Spyderco Para-Military2 Knife Review

I've had an opportunity to kick the Spyderco Para-Military2 around the block for a good while and figured it was time to type up the review.

I unboxed it here and, suffice it to say, I've only grown more attached.

The Para-Military2 is a hot topic.  It seems like many people are buzzing about its design and quality.  I will be not be an exception to this trend, it seems.

Of course, I'm using the template found here.

Blade Material:  2

S30V.  A great steel in all respects.  S30V touts great edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance.  The steel is hard enough to keep a razor edge through firm use without being so brittle as to chip or splinter when encountering harder materials.

Sharpening was a breeze and I achieved a shaving sharp edge with relative ease (using a Smith's fine diamond stone initially and finishing with a fine Arkansas).  I have found it easier to obtain exceptionally sharp results with S30V than with any of the other steels I've sharpened.  Perhaps this is because S30V can simply take a sharper edge than its softer brethren or perhaps its some fluke in my perception.  Either way, I'm quite content.

Fit of Parts:  2

The Para-Military2 is the first Spyderco knife I own.  It's exceptionally well constructed.  There is nothing to complain about with respect to how this knife fits together.

When I first moved the pocket clip to the position I desired it had some side-to-side wiggle but this was remedied by torquing the screws down a bit more (I have since learned that I don't need to be gentle).  After tightening down the pocket clip I haven't experienced any movement in it whatsoever.

Blade Shape:  2

It's an excellent EDC blade, that's for sure.  The blade has sufficient belly for great slicing and a pronounced point for penetrating material.

Also worth noting is that the blade length is a great size.  It's not too long to be awkward (in terms of either manipulation or social perception) and just long enough to be useful in more than minor instances.  I feel good using this knife for everything from minor tasks (like cutting an errant thread from my shirt) to more major work (say, feathering kindling and splitting firewood, if you're so inclined).

The tip of the blade is relatively thin.  I haven't encountered any problems with it and I don't expect to run into any tasks which will compel me to use the knife as a pry-bar.

The shape, in terms of design, is quite nice.  Most of the Spyderco blades I've seen have sort of an organic feel to them, the Para-Military2 is no exception.

Blade Grind:  2

The Spyderco Para-Military2 features a full flat-ground blade.  The blade starts thick at the spine and tapers at a consistent angle to the edge.  It's a great shape.  I haven't had any problems with durability.  I've used the spine to pop caps off bottles without incident and the blade has hacked through some pretty dense firewood without skipping a beat.

It should be noted that the Para-Military2 sports an incredibly clean and consistent grind.  I don't think I would except anything less from Spyderco, but other knives I own don't appear to be manufactured with as exacting tolerances.

Mechanism:  2

The Para-Military2 uses a compression lock.  It is incredibly well designed allowing one to close the blade one-handed without placing any fingers between the blade's edge and the handle.  This is a feature that I am in love with.  I'm finding it far more convenient to use than a traditionally placed lock (that must be accessed from the "front" of the knife).

More importantly, it seems to me that the placement of the lock allows the user more positive control over the knife when closing the blade.  Closing a "traditionally" placed lock (typically a liner-lock or frame-lock) one-handed compels the user to flip the blade towards his fingers and, at least in my experience, execute a well choreographed finger ballet to maintain control of the knife and maintain the integrity of various fingers.  On some knives this ballet is more of a problem than others.  The Para-Military2, however, avoids this problem all together with its locking mechanism.

Also, the blade action is so smooth that it's possible to simply disengage the lock with the blade in a semi-upright position and have the blade effortlessly swing closed.

Design Concept:  2

If I had to describe the Para-Military2 in a word it would be "refined."

From the overarching concept to the minor details, the Para-Military2 is exceptionally well-thought.  The design itself is a refinement of the original "Military" knife, still available from Spyderco.  According to their product description, the Para-Military2 is the result of a desire to refine the Military into a better product, enhancing its ergonomics and cutting ability to produce a superior knife.

The aesthetics of the Para-Military2 are great, in my opinion.  It's clean and streamlined.  It has beautiful curves that are purposefully crafted.  Its form is dictated, it would seem, by its function.  A great marriage of usefulness and aesthetics.

Grip:  2

There are a couple things to mention here.  First, the handle is constructed from G10.  The texture of the G10 is exceptional; there's just enough bite to provide a non-slip grip without being irritating in the slightest.  Even with with slight pressure my grip seems secure.  Second, the handle shape is great.  It contours in just the right places facilitating various grip methods (both a traditional forward grip and a reverse grip feel excellent).  Finally worth noting are the finger choil and spine jimping.  These features allow one to choke up on the blade with ease and comfort making detail work a cinch.

Some have complained, or at least noted potential problems, with the handle area around the compression lock.  It has been said that the thinner handle area could be a source of significant discomfort when using the knife for prolonged periods of slicing (particularly through harder materials).  While I haven't used this knife too extensively for slicing through dense material, I haven't noticed any discomfort in the time I've been using the knife.  In gripping the knife it's certainly evident that the handle section is thinner around the compression lock, but it hasn't become uncomfortable.

Spine jimping on the Para-Military2.

Deployment Method:  2

Being my first Spyderco, this is the first knife I have owned (or even used) with a thumb hole.  Within minutes of playing with it out of the box I knew I liked it and after carrying it for the past month or so I can say that I've been convinced it's the best manual opening device out there.  One simply pushes the tip of the thumb into the thumb hole and flicks forward, opening the knife.

The thumb hole on the Para-Military2 is 14mm in diameter.  Spyderco lists it as 14mm on their documentation and I don't have the tech to verify their measurement (digital calipers are on my wishlist...).  It's a good size, I think, allowing easy function even with gloved hands (I've been using a pair of Mechanix Original gloves).

The action on the Para-Military2 is incredibly smooth.  The blade swings open almost instantly with the flick of the thumb.  I have to say it's more addicting than any of the assisted opening actions that are in my drawer.

Carry Method:  2

The Para-Military2 sports a four-position pocket clip.  As such, it's possible to carry tip-up or tip-down on the left or the right.  I have it configured for tip-up carry on the right hand side; I can't fathom why anyone would want to carry this knife tip-down.

Just enough of the knife sticks up above the pocket to facilitate a strong purchase for retrieval while not making the knife feel less-than-secure.  The pocket clip is well-constructed and provides sufficient retention; I am in no way concerned that this knife is going to find its way out of my pocket nor do I believe the pocket clip is going to become looser in the near or distant future.

There is also a prominent lanyard hole on the knife.  It has an internal diameter of about 6mm, or in more practical terms, it can accommodate three strands of 550 paracord.  Adding a lanyard could facilitate quicker retrieval but I don't think it's really necessary for most purposes.  It really boils down to personal preference and I have no need for a lanyard in my everyday carry.

Carry Comfort:  2

The knife is exceptionally light compared to others of the same size that I own.  This makes it quite the pleasure to carry.  It sits nicely and doesn't move unless asked.

Moreover, the Para-Military2 is relatively slim coming in at about 12mm.  It doesn't feel bulky in the pocket and has been exceptionally comfortable to carry.

Total: 20/20

The Spyderco Para-Military2 is the best, most exciting knife that I currently own or have had an opportunity to play with.  I do not have any complaints about this blade.  It has been in my pocket for a while and will remain there for the foreseeable future.

I highly recommend this as an everday carry blade.  For the money (around $110.00 on Amazon) it's a bargain.


Pocket Dump

Let's be honest...
  • Field Notes Brand pocket notebook;
  • rOtring 600 series 2 fountain pen;
  • Spyderco Para-Military2;
  • Nitecore EX11.2.


Peak Design Capture Camera Clip and MOLLE Compatibility

I've gotten a bit of traffic lately from people searching for information relating to the Peak Design's Capture Camera Clip and whether it's compatible with MOLLE webbing.  I figured I could describe the manner in which I'm using the Capture on my TAD Lightspeed pack.

The attachment plate on the Capture is 1.75 inches in length.  When affixing the Capture to something along the lines of MOLLE or PALS webbing, the strap cannot have loops less than 1.75 inches in size.

On my Lightspeed the webbing on the straps is just that - 1.75 inches.

The GORUCK GR1 also seems to have straps that are compatible with the Capture.

The "traditionally sized" MOLLE webbing (about 1 inch between stitch-downs) on the remainder of the Lightspeed cannot accept the Capture device.

However, the body of the Lightspeed does have "wider" straps that are stitched under the traditional 1" webbing.  These can indeed accept the Capture.  The Lightspeed seems to be unique in this and I have not seen any other bags or equipment with the "larger" of the MOLLE compatible webbing.

Alternatively, it could theoretically be possible to cut the stitching between two loops and create a space just over two inches of space.  This could accommodate the Capture.  Obviously, this would damage the bag (or whatever equipment the Capture is being installed on) and could decrease the strength and reliability of the webbing.


In my evaluation, the Peak Design Capture Camera Clip is NOT compatible with "traditional" MOLLE.  The base-plate of the device is simply too large to slide into the one inch spaces found on most systems.

A 1.75 inch space is absolutely required to accommodate the device.  This style webbing exists on both the TAD packs (the Lightspeed and the EDC) and also, as far as I can tell, on the GORUCK bags (specifically the GR1).

As Applied: 6.16.12 - 6.22.12

I've seen it done before in various corners of the internet and I thought I would do something similar.  I am going to attempt to compile all the instances when the various things I carry were useful and post the list on a weekly basis.  I hope to catalog essentially everything that I do with the more "interesting" things in my pockets, those being a knife, flashlight, pen / paper, and keychain implements.

- - -

Saturday, June 16, 2012:

Flashlight:  Nitecore EX11.2
  • Illuminate yard of cabin (tripping in the dark isn't fun).
Knife:  CRKT M16-14SFG
  • Split firewood (batoned like a champ);
  • Feather kindling. 
Sunday, June 17, 2012:

Flashlight:  Nitecore EX11.2 / Olight M20S-X
  • Illuminate walkway / backyard;
  • Attempted to take photos of submerged flashlight (didn't work out as desired).
Keychain:  Flathead screwdriver
  • Tightened down camera mount on Peak Design's Camera Clip. 
Pen / Notebook:  Zebra F-701 /  Field Notes
  • Jotted down US Patent # 6,644,498 (I really wanted to know why paper napkin rings were all individually printed with patent numbers).
Monday, June 18, 2012:

Knife:  Spyderco Para-Military2
  • Enlarged ventilation hole on coffee lid.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012:

Knife:  Spyderco Para-Military2
  • Saved seedlings from groundskeepers (dug out sprouting trees).
Wednesday, June 20, 2012:

Nothing exciting.

Thursday, June 21, 2012:

Nothing exciting.

Friday, June 22, 2012:

Knife:  Spyderco Para-Military2
  • Cut paracord for bracelets.

- - -

The vast majority of the opportunities I had to use the stuff in my pockets arose from going to Maine with friends.  Of course, heading into the great outdoors always provides ample opportunity to use knives, flashlights, and the like.  A more typical week is coming and I plan to again record the instances when the stuff in my pockets has done more than take up space.  In the grand scheme of things I'm not sure this sort of post genre will get much attention.  Perhaps an installment every so often but certainly not a weekly occurrence.