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10 Best Spyderco Knife for Self-Defense, Hunting, and EDC

Best Spyderco Knife

Every knife enthusiast has probably heard of the knife brand Spyderco. This company is one of the most popular and reliable brands when it comes to folding knives.

If you’re in search of the best Spyderco knife for everyday carry, hunting, or self-defense, then this article has everything you’re looking for!

We listed down 10 of the best Spyderco knives that are considered to be excellent knives by avid knife collectors and law enforcement alike.

The first five are our top picks that we recommend the most, so we listed down the pros and cons for each of those. For the other knives, we didn’t include pros and cons, but they’re still some of the best Spyderco knives you might want to consider.

Best for EDC
Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Knife
Best Overall
Spyderco Tenacious Plain Edge Knife
Best for Self-Defense
Spyderco Matriarch Spyder Edge Knife

10 Best Spyderco Knives

1. Spyderco Tenacious Plain Edge Knife

BEST OVERALL

Spyderco Tenacious Plain Edge Knife

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First on our list is this “tenacious” Spyderco knife that will not disappoint. Judging from its name, this folding knife is firm to hold and will cling easily for everyone. It’s smooth and fast to deploy too. Its size makes it good for heavy-duty tasks or as an everyday carry (EDC) knife.

The Tenacious is quite large for a folding knife. The closed length is 4.44 inches and it has an overall length of 7.76 inches.

It also balances on your finger behind the pivot of the knife, making it more comfortable when you use it.

Just like most Spyderco knives, the Tenacious also has an opening hole found near the handle.

The blade material is made of 8Cr13MoV, which originates from China. This makes the knife more affordable than most Spyderco knives that use other types of steel.

Despite being more affordable, this blade also contains chromium, which helps protect the blade from corrosion and rust. The Tenacious is a stainless steel blade that both durable and affordable!

However, as with other knives made of stainless steel, the Tenacious can also lose its sharp edge faster compared to higher grade steels.

Although with its plain edge, it’s fairly easy to re-sharpen, which makes it up for its mediocre edge retention.

The tip is shaped to be a drop point which makes the knife good for slicing, but not as good for stabbing hard objects.

One good thing is its full-flat grind which is common to kitchen knives. This means that aside from EDC, you can also use the Tenacious on your next hunting trip!

You can open the Tenacious using only one hand using its liner lock mechanism. This is feature is safe to perform, and it won’t fail you in any circumstance. You can make use of your other fingers instead of the thumb to open the knife too.

With its carefully thought ergonomics, this Spyderco knife is proven to suit all hand sizes. The handle is made of layers of steel G 10 covering, making it better for gripping and reduces the chances of slipping.

Despite these layers of steel, this knife is still lightweight at 0.26 lbs!

This knife also comes with an attached pocket clip. You can either hate or love this feature, depending on your preferences. The pocket clip has good retention and it won’t destroy your pants in the process. This makes it a great choice for one of the best pocket knives you can get your hands on.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Liner lock mechanism
  • Tip-up/Tip-down carry position
  • Plain edge
  • Ambidextrous grip
  • Easy to sharpen
  • Non-slip handle
  • Affordable
Cons
  • The edge is good, but if you use it in a hard case, it could damage the edges
  • The stainless steel may not be as hard as other Spyderco knives, but it can still handle most situations

2. Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Knife

BEST FOR EDC

Spyderco Delica 4 Lightweight Knife

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The Spyderco Delica 4 is an upgraded version of the popular Spyderco knife from the 1990s along with Endura. Both Endura series and Delica series pioneered the folding knives market for their lightweight, one-handed opening mechanism, and price range that most customers can afford.

As for the Spyder Delica 4, aside from being one of the smallest Spyderco knives, it’s also considered to be one of the best folding knives for EDC.

The overall length of the knife is 7.125 inches, with the blade measuring at 2.875 inches. The exterior of the Delica 4 is impressive and ergonomically designed. The thumb and finger points are placed just right to ensure the best comfort and natural fit as much as possible.

The handle is the longest part of the blade at 4.25 inches, which is another reason why it’s comfortable and easy to handle.

This Spyderco knife uses VG-10 steel which is commonly found in Japanese cutlery kitchen knives. This falls under the stainless steel category making it rust-resistant and easy to sharpen. It also contains traces of vanadium, which helps make it stronger.

The Delica 4 uses a lock-back mechanism just like older versions of Spyderco knives. This helps make it stiff enough to prevent any accidental opening or closing that may result in injury.

Furthermore, it also has a thumb hole that’s found at the closed position of the folding knife. The purpose of those holds is to aid the one-handed operation of the Delica 4.

Similar to the Spyderco Matriarch, the Delica 4 also uses fiberglass reinforced nylon for its handle, increasing its traction and non-slip feeling.

Inside the handle, the housing of the knife has steel liners which help make the knife stronger while still weighing lightly at 0.16 lbs!

This knife comes with a low-quality pocket clip that can break off when applied with sudden and strong pressure. As long as you stay careful and avoid this from happening, the pocket clip will be useful for extra security when keeping the knife close to you and ready to use at a moment’s notice.

Despite this, the Delica 4 is still one of the best pocket knives that will not disappoint.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • One-handed opening
  • Plain edge
  • Lock back mechanism
  • Supreme cutting performance
  • Tip-up/Tip-down carry position
  • Good for heavy-duty tasks
Cons
  • The pocket clip can come loose or break if used in rigorous conditions

3. Spyderco Matriarch Spyder Edge Knife

BEST FOR SELF-DEFENSE

Spyderco Matriarch Spyder Edge Knife

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The Spyderco Matriarch is a karambit knife that’s a popular go-to because of its unique cutting edge. The Matriarch is a folding knife that packs quite a punch that’s hard not to appreciate.

A karambit knife is designed to be small but lethal. With this, the Matriarch provides cutting performance that you can depend on for cutting and slashing.

This makes it good for close-quarters combat. In other words, this is a great knife for self-defense, and it would be virtually impossible for someone to disarm you without them being injured first.

This karambit knife also has a pistol-like handle, which is comfortable to grip whether you’re left-handed or right-handed.

Its overall length is 8.39 inches when the blade is unfolded, and 3.55 inches when it’s closed. This 5-inch blade is pretty lightweight at 0.22 lb. You can comfortably conceal this knife inside your breast pocket or your jeans pocket for quick access.

The Matriarch is another folding knife that uses the lock-back mechanism. With that, your safety and security will be at ease because the lock will only disengage when you’re about to close the knife. The blade also has a hole on the blade that’s near the handle. This hole is meant to help you unfold the knife using your thumb, which can be critical in sudden, defensive situations.

Unlike most knives that have plain edges, the Matriarch has a serrated edge running from the tip down to the handle. When it comes to self-defense, serrated edges can help create a lot of damage. The uneven cuttings can hit more veins and more flesh, which can definitely help you in dangerous situations.

With the blade being made of stainless steel, the Matriarch would need more maintenance because it can dull quite easily. Since it has a fully serrated edge, you’ll need special sharpening equipment to help you out.

Another thing to consider is its usage. Being a knife made for self-defense, you don’t want the edge dull quickly because of everyday use. Keep this in mind and make sure to always have this karambit knife in tip-top shape for whatever situation.

Other features of this knife are that it has a four-position pocket clip and Spyderco’s Bi-Directional-Textured™ fiberglass-reinforced-nylon handle. This polymer material is one of the cheapest and toughest handle materials you can find in knives on the market today.

Its main advantage other than affordability is its ability to take serial abuse. It’s also more flexible than other handle materials like G 10, which is a plus.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Razor-sharp and supreme cutting performance
  • Easy to conceal
  • Tip-up/Tip-down carry position
  • Serrated edge
  • Lock back mechanism
  • Reverse or forward grip
Cons
  • Too much use can lead to the blade being dull

4. Spyderco Lightweight Sage 5 Carbon Fiber Plain Edge Knife

Spyderco Lightweight Sage 5 Plain Edge Knife

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The handle material of this Spyderco knife is made of carbon fiber. However, there are other variants that make use of G 10 handle scales instead.

This folding knife is perfect for everyday tasks and is continuously praised for its cutting ability. You’ll find that upon opening, the Sage is crazy sharp right out of the box.

The Sage’s overall length is the same as Delica 4 at 7.125 inches. Although its blade length is longer at 3 inches. This makes the closed length at 4.188 inches, which is smaller and easier to conceal. This folding knife can comfortably fit in any pocket.

The blade material used is CPM S30V steel, a type of steel that belongs to the stainless steel category. This means the blade is also wear and corrosion-resistant. With the even distribution of the vanadium component, the hardness and rigidity are more pronounced in this blade too.

Furthermore, this material is considered to be premium grade, which is why the Spyderco Sage comes in a hefty price range.

The blade material is the highest grade of stainless steel. Other than being rust-resistant, it also holds its edge incredibly well. This means there would also be less sharpening.

The sharpness of Sage has always been admired, so rest assured that this is a very excellent go-to knife for many applications.

The Sage utilizes the liner lock mechanism which brings a great look and easy deployment system. Opening and closing the knife is impressively smooth, and it offers enough stiff resistance to avoid accidental cutting and other inconveniences.

The handle material is made of carbon fiber and has a unique texture that is twill-woven. The handle fits both left-handed and right-handed grips, which adds to the overall functionality of Sage for almost anyone. The ridges are quite deep and have a non-slip design too.

The Sage, other than the ridiculously high selling price, has another small drawback. It can be hard to clean when it gets dirty. You may need special tools to take care of this folding knife.

Like most Spyderco knives, the Sage comes with an anodized metal pocket clip for left-hand or right-hand carry.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Leaf-shaped blade and Plain edge
  • Durable for everyday tasks
  • One-handed opening
  • Liner lock mechanism
  • Non-slip handle
  • Retains its sharpness
  • Supreme cutting ability
  • Tip-up/Tip-down carry position
Cons
  • Requires special tools when cleaning
  • Expensive

5. Spyderco Para Military 2 Plain Edge Knife

Spyderco Para Military 2 Signature Folding Knife

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Now, this is a knife favored by people in the military and law enforcement alike, which leads to the meaning of its given name. The Spyderco Para Military 2 is a knife for tactical use and it’s very useful when it comes to self-defense. However, it’s not limited to that purpose alone, as this knife can be used for EDC and it also fairs well as a mid-size folding knife.

The Spyderco Para Military 2 is the second-longest among the Spyderco knives listed in this article (the first is Matriarch). It has an overall length of 8.29 inches, while the closed length is 4.81 inches. It has a premium full-flat grind for a more EDC feel, and this grind design makes it suitable for almost all purposes.

The 3.44-inch blade material used is CPM S30V steel, similar to the Spyderco Sage. It’s of premium grade, by all means, the highest among stainless steel grades. It retains its sharpness for a long time before needing some sharpening. It also resists corrosion and rust fairly well aside from its rigidity and durability.

The blade material largely contributes to the price range of Paramilitary 2, making it the most expensive Spyderco knife on this list.

The locking mechanism for the Para Military 2 is different from others. Instead, it has a compression lock mechanism. This type of lock is adamant, and there’s no way that accidental closing can happen. The knife disengages from its housing with a pinch at the joint. The deployment is fast and smooth, which is perfect for tactical uses.

Ergonomics is on point for this knife too. The handle material of the Paramilitary 2 is made of G 10. This is a tough material, and since it has fiberglass in it, the handle is unyielding and durable enough to withstand shock and other inconveniences. It’s also impervious from slipping, which is great!

You can pick from two designs for this handle, a sleek color black, or a camouflage design.

The Spyderco Para Military 2 is an excellent folding knife in all aspects with the drawback of being very expensive. Another possible drawback, which may be a case-to-case basis, is with its lock mechanism. It can be very stiff to the point of exerting extra effort to open the blade.

Aside from the secure pocket clip, the Paramilitary 2 also has a lanyard hole so it can be worn around the neck.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • One-handed opening
  • Liner lock mechanism
  • Non-slip handle
  • Plain edge
  • Retains its sharpness
  • Supreme cutting ability
  • Durable for tactical use and everyday tasks
  • Tip-up/Tip-down carry position
Cons
  • The lock mechanism may be extra stiff and difficult to operate
  • Expensive

6. Spyderco Roadie Knife

Spyderco Roadie Knife

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Typically, people would buy a folding knife in order to perform several tasks that simple knives can’t do. This knife may not look as effective or sharp compared to other knives on this list, but you’ll find that this knife is a great pick-up for a lot of simple and daily tasks.

The Roadie is made from Maniago, Italy and its length is approximately 5” and weighs less than one pound. It performs like a straight edge, but it has a slight curve in order to do other types of tasks like cutting zip ties. This knife is also well-suited for opening packages and letters.

However, the Roadie is not great a choice to deal with slicing and preparing food.

The Roadie is manufactured using N690Co steel, which is a great material. It’s quite easy to clean and sharpen after long use. Moreover, this material doesn’t dull quickly compared to basic knives that use materials like 8Cr13MoV or 420HC.

You’ll be able to keep this knife sharp for a long time, and it also has one of the best corrosion resistance compared to other knives on this list

The Roadie’s handle includes two pieces of FRN, and it gives a smooth and slim contour. Even though its handle is about a finger’s length, it’s fairly easy to handle and maneuver. The only disadvantage of this design is that it can be twisted with your keys if you place them together in your pocket.

Even so, this is still one of the best everyday pocket knives you can use for most simple situations.

The locking and deployment mechanism of this knife is nothing to rave about, although these features don’t really affect its usage and functionality. This knife isn’t the best for self-defense or for more tactical uses, but it does everything you need as an everyday knife.

Despite its small appearance, don’t let this knife fool you. This folding knife can be just as handy as other knives on this list, and its usefulness can surprise you.

Pros
  • Excellent corrossion resistance
  • Retains its sharpness
  • Easy to handle and maneuver
  • Ideal as an everyday pocket knife
  • Great for opening packages and letters
Cons
  • Not great for slicing and preparing food
  • Not ideal for tactical use or self-defense
  • Can tangle up with keys inside pockets

7. Spyderco Para 3 C223GP

Spyderco Para 3 C223GP

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Almost all knife enthusiasts agreed that the Paramilitary 2 (PM2) is one of the best knives there is, but a lot of them wished that there would be a smaller version of it. Spyderco was well aware of the people’s wishes, and a year later, they released the Para 3 LW.

The blade length of the Para 3 is around 3 inches and weighs about 3.37 oz. This folding knife is manufactured in Golden, Colorado. This knife isn’t just a knife that’s great to collect, but it packs a punch as an effective knife for all sorts of uses. It can satisfy all types of cutting, and its plain edge and pointed tip add to how effective this knife can be.

Spyderco is well known for delivering many low-priced tools that still offer high-quality effectiveness, and the Para 3 is a perfect example of that.

The blade of the Para 3 is quite thick, but it’s still great as a slicing knife. After using this knife, we can assure you that it’s a very reliable and high-quality knife that will immediately impress anyone. Just make sure to always keep this knife clean so it can stay ready and effective for any situation.

However, the Para 3 steel could take some time to sharpen. As long as you stay patient and sharpen this knife properly, then this knife can be your best friend when the time comes.

The Para 3 is very similar to the PM2, but since it’s the next iteration of this knife model, there are still a few differences. The Para 3’s handle is smaller and has a more curved spine compared to the PM2. It also has unique features like the forward finger choil which makes this small blade better to handle for any task.

This smaller knife can handle heavier tasks without much effort, which is why it’s a popular go-to knife that a lot of people enjoy using.

This isn’t really a downside, but since this is the next iteration of the PM2, it doesn’t have an overall new look and design.

Despite this, you should also keep in mind that this knife could have a bit of a learning curve. It might not deliver your expectations immediately. Once you get the hang of it though, you’ll be surprised how effective and reliable this folding knife can be.

Pros
  • Performs well in all kinds of situations
  • Plain edge and pointed tip
  • Easy to handle
Cons
  • Can take some time to sharpen
  • Could take some time to get used to

8. Spyderco Sage 5 Compression Lock C123CFCL

Spyderco Sage 5

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The Sage 5 is another knife that’s part of the Sage series, which is a special product line that’s created to fulfill expectations for a smaller compression lock for knives. This series quickly captured the attention of knife enthusiasts, and the Sage 5 is one of the knives from this series that will not disappoint.

The Sage 5 is made from Taiwan and has an overall length of 7.17 inches and weighs 3.1 ounces. This is a reasonable size for a pocket knife. Moreover, this is a little lighter and thinner compared to the Sage 1 which weighs 3.2 ounces.

The Sage 5 is similar to other knives in the Sage series with its leaf-shaped blade and plain edge. This knife can cut through cardboard well and is even great for food preparation purposes.

The Sage 5 is produced using CPM S30V steel. This is also a good kind of steel, although we wish they used better steel like S35V. Nevertheless, this blade can be sharpened easily and it can retain its sharpness for a long time.

The Sage 5 has a handle that’s relatively the same as the Sage 1, but there is a significant point of difference. The Sage 5 makes use of nested steel liners in its handle, which is why it’s not as heavy as the Sage 1. In addition, this design also has a 50/50 choil and thumb ramp, which helps decrease pressure even when you grip this knife tightly.

Like other Sage knives, the Sage 5 also has a thumb hole in order to open the blade. This is a feature that’s hard to appreciate, but we did have trouble folding and closing the knife using one hand.

A tip to make it easier to fold and close is to modify the pivot. This will make the blade open and close more loosely and easily.

The Sage 5 would’ve been a perfect knife for us if they used S35VN steel instead, as well as loosened the pivot a little bit to make it easier to close and deploy.

Even so, if you’re a Spyderco fan, this knife is a must-have and it’s definitely worth acquiring.

Pros
  • Lightweight and thin blade
  • Leaf-shaped blade and plain edge
  • Easy to sharpen and retains its sharpness
Cons
  • Can be difficult to close and open with one hand
  • Will need some modifications to loosen the opening mechanism

9. Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight

Spyderco Manix 2 Lightweight

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Back in 2010, Blade Show, one of the largest events in the world about cutlery and knives, awarded the Spyderco Manix 2 LW knife with the Most Innovative American Design.

The Spyderco Manix 2 LW is made in the USA and has an overall length of over 8 inches and weighs around 2.9 ounces. For the blade, the Manix 2 uses Carpenter’s BD1, which in our experience, is similar to the 440C. The BD1 is of high quality, and it has great corrosion resistance. Although as a downside, the Manix 2 can be quite difficult to sharpen.

This shape of the Spyderco Manix 2 is similar to the Sage series, having a leaf-shaped blade and plain edge. The blade is also coated and gives a smokey mirror effect, which makes it easy to clean without leaving fingerprints.

For the handle, the Manix 2 LW makes use of fiberglass that’s reinforced with copolymer. Some people say this material lowers the value of this knife, but it’s not really a downside for us.

The Manix 2 LW also has a functional design with a 50/50 finger choil. This will help make it easier for you to add more power with each cut. The Manix 2 also has a bi-directional grip pattern which can help you grip it more firmly even with sweaty hands!

If you’re looking for a more affordable knife that’s similar to the PM 2, the Manix 2 is a great alternative you should consider. Furthermore, if you’re finding bigger EDC knives for outdoor activities, the Manix 2 Lightweight will fulfill all your knife needs.

Pros
  • Awarded the Most Innovative American Design in 2010
  • Great corrosion resistance
  • Leaf-shaped blade and plain edge
  • Blade is coated and easy to clean
  • Handle has a bi-directional grip pattern for better grip
Cons
  • Can be difficult to sharpen
  • Some might find the handle to be low-quality

10. Spyderco Vallotton Sub-Hilt Folder

Spyderco Vallotton Sub-Hilt Folder

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Butch Vallotton is well known for his innovative way of converting manual knives into automatic knives. Butch and Spyderco collaborated for a few years, and the Spyderco Vallotton Sub-Hilt Folder model SC149GP is the end result of their collaboration. This product marks a big turning point for the development of Spyderco because it yields results beyond expectation.

The Vallotton weighs around 6.2 ounces and has a blade length of 3.75 inches with the handle being 5 inches long. The blade has a hollow grind on the cutting edge and a convex grind at the tip. It’s made of Crucible Steel Company’s CPM S30V stainless steel, which is considered one of the finest types of stainless steel used in the manufacturing of cutlery.

The handle is adorned with polished black G 10 handle scales, along with the combination of fitted stainless steel bolsters which improves the aesthetics of the custom folder. This knife can feel comfortable to hold for most hands, and there’s some jimping on the back portion of the thumb hole. When the blade is opened, the thumb ramp is also doubled.

It might not be obvious, but this knife originated from Taiwan, and it’s a full-standard as a handmade custom folder. In addition, this knife isn’t just the result of a collaboration between two of the greatest knife makers in American history. It’s also a mix of international blade culture characteristics. It uses an Italian thick stock folder-style, and it has a Japanese blade shape and design.

Pros
  • Collaboration between Spyderco and Butch Vallotton
  • Comfortable to hold for most hands
  • Hollow ground at cutting edge and convex grind tip
Cons
  • Not as compact compared to other knives on this list
  • Pricey

How to Choose the Best Spyderco Knives: A Buying Guide

Knives are essential tools that can complete one’s gear when going outdoors. It’s also great for everyday use as well as for self-defense.

There are different kinds of knives, so it would be best to figure out what you’ll use them for.

Spyderco is a large folding knife manufacturer, but sometimes they produce fixed blade knives as well.

They also use different types of materials for the blade and handles, and a lot of their knives are capable of EDC and tactical uses because most of them are resistant to wear and tear too.

Possibly the best trademark to tell if the folding knife is Spyderco at first glance is the opening hole or the thumb hole.

It’s not only there for design aesthetics, but it’s a safety feature for the opening mechanism of the folding knives. Some knives need two hands to open a folding knife, but with Spyderco’s technology, it can always be used for one-handed operations.

Choosing the best Spyderco knives for self-defense or EDC will depend on a lot of biases such as your personal preference or your desired price range.

Here are a bunch of factors you should consider before buying from any of the best Spyderco knives listed above:

1. Type

There are five types of knives you need to choose from to narrow down your choices. These are the following:

  • Large Knife – This is for heavy-duty tasks. and the blade length starts from 4 inches and up.
  • Mid-Sized EDC –  A knife for EDC which you can use anywhere. The blade is between 3 and 4 inches.
  • Small EDC –  Still a knife for EDC, but the blade length is between 2.5 and 3 inches.
  • Tactical Knife –  A knife specially designed for self-defense
  • Fixed Blade – Either for EDC or tactical use, this kind of knife has a full tang, which makes it more reliable.

2. Blade Material

Knives are either made of carbon steel or stainless steel. Both of them have their own pros and cons.

For carbon steel, it’s unyielding and can retain its sharpness for a long time. There would be less need for maintenance as you don’t have to sharpen it often.

The downside to it, however, is that it’s prone to rust.

For stainless steel, it’s rust-resistant but needs more maintenance because its sharpness dulls faster than carbon steel.

3. Design

This factor goes for both folding and fixed blade knives. The orientation of the blade depends on the purpose it was made for. As such, the cutting edge and the point will vary from knife to knife.

For the point or the tip, it should be robust enough to withstand easy breaking when it hits the wall or something hard.

There are different blade points, and their purpose varies on the shape. The common ones are drop point, spear point, clip point, and needlepoint, among others.

Drop point is probably the most common knife tip that’s suitable not only for tactical but also for EDC. Its shape is convex, and the spine is a slope down to its tip. It’s good for controlled cuts and can withstand impact. However, it only comes second to clip point blades when it comes to piercing.

A clip point blade has its spine near the tip and appears to be straight or convex. The tip is good for making controlled cuts and is easy for piercing or stabbing. This is because the tip is thinner and sharper than drop point blades.

For spear point blades, these are symmetrical in shape. The tip is located at the center and this is more common in throwing knives. It’s easier to stab and pierce with spear point blades, and it’s more durable than clip point blades too. However, it’s not as good as other blades for slicing and cutting.

Needlepoint blades are double-edged and able to cut on both sides. Like spear point blades, the tip is located at the center. This type of point is for self-defense because of its thrusting and stabbing capabilities.

3. Blade Edge

The sharp edge of the knife can either be plain or serrated.

The plain edge is found in almost all the knives that you see in the market. The serrated edge is a new addition to the bunch, and some Spyderco knives have their edges fully serrated.

You can choose either of them or have both of them in a single knife. It’s your choice. But first, know the pros and cons of a plain edge and serrated edge.

Plain-edge blades are traditional and serve a lot of purposes for different applications. The cutting edge slices things neatly, but it can be a little different for things made of plastic. Instead of slicing, the blade may just slip instead.

Serrated edges have their blades toothed or similar to a saw for its cutting edge. This kind of blade is good for cutting through textured materials in which a plain edge blade may slip. Its obvious setback is its inability to cut cleanly, and sharpening may require special equipment.

4. Lock Mechanism

As most Spyderco knives are under the folding knife category, you will need to consider the locking mechanism and think which is easier on your end.

Without a lock mechanism, you can injure your hand. There are three common types of lock mechanisms used on folding knives, and they are listed below:

The lock-back mechanism is the system wherein the spine is locked into the notch on the back of the blade. To close the knife when not in use, you need to switch your grip and use two hands to push down the part of the spine so that the lock is disengaged. It’s a reliable system and safe for your hands when the knife accidentally closes.

Next is the liner lock mechanism. This is common to folding knives today and distinguished from the side spring bar that is placed on the side where the edge of the blade is. It is good for one-handed operations because you don’t have to switch your grip. Using your index finger, push the spine down slightly and move your thumb away before the knife folds back to its housing. The setback, however, is that it could disengage due to daily use.

The last one is the frame lock mechanism. It is similar to the liner lock with the difference being the spring bar. For the frame lock, the knife has a separate metal liner often found at the interior of the handle. Thus, the frame of the knife acts as a lock. Folding back the knife is the same as how you unfold it.

5. Handle Material

Spyderco uses different kinds of handle materials to ensure comfort and other ergonomics use. But their most commonly used material is the Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon (FRN) and G 10.

Seemingly, these two are composite materials that are far superior to the typical polymer materials you might soo on other knives. They also have knives that use metallic components for their handles, but these aren’t as common.

Interesting Facts About Spyderco Knives

History of Spyderco

Spyderco was founded 39 years ago and is currently based in Golden, Colorado. They pioneered some features like a pocket clip, opening holes, and serrated edges, now commonly found in some knives today. These were made possible because Spyderco prioritized high quality and innovative designs ever since.

Although they originated from the USA, most of their knives are outsourced overseas like in Italy, Japan, Taiwan, and China. Spyderco continues to experiment with combinations of handle materials and blade materials. As such, Spyderco has their own “sprint runs”, which is short for limited edition knives.

The Meaning Behind the Name and the Logo of Spyderco

Spyderco Logo

There are two things that caused Sal Glesser, the founder of the brand, to come up with the unique name “Spyderco” along with the spider logo.

First, Sal Glesser noticed that a lot of high-end vehicles of the time happened to have “Spyder” in their name.  Second, the first product that Sal created is not a knife, it’s actually a device called the Portable Hand.

Consisting of alligator clips, angles, and ball joints, the Portable Hand permit people like jewelers and craftsmen to work around fairly small parts without much difficulty. Incidentally, the Portable Hand happens to bear a striking resemblance to a spider with its freakish look.

So in the end, the name and the logo of Spyderco are often associated with top-notch performance and based on established traditions.

A Leading Brand in the Industry with Multiple Revolutionary Innovations

Introduced in 1981, the Spyderco C01 Worker is the first folding knife of the brand and it’s also the first to possesses a round hole opener. Thanks to the hole, people could deploy the blade with only one hand and the feature itself makes the knife suitable for ambidextrous operations too.

In addition to that, the SpyderEdge of Spyderco is the first product available on the folding knife market to be equipped with a serrated blade. The presence of the never-before-seen technologies in SpyderEdge means it receives critical acclaim from users and experts alike.

Moreover, Spyderco is the first to offer a pocket clip for folding knives which is a groundbreaking feature at the time.

To keep the descriptions of their product reasonably relevant, Syperdo provides law enforcement officers, military personnel, and other related fields with the OpFocus option. In case you haven’t heard about it, OpFocus is short for Operational Focus. Overall, the term is coined by Spyderco in order to describe specific views of their knives from their users

Through feedback from individual customers, federal agencies, and branches of service, Spyderco ensures that tactical knife users could secure blades well-tailored for their demands. OpFocus knives are examples of knives that are created based on customized descriptions that come from different perspectives.

Nowadays, collaborations between custom knife makers and manufacturers are common. Nonetheless, not many people know that Spyderco is among the first brands in the industry to set things in motion. The collaboration between Bob Terzuola and Spyderco that lead to the birth of the C15 knife model pioneers this concept.

As a result, Spyderco is widely considered to be the spearhead of the collaboration movement which forever changed the face of modern-day knife manufacturing. There are numerous production knives with custom designs in the present, but everything started with the Bob Terzuola – Spyderco collaborations.

Fixed Blade vs Folding Blade: Best Style for Self Defense

Some people say that they prefer a folding blade knife that they could conceal in their pocket without much difficulty. Others claim in critical moments, the simplicity and robustness of fixed blade knives outperform everything.

The best Spyderco knives for an individual can vary, but let’s assess the characteristics of each style of knife in order to help you decide which kind of blade you prefer.

Fixed Blade

Before people came up with mechanisms to achieve folding blades, fixed blade knives dominated the knife markets and remain prominent up to this day.

spyderco fixed blade knife

The most obvious advantage of a fixed blade is that as a solid piece of steel, it’s extremely reliable. No matter what happens, you could always depend on your fixed blade knife to come through during any situation. That being said, fixed blades are not exactly convenient to carry around without attracting attention.

As a result, many experts agree that a fixed blade mostly shines in the hand of hunters and hardcore outdoorsmen. Even though they aren’t as easy to pocket, there are still excellent small fixed blade knives on the market.

Folding Blade

Compared to fixed blade knives, folding blade knives are more portable as you could fold the blade into the handle. Because of that, a lot of people prefer to carry folding blade knives in urban environments where portability is essential. The best Spyderco knives for portability are foldable, easy to deploy, and can work well despite their size.

spyderco folding blade knife

Nonetheless, in terms of structural integrity, a folding blade is not as good as a fixed blade. Since folding blade knives feature various moving components in their construction, mechanical failures would be a constant concern for the user. Moreover, certain areas and regions expressly forbid the use of knives with a folding blade.

Types of Knives Offered by Spyderco: An in-Depth Analysis

While shopping for the best Spyderco knives, Spyderco understands the utmost importance of taking into account external factors and tactical considerations. Spyderco can readily offer you a variety of models based on your own preferences. Take a good look at the available types in order to decide which of the best Spyderco knives would work best for your situation.

EDC

Stands for everyday carry, EDC knives are very handy whenever you’re looking for sharp and reliable cutting tools. The design of most EDC knives places heavy emphasis on versatility and flexibility, but that also means these knives don’t excel at any particular task at all.

That being said, if you have no specific needs and requirements in mind, a Spyderco EDC knife is an excellent choice. It’s surely far from exceptional, but it should suffice in most cases. The Chaparral, Delica, and Dragonfly are a couple of solid EDC examples from Spyderco you can consider.

Recreational

When it comes to hunting and fishing, a high-quality recreational knife is highly sought after. Often used to process captured games, hunting knives have to be sturdy, sharp, and stable.

While a solid folding knife could work, it’s strongly recommended that you look for a fixed model if you genuinely want a recreational knife. You don’t have to worry about the blade suddenly closing, and the control is much more forgiving.

In any case, thoroughly inspect and exam the characteristics of the knife just to make sure it fits your demand. Spyderco has commendable recreational knife models like the Caribbean, Chinook, and Native.

Marine

If you live in a region with salty air or you frequently travel on the sea often, you’ll need a marine-orientated knife. A traditional self-defense knife would likely experience corrosion problems in such situations which is quite annoying to solve properly. Save yourself some trouble and go for a knife that’s designed to tackle salty environments.

Spyderco utilizes H1 steel for their marine knives such as Assist Salt, Saver Salt, and Snap-It Salt which helps keep the blade in good shape. You can take a look at their Salt Series if you are searching for a rustproof, self-defense knife.

Survival

Are you a serious outdoor adventurer who cares a lot about dependability and reliability? Then it’s a good idea for you to ensure that your self-defense knife is also a survival model.

Again, folding knives are less than ideal for these situations, so knives with a fixed blade are your best bet. Try to also figure what blade size is most suitable for you. Make sure it’s not too big and also not too small.

If it’s too small, the knife may be easier to carry, but it might not be able to handle heavy tasks like chopping wood. If it’s too big, the knife could split wood with relative ease, but you might have a hard time carrying it around.

The Street Beat, Sustain, and Zoomer are high-quality options for you.

Tactical

For duty-bound personnel and tactical-oriented users, there is nothing better than having a tactical knife for self-defense.

In the tactical category, knives with a fixed blade and knives with a folding blade would often work equally well. Therefore, it’s up to you to decide what kind of knife will fit your situation best.

Keep in mind that tactical knives are designed for specific tasks, so the way you intend to use the knife would be the decisive factor.

In terms of models, the Karahawk, Paramilitary, and Police are some of the best tactical knives Spyderco offers today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spyderco

What is the Meaning of the Number on the Blade/Handle of Certain Spyderco Knives?

While shopping for Spyderco goods, you would come across several knives that have a number on their blade or handle.  Numbered Spyderco knives are inherently special examples that often fall into several categories including Collector’s Club, First Production Run, Limited Editions, and Forum Models.

Needless to say, these types of Spyderco knives are mostly produced in relatively limited numbers and tend to receive a lot of attention from collectors. Considering the collectible value of the numbered knives, it’s not wrong to throw some money if you want to own a rare Spyderco model.

Is It Safe to Use a “Notched” Knife From Spyderco?

Similar to other manufacturers on the market, the production standards of Spyderco knives occasionally fluctuate and the results are products of less than ideal quality. Instead of throwing the imperfect knives away, Spyderco decides to sell them at very affordable prices, which is a widespread practice in the knife industry.

In order to help people distinguish these examples from first-line products, Spyderco deliberately creates a notch on the blade, hence the name “notched” knives.

Generally speaking, it’s safe to use a notched knife from Spyderco, especially if you are currently short on money. However, warranty coverage is unavailable.   

Why Do People Say That I Should Stay Away From Knives With the Phrase “BRK”?

If you like Spyderco Native and want to use one from the series for self-defense, stay away from anything that has “BRK” on them. BRK Native knives are not products of Spyderco, they come from Blue Ridge Knives which is a large knife distributor.

To assemble BRK Native, BRK purchases handles from Spyderco and then gets everything else from Camillus, including the blades that Camillus originally makes for Spyderco.

The quality of BRK Native is not comparable with the level of Spyderco Native. Therefore, don’t let the Spyderco marks on the blade and handle of BRK Native fool you into buying it.

Would Spyderco Agree to Re-Sharpen My Knife for Me?

All Spyderco knives have to go through a comprehensive testing phase before reaching a customer’s hands, so all of them are well sharpened when made available for purchase. Once you feel that you are no longer able to make clean cuts with your Spyderco knife, you could send it back for re-sharpening.

For most cases, it’ll only cost you $5.00 or so to get it shipped back. However, you should know that it would not cover missing/damaged parts and any other warranty-specific fixes.

Spyderco is available from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday to Friday. Just to be safe, you can visit the Spyderco website to figure out the best time to call and convey your personal demands.

What Exactly Is the Extent of Spyderco Lifetime Warranty Coverage?

At first, a lifetime warranty seems promising, but it can be vague and lack in-depth details. The following is a short overview of what Spyderco is willing to do with its lifetime repairs and replacements services:

  • People at Spyderco truly take great pride in their craftsmanship along with their attention to detail. That is why if you detect flaws and faults on your Spyderco knife, the brand would proceed to repair or replace it free of charge.  
  • When a Spyderco knife suffers damages that aren’t covered by warranty, the brand can give you a repair quote. Most of the time, the costs offered by Spyderco is cheaper than the costs you get from local knife smiths.
  • The lifetime warranty of Spyderco only covers original, unmodified knives. As a result, any alterations to the product joints, screws, clasps, and so on, automatically void the warranty, no exception. If you absolutely have to replace certain components, use the exact type of part. Even better, you should reach out to Spyderco and purchase proper replacements to avoid trouble.
  • Products that get stolen or lost are not be replaced by Spyderco, the warranty simply does not cover these issues. Hence, if you call Spyderco and then say something like “Hey, I can’t find my knife so…”, they are not going to do anything.
  • Customers that service Spyderco knives by themselves have to ensure that they have the skills and tools to do so. When it comes to warranty claims, Spyderco technicians obviously take a very close look at the upkeep of the knife. If they judge that the cause behind the malfunction is improper maintenance, Spyderco could refuse to uphold their warranty commitments.

Steels Found on Spyderco Knives: A Thorough Guide for Beginners

spyderco knife on top of steel rods

After 40 years of continuous operation, Spyderco and various collaborators of the brand have experimented with more than 30 kinds of steel.  For whatever you are willing to spend on your personal self-defense knife, Spyderco can always offer you the right steel in the right blade, whether you’re looking for stainless steel or carbon steel.

As a result, it’s advised that you take a look at the characteristics of different steels used by Spyderco to get the best deal. Here is a short explanation about common materials found on the blade of Spyderco knives:

8Cr13MoV

  • Carbon: 0.70 – 0.80%
  • Chromium: 13.00 – 14.00%
  • Molybdenum: 0.10 – 0.30%
  • Vanadium: 0.10 – 0.25%
  • Nickel: 0.20%

A stainless steel material of Chinese origin, 8Cr13MoV is an excellent choice for knife users who want something of high quality. While 8Cr13MoV is not as good as high-end steels, it’s nonetheless sufficient for most budget-minded consumers.

The rather high chromium content in the Changjiang stainless steel means that 8Cr13MoV possesses commendable resistance against corrosion and wear. Thanks to the presence of a good amount of carbon, 8Cr13MoV is reasonably strong and holds the edge well. Once the blade edge finally get dulled, it should only take a few moments in order to regain the original sharpness  

VG-10

  • Carbon: 0.95 – 1.05%
  • Chromium: 14.50 – 15.50%
  • Molybdenum: 0.90 – 1.20%
  • Vanadium: 0.10 – 0.30%
  • Cobalt: 1.30 – 1.50%

Sourced from Takefu, Japan, VG-10 is considered by multiple experienced users and experts to be a high-end blade that’s stainless steel. Since it’s stainless steel, you don’t really have to worry too much about stain while using a Spyderco knife made from VG-10.

With high amounts of carbon and chromium, the Takefu VG-10 stainless steel is fairly hard and its corrosion resistance is superb. With the addition of vanadium, the edge retention and overall stability of VG-10 blades receive many praises from knife users. The hardness of VG-10 stainless steel often varies between 60 and 62 HRC, which isn’t exceptional, but it’s good enough to get most tasks done.  

CPM-S30V

  • Carbon: 1.45 – 1.46%
  • Chromium: 14.00 %
  • Molybdenum: 2.00%
  • Wolfram: 0.10 – 0.40%
  • Vanadium: 4.00%

Developed and marketed by Crucible, CPM-S30V steel is a fine American-made powder steel with carefully balanced attributes. As with other brands in the industry, Spyderco uses Crucible steel for its high-end knives, which speaks a lot about its field performance.

The innovative introduction of Wolfram (also known as Tungsten) into the mix allows CPM-S30V to achieve admirable hardness. Originally, CPM-S30V is a very expensive material, but as other advanced steel materials hit the market, the Crucible steel has steadily become more affordable.

When it comes to the matter of cost-effectiveness, few materials are capable of clearly outperforming Crucible CPM-S30V.

154CM

  • Carbon: 1.05%
  • Chromium: 13.50 – 14.00 %
  • Molybdenum: 4.00%    
  • Wolfram: 0.00 – 0.40%     
  • Vanadium: 0.00 – 0.40%

Also from Crucible, 154CM is actually designed for jet engine application — up until Bob Loveless, a reputable knife maker, considered using it as a blade steel. Given the fact that 154CM used to be an aviation class material, the Crucible is one of the best options for knife blades in the industry.

Overall, 154CM is tough, hard, and resists corrosion very well. In addition to that, a 154CM blade could hold its edge for a pretty long time and re-sharpening it is a walk in the park.

Excluding Crucible, there are several manufacturers that make steel with somewhat similar characteristics to 154CM like Damasteel (RWL-34) and Hitachi (ATS34).

CPM S90V

  • Carbon: 2.30%
  • Chromium: 14.00 %
  • Molybdenum: 1.00%    
  • Wolfram: 0.40%         
  • Vanadium: 8.75 – 9.00%

Featuring extreme hardness and element resistances, CPM S90V is another respectable steel from Crucible. With lots of Chromium and Vanadium, this Crucible steel would have no trouble tackling harsh conditions and unforgiving weather.

In most cases, a CPM S90V blade could retain its razor-sharp edge for an extended period of time with relative ease. On the downside, it requires a lot of patience for you to re-sharpen the edge if it gets dulled.

Furthermore, knives that utilize CPM S90V are very expensive, so your shopping budget is once again the decisive factor.

Final Thoughts About Spyderco Knives

With four decades of company and user experience, it’s no surprise that Spyderco was able to attract and build a loyal customer base. Generally speaking, the brand is at the top when it comes to innovation, so Spyderco knives surely have what it takes to please their users.

Whenever Spyderco employees conclude that particular features and designs would offer improvements to the performance of their product, they incorporate them as soon as possible. Thanks to that, Spyderco is the name that’s constantly mentioned when you need to look for a self-defense knife.

Consumers around the globe rarely feel disappointed after they purchase a Spyderco product.

In addition to that, Spyderco carefully takes note of feedbacks and complaints from users in order to make necessary changes. As a result, Spyderco knives receive refinements from time to time and some of the brand knives have been in production for more than 20 years.

Through offers of limited edition models, Spyderco also makes sure that collectors, as well as enthusiasts, remain interested in the brand knives as time passes by.

Finally, since Spyderco is quite willing to collaborate, the brand is able to introduce unique knives that suit Spyderco traditions. You’ll never get the feeling that Spyderco is running out of new ideas.    

If you are in need of a solid self-defense knife, Spyderco always has something in store for you.

Conclusion

With this guide and the Spyderco knives review above, we hope you’re ready to buy the best Spyderco knife for you. There are a bunch of items to choose from, but once you take note of all their characteristics and features, it’ll be easier for your to narrow down your choices and end up with the best knife for your situation.

 

CHANGELOG:

October 4, 2021 - Added new product link options
September 10, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.