I think it is a great beater upper and should be in every knife knife nuts user list. The things are quite capable no matter which generation you buy. I'm sure many hate the fact that they have set the bar higher with lock performance but the facts speak for themselves. Its a solid product and a great lock.
The lock is strong, but a bit difficult to close one handed (it can be done, but is annoying). The blade is nicely shaped, but hollow ground. This is fine or even desirable for everyday use, but I'm not a fan of it for a survival knife, which is my focus. The grip is nice to hold and one of the better ones for keeping the hand from slipping forward into the blade, but a bit boxy and sharp for the pocket. It has a nice finger choil. Cold Steel seems to use an asymetrical thumb stud, where the left hand one is shorter than the right hand one, which annoys me since I favor ambidextrous usage.
One caveat. The box on mine implies the warranty is only 1 year.