The spydercrew handed out the best ‘goodie bag’ yet, at the Amsterdam Meet that was held last March. It was filled with great stuff like catalogs, a ‘challenge coin’, a Bug and even a Honeybee but the FRN UKPK Slipit was the best goodie in the bag by far. Several different FRN Slipit models were handed out. I was the lucky recipient of the Maroon drop point model, and I’ve been carrying and cutting with it for the past couple of weeks.
At the meet, Sal presented this knife and explained that this was not just a knife intended to thrive in legally restricting areas, but also to give the non-afi (afi = aficionado) a good and high performing knife. However, I am an afi and I am going to nitpick over this knife like an afi in the following paragraphs. The FRN Slipits are not available quite yet, but they should get to dealers very soon.
The FRN Slipits are actually named ‘lightweight’ Slipits, and that was certainly no misnomer. It’s just that us knife geeks probably like ‘FRN Slipits’ better because it tells us what material it’s made from. My G10 Slipits are pretty lightweight too, but they almost feel like heavyweights compared to the FRN Slipit. The FRN handles have no liners. The backspring and spacer stops about two thirds on the way to the clip, leaving plenty of ´free space´ for a good rinsing under the tap. In fact, the handle is so lightweight, that when you hold the knife, it actually feels a bit blade-heavy. Imagine that, a ‘blade-heavy feel’ on a 3-inch folder. It’s probably superfluous at this point, but I’ll go ahead and mention that the FRN UKPK drop point is a breeze to carry.
The ergos of this knife are great and they should be, considering the long evolution of this Spyderco handle pattern (Calypso jr., Caly III, UKPK). With the choil, the handle offers both a solid grip when you need it as well as the flexibility for quick grip changes, and those small grip adjustments you find yourself doing when you have a cutting chore that takes longer than 10 seconds.
The handle surface is a nice innovation from Spyderco. I feel this is the first attempt by Spyderco to mimic a G10 grip surface in molded FRN. It’s a pretty successful attempt too. Out of the box, the surface is almost too sharp for a comfy grip. However, after two days of pocket-carry and use, that ‘sharp’ feel dissipates and you’re left with a great gripping surface. It’s a lot like brand new G10 Spydies from the Golden factory, they too come almost too sharp from the box, but a day or two of carry takes ‘ the edge off’ to get a good grippy and consistent G10 surface.
This 3 inch drop point blade is very stout and I find myself being much rougher with the tip than my Caly III or G10 UKPK. The tip is sharp too. It reminds me of the needle tips of the Delica 3 models, the lightweight handle and hollow grind too BTW.
Cutting-wise, Spyderco was clever to make the stock thickness of the FRN Slipits a millimeter or so thinner than the regular UKPKs. It definitely boosts the performance of the hollow grind. Hollow grinds make the knife cheaper (easier to grind IIRC), and more appealing to non-afis who like the ‘pretty lines in the blade´. This knife´s thin hollow ground blade sliced through tomatoes, cheese and apples very well. It wasn’t quite the smooth cutting you’d get with a full flat grind, but it’s very close. Definitely better than a (thicker) Spyderco Ocelot, for example.
The GIN-1 steel is fine with me. It does offer less edge holding, compared to ZDP189 or S30V, but you get a very easy to sharpen edge in return. The stonewashed finish looks ‘rough’ but when you hold it in the right light, you’ll see that the finish is very smooth. It sort of looks like a mirror polished layer has been applied over the rougher finished layer of the stonewash finish. It’s a lot like the finish on the Manix 2 blade.
One noticeable feature of the Slipit line is the complete absence of a lock. The backspring provides tension to keep the blade in position and it requires a forceful push to close the blade. The closing action on this FRN Slipit is much lighter than on any of my G10 models. I think it’s even a bit too light for my tastes. Not that it’s so easy to close that it’s not safe, but I’m used to more resistance and the lighter closing action on this FRN drop point Slipit still takes some getting used to for me. The opening action is good, but feels not as slick as a Delica for example. This could be due to the fact that there are no separate washers in the FRN Slipits. The washers are molded in, as an integral part of the handle slabs.
Not much to say about the clip, apart from the fact that it’s a slightly different version of the regular wireclip you’d get on a G10 UKPK or G10 Poliwog. The clip on the FRN is finished with a brighter sheen than the regular wire clips, and they grip tighter. There is less ‘give’ when clipping the knife to my pocket. I’ll definitely bend the clip a little to make it easier to ‘clip on and off’.
There are some details on this knife that an afi might notice or even object too, but none of those aspects I nitpick over, matter in the real world of carrying and cutting with a pocket knife. Especially in my urban environment. In fact this knife thrives in an urban environment. I found this colored Slipit to be very socially acceptable. And the fact that it closes ‘just like a SAK’ makes it very recognizable and acceptable to non-knife people. The lack of a lock makes the Slipit very quick to use and put away again which is another plus in my book. I got this one as a gift, but the street price on these knives should be very acceptable. Good enough to stash a few in bags and not cry too much when you lose one. I’m definitely going to get a few more of these FRN Slipits; they’ll make perfect ‘expendable’ travel companions that perform like a Delica 3.