Since my first Native, I have been a fan of the pattern. So when a new variation was announced, I was very anxious to see what the Spydercrew did to this design. Unfortunately, even this loyal fan though that the first prototype of the Native III looked ugly with those smooth spots all over the handle. Up close and personal, it’s quite a different story. My first Native III was the most excellent forum Native in 2003. And the Native III looks just as nice up close as its older variation. And function-wise there were a few improvements too.
In my opinion the blade is just gorgeous. The refined false edge is way better looking than the older spear point. It looks less like a dagger, which is always good in today’s society. In use, this blade felt like it was thinner and sliced better. Of course, the blade is made from VG-10 and didn’t hold its edge quite like my CPM440V Natives. The thumb serrations on the blade’s spine work, but I do think the older indented serration pattern worked better for keeping my thumb or index finger in place. I can imagine that the older pattern was a bit too aggressive for some (pencil pushing wussies! 😉 ).
The Native was my first experience with knives that have mega-grip handles. And lo and behold, they managed to do it better. The finger choil is slightly is deeper, so it offers more room for larger fingers as well as improving that locking grip. The handle is now fully 3D. It has a palm swell, (thumb) gripping serrations at the butt for reverse grips, and those spots are natural positions for thumbs and fingers. In a ‘sideways’ grip, with the blade cutting on a horizontal plane, the spot at the pivot offers not just comfort for a thumb but a bit of grip as well. In the banner on top of this page you can see that the spots are lightly textured, as well as the tiny little logo, Sal managed to incorporate in the new Native. The jury is still out on the FRN thumb serrations that lengthen the whole thumb-grip from the blade’s spine. Sure, they work, but little FRN ridges look very fragile. Long-term use will show whether or not it keeps working.
I am a fan of the wire clip, but have had bad experiences with it on an early Salsa, which was way too tight. This clip, however, has perfect tension. Just like the regular clips it holds the knife in place and releases easily. The bonus with a wire clip is handle comfort. It is almost impossible to find hotspots on the clip when working with this knife. Wire after all is round. While some argue that the clip should be modified a la the UK Penknife, for deeper pocket carry, I prefer the better grip you can get on the handle when retrieving the knife.
I can’t say much more about this knife. Sure a full flat grind slices a lot better, but few will notice that. What this knife does best is offering an economical folding knife with a lot of very sophisticated features and a -very- secure grip. Plus, I strongly feel it’s the best FRN MBC folder in the line-up to date, The reversible clip allows you to get two (e.g. PE & SE) for left- and right-hand carry, and you are still likely to have enough money left to get a Sharpmaker. Which you really should have gotten after your first Spydie!