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Knife Review: Spyderco Kapara

Knife Review: Spyderco Kapara

Posted by SD on Jan 11th 2021

The Spyderco Kapara Folding Knife

Spyderco was founded in 1976 by Sal and Gail Glesser. Initially, the company focused on selling their first product, the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, primarily at fairs and trade shows around the country.

In 1981, the Glessers put down roots in Golden, Colorado and introduced the first Spyderco folding knife. That knife pioneered the concept of a round hole in the blade for one-handed opening, a clip on the handle for carry at the top of the pocket, and the option of a serrated edge for aggressive cutting performance. Those features revolutionized the knife industry and literally defend the form of the modern folding knife.

Since then, Spyderco has steadily grown to become one of the leaders in the cutlery industry. In addition to a worldwide distribution network and manufacturing resources in the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and China, their innovation has also earned them an impressive portfolio of patents, trademarks, and industry awards. More importantly, it has allowed them to earn the trust and loyalty of countless thousands of dedicated knife users around the world—an audience to whom they are extremely grateful.

Spyderco pioneered many features that are now common in folding knives, including the pocket clip, serrations, and the opening hole. Spyderco has collaborated with 30 custom knife makers, athletes, and self-defense instructors for designs and innovated the usage of 20 different blade materials.

Today we will be discussing the Spyderco Kapara Folding Knife, which is a new arrival at BladeOps.

The Designer:

The man behind this knife is Alistair Phillips. He says, “I really enjoy the process of making a fine handmade knife. There is something very rewarding about getting to the final product which you have spent many hours getting to and getting a certain amount of satisfaction in the work that you have done. You also know that with each knife you produce you learn and improve and gain skills every time.”

The Blade:

The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V steel. This steel is made by Crucible Industries, who are known for making high end knife steels for high end pocket knives. This steel was specifically created for high end kitchen cutlery as well as high end pocket knives. This is a major advantage, because it means that you will have all of the characteristics that you could want out of the steel.

The steel is known for having the perfect balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention. This is a Spyderco Kaparacomplicated balance to achieve because the harder the steel gets, the less tough it is. The steel is also known for having crazy high corrosion resistance. This is nice, because it means that this tactical knife is going to be very low maintenance.

There is one disadvantage to having the blade made out of this steel: it is hard to work with. This means that when it comes time to sharpen it, you are going to need an experienced sharpener. There is no way that a beginner sharpener could get a fine, clean edge on this type of steel.

  • Good balance between hardness, toughness, and edge retention.
  • High corrosion resistance.
  • Created specifically for high-end pocket knives.
  • Hard to work with and sharpen.

The blade has been finished satin, which is the most common blade finish that you are going to find in the market. The finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive material, such as sandpaper. This finish shows off the bevels of the blade and the fine lines of the steel.

The satin finish also cuts down on the glares and reflections that you may come across. The last good benefit of the satin finish is that it does increase the corrosion resistance of the steel slightly. Since this steel already has high corrosion resistance, it probably won’t be noticed, but it is there.

The blade has been carved into a modified drop point. The drop point is one of the most common blade style because it is so durable as well as being versatile. The shape of the drop point is modified by the spine. A regular spine curves straight form the handle to the point of the blade. On this knife, the blade has a little bit more of a swoop to it, meaning it curves down first, then back up, before curving all the way down. The rest of the drop point is still the same though. This creates a lowered point, which is going to give you more control over the knife. The tip is also broad, which is what gives you the characteristic strength from the drop point blade shape. This is an important feature for this knife in particular because you are going to want all of the strength you can get for your tactical needs. This is also a versatile blade shape because of the large belly that is provided. One of the only drawbacks to this blade shape is that because the point is so broad, you do lose out on some of your piercing abilities that you would get from a similar blade shape, such as a clip point.

  • Lowered point gives you more control.
  • Broad tip gives you the characteristic strength.
  • Large belly makes it easy to slice with.
  • Broad tip does reduce some of your ability to pierce, especially with a chubby blade such as this one.

This knife is a plain edge, which will equip you to take on more tasks than a serrated one would allow you to.

The Handle:

The handle on this knife is made out of carbon fiber. This is a material that is made out of thin strands of carbon that heave been tightly woven together and then set in a resin. This material is crazy strong, expensive, but still lightweight. It does also suffer from being brittle. This is because all of the fibers have been arranged in a single direction. While it is immensely strong in that direction, it is going to begin to break apart when it is stressed in other direction. This means that it is going to crack if it subjected to hard or sharp impacts.

The carbon fiber on this handle is made out of darker and lighter carbon strands, which leads to a watercolor/mottled look. This is a classic look, because it is a little more than a flat color, but it is not distracting for the m elegance of the knife either.

  • Carbon fiber is strong.
  • Carbon fiber is lightweight.
  • Carbon fiber is brittle.
  • Carbon fiber is expensive.

The handle is relatively simple, yet sleek. The spine of the handle angles upward at first and then about 2/3 of the way up the spine, it angles down toward the butt. The butt on the handle is also pointed. The belly of the knife does have a finger guard for protection. That finger guard is followed by an elongated finger groove. This is for comfort. The butt of the handle does have a lanyard hole that should be big enough for almost any lanyard to fit in it.

  • Sleek handle.
  • Finger guard for protection and security when cutting with this knife.
  • Elongated finger groove for comfort.
  • Large lanyard hole that will fit most of your lanyards.

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on this is reversible that is eligible for either left or right handed carry, but it can only be attached for tip up carry. This is an advantage, because it does mean that it is ambidextrous friendly and you can carry it in a way that is most comfortable to you.

The clip is also a wire clip, which means that it is skeletonized and will significantly cut down on weight. It is kept in place by one silver screw, which does match the rest of the hardware on the knife. While this is not a deep carry clip, it will keep your knife securely in your pocket as you go about your day.

  • Skeletonized/wire to cut down on weight.
  • All silver hardware.
  • Ambidextrous friendly.
  • Can only be attached for tip up carry.
  • Not a deep carry pocket clip.

The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that has been equipped with a liner lock, the Spyderco Compression Lock as well as the classic Spyderco Round Hole.

The knife is also equipped with a liner lock. The liner locks are one of the more common mechanism seen on folding knives. The mechanism’s key component is a side spring bar that is located on the same side as the sharp edge of the blade, which lines the inside of the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring bar is held under tension. When the knife is fully opened, the same tension slips the bar inward to make contact with the butt of the blade, keeping it firmly in place and preventing it from closing. Liner locks are a great option because they allow a knife to have two true handle sides. This means that you can close the knife with one hand without switching your grip, making it an ideal knife for when you are using both of your hands for the job. That being said, liner locks are not as strong as other locking systems. The liner lock should be able to stand up to your basic tasks, but be careful when performing some of the heavier duty tasks that might come your way.

The Compression Lock is a lock mechanism that uses a leaf-like spring from a split liner in the handle to wedge laterally between a ramp on the blade tang and the stop pin (or anvil pin). Developed and patented by Spyderco, it provides extreme lock strength and ease of use.

Spyderco says, “One of the most common questions we get from people new to Spyderco knives is “Why the Round Hole?” The Round Hole allows the blade of a folding knife to be swiftly and easily opened with only one hand. This revolutionary feature was granted a U.S. utility patent in 1981 and literally helped define the form of the modern folding knife. Unlike thumb studs, disks, and other one-hand-opening attachments, the hole offers a larger surface area for greater reliability and does not interfere with the cutting action of the blade. An iconic symbol of our brand, the Trademark Round Hole™ also serves as a user-friendly alternative to a traditional nail nick in our two-hand-opening folders and a proud expression of our brand identity in our fixed-blade knives.”

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.58 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.69 inches long. This creates an overall length that measures in at 8.27 inches long. This is a slightly larger than average knife. It weighs in at 3.3 ounces.


The new Kapara folder is a collaboration with both Spyderco and Australian custom knifemaker Alistair Phillips and is based upon his "Redback" custom. The name also originates from the Australian Redback spider--which boasts a distinctive red strip on its abdomen which, in this case, translates to the backspacer. Each liner lock design model incorporates the Compression Lock™ and the finger choil housed at the base as well as the thumb ramp provides enhanced control in any grip style. This model features carbon fiber handle scales, stainless steel liners, a modified drop point style blade in a satin finish and the reversible pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option.

This knife is in stock right now at BladeOps, so buy yours today.