Last Updated: September 19, 2015
I found the Spyderco Tenacious when I was looking for a good sized EDC knife on a budget. I did some research and saw that the Tenacious ticked a lot of my boxes. At the time I was interested in a knife with a full flat grind, a large plain edge, G10 handle scales and pillar construction. The Tenacious had that and more – all for around $30. So I ordered the knife and had it at my door a couple days later. The following are my thoughts on the Tenacious after using it as a daily carry for several months.
General Dimensions and Blade Specifics
The Tenacious has an overall length of 7-3/4″, a 3 3/8″ blade, weighs 4.0 oz, and is made in China. The blade is not only long but it is fairly wide (from edge to spine) at almost an 1.5″ inches. This is a large knife for EDC (Every Day Carry), and people contemplating the Tenacious for that use may prefer it’s smaller brother, the Persistence or the Ambitious.
The leaf shaped blade of the Tenacious is made of 8Cr13Mov Stainless steel. 8Cr13Mov is a more inexpensive steel that is comparable with Aus 8. However, Spyderco does an excellent job with the heat treat on this steel and my experiences have found that 8Cr13Mov sharpens well and holds a good edge. That said, compared to harder, more expensive steels you will have to sharpen the knife more frequently.
Also, I really like the full flat grind on this knife. It is like a small kitchen knife and is great for slicing, especially through cardboard. That full flat grind just zips through cardboard. The shape is fairly generic, but there is enough belly for EDC tasks
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The handle is a of pillar construction, which I really like because it makes the knife easy to clean. The handle is layers of steel with G10 scales. The steel has been milled out to reduce the weight, which is a great touch that I love to see on a cheaper knife. The G10 is lightly textured and feels good. It isn’t super abrasive so your pockets will be spared, but it offers nice tactile feedback. I haven’t had any problems with the knife slipping out of my hand, probably because the ergonomics are so good. The G10 has been contoured around the liner lock and there is very good jimping on the thumb ramp and the lock, this makes the knife very easy and comfortable to use.
The ergonomics on the Tenacious are quite good. It has a pretty big handle and it has been well designed. My palm fits nicely and the corners have been rounded slightly for comfort. Also the knife is designed to provide the user good traction, which I find to be important for a mid sized folding EDC knife like this. Since it is a cheap knife, I have a tendency to have it do my “dirty work” that I wouldn’t subject some of my more expensive knives too. The large thumb ramp and jimping really helps keep your thumb in place and maintain control when putting some power behind the blade. I’ve used this knife pretty hard and “Tenacious” is an apt name because it keeps on ticking.
Pocket clips can be a problem with expensive knives, let alone cheap ones, so I was really pleased with the clip on the Tenacious. It’s a signature Spyderco Hourglass shaped clip that provides good pocket retention without shredding your pants up. Also the clip is mountable on all 4 corners of the knife, so you can carry this knife in your left or right pocket, tip up or tip down. As a lefty on a budget, I loved this feature. The knife rides pretty low in your pocket.
I will say that my clip had a tendency to come loose until I hit it with some lock-tite. My guess is that you are going to want to do the same.
Deployment and Lock Up
The deployment on this knife is very nice. The thumb hole (“Spyderhole”) makes it easy to access the blade with bare hands or gloves – in rain or shine. The action is smooth, thanks in part to phosphor bronze bushings. The bushings on this knife are apparently pretty thin, but I’ve been flicking this knife open for months and it still deploys very smoothly.
Also, the lock on this knife is very solid. The Tenacious uses a thick liner lock that bites deep into the blade. I detect zero up and down movement when the knife is locked and a tiny amount of side to side movement.
Overall Fit and Finish
So one thing that kind of concerned me about this knife was that it was made in China. At the time the Tenacious originally came out, there was a lot of stigma regarding Chinese manufacturing and Chinese knives. Today, with the advent of high end Chinese knife manufacturers like Reate, there is less of a concern, although certainly some of that original stigma still exists.
I will say that the build quality of the Tenacious is impressive considering the price. It’s not the best finished knife in my collection – there are some minor quibbles here and there (the grind on the bevel is a little sloppy, the G10 scale is milled out a little too much next to the lock bar, etc), but all in all I am pleased with the fit and finish and whoever manufactured this for Spyderco did a good job.
As I turn to my final remarks on the Tenacious, I think we should consider the topic of “value” – as that often plays in to the commentary on the Tenacious, and many consider this to be a “value” knife. To be honest, I think the knife is well priced right around $30. It’s a good amount of knife for the money, it’s well designed, the materials are adequate, the fit and finish is adequate – I really cant complain. That said, I would likely not pay $50, or $75 for this knife, and think it is priced appropriately for what it is.
The Tenacious rounds out Spyderco’s product line nicely and is an affordable knife that has all of the design elements and features Spyderco is known for. I like the Tenacious and recommend it for someone seeking an affordable larger EDC knife, or a hearty utility knife that can be used hard guilt free.
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