The Endura and Delica are two of Spyderco’s most enduring models. Each is currently in their fourth generation and better than ever. Now joining this lineup is the brand-new Endela, which sits right between these two in terms of size. Not too big, and not too small, it perfectly bridges the gap to create a brand new EDC knife, and it just feels right.Continue Reading
A spinoff of the ever-popular Paramilitary 2, the Spyderco Para 3 is a little bit smaller, and in my opinion, its proportions are just about perfect. Although we only get about two and a half inches of sharpened edge, it feels like more in the hand, and the handle is still nice and big, offering a full grip for big jobs. The blade is instantly recognizable as a Spyderco. It has a broad profile, a full flat grind and their signature round opening hole. We’re going to break down what makes this such a great knife for everyday carry and why you should add one to your rotation.
Ever since its introduction a couple of years ago, the Benchmade Bugout has been one of Benchmade’s most popular designs. When it was introduced, they marketed it heavily towards ultralight hikers and backpackers, but it has become just as successful, if not more so, as a highly pocketable EDC design.
Kershaw were one of the first to bring assisted opening knives to a broader market with their SpeedSafe mechanism, which was designed by Hall of Fame knife maker Ken Onion. This mechanism ushered in a sea change in the knife industry and the Leek is one of the knives that has endured since those early days, not just because of its snappy action but because it’s a fantastic design. With slim handles and a narrow blade, it makes a highly refined EDC. It’s perfect as a gentleman’s pocket knife and it also makes a fantastic example of what we like to call an executive knife. As with any knife that has endured for as long as the Leek, you expect to see some variants and you won’t be disappointed by what the Leek series has to offer.
Spyderco’s Salt Series of knives was made with one thing in mind: to make corrosion an afterthought. Through the use of exotic steels and handles with plenty of traction, these knives were made to be ideal companions in corrosive and aquatic environments, hence the name Salt. On top of that, the Native 5 is a fantastic American-made EDC that contains all of the best elements we love about Spyderco designs.
Now that Spyderco has welcomed the Native 5 into the Salt family it comes with some new tweaks, making this high-performance knife even better. The biggest change is the use of high-performing LC200N blade steel, famously used by NASA in ball-bearings as a substitute for 52100 in their aerospace equipment. This steel is a nitrogen-enriched tool steel that offers edge retention that can rival many of today’s modern super steels, a big leap over the H1 steel that Spyderco has traditionally used in their Salt knives. LC200N also sports exceptional toughness and extreme corrosion resistance, making it ideal for use in the Salt Series.
Nothing drives a knifemaker like a little competition, which is why great knife brands like Benchmade and Spyderco thrive off of a good-natured rivalry. They are constantly pushing themselves to create the greatest knives by using premium knife materials and the top knife manufacturing processes available, all so they can edge out the rest to take home the crown for the best knife. Two specific knife models have reached the apex of that goal: Spyderco’s Paramilitary 2 and Benchmade’s Griptilian.
While they may not have identical price tags, we chose the Griptilian and the Paramilitary 2 because they’re both American-made knives, the same general size, intended for similar tasks, and equipped with comparable locking mechanisms. Speaking of great knife locks…
The Griptilian comes equipped with an AXIS locking mechanism. The lockbar extends through the frame of the knife and is completely ambidextrous, and it allows easy one-handed operation.
Benchmade is one of the most widely recognized knife brands in the business – just one look at that distinctive butterfly logo tells you you’re holding a top notch blade. Benchmade has a unique origin story. Les De Asis, the owner and founder, originally wanted to create a high quality version of the cheap butterfly knife he played with as a kid. Once that design was created after working with gifted knife maker Victor Anselmo, he took his prototype to a local gun shop – whose owner immediately wanted 100 more. Thus, Bali-Song, Inc. was born, and that eventually led to the company we now know as Benchmade Knives.
Benchmade says that they have one ultimate goal: make the best knives in the world. We’ve always been wowed by their wide array of distinguished knife designs – I mean, have you ever held a Griptilian? It’s downright sexy. Choosing only five of their top knives is pretty tough, but luckily we did the work so you don’t have to. Buckle up and get ready to scroll through the best knives Benchmade has to offer. From the designs to the materials to the aesthetics, these five Benchmade knives easily reach the caliber expected of such a great knife company.
What other knife can you kick off a Benchmade list with other than the famous Griptilian folder? Like many of Benchmade’s knives, the Griptilian features Benchmade’s patented AXIS lock, which is a 100% ambidextrous design that functions due to a riding, hardened steel bar that is machined into the steel liners. Not only is it strong, but it is also safe to use, as you can operate the blade without your fingers crossing into the path of the edge. The Grip’s designer, Mel Pardue, brought his passion for functionality to this design. The driving force behind Pardue’s collaborations with Benchmade is that less is more, and the focus has always been function over form. There are more iterations of the Griptilian than any other knife Benchmade offers. Our favorite is this upgraded design with G10 handles and premium CPM-20CV steel.
With fall approaching, those of us who love to spend our time outdoors are eagerly awaiting some casual bushcrafting and hunting adventures without the summer heat or winter freeze. Whether you are a casual trekker or a seasoned hunter, now is the perfect time to get out and play with your favorite blades. For all you outdoorsmen on a budget out there, we’ve pulled together what we feel is some of the most essential hunting and outdoor gear under $50. Now you can focus solely on the right thing – The Hunt.
We’ve asked our social media followers before what they prefer for their hunting adventures – a solid full-tang fixed blade or a knife with replaceable blades. The results were surprisingly even. Replaceable blades are great for lessening the weight of your pack and they keep you from needing to sharpen while field dressing your game. Havalon’s Piranta knives make it easy– when the blade gets dull, just pop it off and replace it with a razor sharp new one. For less than thirty-six bucks, you’ll get thirteen replacement blades, a rugged, stain resistant handle with a grippy rubber inlay, and a durable Nylon holster. For the hunters looking to speed up their field dressing and skinning processes, the Piranta may be the best knife option for you.
CPM-S30V and CPM-S35VN stainless steels were developed by Crucible Industries, an American company that produces specialty steels. They worked with famous knife makers like Chris Reeve to create new steels specifically to be used for knives. First came the well-balanced S30V with its amazing edge retention and high corrosion resistance. Then S35VN came along and upped the ante in regards to toughness and its ability to be polished. Some may argue that S30V has lost its super steel status because it has become so prevalent in the EDC knife world. At KnifeCenter, we still hold high regard for S30V and S35VN steel – their Particle Metallurgy construction adds additional toughness thanks to the very refined grain structure, and the vanadium in their composition helps these knives cut better than those that rely on a higher chromium count. In layman’s terms: these knives cut, and cut very well.
If you’re thinking, “yeah, that’s great and all, but I can’t really afford a knife with such high quality steel”, we agree – these steels come at a price. There are plenty of mid-tech knives out there sporting S35VN steel that can easily cost you four-hundred bucks. We understand the importance of having top-notch steel, though, so we’ve pulled together our top five sub-$100 knives with S30V or S35VN steel. Now you can enjoy a premium EDC knife without losing a big chunk of your paycheck.
Cold Steel’s Code 4 folder utilizes their world-renowned Tri-Ad lock, which was designed by Andrew Demko to be one of the strongest knife locking mechanisms on the planet. Why S35VN over S30V? Cold Steel is a known purveyor of some of the toughest knives out there, and S30V does have a reputation for micro-bevel chipping during tough use. S35VN’s elemental composition improves that aspect of the steel, so it’s a better option if you’re looking to do some more serious cutting work. Also, this knife perfectly shows off S35VN’s ability to be polished compared to S30V – just look at that high satin shine. This knife gives you all the cutting power of high quality steel in a lightweight package that perfectly complements any EDC.
In our opinion, the Vantage is one of the best affordable everyday carry knives on the market. From the molded nylon/CNC-contoured G10 handles to the dual steel liners, this American-made folder’s built to be a knife that you actually use every day – EDC isn’t just a title with this one. Joe Talmadge, a master of blade geometry, claims the S30V steel you’ll find on this knife might be the ultimate in high-end stainless steels thanks to its superior performance and sharpenability compared to other super steels in its class.
The Kizer Sliver’s sleek design is complemented by the high end materials – S35VN steel and uniquely worked aluminum handles. This knife is precision machined and engineered to the finest tolerances. While the S35VN steel is the cherry on top of this cake, it’s the orange handle that sets this knife apart. The overall shape gives off serious trapper knife vibes, and we are into it.
White River Knives doesn’t get the recognition that it should. In our experience, all we’ve seen from this knife company are truly great products. In fact, this is one of our favorite skeletonized neck knives on the production market. White River rounded the finger cut out so perfectly on the Backpacker that ‘comfortable’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. S30V steel is perfect for skinning knives and neck knives because its bailiwick is precision cutting. The Kydex sheath allows you to wear the knife on your belt in two ways, or around your neck if you attach a lanyard.
To round out the list, we’ve got one of Spyderco’s greatest knife designs of all time paired with S30V steel. In some knives, it’s obvious certain materials are the reason for the price – be it premium steel or Micarta scales. With the Native 5, you’re getting an all-around great knife. Compared to the standard Delica or Endura’s VG-10 steel, the S30V is a pretty big upgrade. Many say this is Spyderco’s best pocket knife option on the market, and we have to agree – this knife easily rivals the performance of knives double its value.
There you have it – KnifeCenter’s top 5 sub-$100 knives with S30V or S35VN steel. There are other options out there, but we honestly feel that these knives provide some of the best bang for your buck. Now that these super steels are becoming much more common in the EDC knife market, prices are just going to become more and more accessible to a wider range of people. In our opinion, that’s the best way to run the knife game – because everyone should have steel in their pocket. Why not make it some of the best?
Spyderco’s new limited edition Para 3 sports S35VN blade steel and earth brown G10 handle scales. This premium steel gives you a great combination of edge retention, durability, and corrosion resistance. The scales are lightly textured and offer a secure grip in the hand without adding bulk and the earth brown color is easy on the eyes, which pairs well with the satin finish on the blade and metallic pocket clip. Check out the full review on Spyderco’s latest limited edition run in the video!