The Spyderco Paramilitary 2. What does it mean when you see a product that has a label made in the U.S.A.? Does it mean quality? Perhaps it tells a story about the American hands that made it with blood, sweat, and tears. Does it make you proud to own and hold a product that is made in America?
I ask these questions as a patriot and a knife enthusiast recommending an American made product by an American company. The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 (PM2) – this highly coveted and sought after knife is a great mid-sized EDC knife. As you might have suspected the 2 in the name is because the knife is a successor of the original Paramilitary (PM) released in 2004. After several key changes and improvements from the original PM the PM2 was released back in 2010. Years later this American made knife is still an excellent choice for day to day use.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2: Specs
- Overall Length: 8.28″
- Blade Length: 3.44″
- Cutting Edge: 3.08″
- Blade Thickness: 0.14″
- Blade Material: CPM S30V
- Blade Grind: Flat
- Edge Type: Plain
- Handle Length: 4.81″
- Handle Thickness: 0.46″
- Handle Material: G-10
- Liner Material: Stainless Steel
- Weight: 3.75 oz.
- Pocket Clip: Right/Left Hand, Tip-Up/Down
- Knife Type: Manual
- Opener: Thumb Hole
- Lock Type: Compression Lock
- Country of Origin: USA
- MSRP: $189 – $209
Spyderco Paramilitary 2: Blade
Aside from being made in Golden, Co. U.S.A. there are multiple features I like about this knife. Let’s begin with the full flat ground blade. CPM S30V is a premium steel made by U.S. based Crucible Industries and offers the best combination of toughness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance. The blade came razor sharp out of the box and though I did not do any hard cutting to test the edge there is no doubt that the edge retention will be excellent. The jimping on the thumb ramp and on the finger choil grips your finger in place, which I think is perfect for ungloved hands.
The PM2 boast a respectable blade length of 3.44’’ and a cutting edge of 3.08’’. The blade shape is what Spyderco calls a leaf shape and gives plenty of belly for your cutting needs. The particular one reviewed has a matte black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating, which is anti reflective and has a satin like smooth feel. The PM2 comes in a plain edge and does not have a serrated version. However there are several Sypderco knives that offer a serrated option that are worth a look.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2: Operation
What makes a chameleon such a cool and unique lizard above others? It’s not the tongue or the tail. It is the chameleon’s option and ability to change colors. No I’m not saying that the PM 2 can change colors – that would be great – I’m talking about options… and I like having options. The PM2 offers an option of 4 clip position and multiple ways of deploying the blade. This makes it great for left handed use.
With some practice the “Spyder Hole” (thumb hole) can be used to deploy the blade using several techniques (you can check out some YouTube videos for that). In addition the compression lock system is very unique that it can be pushed aside when the blade is closed to allow blade deployment with a flick of a wrist – Sort of like the operation of an axis lock on a previous knife PTR reviewed. An important feature I really like about the compression lock system is that it is located in the back of the knife. This alloys your fingers to be totally out of the way when unlocking and closing the blade. This is truly a hand operational ambidextrous pocketknife.
Spyderco Paramilitary 2: Ergonomics
The PM2 handles great with gloved or ungloved hands. The handle length provides a full grip in hand – most likely to prevent your friends from taking it. The texture on the G10 handle sort of feels like an unpainted canvas which provides enough grip yet not abrasive. The curves are comfortable and alloys a your thumb and fingers to fall naturally into place. The weight is impressive at 3.75oz – everyone that I handed it to expected a heavier knife. The clip had good retention in the pocket and the overall width did not feel bulky. I found no up-and-down blade play and minimal side-to-side play that could be fixed by tightening the pivot screw. Which leads me to my only disappointment. For the MSRP price of $209 it would have been nice to find a torx tool in the box for adjusting the pivot screw and for changing the pocket clip position. However most of us tool/knife guys should have access to one anyway.
The Spyderco Paramilitary 2 comes in different flavors from blade finish to the G10 grip. You have several optional combinations to enjoy this American made pocketknife. Personally, I am proud to carry the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 as my EDC knife – both for the quality of its design and craftsmanship, as well as it’s American heritage.
Before you hit the “buy now” on your shopping cart I leave you with some caution. The popularity of this blade has caused Chinese replicas to exist and sold as the real American made product. Be sure to purchase yours from a reputable seller by going on Spyderco.com and inspect with a keen eye when you receive your Paramilitary 2 .
Editor’s note: When Steve showed me a site where it is possible to purchase Chinese made knock off products, I was shocked at what I saw. While the items look identical and are being marketed as the actual item listed, there are some differences. Everything from the materials used to the way it is put together shows nothing but compromise from the original design intent. At best, you’re getting a cheap knock off when you purchase something like this. At worst, you’re getting something that it actually dangerous to use if the safety features don’t work correctly. Regardless, you’re purchasing an item that is not made nor approved for production by Spyderco (and they’re not even close to the only ones being ripped off). Companies like Spyderco do produce premium products that come at a premium price, but they also back them up. Be sure that if you’re wanting to have the pride of a Spyderco knife in your pocket that you are actually carrying a Spyderco product. Food for thought: if a company has no problem stealing a product design for their own profit, what makes you think that all of those “customer reviews” are the real thing as well?