with apparently excellent metallurgy and grinding, the Corsair provides both qualities aplenty. Every tested blade with a sharper factory edge — like the Spyderco Para 3, Kershaw Leek, and buck 110 — had noticeably worse edge retention, hovering between 45% and 66%.

All other tested knives with greater than 90% edge retention measured noticeably duller out of the box. Balancing these two attributes, the Vosteed Corsair takes first place for overall blade performance at the time of this publication.

The Corsair: The Best Sub-$100 EDC?

The sub-$100 EDC knife space is crowded, so it’s difficult to proclaim the Vosteed Corsair is universally #1. But it certainly makes a compelling argument: Its build quality and blade performance are stellar, with little to complain about beyond a small cover plate fitting barely askew, and scales that could be fattened up a hair.

The action’s perfect, save for the lack of a flipper tab and a tightly wound lock. The blade stole the show in edge retention and sharpness. The handle’s comfortable and the whole package is light, easy to carry, and fun to play and cut with.

Are there cheaper 3″ EDC knives that perform well? Sure. The CIVIVI Praxis is a top performer for $30 to $50, and its handle is admittedly more comfortable. But this Nitro-V blade outperforms it, and other knives that cost twice as much (if not more).

If you’re looking for a long-wearing, lightweight knife that carries well and manages hundreds of cuts on the daily — while rarely requiring sharpening — the Vosteed Corsair is a serious contender.