Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 Knife Review

About three months ago I finally broke down and bought the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 Knife for everyday carry.  I had to see what everyone was talking about.  I know they have been out for several years now, but I had never purchased one.  I’m glad I finally did.

Spyderco ParaMilitary 2
Spyderco ParaMilitary 2

First off, if you haven’t owned a Spyderco knife before, the quality of construction and the materials they use are superb.  The ParaMilitary 2 features a CPM S30V blade and G10 handle scales.  You can pick up the knife with the standard variations of blade finish, either black or satin. You can also choose between a few different G10 handle scales including the standard black or DigiCamo.  I went ahead and picked up the DigiCamo version with a black blade for a couple of reasons.  First, I have many knives with black handles and I was in the mood for something a bit different.  Second, I went with the black blade because I wanted to see how the black finish held up over time.  I’ll address that in a bit.

The very first thing you notice about the ParaMilitary 2 is the size.  It is the perfect size for everyday carry.  The handle measures just under 5″ at 4.81″, thickness is not quite 0.5″, and width is about 1.25″ at the widest points.  This means it fits great in the hand but doesn’t take up too much space in my pocket.

The very next thing I noticed was how easy it was to open and close.  The iconic SpyderHole makes the blade simple to one hand open with your thumb.  Unexpectedly, the blade is just as easy to close one handed.  Just press the spine compression lock with your finger and give the knife a little shake.  Voila, the blade closes up and you can put the knife right back in your pocket.  Since you are able to do everything with one hand, what the ParaMilitary really delivers is freedom, speed, and ease.  You are able to get more things done in a faster time period because you don’t have to use both hands to access and deploy your knife.  You don’t even need both hands to close it and put it away.

The blade opens smooth.  The ParaMilitary 2 uses the Bushing Pivot System.  What is this?  It’s a fancy name for smooth as silk, smooth as butter, smooth as a cat, smooth as … whatever you want to put in here next, it fits.  Take my word for it, the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 opens smooth.   And once you have the blade deployed, the delight factor just keeps rising.

The blade delights with its classic Spyderco style and shape.  With a classic drop point blade curve on the cutting edge, the spine tapers down to a point to create a uniquely Spyderco look and style.  The SpyderHole has a steep thumb ramp behind it with fairly aggressive jimping.  When you hold the knife in the classic saber grip, your thumb is lined up right down the center of the blade to deliver maximum blade control and power.  I haven’t met a cut I don’t enjoy with my ParaMilitary 2 knife.  The sharp tip allows you to pierce everyday things with ease and the classic blade edge shape gives you serious cutting power.  The blade has classic flat grind which allows you to make slicing cuts with ease.  One of my concerns about the ParaMilitary 2 was the elongated shape of the tip.  I was nervous I would “tip” it (knife lingo for breaking the tip off your knife–generally happens when you aren’t using the knife blade to pry rather than cut).  I have used my knife hard over the past several months and have not broken the tip off.  In fact, we have sold hundreds if not thousands of these ParaMilitary 2 knives over the past few years and I haven’t heard of a single case where someone has broken the tip off.  So it appears my concerns were unfounded.  The blade has passed every hard use test I have put it through over the past few months with flying colors.

About a month ago, my oldest son was up visiting.  He saw I had the ParaMilitary 2 and asked if he could use it for a few days to see if he liked it.  I said sure and let him take my knife.  I have never missed one of my knives more. I tried carrying an older knife I used to carry.  It just wasn’t the ParaMilitary 2.  So after a week, I broke down and bought another one–this time with a black blade and a black handle.  Then I drove down to see my son and traded him the new one for my old, trusty Spyderco knife.

The knife carries good, cuts great, and is strong enough for hard work.  In my mind, the Spyderco ParaMilitary 2 is one of the best EDC knives on the market if you are looking for a mid sized folder that delivers.  Check it out, I’m glad I did.  By the way, the black finish on the blade still looks great.

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30 Days with the Kershaw Blur — Knife Review

Kershaw Blur Assist Knife
Kershaw Blur Assist Knife–30 Days with Knife Review

When I opened my new Kershaw Blur, I noticed several things I immediately liked about it.  This being a Ken Onion design, it is built with the knife user in mind.  This is no fancy knife that can’t be carried and used.  This is a hard charging, built to perform knife that is ready for action when you pull it out of the box.  I immediately noticed the Trac-Tec grip tape inserts in the handle.  These feel just a bit spongy when pressed with a finger tip and are extremely grippy.  In another life, I rode skateboards.  Each skateboard deck has grip tape on it.  What you are looking for in grip tape is one that will keep your feet from slipping but won’t scratch the living daylights out of your hands when you grab your board in the middle of a jump or trick.  Same deal with a knife.  And putting my hands on the Trac-Tec grip tape insert, I can tell you–there is grip tape and then there is Trac-Tec.  This stuff is amazing.  It is soft enough that it doesn’t scratch and pull at your hand.  But the texture really gives your hand a solid purchase on the handle.  The next thing I noticed was how fast the blade opens when the thumb studs are activated.  A slight start is all it needs and the blade comes blazing out and locks up nice and tight.

Day 2 

Kershaw Blur
Kershaw Blur–Trac Tec Insert

I chose to carry the 1670OLBLK.  This means it has a black tactical blade along with a dark olive green handle.  Here are some basics about the knife.  The blade is Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel with a DLC coating.  If you aren’t sure what DLC means–it means a Diamond Like Coating.  It is a fairly durable black finish is reasonably hard and scratch resistant.  It will scratch, but not easily.  The handle is 6061-T6 anodized aluminum.  In the case of my knife, it is olive drab.  But the Blur is also available with handle colors of black, red and desert sand.  The cheat sheet of specs is as follows–direct from the Kershaw Website.

  • Made in the USA
  • SpeedSafe assisted opening
  • Liner lock
  • Thumbstud
  • Reversible (tip-up/tip-down, right) pocketclip
  • Steel: Sandvik 14C28N, DLC coating
  • Handle: 6061-T6 anodized aluminum, Trac-Tec inserts
  • Blade length: 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm)
  • Closed length: 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
  • Overall length: 7 7/8 in. (20 cm)
  • Weight: 3.9 oz.

The SpeedSafe system, if you don’t know much about it, is Kershaw’s proprietary spring assist system.  It opens fast.  I have had three Kershaw knives with the SpeedSafe and have been pleased with each one.  One of the selling points for me was the fact that this is a USA made knife.  A definite plus in my estimation.

DAY 7

Kershaw Blur Blade
Kershaw Blur Blade–Recurve Plain Edge, Black Finish

So what I noticed quickly was how sharp the blade is on my Kershaw Blur.  I haven’t ever had a blade with this shape belly before.  If you are wondering what a blade belly is, check out my blog post from last week on Quick Knife Terms.  The belly shape makes this a great knife for slicing actions.  So with that in mind, I set to work slicing everything I could put my hands on.  From apples to cardboard to little odds and ends around the office, I sliced a bit of everything.  Here is what I quickly noticed.  When I put the blade on the item to be sliced, I would place the part of the blade that is closest to my hand right on the item.  From there, I would pull.  The slight belly would “bite” on the item as I pulled the blade towards my self.  It would bite deeply into the item and slice it just like I wanted.  So I quickly realized, what the experts say about a belly on a blade is true.  It actually assists you in slicing cuts.  And the blade on my Blur sliced like a professional.  After several days of slicing, it still is cutting with no issues.

DAY 12

Kershaw Blur Knife
Kershaw Blur Knife–Side View

The thumb ramps on the Blur are different than any thumb studs I have ever had before.  They are angled.  Oddly enough, at first I really liked this.  Then I went through about a week where I didn’t like it. Now I am back to liking it.  Here is what happened.  When you put your thumb on these studs, the angle makes for a very natural thumb placement.  The pad of your thumb gets a solid spot to rest and as you flick your thumb forward and up (the same motion you used back when you were shooting a marble as a kid) the blade snaps right open.  This is especially nice for me.  About 10 years ago I shot a 3.5″ framing nail through the joint on my thumb.  It healed ok, but I only have about 80% strength in the thumb.  Some spring assists are hard for me to operate because of this.  Not the Blur.  It is the easiest I have ever put my hands on.  Then after a couple of days, I noticed I had several scratches on the back of my hand.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on at first.  Then I realized, the edge on the thumb studs was catching the back of my hand as I put my hand into my pocket where the Blur was resting.  For about a week, I thought it was going to be a deal breaker.  I was in love with the knife, but if it was going to slice my hand up–no joy.  But after a week, I noticed I wasn’t getting cut anymore.  Upon further study, I realized two things had solved the problem.  I had begun to put my hand into my pocket at just a slightly different angle.  And, over the now, 14 days of use, the thumb studs had smoothed just slightly.  Not a ton, but just enough that they don’t snag my hand anymore.  So problem solved.

DAY 17

Kershaw Blur Knife
Kershaw Blur Knife–Pocket Clip

The pocket clip on the Blur is in a normal position on the knife.  By this I mean that it isn’t a deep carry pocket clip.  Tip down or tip up, the pocket clip can be set either way.  I use it tip down.  I like the clip.  It is a bit wider than many pocket clips.  The knife also has a lanyard hole.

DAY 23

Had a bit of box work to do at work today. While I was at it, I figured I would cut a bunch of cardboard to see if the blade would stay sharp.  The blade performs extremely well when the material being cut is supported.  I noticed this the other day when I was cutting some thin branches off trees. It cuts extremely well when slicing. It works just as well on slice cuts whether you are pushing or pulling.

DAY 30

Kershaw Blur Knife
Kershaw Blur Knife–Spine View

If you are looking for a high quality assist knife, the Kershaw Blur definitely fits the bill.  Built tough with high quality materials, the knife is certain to quickly become an EDC favorite for you.  The handle is relatively thin and very comfortable due to the Trac-Tec insert.  The liner lock is plenty strong.  The assist mechanism is blazing fast.  The the blade is fantastic.  The pocket clip goes tip up or tip down–whichever you prefer.  And the knife is available in a variety of handle colors and blade finishes.  Don’t forget to check out the newest Blur with a blackwash finish blade.  Find your favorite Kershaw Blur on our website here.  And let me know what you think of yours down below.

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Thirty Days with my Boker Kalashnikov 73 Auto Knife

Boker Kalashnikov 73 Auto
Boker Kalashnikov 73 Auto Conversion Knife

The Boker Kalashnikov 73 could just be the perfect size automatic knife.  A couple of years ago, I carried the Kalashnikov 74 for several months and was impressed by its durability.  So when I got my new 73, I was really excited to see how it would stack up against the bigger 74.  I choose to carry the standard 73 with a bead blast plain edge blade and a black handle.  The first thing I noticed was that other than the size, this knife is exactly like the bigger version Kalashnikov.  The handle is comfortable, built with choils for each of your fingers.  This is an auto conversion knife–meaning that it isn’t produced as an automatic knife by Boker.  Instead, it is converted after market into an automatic knife.  Press the button and the blade really snaps out hard.  Lock up is tight and there is no side to side or up and down play in the blade.  The blade is closed by pressing the button lock which frees the blade so you can close it.  The deep carry, tip up pocket clip is removable.

Day 3

Boker 73 Deep Carry
Boker 73 Deep Carry Pocket Clip

The Boker KAL Mini is a relatively simple construction.  The blade is AUS 8 stainless steel with a bead blast finish on my model.  You can also pick it up with a black finish.  The blade length is 2.5″ and when the knife is open it measures 5.75″.  When closed, the knife is a compact 3.25″.  This is the very first thing that struck me as impressive.  This knife takes up almost no real estate in my pocket.  I carry a lot of crap in my pockets–wallet, keys, cell phone, change (if I’m lucky enough to have any), and the occasional odds and ends.  Throw in my knife, and my pockets can easily get to bulging.  So I like a smaller knife.  Besides, in my normal day-to-day life, I don’t run into many things that a small knife won’t cut just as well as a large knife.  So this little beauty immediately caught my heart with its size.  The handle is aluminum.  It has a texture pattern that adds a bit of grip and some visual appeal.  There is also some wide jimping on the spine of the handle right near both ends.  On the top end, close to the blade the jimping runs for 5/8″ of an inch and is wide enough to give your thumb some serious grip when you are choking up on the blade for close work or fine cuts.  The butt of the handle has jimping for 1 1/8″ that runs right around the curve at the base of the handle.  This gives your thumb the perfect resting/grip spot for when you reverse grip the knife. Throw in the finger grooves as well as three ridges that run across the handle and you have a knife that isn’t going to slip in your hand.  I have average sized hands and because the knife is on the smaller end of the size scale, even my hand “hangs” off the butt end of the handle.  It doesn’t feel awkward or uncomfortable.  Sometimes with small knives, there is a strange, uncomfortable ridge or bump that makes it awkward to hold.  Not the case with the Mini KAL.    Here are the specs on the knife:

  • Overall length: 5 3/4″
  • Blade length: 2 1/2″
  • Handle Length:  3 1/4″
  • Handle Width:  7/8″ at the widest point
  • Handle Thickness:  3/8″
  • Weight: 2.1 oz.
  • Blade material: AUS-8
  • Handle material: Aluminum

 

Boker 73 Pocket Clip
Boker Kalashinkov 73 Pocket Clip

DAY 9

One of my favorite features is the deep carry pocket clip.  A true deep carry, when the knife is in my pocket nothing except the clip shows.  I also like how the clip is designed.  Some clips are extremely tight on my pocket which sometimes delays how fast I can get my knife out of my pocket and back into my pocket.  The Boker clip has space all the way down between the clip and the handle until the very end of the clip–where it indents back in toward the knife handle.  This small curve creates plenty of traction so the knife has never fallen out of my pocket–but it isn’t so tight that the knife is hard to get in and out of my pocket.  It also reduces wear and tear on the edge of my pocket since it isn’t absurdly tight.

Kalashnikov 73 Jimping
Kalashnikov 73 Jimping on the handle butt for reverse grip

DAY 15

As I mentioned back on Day 3, the handle has some really nice jimping at both ends of the back spine of the handle.  The butt of the handle has jimping that wraps all the way around the curved end of the butt so if you decide to hold the knife in a reverse grip your thumb has plenty of traction.  The blade end of the handle also has jimping on the spine that transitions smoothly into jimping on the blade.  This way, when you hold the knife in a traditional grip, your thumb also has plenty of traction.  I also really like the handle in general–I have been extremely tough on this little knife and have yet to get any visible damage on the handle.  No scratches, dents or chips.  I have purposely dropped it several times each day so as to simulate a longer time period with the knife.  Not a bit of damage to the handle.  Very impressive.

DAY 20

Took the 73 out into the warehouse today and spent nearly an hour cutting boxes.  At first, I just cut taped up boxes. As I expected, the knife had no problem with this.  Then I spent nearly thirty minutes cutting cardboard.  The blade performed extremely well.  Interestingly enough, the blade actually performs better on push cuts than it does on pull cuts.  I’m not too sure why this is.  But on a push cut, the blade performs at a high 9.5 out of 10.  On pull cuts the blade might be more of a 7 out of 10.  It seems to take a few moments before the blade actually engages and starts to cut when performing a pull cut.  After about thirty minutes cutting cardboard the blade was still making smooth cuts.  I can tell the blade needs to be sharpened, but it isn’t so dull that it is just mashing the cardboard on the cuts. Clean, smooth cutting blade that keeps an edge–that is important to me and the 73 passed the test.

Boker Kalashnikov 73
Boker Kalashnikov 73–Easy to clean, easy to maintain

DAY 26

I spent part of today disassembling and reassembling my Boker 73.  First of all–it is really simple to do.  There is a main pivot screw that requires a Torx size 8 screwdriver.  And then there are three smaller screws that keep the handle scales together.  These require a Torx size 6 screwdriver.  After you get all the screws out, the handle scales come apart easily.  Once apart, you have two handle scales, three barrel spacers, a pocket clip, three small screws, one large pivot screw, a push button, a push button spring, an alignment pin, the blade and the blade spring.  Easy to take apart, the whole process only took me three or four minutes.  From there, I spent a few minutes cleaning everything up.  Then I reassembled the knife.  This took about five minutes.  I like that the knife is simple to take apart–because this means that long-term maintenance will be fairly easy–and that means I will be more likely to do it on a regular basis.  Just take the knife apart, clean everything up and then put it all back together.  Less than a fifteen minute job.

DAY 30

If you need a perfect sized every day carry knife the automatic Boker Kalashnikov 73 could very well be the knife for you.  Small enough to fit perfectly in any pocket, this little auto gives you all the performance of a big knife in a package that is easy to carry.  My Boker 73 stood up to extremely heavy abuse over the past 30 days and didn’t flinch a bit.  The blade stayed sharp under heavy use, and I know that when time for a resharpen does come the AUS 8 will be easy to sharpen.  My favorite things are the durability of the knife, the deep carry pocket clip and the size. bThe Kal 73 gets an A grade from me.

Boker Kal 73 Auto
Boker Kal 73 Auto–Fantastic All Around Every Day Carry Auto Knife

 

Find the Boker Kalashnikov 73 here on our website.

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Thirty Days with the Gerber D.M.F. Automatic Knife — Knife Review

Gerber DMF Auto
Gerber D.M.F. Auto 30-000378

Right out of the box, the Gerber DMF has several things going for it.  It is a large, hefty knife built for heavy duty use.  The DMF stands for Dual Multi Use, which is a fancy way of saying you can open it just as easily whether you are right or left handed.  The trigger slide is exactly the same on both sides and the tip up pocket clip is reversible so you can carry it even if you are a southpaw.  The knife comes in a nice, nylon pouch that closes with velcro.  The pouch has a strap that snaps so you can attach it to a belt, MOLLE gear, or just about anything vaguely belt-like.  It is a fairly decent carry pouch.  It even has a small L shaped torx wrench so you can switch the pocket clip without having to head down to the local hardware store to pick up a wrench set.  Pretty thoughtful.

Gerber DMF Auto 0378
Gerber DMF Auto 0378

When I hold the knife in my hand, with the blade in closed position, it is comfortable.  The G-10 handle scales give you that nice, grippy feeling. The G-10 is finished with a fairly rough texture so you know it just isn’t going to slip.  At the base of the handle there is a very solid glass breaker as well as a decent sized (1/2 inch by 1/4 inch) lanyard hole.  The Gerber website calls the glass breaker a “strike point for emergency egress”.  Whatever you happen to call it, it is plenty big to get the job done.   With the blade closed, I actually think the knife is more comfortable to hold with the blade spine pointing into the palm of my hand.

Day 2 

Gerber DMF Auto
Choked up on the choil of a Gerber DMF Auto, model 30-000378

The blade is surprisingly sharp.  It cuts everything I throw at it.  There is a nice choil in the blade that allows you to “choke” up on it if you need to do some more finesse style cutting. When held like this, the handle finger guard then becomes the base for your finger and gives it a nice solid pressure point to grip onto.  Overall, the handle is comfortable.  It is big enough that I am not getting any kind of hand fatigue when I use the knife for extended periods of time.  Sometimes, with a small handle, my hand starts to feel uncomfortable after long periods of knife use.  None of that with the DMF.

DAY 5

Gerber 378 Slide Safety
Gerber 378 Slide Safety

Working with the DMF I especially like the oversized slide safety.  The safety has extra big  jimping and acts as part of the thumb ramp when you open the blade and then slide the safety into the locked position.  It merges right into the spine side blade guard and gives me an extremely nice grip.  I feel in total control of the blade.  When the safety is in the locked position, the blade cannot be closed.  I haven’t given it a really tough “failure” type test yet, but will do that at the end of the 30 days to see if the safety is prone to failure under extremely heavy pressure.  When the slide safety is in the open position, there is a red painted dot visible on both sides of the knife to let you know it is unlocked and the blade can either be opened or closed.  This is a nice feature that I appreciate.  Often it is the little touches on a knife that make a big difference.  The slide safety is great and I’m ranking it as a solid 10 out of 10.  It is easy to operate one handed.  The safety engages the blade trigger completely whether the blade is closed or open to prevent it from changing to the other (open or closed) when you least want or expect it.

DAY 10

Haven’t had anything serious to throw at my new DMF yet.  It handles everyday chores like a charm.  Last month I was alternating between my ProTech Tactical Response auto and my Benchmade Impel auto knife.  The DMF is much bigger than both.  The blade is similar in length to the Tactical Response but is much wider.  I could really get used to carrying this beefy knife.  It feels invincible.  And the S30V is still cutting smooth.

DAY 15

Took the DMF outside and worked on some serious cutting.  The knife still cuts like a dream.  It is easy to use for heavy slicing.  I cut several small branches (1/2″ branches) off trees and had no issues.  The shape of the blade tip makes it not quite as good for plunge cuts on hard material.  This isn’t a dagger and the blade shape really isn’t designed for that style cut. But ask it to slice and the DMF performs. Just so they didn’t feel left out, I cut some paracord with the serrations.  No problems at all.  I was concerned that the short bit of serrations wouldn’t really be enough to cut–but the blade is so sharp it cut through paracord as if it was cutting butter.

DAY 21

Had a bit of box work to do at work today. While I was at it, I figured I would cut a bunch of cardboard to see if the blade would stay sharp.  The blade performs extremely well when the material being cut is supported.  I noticed this the other day when I was cutting some thin branches off trees. It cuts extremely well when slicing. It works just as well when slicing whether you are pushing or pulling.  But on plunge cuts, it struggles a bit.  It also seemed to not slice as well when trying to slice off the edge of a piece of cardboard.

DAY23

Gerber DMF Glass Breaker
Gerber DMF Glass Breaker

Funny experience today with the glass breaker.  I have a few chickens I keep because I like fresh eggs.  I went out to collect the eggs and there were four.  I put them in my pullover sweatshirt while I did a bit of work–I needed to throw some scratch grain to the chickens and add some hay to the egg laying boxes.  I leaned over to get some grain and the glass breaker on my knife struck the egg shell.  It cracked it instantly.  A cracked egg in your sweatshirt pocket isn’t nice.  I thought, since I was already focused on the glass breaker, I would give it a few tests.  It is extremely durable.  It is held in place with two screws and after banging on boards for about ten minutes, I came to the conclusion that this glass breaker is not coming loose.  That is good news for DMF owners and bad news for defenseless eggs.

DAY 30

If you need a big, beefy combat knife that can cut and slice with the best of them, the Gerber DMF is one I recommend.  After using the knife for 30 days, I have come to the conclusion that this is a well made, durable knife that can take heavy abuse.  With an S30V blade, G-10 handle scales that give your hand plenty of grip, and a no nonsense attitude, the DMF gets an A grade.

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