The Spyderco Native lightweight is one of a series of really nicely designed folding blade knives. The Native is all about blending form, function, and feel to make a very reliable and useful knife that is capable of everyday use. I want to say that Spyderco is about 80% of the way there. Spyderco has come up with a lightweight (only 2.65 ounces), yet EDC capable knife, but with some sacrifices to keep the blade affordable.
What can this knife handle?
The lightweight construction of the Spyderco Native is really what, but the blade and handle are a part of it too. The Native is really easy to carry and the S30V steel makes it pretty durable. The handle is short but broad so you have awesome control over the blade’s movement. I don’t know if it is the serrations, the grind, or the cardboard but I have had a heck of a time cutting though some thicker cardboard which surprises me, but that was the only time when I have had any issues.
Construction and Blade
Like many of the Spyerco folding blade knives, the Native has the “leaf-shaped” blade that could be considered a modified spear point with only one side sharpened. The spine has an unsharpened swedge in order to reduce the weight of the knife. The actual cutting blade is about 2 ½ inches with a full blade size of roughly 3 inches. This particular model has about 80% of the edge as serrations and the other 20% is a plain edge. A lot of the other combo blades break it down to 50/50 plain to serrated. The blade has the signature Syderhole as a deployment tool and this one happens to be 12mm which is on the smaller size for Spyderco. I would really have liked to see this hole larger so that when I have gloves on opening would be a little smoother. With bare hands, it’s a little easier.
The blade is made from CPM S30V which is considered to be on the lower end of the premium steels. It contains carbon, chromium, vanadium, and molybdenum. Those elements combined make a steel that is really easy to sharpen to a seriously dangerous edge with minimal effort. The blade also keeps the edge much longer due to the S30V steel. A black TiNi coating covers the blade making it non-reflective. It is also supposed to help cut down on the potential corrosion from rust but this may or may not be the case. Sometimes these coatings will rub off and wear exposing the steel underneath, so I feel it is mostly for aesthetics.
Handle, Grip, and Feel
The handle is one of characteristic I really like on the Spyderco Native and that’s because its one solid piece of fiberglass reinforced nylon. Most handles are scales of a material that are either pinned or screwed together, so it’s not that often that you find a one-pieced handle. FRN is a solid material, but I have some questions about its structural integrity seeing as how the handle is linerless. Normally you will find “plastic” handles will have some sort of reinforcement, but not with the Native. There is bi-directional texturing so that you hand doesn’t slip forward or backward on the knife giving you a really great purchase. Once in your hand, notice how there are two finger choils; one where the handle meets the blade and another that is right behind the first on the handle. Choil number one is meant for your index finger for control over cutting and the second is placed where it will help you when pushing the cut away from your body. Either way, the choils give you a comfortable and secure grip on the Native. However as I said in the beginning, Spyderco has a little ways to go with the Native. There is jimping on the thumb ramp (which is great), but when you choke up on the knife, it makes the jimping useless, so watch your fingers.
The pocket clip on the Spyderco Native is pretty standard. There isn’t anything that really makes it stand out from other pocket clips. It happens to be ambidextrous, but tip up carry only. It is just tight enough to make it easy to retrieve from my pocket without worrying about it falling out when I’m not paying attention. Like the rest of the Spyderco Native, the pocket clip has a black coating. Personally, I think the coating adds to the look of the knife.
The Native has a lockback system to ensure your safety when using the knife. It is extremely sturdy, sturdier than a lot of the other knives on the market. There is absolutely zero blade play when the knife is in the open position. For safety reasons, Spyderco uses the patented “Boye Dent” on nearly all of their folding blades. The “Boye Dent” is a literal dent in the blade release found on the spine of the handle designed to prevent any accidentally closing of the blade when you are gripping the handle firmly.
I’m pretty happy with the Spyderco Native, but I think there are some improvements that need to be made. First of all, I would like to see the knife come with liners. I know it might add some weight but I think that it is a fair trade off for a more solid handle. The serrations could be a little deeper for better cutting. I wouldn’t take this knife out of my EDC rotation, but its not going to be my primary cutting tool until those improvements are made.