Part of the reason I own any Spyderco knives at all is because of their general ambidexterity. When I first entered into the hobby about 5 years ago the vast majority of folding knives where set-up exclusively for right-handed users. Thumbstuds, lock mechanisms and pocket clips were mounted on the wrong side, requiring some interesting workarounds. My first few knives were liner-locks and I adapted to this by carrying the knife on my right side; I would draw and open the knife right handed and then transfer the knife to my left hand to make the cut. After finishing the cut I would transfer back to my right hand to close the knife and return the knife to my pocket. This worked fine in casual use but once I got a job and found it necessary to use my knife in less than ideal conditions I found it to be clumsy, slow and somewhat dangerous. Dropped knives and nicked fingertips became the norm for a short time before I gave in and bought one of those ugly knives with the hole in the blade that looked like it could be adapted to my use; a Pacific Salt.
The first time I reversed the clip and slid the knife onto the lip of my left pocket I knew this was right way and began the slow liquidation of all those improperly designed liner-locks. Learning to effectively close the lockback with a fast rotation of the knife, pressure of the thumb to depress the lockbar and a quick flick of the wrist to get the blade closing was a joy. My knife use became a high-speed blur, I was able to work more efficiently and much safer than before.
Fast forward a few years and 4-way clips, ambidextrous thumbstuds and non-handed locks are common. The left-handed user now has access to much greater variety in design and is seldom forced to settle for right-handed only knives.
I’ll admit that I have owned a regular Military in the past. It stayed in my possession for mere days before I sold it off. Although it was well made I could not adapt to it, the clip and lock were just too hostile. Fumbling with it I found myself remembering all those times I had dropped my right-handed knife trying in vain to make it work for me.
Picking up this left-handed Military I feel I finally understand the design. How it’s based around being light, strong and easy to use with gloves. It’s no longer a model that doesn’t interest me. I went back and reread the section on the knife in the Spyderco Story and have spent a few hours reading reviews and studying the design on-line. It feels like I’ve joined a small subculture that I couldn’t get into before.
So, an enormous thank you to the crew at Spyderco for producing this model!
I’ve included a write-up that I plan to post elsewhere. It gives a detailed look at what constitutes a good folding knife.
So you need a pocket knife? You may ask, what details should I look for? That is, what makes a good one, a good one?
We’ll take the Spyderco Military as our example of a “good knife.”
Let’s begin with the blade. It’s four inches long and features a full-flat grind; the blade is one continuous angle from the spine to where the edge begins. The cross-section would be like a long, skinny triangle. There are different grinds for different purposes but for general use the full flat is a very good choice. It allows generous cutting ability with reasonable durability and strength. The steel used is S30V, it’s a premium stainless steel that provides good sharpness and edge life.
In addition to the grind the blade also has a distal taper; it gets thinner as you move from near the pivot at the rear, to the tip at the front. Why? Several reasons, among them balance considerations, piercing ability and the ability to accomplish fine detail work with the tip.
Fine detail work with a nine inch knife?!
Sure, a knife should be able to perform many tasks. Details of the blade are one way to judge the ability of a knife, as are those of the handle. The blade and the handle of the Military blend into one another. A solid grip can be accomplished by using just the handle.
Which is composed of a material called G10. It’s a woven fiber-glass epoxy impregnated material that has very useful characteristics. If you touch it you’ll notice that it feels slightly abrasive, this makes it an excellent for when hands are sweaty and allows a solid grip under many different circumstances.
If you take a peek between the handles you’ll see the nested liners. The G10 is actually milled out in these areas and steel liners are inserted, allowing the knife to stay fairly thin while still maintaining respectable rigidity.
Why the little hump in the rear of the handle? Looks like the knife could be a lot shorter without it.
Remember that this knife was designed to be used with gloves on. The length allows a full, secure grip even when using thick work gloves. Say you were using the knife and it became wedged or stuck, that hump also gives purchase to better help you get it out and back into action.
So you can use the handle, but you can also move the hand up onto the short section of blade behind the edge for more control. This depression is referred to as a choil. It’s definition is a little fuzzy but you can generally expect to see it as a round depression suitable for choked up gripping.
Those little lines are to give your finger security and make sure it doesn’t slide around.
You’ll see them called “jimping” and they’re up top behind the Spyderhole as well.