Spyderco Native Review

On paper the Spyderco Native looks like a truly awesome knife. Made in Golden Colorado, its light weight and small footprint make it ideal for EDC while it’s S30V blade is made from some of the finest knifemaking steel money can buy. When you consider that the knife bears the Spyderco name and can easily be had for right around $60, it seems like an obvious choice. However, all that glitters isn’t golden (even S30V). Lets take a critical look at the Native to see if it is really the holy grail of EDC knives.

Spyderco Native

General Dimensions and Blade Details

The Spyderco Native has a 3 1/8″ blade, an overall length of 7″ and a weight of 2.65 ounces. This design is lightweight and has a good sized blade for EDC, while still being a very slim knife that will slip easily into the pocket. The blade is a drop point design that has a hollow ground edge that begins about halfway down the blade. The weight of the blade has been further reduced with an aggressive swedge on the top of the blade. This swedge looks like it could be sharpened although that would be impractical as both a folding and an EDC knife.

Spyderco selected CPM S30V for the blade steel. S30V is an exotic and incredibly durable steel that will hold an edge very well. It is still relatively easy to sharpen and has good corrosion resistance. No doubt the choice of steel is a major attractant as it is one of the more expensive steels. The knife performs well. The edge is very sharp and it can easily shave hairs. The hollow saber grind has a surprisingly difficult time cutting cardboard (perhaps because the cardboard will bind up at the top of the saber grind) but will be more than adequate for most common cutting tasks.

Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip

The Native, like many Spyderco Knives, was designed to be an extension of the hand. In many ways Spyderco accomplishes this, the handle is made of a single piece of Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon and is well textured with signature Spyderco Bi-Directional texturing. The handle is indeed very grippy and it feels secure in hand. Spyderco also included two finger choils to facilitate a firm grip and aggressive jimping on the spine of the blade.

Spyderco Native Handle

These handle design features are all well and good, and I appreciate the effort Spyderco put into designing this handle, however, the finger choil closest to the blade (and is indeed part of the blade steel) is simply too small, making it uncomfortable to jam your finger into it to really choke up on the blade for detail work. Additionally, when you do choke up on the blade, your thumb is in a position where it is not on the jimping. This defeats the purpose of the jimping and makes your thumb slip along the spine of the blade. Granted, you are only going to be using these kinds of grips for heavier duty work.

Spyderco Native: Detail of Finger Choil

If this folder is not going to be used every day to slash cardboard and do a lot of controlled detail work (like say, carving) then these issues will probably not be a big deal for you. However, if you want to use this as more of a work knife, you may find the knife to be somewhat painful to use.

One other detail about the handle that I have to mention, is the absence of liners. The knife appears to be very strong, but I know a lack of liners will be an issue for some, so if you are thinking about purchasing the Native please keep that in mind.

The pocket clip is a standard Spyderco clip. It is well designed and comes in a glossy black. It allows for ambidextrous tip up carry.

Lock and Deployment

The Native uses a lock-back to secure the blade. This is a very sturdy lock and out of the box there is zero play at all in the knife when deployed. Another thing to notice is that the button on this lock-back has a “Boyd Dent” – a special Spyderco design feature that is literally a dent in the lock back that helps to prevent you from accidentally closing the knife when you are gripping it firmly. A word of caution, the lock could still accidentally using the knife in a reverse grip. This is an issue with all lock-backs; I don’t recommend using a lock-back in the reverse grip.

Spyderco Native: Lock and Handle

Deployment on the Native is accomplished with a Spyderco thumb hole. The hole is partially covered by the handle when closed, which doesn’t make it difficult to open the knife, but makes it difficult to open the knife quickly. I noticed quite a bit of blade retention on the Native and the deployment was really quite slow. For an EDC knife this doesn’t strike me as a huge deal, but I do enjoy a fast deploying knife.

What does bother me about the lock and deployment is the lack of an adjustable pivot bolt. The pivot on the Native is actually a pin, which you cannot tighten or loosen. Spyderco does a good job adjusting the pin from the factor, but I like the option of adjusting it. If the knife blade were to get too loose, the only way to fix it would be to send it back to Spyderco.

Spyderco Native: Final Thoughts

The Native has a lot going for it, but it is mired by small details that prevent me from giving the knife my full endorsement. The near perfect EDC dimensions and great choice of blade steel are outstanding features. Making the knife in America is great too because you know the fit and finish will be very good. Spyderco really got the basics of this knife right.

However, I have issues with the finger choil, the slow deployment and lack of an adjustable pivot pin. I know some will have issues with the lack of liners, but I think the knife is plenty strong as is. If they fixed the pivot pin, I think I would be able to look past the choil and we probably wouldn’t have the slow deployment. I know these may seem like harsh criticisms, but my job here is to provide you with the facts so when you buy a knife you can get exactly what you want. The Spyderco Native is really a very nice knife, but it’s not perfect.

When we get into the subject of value, I think this knife is fairly priced. It’s one of Spydercos more inexpensive knives and I think for light EDC it will make for a fine pocket knife. As a more hard use knife, I would rather spend a little more money on a different Spyderco or consider another manufacturer.

Spyderco Native

Where Can I Buy the Spyderco Native?

You can buy the Spyderco Native on Amazon. Amazon is offering free shipping on the knife. I’ve shopped around and Amazon also has the best deal on the Native. Click here to buy the Spyderco Native on Amazon.

Where Can I Read More Spyderco Native Reviews?

The best place for more reviews from people who own the knife is Amazon. There are around 10 reviews on Amazon right now and the Spyderco Native has earned 4.8 out of 5 stars. Click here to read the reviews on Amazon.

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Comments

  1. Earl Sweatpants says

    Spyderco makes a hell of a good knife. Of all my various EDC folders, my Native gets the most use. It’s the perfect size and it’s held up spectacularly under all sorts of use. I’ve yet to find the “perfect” folder (and I’ll never stop trying LOL) but this one is as close as I’ve come so far.

    • says

      Earl, I totally agree. The Native is just an awesome EDC option. Light, slim, great steel – so much to love. I personally carry a Sage 1 a lot – very similar to the Native, but has some nice refinements. More expensive though! Thanks for reading man.

  2. says

    Greetings, I came to/discovered your site via a link from another site, I’ve enjoyed reading the reviews of a few knives that I own, ones I don’t own and one that I’ll soon own, the Italian made SALUS (Combative Edge).

    Re: the Spyderco Native: I own two of them, had three, just sold one on Ebay.
    I love this knife, it is the only EDC I carry, however I carry and prefer the all black ‘combo edge’ version, for me it opens/deploys fast and smoothly, locks tightly, the two lower choils are perfect for my small to med. sized hand and the thumb jimping is superb and is easy to keep clean.

    I live in Manhattan, N.Y.C. and for the frequency of the tasks/uses I come in contact with daily, the combo edge is perfect for every one.
    The serrations are “EXTREMELY” sharp like sharks teeth.
    (I call this knife “The Little Monster”)
    The other positive attributes of the ‘Native’ for me is that it’s incredibly light in weight and its small size fits in my pocket easily.

    Without going into depth, N.Y.C. has the most restrictive and archaic knife law/s in the U.S., so the ‘smaller’ the less chance of me going to jail if a Cop even sees the clip on the outside of my pants pocket.
    I never keep it clipped.. only “down in” my pocket…. which is theoretically legal, clipped is illegal, yes go figure!
    To close, I’m in love with the all black combo edge Native which stays literally “razor” sharp and if it was ever needed in a defensive situation I have no doubt it would go through clothes like butter, including a jacket.

    The only possible negative would be that the paint on the clip/s wear off easily, so what I have done to mine is take the clip/s off, sand them, apply a base coat of Rust-Oleum primer, then a coat of Rust-Oleum “Flat” black protective enamel.
    The “flat” keeps it from any shine thus being spotted easily.

    Great blade blog, enjoyed reading your reviews.
    Besides the Italian ‘SALUS’, there’s another Italian made blade I will soon purchase, the Italian made fixed ‘Extrema Ratio Fulcrum C.’ all black Tanto.
    Would enjoy reading your thoughts on that.
    Best regards from the Big Apple,
    Mark

    • says

      Hey Mark,

      First of all, wow, thanks for the very detailed comment. Awesome stuff, and my hope is others will benefit from your seasoned experience with the Spyderco Native (an awesome little knife as you so aptly described). I am not familiar with the NYC laws specifically (although I do know they are quite draconian) but I am glad to hear you are able to carry the Native. It’s a very capable EDC and you don’t sacrifice much (if anything) by doing so (as far as carrying a good EDC knife goes, I’d say the Native is near perfect in that respect). The all black combo edge definitely has it’s appeal, and I like your pocket clip modification a lot – I’ve got a couple knives that could benefit from that treatment.

      I am glad you have been enjoying the rest of the blog, I certainly have enjoyed writing reviews and such over the past couple years (well, year and a half really). The SALUS is a really nice knife, I am glad to hear it’s on your radar as I think it is woefully underappreciated. I have also heard great things about Extrema Ratio – I confess that I haven’t owned any myself, but a good friend of mine owns a number of them (including the Fulcrum I think) and he swears by them. Really rugged knives, the styling isn’t for everyone but if it grabs your attention then rock on I say.

      Well Mark, thanks again for the great comment. Stay sharp, and all the best from sunny S FL!

      Dan

  3. Shad says

    Dan,
    Thanks for another good review!
    It could be that my hands are slightly smaller than yours as I have never found a knife that fits my hand better than my Native! That said, I can see how someone that very large hands could have a problem.
    My only gripe with my Native is, like you said, hard to deploy quickly. It sure would be nice if they added some bushings to make this knife smoother to deploy, but that is the only thing I can find to complain about.
    Thanks, and keep the reviews coming!
    Shad

    • says

      Thank you, Shad! Yes, I think this is one of those “your mileage may vary” situations. I found it a little tight some reason for my hand, but I know plenty of people who can get a good grip on the Native. I wouldn’t argue if they made the knife a little smoother and easier to open, maybe the Native 5 is like that, I’ll have to get my hands on one at some point.

      More reviews coming (relatively) soon. I wish I had more time to pump them out but these days I’ve just been slammed with work.

      Thanks again,

      Dan

  4. Shad says

    Totally understand Dan!
    No stress, I just enjoy your reviews as they are well done without having “favorite” brands, or at least not letting it show too much.
    Regards,
    Shad

    • says

      Thanks, Shad. I try to review what I like, and I also try to stay *reasonably* objective. Of course some bias will trickle in but that’s the nature of a personal review. At any rate I really appreciate you visiting the site and taking the time out to comment.

      Dan

  5. DJ says

    I think the FRN Native is darn near the perfect EDC knife and I’ve been carrying mine to work going on 4 years now. BTW the more you use it the more it breaks in and I can flick mine open faster than my ZT assisted opening folder (a few drops of high quality gun oil on the pivot really help). I think that it is a fantastic value as well.

    • says

      Thanks for stopping by, DJ. Glad you really like your FRN Native. I agree that it has many qualities I look for in an EDC. Interesting to hear about the break in as well.

      Dan

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