Spyderco C81GPBK2 Paramilitary 2 Folder Knife, CPM-S30V Black Blade

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SPYC81GPBK2
Highly regarded as one of the most popular folder knives ever created, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 slightly diminishes the exceptional performance and reliability of the Spyderco Military model into a more compact and pocket-friendly design. Each model features a premium stainless steel blade that is supported, this time, by Spyderco's patented Compression Lock™ mechanism--allowing users to safely close the blade with one hand without ever having the operating hand come near the cutting edge. Much like its larger predecessor, the Paramilitary 2 features a slightly flared base of the handle as well as the integrated jimping which provides increased control with any cutting job. This model, the C81GPBK2, features a black G-10 handle, a DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) black finished clip point blade, Spyderco's trademark round hole opening feature and an ambidextrous 4-way positional pocket clip which allows for a tip up or tip down carry option on either side of the handle. Made in the USA.

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Blade Length: 3.42"
  • Overall Length: 8.24"
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V Stainless Steel
  • Blade Finish: DLC Black
  • Handle Length: 4.82"
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Weight: 3.9 oz.

Spyderco History

Spyderco was founded by Sal Glesser. The first product Spyderco produced was the Portable Hand in 1976. This "spider-shaped device", was a series of angles, ball joints and alligator clips that helped jewelers and hobbyists to work with small parts. It was this product that helped lead to the company’s name. Sal and his wife Gail, started their journey by converting an old bread delivery truck into a motor-home. They used this to travel from show to show to help kick start their new business. As they became more successful, they settled in Golden in November 1978. Spyderco began producing knife sharpeners in 1978 and produced their first folding knife, the C01 Worker, in 1981. This knife was the first to feature a round hole in the blade designed for fast, one-handed and ambidextrous opening, which is now the company's trademark. From there, the Spyderco name has become known all throughout the world as one of the best knife making companies in the industry.

Para-Military

The Para-Military 2 has come a long way to get to where it is at today. Its origins come from the original Military folder from Spyderco. The Para-Military 2 bears a similar resemblance to its predecessor but has gone through many changes to be what it is now. Below you can see the different changes that the knife has gone through. From the Military to the Para-Military, and now the Para-Military 2.

Product

Overall Length

Blade Length

Handle Length

Weight

Military

9.50”

4.00”

5.50”

5.80 oz.

Para-Military

7.88”

3.09”

4.75”

3.75 oz.

Para-Military 2

8.30”

3.43”

4.82”

3.75 oz.

As you see, the Para-Military 2 is the median between these two other knives. Over the years, the knives began to average out.

Specs

Here are more of the Para-Military 2’s specs. You saw how it compared with its predecessors, but below shows what the rest of the knife is made up of. In retrospect, it is an impressive knife.

  • Product Type: Folder
  • Overall Length: 8.30"
  • Weight: 3.75 oz.
  • Handle Length: 4.82"
  • Blade Length: 3.43"
  • Blade Thickness: 0.140"
  • Blade Material: CPM-S30V
  • Blade Edge: Plain
  • Blade Style: Clip Point
  • Blade Finish: Satin
  • Handle Material: G-10
  • Handle Color: Black
  • Sheath Included: No
  • Pocket Clip: 4 Way Reversible Tip-Up or Tip-Down
  • Made in Golden, Colorado, USA, Earth

Blade Steel

The Para-Military 2 has for a blade steel the popular and durable S30V stainless steel. Officially named CPM-S30V, S30V is considered to be one of the best steel types available. This steel was created as a joint collaboration effort between Dick Barber of Crucible Industries and knifemaker Chris Reeve. CPM-S30V is made up of 1.45% Carbon, 14.00% Chromium, 4.00% Vanadium and 2.00% Molybdenum.

Typically, high alloy steels are more prone to separate with similar material during the metal making process. No matter the precaution and extra steps taken to prevent this segregating, the particles are bound to isolate to some degree. CPM steels undergo a different process than most steels. Tiny particles of the different materials are consolidated, mixed together, and undergo a heat/pressure treatment to form a uniform distribution of these fine carbides. Because there is no alloy segregation in the powder particles themselves, there is no alloy segregation in the finished steel. The uniform distribution of fine carbides also prevents grain growth, so that the resultant microstructure is fine grained.

This American made steel has a great capacity to retain an edge and is able to withstand high pressures due to its high ductility. Combining all of these attributes with its corrosion resistance, CPM S30V steel is known as a Super Steel and typically found in higher-end tactical knives as well in custom knives. Some distinct advantages of S30V include: improved wear resistance, improved toughness, consistent tool performance, and being able to be sharpened easily.

Blade Style

The clip point, the blade featured on the Para-Military 2, is one of the more popular blade shapes used today. What defines a clip point is the back edge of the knife runs straight from the handle and then stops about halfway up the knife. Then the angle bends and continues to the point of the knife. This "cut-out" area can be straight or curved, and is referred to as the "clip.” Some advantages of the clip point are its sharp controllable point, it is good for piercing, and there is plenty of cutting edge for slicing. One disadvantage of the clip point is that the point is narrow and weaker than other blade styles. In the end, though it is a great blade to have, especially if you will be doing a lot of slicing.

Thumbhole

A Spyderco original, the thumb hole offers easy access and control while opening the knife. It accommodates well to those with smaller hands as well as those who may be wearing gloves. The position of the hole in the blade and the circular shape, allow for an easy and continuous opening motion. The thumb rests against the hole at a comfortable distance from the palm permitting easy rotation from the pivot point. The hole does not snag on other things, versus the thumb stud which is more prone to do so.

Folder

While there are other opening mechanisms out in the market (spring assist, fixed, automatic, etc.) there is a reason why a folder knife is a viable tool. One reason a folder knife is beneficial to own is because of how quiet it opens. This can be favorable during situations such as an office meeting, while hunting, or being on duty. Another point to note is that in some places, having a spring assisted or automatic knife can get you into legal trouble where a folder knife will not. This isn’t true is all cases, but something to point out. One more thing to point out is that the more parts that move in the knife, can mean a greater potential to wear out and break down over time. Also, when compared to fixed blades, a folder can be more discrete when carrying it every day. It doesn’t draw as much attention to it compared to the attitude people have about the serious nature of fixed blades. It simply is much easier to carry around in the city. Plus a folder tends to be more compact than a fixed blade.

Pressure Lock vs. Frame Lock

The newest addition to the Para-Military 2 is the locking mechanism. The locking mechanism is called a pressure lock. Though similar, it is different than a frame or liner lock in a number of ways. It does use part of the liner, but it is located in the back of the handle, rather than the front. The liner gets trapped in-between the blade and the stop pin. The pressure that is built up there makes it virtually impossible to close on your hand.

Handle

The handle material featured on the Para-Military 2 is G-10 or G10. G-10 is similar to Micarta and Carbon Fiber and is often used in handles because of its moisture imperviousness. G-10 is a fiberglass based laminate made by layers of fiberglass cloth that are soaked in an epoxy resin, are compressed, and then baked. The result is a material that is hard, lightweight, and strong. The surface of the G-10 is a checkering texture that is added for additional grip support. A unique property of the material is that the grip improves when wet. This material is difficult to break. It is also an ideal handle material because it does not shrink or swell in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Many knife companies prefer to use G-10 because of these properties, but also prefer to use it because it is easy to shape into different designs and has a possibility for an unlimited number of colors.

The handle also features a pocket clip that can be placed on the left or right side of the handle. It can also be positioned in a tip-up carry position, or in a tip-down position. Other than the G-10 handle, and the pocket clip positions, there aren’t too many other special things about the handle. It feels great to hold because of the carefully designed ergonomic handles.

Field Test

This is perhaps my favorite part when reviewing knives. There can only be so much talk without showing the walk. Spyderco has done very well in creating and designing the Para-Military 2. But to show its awesomeness, there were a series of “tests” that were conducted to observe the overall performance of the knife. Those tests include paper cutting, cardboard cutting, rope cutting, and plastic cutting. Wood cutting isn’t a reasonable test for a folder knife, so it isn’t included here. Not that the knife wouldn’t be capable to cut it, it’s just I will save the wood cutting for an axe.

Paper- Flawlessly, the Para-Military 2 cut through multiple layers of paper with ease. There is no need to get a paper shredder to destroy documents when you have this knife. It cuts the paper like butter. Envelopes also stand no chance up against the Para-Military 2.

Cardboard- Oh how easy it was to cut through cardboard. A big reason why this was so simple is because of the larger “belly” that the blade has to it. The larger surface area, the curvature of the blade, and the ridiculously sharp edge make it simple to cut through the cardboard.

Rope- Normally, a serrated blade is used when cutting a rope. The teeth are able to rip through the material for an easy cut. However, the Para-Military 2 is able to cut the rope easily because of its sharp edge, and its edge retention. The paracord that I tested the blade on was cut in a blink of an eye.

Plastic- Yep, it cuts plastic well. Maybe a little too good. It nearly took my finger off. Those pesky packaging containers will be nothing when compared to Para-Military 2.

Everyday Carry

When looking to get a new knife, there are a few items to look at to confirm it will be a good everyday carry. Those items include the following: its carry depth, its weight, its thickness and width, and its appearance.

Carry Depth

The Para-Military 2 is comfortable to carry in your hand and in your pocket. When closed, the knife is close to 5 inches long. A typically comfortable carry knife is anywhere between three and a half to 5 inches long when closed. The Para-Military 2 easily fits within that range. Some questions I ask myself before getting a knife are “Will the knife fit in my pant pocket?” and “Will it fall out of my pocket?” The knife is deep enough that it shouldn’t fall out of your pocket.

Weight

One of the more important aspects to consider when choosing an everyday carry is its weight. It is the worst feeling to have to carry heavy objects in your pocket, no matter what it is. A good knife weight ranges anywhere from as little as 3.0 ounces to 5.0 ounces. The Para-Military 2 fits right into the beginning of this range. It weighs 3.75 ounces. It is quite small for its size. When holding it, it feels lighter than what you think.

Thickness and Width

When carrying a knife around all the time in your pocket, there is a limited amount of space available in your pocket. A good everyday carry knife should be comfortable to carry and easy to handle. The Para-Military 2 is well over an inch and a half wide at its thickest point. This knife is pretty thick in term of its width. Its thickness, however, is very thin. We’re talking somewhere around a quarter of an inch thick. In theory, the Para-Military 2 shouldn’t take up too much pocket real-estate.

Appearance

I wouldn’t worry too much about how it looks. Sure it’s got to look tough, but what really matters is if it will do the job. But really, though, it looks impressive. The thumb hole on the blade makes this knife have a better appearance and can be a great conversation piece.

Conclusion

For me, I am not too big on folder knives. But I am deeply impressed with the Para-Military 2. It is a well-designed knife that has a lot to offer. The potential that the knife has to offer is immense. This knife may be the one to convert me over to a folder knife. You should pick one up today.