Last Updated: 02/22/2017
From time to time I get reader requests to review a particular knife. I try to oblige, although it isn’t always possible. I appreciate the feedback and it’s humbling to hear that someone wants my take on a particular knife.
So I have to start this off by saying that no knife has ever received as many reader requests as the Spyderco Paramilitary 2. This is a knife that I have had my eye on for a long time now, and eventually the urge to pick up a Para 2 simply became too strong to resist. This is a larger USA made folder with all the trimmings, and having carried mine now for a while I can totally see why this particular knife has received so many requests – it’s an awesome cutting tool.
So this review is dedicated to all the awesome people who have been on this knife review journey with me. My Para 2 has been purchased, carried and thoroughly tested, so I am finally ready to share with you some of my thoughts on this knife. Let the blade review begin!
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Para 2 has an overall length of 8.3″, a 3.4″ blade, weighs 3.75 ounces, and is made in the USA. This is a larger knife, designed to be either a tactical knife or a heavy-duty utility folder. I also know that for many, this is an EDC knife, and that is exactly what I did with my Paramilitary 2 for about 6 weeks before I sat down to write this review. All in all I really like the Para 2 as an EDC option. It’s a little bigger than what I typically like to carry, but it’s very light for it’s size and packs a ton of utility.
The Para 2 features a classic Spyderco drop point blade. It’s been given a full flat grind and is made from 3.5mm blade stock. The knife has a nice amount of belly, an excellent tip and has proven to be a tremendous slicer. Rounding things out is a well ground edge that came extremely sharp. I have found that this is a great knife for food prep. For example, I had to slice a lot of large ciabatta rolls, and the 3.4″ blade really made easy work of the task.
You have the option of a satin finish (shown here) or a diamond like carbon (DLC) coating for the blade on your Paramilitary 2. I like DLC coatings a lot, they are about as good as a knife coating can get, but I have no experience with Spyderco’s formulation. I can say that everything I read about their DLC coating was favorable, and I love my satin finished version.
Blade steel is the very capable S30V. Knife enthusiasts won’t need me to say much about S30V, it has been popular for close to a decade now. But for the uninitiated this is an all around excellent steel. It has been usurped by S35VN and other even more premium steels over the year, but S30V remains more than adequate for most people. S30V is relatively easy to sharpen, takes a very nice edge, and can hold a good working edge for a very long time. It’s also quite resistant to rust and corrosion.
Spyderco has released a number of sprint runs of the Para 2 over the years in a wide range of exotic steels and handle colors. I’d like to see them upgrade the standard Para 2 to S35VN or CTS-XHP at some point. For the time being a premium version of the knife in S110V with blurple scales is available (apparently as a non-sprint run on Spyderco’s regular lineup for the foreseeable future).
And here is a size comparison with the Para 2 next to my Sage 1:
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The Paramilitary 2 handle is black G10 over nested stainless steel liners. The liners have been milled out somewhat to reduce the weight, and at 3.75 ounces the knife is very light overall. The corners have all been nicely rounded and the liners sit flush with the G10. Everything is screwed together and you have an open construction design with 2 pillars and a very large lanyard loop. All in all, handle construction is top notch.
The ergonomics on the Para 2 are outstanding. Spyderco has once again made excellent use of a 50-50 choil to give you more options and better control over your knife. A 50-50 choil is a finger choil made fromboth the blade stock and the handle. What I like about this is that you have the option of setting your hand back on the knife to maximize reach, or you can choke up for more detailed cutting tasks. Either way the handle is plenty big and extremely comfortable. The 50-50 choil is part of the reason why so many Spyderco knives (like the Dragonfly and Sage 1) consistently get excellent ergonomic ratings from me. Rounding things out is perhaps one of the best jimped thumb ramps I’ve ever come across. The jimping is just phenomenal on this knife – it practically super-glues your thumb in place.
The pocket clip is a standard Spyderco hour-glass shaped clip. It’s large and has a bright satin finish, but it offers good retention and a decently deep carry. I’d love a blackened clip to come standard on my satin finished Para-2, although I admit it wouldn’t look quite as nice in my hand.
Deployment and Lock
Deployment on the Paramilitary 2 is accomplished via an oversized Spyder-hole. And I really do mean oversized. At 14mm in diameter it is really a much bigger thumb hole than I am used to – but I quickly grew accustomed to it and now I absolutely love it. Deployment is incredibly, fast, smooth and consistent. This is a great knife to use with gloves and it ensures a smooth and effortless deployment with every flick. Backing up that oversized thumb hole is a pair of large phosphor bronze washers. These washers are very smooth and only get better as the knife breaks in. So deployment is just outstanding.
The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 makes use of a compression lock to lock the blade open. This is my first review of a knife with a compression lock, and my impressions of the mechanism are extremely favorable.
At first glance this might just appear to be a liner lock on the back of the knife – in practice that really couldn’t be further from the truth. The compression lock works by wedging a piece of the liner between the tang and a stop pin. As force is applied to the knife (from either the spine or the edge) the lock compresses and the sandwich of tang, liner and pin hold the blade firmly in place. The harder you push on the knife, the tighter the lock gets. It’s an incredibly strong design and is really quite ingenious.
There is no blade play of any kind with my knife, and the compression lock is easy to use with one hand. I like how you can disengage the lock and fold away the blade without placing your fingers within the path of the blade.
Another thing I really like about the compression lock is how easy it is to disengage with one hand. It may take a little practice at first, but it’s easy to close the knife one hand without putting your fingers anywhere near the path of the edge – a total impossibility with a liner lock or frame lock. This makes the knife infinitely fun to manipulate. In terms of pure blade-flicking enjoyment I rank it right up there with an axis lock. I’ve heard some accounts of the lock being sticky, I have not experienced that personally and would think that any stickiness would go away as the knife breaks in.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2 Review – Final Thoughts
The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is just an outstanding knife. It’s no surprise that this is the EDC of a lot of serious knife collectors. If you poll a group of people who routinely purchase $100-500+ knives, odds are very good that a Paramilitary 2 is a serious part of their EDC rotation. This is for very good reason, you have a tough knife with premium steel that is wonderfully balanced, highly ergonomic, and extremely functional. When you factor in the ~$100 price tag and fact that it’s made in the USA, well, the knife just speaks for itself.
If you want a workhorse of an EDC or a robust folding tactical knife, I think that the Paramilitary 2 should be very high on your list. It easily makes my best EDC knives list and receives my highest endorsement.
I recommend purchasing the Paramilitary 2 at Amazon or BladeHQ. Purchasing anything through any of the links on this site helps support BladeReviews.com, and keep this review train running. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated.