C223 Para 3 Lightweight SPY27 Review

June 30, 2022

Perhaps it’s because one of my first Spyderco folders was a Delica 3 lightweight with a blue handle, but really like this Para 3 Lightweight in SPY27. It’s incredibly light, an impressive cutter and easy to bring back like new again. SPY27 is still new to me and so far, I like it a lot.

Blade

The Para 3’s blade is almost 3 inches long, almost as long as my beloved Delica folders. However, the C223 sports a significantly wider blade than a FFG Delica. This would give the Para 3 a lot more cutting power. Now, this is not something I could quantify, but I do notice the C223 slicing through a box a bit smoother than a C11. It’s also easier to settle in my knuckles against the wider blade of the C223 when it’s pressed into service as a paring knife in the kitchen. And yes, I enjoy to help out cooking once in a while, with my cleaned folding knife. It’s fun and it helps to test a design. My preferred blade length is 3,5 inches for a utility folding knife. The C223’s blade does everything  great, it just comes up a bit short when it comes to food prep. The Para 3 is great for allround everyday cutting chores though, just not ‘perfect’ (at least for me). The SPY27’s edge came from the box nice and ‘sticky sharp’, as Sal likes to put it.  Its edge-holding appeared to be better than VG10, which is one of my favorite steels.  The main thing I like is that SPY27 is stainless, I just love a clean looking blade, or a blade that can be cleaned up again. And I’m never far away from a Sharpmaker to touch up the edge. And SPY27 is very easy to bring back. Just how I like it.

Handle

The Para 3’s FRN’s handle is nicely rounded compared to its G10 version. One thing most people forget about these lil’ big knives, is that they’re basically ‘chopped’ versions of the  – in this case – full size Military or Paramilitary. That short but wide blade offers excellent slicing, but it’s pretty wide compared to most other 3 inch blades. Same goes for the handle, it might be on the short side, but it’s wide. The wider blade of the Para 3 also means it needs a wider handle, compared to the C11 Delica. And here is where it adds more benefits. The wider handle fits my hand better. I do  use the choil for a full grip on the C223, but it is the kind of grip where I can’t or just barely touch the palm of my hand with the tips of my fingers. So I can really grab that knife. However, the wider than usual handle (and blade) for such a compact folding knife, means that it does take up some real estate in a pocket or waistband, especially compared to a Delica for example.

Clip

The wire clip is very nice, it allows the C223 to ride nice and low in a pocket. And the round wire make it very ergonomic in use. Sometimes, I have trouble switching the clip, the screw won’t come out. I actually rotated one screw assembly through the handle material, screwing up the knife. The good people at the SFO set me straight. Make sure you put the knife down on a surface below the waist. That way you approach the screw with your torx driver in a good linear angle straight down. It works like a charm. Even after 25 years of collecting Spyderco knives, there’s always something new to learn.

Overall

The lightweight Para 3 is an excellent lightweight folder. Just like the lightweight Manix, you get so much blade for such little weight. I clip these on my shorts each summer. The SPY27 is a very nice steel, excellent for the user and collector who has access to a Sharpmaker. And the blue handle makes it a very nostalgic callback to the blue lightweight Delica that was I think the second or third Spyderco in my collection.

See more details of the Spyderco C223 Para 3 lightweight on SpydieWiki, or read my earlier review of the DLT Trading C223 Lightweight exclusive in M390. More information on SPY27 can be found in this article at knifesteelnerds.com.


A second look at the Spyderco C241 Kapara

January 27, 2022

My favorite Spyderco general utility folder is the Stretch. So when I first encountered the Kapara prototype, it can’t be a big surprise that I liked what I saw. Handling the prototype quickly sealed the deal; it’s a must-have. What made it even better, was that I met the Kapara’s designer, Alistair Phillips, at the 2018 Amsterdam Meet, and he is really great guy. The older I get, I find that I simply like my knife designs a lot better, if the designer is a good guy as well. The Kapara does not disappoint. Especially this DLT Trading exclusive edition of the C241.

The Kapara’s 3.5 inch blade hits my personal sweet spot for a folding knife length. Sure, I can make do with shorter blades or longer edges. But a 3.5 inch blade just feels right for me. What the Kapara does better than the Stretch, is the slightly larger negative blade angle. This translates into a more ergonomic cutting design. The C241 also features a 3D rounded handle that is more ergonomic to grip than the Stretch with its flat handle slabs. Compared to the carbon fiber handle of the production Kapara, this gray G10 handle subjectively feels a bit more solid and ever so slightly more ‘tactile’. I wouldn’t go as a far as calling it grippy, as both handles are smooth. The overall ergonomics of the handle is what makes sure it stays on your hand.

Cutting

The inspiration for the Kapara’s design was to create a folding picnic knife, or food prep knife. I think it is a very different design than the SpydieChef though. The Kapara doesn’t try to be a rust proof hard working folding kitchen knife, but rather a really nice folder that works great at lunchtime. And the CPM20CV performs great. I didn’t push it so far that it actually ‘needed’ sharpening. Subjectively, again, it 20CV feels like cutting with Super Blue steel. This DLT exclusive Kapara also has that ‘hungry edge’ I encountered in my Super Blue Delica. It has a very keen edge that just seems to cut a little more aggressively into sandwiches, apples and tomatoes, as well as packages and other cardboard boxes.

Overall

If you’re looking for a classy folder that is a high performance slicer, practical for food prep and that could also pass for a gentleman’s folder, the Kapara is it. And what I find equally important, the maker is a really great guy! If you can find this exclusive edition of the Kapara, I can heartily recommend it, you won’t regret is – either as a user or a collectible.

Check out specs on the C241 Kapara at the Spyderco website, Spydiewiki for more background information, or my review of the production Kapara. Also check out Alistair Phillips’ website to see more of his amazing work.


The Spyderco C64 Meerkat: a boomerang Spydie

December 19, 2021

The Spyderco C64 Meerkat was originally produced from 2002 until 2004. A respectable run for a Spyderco design, but it’s nowhere near as impressive as such mainstays as the Delica, Military or Paramilitary 2. There have been, however, 4 revivals of this wonderful little big knife. One of these, is this version with a burnt-orange FRN handle and HAP40/SUS410 blade. If you’d ask me, I wouldn’t say that the Meerkat is one of my ‘favorites’, but somehow it does seem to find its way into my pocket regularly.

Let’s start with my main ‘objections’ to the Meerkat: it’s thick and it’s a tip-down carry only. That means it’s slightly more uncomfortable to carry and a little more awkward for me to deploy. But that’s about it. Features of the C64 I do like, are the lefty clip mounting option, the ergonomic 3D sculpted handle, the blade width and excellent edge geometry.

Phantom Lock

Operating the Meerkat left-handed is not easy. The phantom lock is definitely biased for right-handers. However, there’s no mechanism that cannot be learned by opening and closing it constantly when watching TV, right? My wife and kids are not always happy with this ‘training’, as the click clacking tends to ruin certain moments in movies, or so I’ve been told. 😉

Blade

On paper, the C64 is a rather small folder. In reality, the Meerkat’s blade is short – not small. The blade’s width gives the knife very impressive cutting ability. The edge is really thin, and the HAP40 makes it a very smooth cutter. So much so, that I’m not afraid to admit that I cut myself a few times. Playing with that phantom lock might have something to with it as well.

Handle

The handle features these divots all over the handle that might look a bit odd at first. Once you grip the knife, you immediately know what these ‘holes’ are for. That provide a positive full handed grip on a pretty short knife.

Lil’ Big Knife

The Meerkat is one of the earlier ‘lil’ big knife’ designs from Spyderco. It came from the ‘Experimental’ and Navigator designs. In regular production, the Meerkat lasted two years. This is a respectable production time, but not too long. I think it’s funny to see no less than 4 sprints of the C64 since its original production ended in 2003. And like that production history, the Meerkat also keeps on finding its way back in my carry rotation. In that respect it’s really the ‘boomerang design’ of my Spyderco collection. It just keeps coming back.

See more details of the Spyderco C64 Meerkat on Spydiewiki.com, or check out my previous articles, such as: an earlier review, my Meerkat countertop display, photos of the prototype of the knife featured in this article, or my impressions of the burgundy and blue sprint run Meerkats.


Favorite Features: Spyderco Pocket Clips

June 2, 2021

This is my second ‘two cents’ of things I like in my Spyderco knives. For this entry, I’d like to share my preferences in pocket clips.  According to the Interwebz, wireclips are really popular and you should always seek out a custom clip for your Spyderco knife ;-). While I totally get the fun in customizing your knife, I prefer to use stock clips. Spyderco invented the pocket clip on a folding knife, and has made it into an art form. They also learned many lessons about clips in their 40+ years of design and manufacturing experience. Here’s a rundown of the types of Spyderco clips I like.

My main mode of carrying a Spyderco folding knife, is inside-the-waistband at 3 and 9 o’ clock. Your experience and preference might very well differ from mine, especially if you carry a clipit in your front or back pocket, inside a boot or on the lapel of your shirt (yes, I’ve seen people do this very successfully). Here’s just my personal take on pocket clips.

4-way hourglass clip: the evolved ‘standard’ solid pocket clip, found in the Delica and Endura and many more. If given the choice, and if it matches cosmetically with the color scheme of the folder, go with the ‘all stainless’ version, as the black will wear from your clip. I really like this type of clip, it works, is comfortable in the hand and very durable.

Foldover wireclip: a wonderful low-profile carry solution, found on the UK Penknife, Urban and SpydieChef. This type of clip makes the folder almost completely disappear from sight, and they very comfortable in the hand. However, a knife that’s this deeply tucked away is also harder to pull from your pocket or waistband, since you often pinch-grip the clip and opposite handle scale to draw your knife. This pressure on the clip makes it harder to get the knife out. More importantly, and why I don’t particularly like this type of clip, is that there’s always a bit of side to side play that annoys me. I don’t dismiss a folder on the basis of the wireclip alone, but it’s not a plus to me.

Wireclip: this is an older variant of the wireclip, found on the Dodo and lightweight Manixes. I love this type of wireclip. It leaves a bit of handle for an easy draw, the round wire is comfy in the hand and they are solid. No side to side play in these wireclips.

Custom clips: some Spyderco custom collaborations feature custom clips. A clip designed to fit the knife. Now these may look good cosmetically, but often they just don’t work right for me. They’re either too small, or sharp to the touch, or don’t clip the knife to your pocket as good as a standard issue hourglass clip.

Three screw old school clips: found on vintage knives and new sprint runs, like the Calypso jr. They work great, they’re not as ergonomic to the touch as an hourglass clip though.

Barrel bolt clips: found on many lightweight folders such as the Gen 2 Delica or Gen 1,2 and 3 Native, as well as the Gen 1 Matriarch. Performance-wise they’re the same to me a three screw old school clips. I did appreciate how easy it was to change the clip for lefty-carry with just two coins.

Lil’ Temp 1 and 2 clip: found on the … Lil’ Temperance 1 and 2 folders and the original ATR. These clips received some criticism online at the time, for being too large and that they could damage your pocket. I never had any issues with these clips tearing up my jeans though. And I really like the feel of these clips in hand. I also never had a problem with the clips’ size, due to my preferred IWB carry mode. Another reason I like this clip design, is that it uses 4 screws to keep it in place instead of 3. I snagged my clip one time and it was bent horribly out of alignment with the handle. The clip was still solidly stuck to the handle though, and I could carefully bend it back and it still works fine today.

Integral FRN clip: found on the lightweight Dragonfly 1. I don’t like this design at all as I never found a sample that actually clipped to my pocket or waistband with any proper tension. The ergos in use are great though. You’re not likely to find a Spydie with and integral FRN clip anymore, as Spyderco abandoned this design many years ago. Apparently, the main problem was that many people broke them too easily.

Kraton covered clips: found in some vintage Spyderco folders like the Hunter and Civilian. This would give the user a more solid non-slip grip when deploying the knife and a more comfortable non-slip grip in use. I’ve seen them wear and come off as they’re basically glued into the clip. The concept however, can also be replicated with some skateboard tape. I did this way back when I was into the whole ‘tactical’ thing. It worked really well and they could be easily replaced. The bad thing is that, well, this abrasive tape works really well at being abrasive. It would scratch up my belt and wear on pockets, and table tops when I slid the knife over etc…


Spyderco C242 Ikuchi Video

March 31, 2021

I shot this video to offer a better view of the very cool C242 Ikuchi folder. Check out my review to learn about my experiences with this folder.

Check out the SpydieWiki page for the C242 for more information on its specifications and production history.


Spyderco C242 Ikuchi Review

February 28, 2021

The C242 Ikuchi is unlike any other Spyderco folding knife. Not because it is a flipper, or even a front flipper (The C42 Viele was first in my opinion).  It is unique because it has such a narrow profile. The Ikuchi is also a fidget fan’s dream, but it is a true working pocketknife that also carries as easy a pocket lint.

The first generation of the Ikuchi was a disappointment to me. I read reviews from people complaining that the wheel was too tough to operate. This was not a problem in my sample. What was a serious problem, was the fact that this very sharp up-swept tip rode too high in the handle when closed. I’d poke my hand frequently when trying to pull the knife from my pocket or waistband. My CQI-ed sample of the Ikuchi solved this problem. I no longer get cut by the closed blade. The wheel does need a deliberate push/pull (depending on your technique) to operate, but it’s also very smooth.

The blade sits nicely below the edge of the handle in the CQI-ed verison of the Spyderco Ikuchi.

Blade
I’ll admit the fidget factor of the front-flipping Ikuchi is high, very high actually. To date, I haven’t been able to handle this folder without ‘spinning that wheel’ at least once. But the slender curvy blade works great too. It’s very easy to work that tip in the crease of the flap on an envelope, to   cleanly slice it open. Another advantage of such a narrow blade (compared to most spydies), is that it offers increased control for detailed cuts in an edge-in grip. Peeling fruit is a joy with this blade.

There is one disadvantage to a  slim blade like this. A narrow blade doesn’t offer a whole lot of ‘real estate’ for that full flat grind to come to a really thin edge. The blade on the C242 is by no means some kind of blunt chisel, on the contrary. But there are thinner blades and edges in Spyderco’s line-up.

S30V is a well-known entity. It cuts well and doesn’t rust in my suburban use. I barely developed a little dull spot on the edge, from breaking down a lot of thick cardboard boxes. It was child’s play to bring the edge back. Just a few swipes on the white stones of my Spyderco Sharpmaker was all that was needed.

Handle
The handle features a slight curve that really helps make it a very ergonomic folder to carry and use. I’m not a huge fan of the G10 & Carbon Fiber laminate, but it does offer a bit more grip than full carbon fiber. Don’t get me wrong, if this one is ever offered in a full carbon fiber version, I’ll go for it. But I will admit this laminate looks nicer than black G10 for this particular design.  A nice design touch is the hole in the handle. It lines up perfectly with the hole in the blade (which is there purely for trademark purposes).

Clip
The wire clip is the perfect complement to this thin classy folder. It almost makes it look like a pen in your pocket. As with all wire clips, there is a little flex or play when you move the clip from side-to-side. It’s inherent to the design and doesn’t affect the clip’s grip on your pocket or waistband. This side-to-side play is also the reason I am not a big fan of wire clips. However, I was happy that the clip was easy to switch to my preferred left-handed carry position.

Collectible
I usually stay away from labeling a particular knife as a real collectible or a good investment. Mainly because I feel that you should only buy a knife because you really like it. That way, you’ll never be disappointed. The C242 however, does offer a few unique features. The Ikuchi is perhaps the second design in Spyderco’s line-up to be designed as a one-hand opener without a functional opening hole. The C27 Jess Horn was made with a depression in the blade for one-hand opening. The Ikuchi has its serrated wheel for one-hand opening. The absence of a functional opening hole allows the blade to become a lot narrower. At least a lot narrower than most other spydies. I will admit the C27 Jess Horn, as well as his other designs, the Des Horn and most of Frank Centofante’s collaborations feature very slim blades as well. The C242, however, takes this slim profile and extends it all the way through it handle design. The combination of the front flipper wheel, extremely narrow profile and the absence of a functional opening hole, make the Ikuchi a really unique folder in Spyderco’s production history.  

Conclusion
Overall, the Ikuchi is a wonderful folder. I also think it’s remarkably versatile. If you’re a die-hard Spyderco collector, get one. The C242 only features a trademark hole in the blade, and has a slim and narrow profile that is rarely seen in Spyderco’s line-up.   If you mostly use your knives to fidget with, that serrated wheel on the C242 is just what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a gentleman’s knife? The Ikuchi is a very stylish and low-key design that will ride nicely in your suit pocket. If you’re just looking for a practical EDC folder that’s both compact and full size at the same time, the C242 can fit that role really well too. I mostly like the Ikuchi because of that unique -to Spyderco- slim design. And that front flipper is just plain fun to fidget with.

Check out the SpydieWiki page for the C242 for more information on its specifications and production history.


Spyderco C211 SpydieChef review

October 31, 2020

Marcin Slysz is an amazing knife maker. His knives are very functional, they work great, and they have a very clean look. After the very popular Techno and Bowie designs, many fans were eagerly anticipating the release of the C211 SpydieChef. I was one of them. I finally took this knife along on a recent camping trip as my only folder, so as to give it a proper workout. The SpydieChef works as good as it looks, but I think it needs a longer blade and serrations.

EDC
There is no doubt this is a really great everyday carry folder. I love the thin handle and the smooth titanium scales are great for IWB-carry. The blade shape and grind make the C211 an impressive slicer. And the positive blade to handle angle make for very ergonomic cutting; especially on a flat surface, like a cutting board. Using the SpydieChef to open packages, cut strings or break down cardboard boxes went as easy as you could imagine. The LC200N held up quite well. Even when the edge seemed to lose its shaving sharpness, it continued to cut very well. It was no challenge at all, to bring that sharp edge back again.

Folding kitchen knife
I’m not opposed to using a ‘folding kitchen knife’. For many years, my go-to kitchen cutlery for camping trips have been a serrated Police 3 and an XL Lum Chinese Folder. I’m also no snob worried about ‘rust’ on these knives. I just use them, and wash them afterwards with water and soap and dry them off. When I come home, I briefly check the inside of the handle and pivot and apply some oil. I haven’t had any problem with dirt or corrosion in these knives for the past 10 years.

Kitchen performance
Now, onto the chore the SpydieChef was designed for: food prep. The ergonomics were designed to excel in cutting on a board. And the entire knife is almost rustproof, with its Titanium handle and LC200N steel. The SpydieChef certainly slices and dices with the best of my regular small kitchen knives.  However, with its 3.5 inch blade, it is a bit on the short side. Sure I use smaller folders for food prep all the time, in a pinch or for testing. But for a purpose-driven design like this, I’d like to see it with a larger 4 inch blade. This way, it would still also work for EDC.

Serrations
Apart from another half inch of blade, I -really- missed serrations. Cutting fresh bread and rolls in the morning was an embarrassment. The C211 just couldn’t ‘grip’ into the crust while slicing. Sure, I could ‘stab’ the bread and then cut my way into a slice. But that doesn’t even come close to the fine job my serrated Police 3 usually does on trips like these.

Overall
The C211 SpydieChef is an awesome folder, no doubt. It’s a great everyday carry utility folder with a few added features. You can take this folder into the water without any worries. In that respect it’s nice to have a more ‘classier’ knife option for EDC as opposed to the FRN H1 Salt series. In addition, the C211 is a very nice folding paring knife. In my book, it’s not the definitive folding kitchen knife. For that role, I’ll stick to my trusty serrated Police 3 and (plain edge) Lum Chinese folder XL. The latter is –to me- nicer to use despite the less ergonomic blade/handle angle, because of its wider and longer blade.

Check out the specs and history of the C211 SpydieChef at SpydieWiki.com.


Spyderco C127 Urban Sprint Run in Coyote Brown FRN & AEB-L Steel

August 30, 2020

I’m a shallow knifecollector. I’m easy to ‘catch’. You make a good knife in a different color? As long as the blade isn’t coated, I’m in. That’s why I wanted the C127 Urban sprint run back in the summer of 2019. Why was the sprint run made? To bring AEB-L steel to the Spyderco fanbase. I know, I have a talent of missing the point. Still, I brought this slipit with me on vacation this summer, so here’s my impressions of the knife, and….the steel.

Color
Spyderco rarely makes knives with coyote brown, tan or sand-colored handles. The most famous one is the tan FRN used in the Native 3 made exclusively for military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and later in the Operation Inherent Resolve Native 5. There’s also been a tan colored Endura and a Paramilitary 2 came out this year. So when this Urban came out, I had to nab one. Because I like colored handled knives. Colors offer variety to a collector, and they always make the knife easier to accept for non-knife people.

Heritage
The Urban is part of the Calypso/Caly 3 family. Don’t believe? Just lay out your Urban on top of your Caly 3 or UK Penknife etc. Line op the choils and opening holes and you’ll notice that they match exactly. That’s also the recipe to the Urban’s wonderful ergonomics. It shares the same ‘cockpit’ design as the famed Caly 3. The C154 Squeak is also part of this family by the way, it’s its smallest member.

Steel
The AEB-L steel proved to be a solid performer. I’m far from a steel junkie, so when a steel is easy to maintain I’m satisfied. The AEB-L Urban did just that. It didn’t see much more action than opening packages, food prep and breaking down a few boxes, so far. It was easy to sharpen again, I got it quite a bit sharper than it came from the box somehow. One odd aspect of the blade was how it handled the sticky residue from tape that holds boxes together. On this Urban’s blade I could easily wipe it away with my fingers. Usually, I’d have to properly clean it with water and soap. The blade’s finish is probably what caused this effect. It was a funny discovery though. The knife’s action was a bit stiffer than my older regular production Urban, perhaps it needs a little break-in time.

Overall
What I like about the Urban? Easy: it’s fully ambidextrous and the clip is easy to switch, it’s sized right for travel – it opens anything you need and it’s big enough to pull picnic duty, and it’s light and flat enough to carry easy in the warm summer weather IWB, and it’s a cool sprint run that makes me feel special! 😉


Spyderco C113 Caly 3 Revisited

July 1, 2020

I recently dusted off my trusty Caly 3 the other day and clipped it to my waistband. I admit it’s been a while since I carried this knife. You know how it goes. A new knife arrives and you just have to try it out, then another comes in and the cycle repeats itself. I try to make it a point to deliberately pick up some of the older knives this year and give them another round of EDC. That is what I did with the Caly 3 and -spoiler alert- this design can still go toe-to-toe with the latest and greatest knives.

If you’re looking for a detailed review, check out my article from 2007. I just felt like putting down a few thoughts after revisiting my G10 & VG-10 Caly 3 after a week of carry and use.

VG-10
Spyderco has really been expanding their steel selection lately, and the afi market seemed to have embraced high-performance steels lately. And that’s great. I just know that it’s not necessarily for me. I prefer stainless steels, there, I said it. I am the SpyderCollector after all. I love using and carrying my folding knives, but I also like to collect them. And my inner-collector likes to be able to enjoy his knives looking nice. I don’t mind the patina on a cladded blade, but not so much on the entire blade. I don’t mind sharpening my knives either. And with VG-10 I get all the performance I need in the suburbs, and then some. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing with ZDP189, S90V, S110V, HAP40, REX45, Maxamet etc…, and I’m very much looking forward to the new SPY27 steel, but VG-10 does everything I need to do. And it’s easy to bring it back looking like new.

Perfection
After a week’s worth of carry and use, I’m simply left with the impression that the Calypso/Caly 3 pattern might just be the perfect modern pocket knife for the suburbs. It’s lightweight, extremely sharp, very practical, sized just right for practical use and it doesn’t seem to scare non-knife people as much. With that full flat grind, even when the edge is dull, the blade is so thin you can still make a good cut. The lock is ambidextrous and the clip is removable, so I get to have a great left-handed knife.    I just can’t find any objective faults with this knife. Personally, I consider the Stretch 2 to be my favorite Spyderco utility folder. Now, if there would ever come a Caly 4, I wouldn’t mind if it had that same drop point pattern blade.

Check out the specs and history of the C113 Caly 3 at Spydiewiki.com.


Spyderco C223 Para 3 Lightweight Exclusive Review

November 3, 2019

The Para 3 lightweight was the belle of the ball at the 2019 SHOT Show. Apart from being the first lightweight compression lock, it also featured CTS-BD1N steel that got a lot of attention. Having been around Spyderco knives for some 20 years, I knew I wanted to stay away from that first edition of the Lightweight Para 3.  I like colored knives, and black usually just doesn’t do it for me. I knew that a nice colored variant, as an exclusive or sprint run, would turn up soon enough. And here it is, the red C223PRD Para 3 Lightweight, and exclusive variant for DLT Trading.

DLT Trading has quite a few Spyderco exclusives in it stable. They all feature red G10 handles and M390 steel. The Para 2, Manix and Para 3 all received this treatment. This lightweight is a first, in that it appears to be their first FRN handled exclusive. It’s still red and also features M390 steel though. It is also the first Para 3 Lightweight exclusive to hit the market. I think we’ll see more lightweight exclusives in the future though.

Trainer
For us old-timers, it’s still a bit awkward to see so many sharp red handled folders from Spyderco. For many years, red handles were reserved for drones or training knives. The Calypso Jr. & Jess Horn lightweight sprints did come before the red C223, but they had a distinct burgundy color. It really is a strikingly different shade of red, compared to the bright red FRN of the Delica and Endura Trainers. The shade of red on this Para 3 Lightweight seems lighter than the burgundy FRN we saw before and a bit darker than the FRN handle of a Delica trainer.

First impressions
This is my first Para 3 lightweight and I like it a lot. It feels -very- light, even lighter in the hand than an FRN Native and a Lightweight Manix. The lock-up is solid, and remained so during the past weeks of carry and use. The closed blade was a little off-center but that is only a cosmetic problem.

Wireclip
I’m not the world’s biggest fans of fold-over wireclips, but this one worked nicely. The tension of the clip, combined with the smooth FRN surface that interacts with the clip, made it very easy to draw the folder from my waistband or pocket. The FRN pattern is nice and grippy, but it is significantly less aggressive than on my Manix or Native Lightweights. The rest of the Para’s grip is very familiar. This is a very solid and ergonomic compact working folder.

M390
Onto the good part. M390 steel. I’m not much of a steel junkie, as I never test blades to their limits. I do like to carry, use -and in that way ‘play around’ with various steels. I loved super blue steel for its performance for example. But I also easily switch to VG-10 which is one of my favorite steels actually.  Sal Glesser explained to me that super blue makes for a ‘hungry edge’, when I related my experience with it. You see, I kept on looking for food to cut with it. M390, in my opinion, is a ‘sticky edge’.

Cutting
Whenever I start a cut, the M390 edge stay in there to finish it. The sharpness also seems to stick around M390, for a long time.  Your mileage may vary, as my knife-uses are rather mundane. My EDC-needs rarely require more than cutting envelopes, fruit, cardboard etc.… To test a new knife I creep into the kitchen to see if I can help prepare the food instead of only cleaning up after eating it.


Overall
I’m happy to have waited for this exclusive to dive into the Para 3 lightweight. Since it’s the first of its kind, I’m sure plenty of collectors will jump on this run. So don’t wait and start saving. Something tells me, there will be -many- more exclusives of the Spyderco Para 3 lightweights.

Check out specs of the Spyderco C223 Para 3 Lightweight at the Spyderco.com website, and find out more details and background information at Spydiewiki. Also, see the DLT Trading website for this and other Spyderco exclusives.