SOME OF THE BEST SPYDERCO KNIVES YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

10 Of The Best Spydrco Knives By Great Independent Knife Designers

Spyderco is famous as an inexhaustible source of knife designs. It seems like they come out with a dozen new knives every week, and while it’s fun to watch them pump out new stuff all the time, the volume makes it really easy to miss a few gems, especially when all you hear is how great the new color for the Paramiltary 2 is. One of the ways they create innovative, new designs is to team up with independent knife makers and run limited series of incredibly high quality knives. The result is some great Spyderco knives that are often overlooked.

Folders

This is Spyderco’s comfort zone. In fact the reason the company even started making knives in the first place was because the owner wanted a knife that he could open one handed. Since then they’ve branched into all kinds of weird ideas, but all of them sport that thumb hole for easy one-handed open.

Schempp Bowie Knife

Schempp Folding Bowie Knife

  • Overall Length: 8.45”
  • Blade Length: 3.72”
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Steel: S30V
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle Material: G-10 / Carbon fiber w/ Brass bolsters
  • Open System: Thumb hole
  • Carry System: Ambi tip-up pocket clip
  • Lock Type: Liner
  • Designer: Ed Schempp

Designer Ed Schempp set out to basically make a portable version of the iconic bowie knife. He came up with the Schempp Bowie, which sports a very hard S30V stainless steel and a handle made with a combination of G10 and carbon fiber. The reverse clip is designed to make the knife ride deep in your pocket, which might make it a little harder to pull out, but definitely makes it feel more comfortable. Normally I’m skeptical of a fixed-blade design turned into a folder, but I’m intrigued by the ingenuity of the handle materials and the angle it comes to after it’s flipped out. I think this would be a neat option for backpacking and bushcraft.

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Subvert

This Nati Amor designed knife is an excellent pocket folder.

  • Overall Length: 9.25”
  • Blade Length: 4.14”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Steel: S30V
  • Grind: Full flat
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Open system: Thumb hole
  • Carry: Tip-up clip
  • Lock Type: Liner
  • Designer: Nati Amor

This was designed by Nati Amor, professional gold smith and possessor of cool names. I don’t know exactly what the intent behind the Subvert’s design is, but I like its style. It has the feel of a small machete, although I’m not sure how much hacking you could with a 4-inch blade. It’s probably durable enough for it, though. Amor made this thing with titanium liners and G-10 scales with some pretty aggressive texturing, and put a lot of metal behind that full-flat grind. The biggest problem with it is that it would make a great camping knife, but that’s a lot of money to be packing into the wilderness.

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Lai Amalgam

The Lai Amalgam pocket knife was designed by Brian Lai.

 

  • Overall Length: 8.9”
  • Blade Length: 3.8”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Steel: S30V
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle Material: Carbon fiber / G-10
  • Open System: Flipper. Thumb hole
  • Carry System: Ambi pocket clip, all 4 positions
  • Lock Type: Compression
  • Designer: Brian Lai

By Spyderco standards, the Amalgam is pretty plain knife but it’s versatile. Designer Brian Lai clearly want to make sure this could carried in every way possible. Not only can the pocket clip be moved to all four positions, but it has the thumb hole and a flipper tap. And since it uses a compression lock, you don’t have a liner or frame piece getting in your way when you open it left-handed. The choil is placed really well for choking the blade up too, so there are a hundred ways you could hold and use this knife.

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Southard Folder

Spyderco Southard Folder Review

  • Overall Length: 7.96”
  • Blade Length: 3.46”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Steel: CTS-204P
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Open System: Thumb hole / flipper tab
  • Carry System: Tip-up clip
  • Lock Type: Frame lock
  • Designer: Brad Southard

This is Brad Southard’s first collaboration with Spyderco (you’ll be seeing him again in a moment), and he kept things fairly conservative. It has a G-10 handle with a CTS-204P hollow grind steel blade. The whole design has a very smooth, classy feel and the ball bearing washer keeps the flipping motion smooth as silk. At first sight, actually, it looks a bit like something Benchmade would make until you get down to the tool steel blade. Truth is, you just don’t see something this rustic from either knife company these days. It’s about as solid and good-looking a flipper as you’ll find anywhere.

Update: It looks like this knife has been discontinued, but for now you can still pick it up on Amazon and a couple other places. I’ll switch this out with something else when it drops off Amazon.

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Hanan

The Hanan is a great gentleman's folder designed by Brad Southard.

 

  • Overall Length: 6.88”
  • Blade Length: 3.0”
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Steel: S30V
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle Material: G-10 w/ titanium bolsters
  • Open System: Flipper
  • Carry System: Tip-up clip
  • Lock Type: Compression
  • Designer: Brad Southard

This is a really nice gentleman folder by Southard, but I would just like to point out this is one of the only Spyderco knives out there that doesn’t have a functional thumbhole. Southard put one in there for the sake of Spyderco tradition, but you’re not getting any thumb in there. As a flipper, it’s great though, and they certainly didn’t skimp on materials between the S30V steel and titanium liners and bolsters. The recurve blade makes it a little funny looking, but no more than most other Spyderco blades out there right now. It’s a solid, slicey EDC.

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Reinhold Rhino (replacement)

This is a unique Spyderco knife designed by Michael Reinhold.

 

  • Overall Length: 5.94”
  • Blade Length: 2.37”
  • Blade Style: Trailing point
  • Steel: CTS-XHP
  • Grind: Full flat
  • Handle Material: Carbon fiber / G-10
  • Open System: Thumb hole
  • Carry System: ambi tip-up clip
  • Lock Type: Compression
  • Designer: Michael Reinhold

The Rhino is pretty much a pure slicer, possibly with skinning in mind. Michael Reinhold did a nice job in putting a lot of specialized use into a small body. It has a lot of curve so it should be great for any slicey jobs like cutting rope. It was also nice of them to make the pocket clip ambidextrous, but I think any left handers will notice that little peak in the scales that partially covers the thumb hole for anyone who wants to open it the other way. Aside from that, the Right is a sweet little EDC to pack around.

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Chinook 4

The Chinnok 4 is a practical folder designed by James Keating.

 

  • Overall Length: 8.89”
  • Blade Length: 3.89”
  • Blade Style: Trailing point
  • Steel: S30V
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Open System: Thumb hole
  • Carry System: Ambi tip-up
  • Lock Type: Lock back
  • Designer: James Keating

So if you liked the Rhino but want a gigantic version, the Chinook 4 is probably the best way to go. You’ve got a severe trailing point and a thumb hole that you can actually use with either hand. The designer, James Keating, is a martial artist and apparently took some inspiration from the Bowie with this design so a lot of people seem to talk about it as a self defense tool, but I see a lot of potential for it on the trail, clearing smaller brush and branches. Maybe that’s just because it kind of reminds me of the Cold Steel Voyager, though.

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Fixed Blade

Spyderco doesn’t venture out of the pocket very often, but when they do they make some surprisingly cool stuff. For a company that doesn’t do much for hunters or survivalists in general, they’ve produced some fixed blades that would be fantastic in the field.

Bradley Bowie

The Bradley Bowies is a classic style fixed blade knife by Gayle Bradley.

 

  • Overall Length: 9.93”
  • Blade Length: 5.13”
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Steel: PSF27
  • Grind: Full-flat
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Sheath: Boltaron
  • Designer: Gayle Bradley

This is a beast of a knife, and not just because of its size. It’s thick and made from a high-carbon, spray formed tool steel, which means its composition is (to put it simply) really damn dense. He was also generous with the handle. The tang and G-10 scales are controured, but not too much, and the thickness should fill the hand really well. Designer Gayle Bradley has been around the cutting competition game for a while, and it’s possible he designed this more with a championship in mind rather than more direct uses, but it would be a great survival knife regardless, if a bit heavy.

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Street Bowie

Spyderco Positron Fixed Knife Review

  • Overall Length: 9.38”
  • Blade Length: 5.0”
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • Steel: VG-10
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle Material: FRN
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Designer: Fred Perrin

People liked the Street Beat Micarta so much that Spyderco brought Fred Perrin back for another round of designing. This time he went for something a little bigger and came out with a bowie knife. It’s quite a bit bigger with a 5 inch VG-10 blade and an overall length of nearly 10 inches. It also features the same finger choil for hand protection, but this knife should also be easier to grip than the Street Beat because the handle is an injection molded FRN with rubber inserts. So in terms of grip, this is probably the better tactical knife, but I think I still prefer the easier size and shape of the Street Beat.

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Bill Moran Upswept

Spyderco Bill Moran Upswept

  • Overall Length: 8.0”
  • Blade Length: 3.875”
  • Blade Style: Trailing point
  • Steel: VG-10
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle Material: FRN
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Designer: Bill Moran (kind of)

Technically they didn’t partner up with a custom knife maker for this knife. The Bill Moran Upswept is more of an homage to one of the great fathers of modern knife making, but it’s still a great knife and a great way to honor a man who helped shape the way knives are made today. The Bill Moran Upswept is made with VG-10 steel and a FRN handle weighted to match the blade so the whole knife has a very balanced feel. It’s one of the few knives by Spyderco that would be ideal for hunting.

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