Last updated: February 14, 2018
Those in the military, law enforcement and contract defense firms require high quality gear designed to meet the rigorous demands of these types of positions. The Spyderco Military was designed to meet these demands as either a large utility knife or a full on tactical blade. In addition to law enforcement and military use, this could be an excellent civilian self defense blade or an oversize EDC knife. Lets take a look at what sets this knife apart from Spyderco’s more civilian oriented offerings.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Spyderco Military has an overall length of 9.5″, a 4″ blade, weighs 4.2 ounces, and is made in the USA. It’s a large knife, but when you pick it up I think most will very surprised how light it feels. The knife is extremely light for it size, making it practical for both a hard working tool and as a dedicated self defense knife.
The blade on the Military is a modified drop point design. Spyderco started with 1/8″ blade stock, added a nice full belly, and applied a full flat grind. This is quintessential Spyderco blade, simple, elegant and entirely effective. There is no swedge or recurve – just a simple and utilitarian cutting surface. The tip is unreinforced, and is somewhat delicate if you aren’t careful with it, but I find the blade to overall be very well balanced and good at a variety of cutting tasks.
Spyderco selected CPM-S30V stainless steel for the blade. S30V is excellent stuff. It’s best known for holding a great edge, but it’s also fairly easy to sharpen and very corrosion resistant. I think for a combat knife S30V was a good choice here, provided that you are willing to occasionally sharpen and maintain the edge.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
The Spyderco Military features a large handle, designed for serious use. As far as construction is concerned, Spyderco started out with large pieces of G10 and added nested partial steel liners. This provides a lot of strength and rigidity but is also what keeps this knife at an amazing 4.2 ounces. The steel liners are screwed into an aluminum backspacer. Everything can be taken apart and is extremely easy to clean. This is a simple and very effective handle design.
When discussing the ergonomics of the Military, the first thing to mention is how large this handle actually is. I can almost get a 2 hand grip on it – and I wear large gloves. This gives you plenty of room for forward or reverse grips with or without gloves. The G10 provides plenty of traction and Spyderco has done a great job of jimping the thumb ramp and choil. This is very aggressive jimping and it works very well. There is also a small choil so you can choke up on the blade. I’m a big fan of this choil – it allows the Military to flex between a defensive (or offensive) tool, and a straight up utility knife. The ergonomics on the Military are outstanding.
The clip is a simple affair, it’s been blackened and is made of tempered steel. One of the biggest complaints peole have with this knife is that the clip is tip down right side carry only. I know most people prefer tip up, and that would be my preference as well. However, there are no steel liners near the butt of the handle, so there really is no place to add a clip unless you want to significantly increase the weight by adding a larger liner. For people wanting left side carry, Spyderco has a separate left-hand version of the Military available here.
All in all, the clip is good. It rides decently low, it’s discrete and has good retention. Tip up carry would be nice but it’s not feasible given the overall design.
Deployment and Lockup
The Spyderco Military, utilizes an oversize thumb hole (or a “Spyder hole”) for deployment. Deployment on my knife is pretty fast. The thumb hole is a generous 14mm in diameter, which allows for easy access with bare hands or gloves. I can flick the blade out on my new Military, but it takes a little more force. With time the knife and it’s high quality phosphor bronze washers will break in, and deployment will only get smoother and easier.
After deployment the blade is locked in place with a thick steel liner lock. When the lock engages its sounds sorta like someone stepped into a bear trap – it makes a very crisp and satisfying “SNAP” when it locks in place. Lockup is very secure. There is no blade play at all. The partial liners are bolted together through the aluminum backspacer – this is just a rock solid design and again, I’m blown away by the fact that this knife only weighs 4.2 ounces. To have such a big knife with such a strong lock with this weight puts the Military in a class of its own.
Spyderco Military Review – Final Thoughts
The Spyderco Military is an amazing folding tactical knife. With its light weight, large handle and incredibly versatile blade, the Military is made with tactical use in mind. It’s a very well thought out design, and Spyderco has been refining the knife for years. I also really like how the Military is made in America.
In terms of potential criticisms, I would caution readers on the relatively delicate tip of the blade, and the fact that the pocket clip is designed for tip down carry only. If you want a folder that doubles as a pry-bar, I’d look elsewhere (the Zero Tolerance 0550 comes to mind), but if you want a practical tactical knife you will not be disappointed with a Military.
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