Spyderco is a Golden Colorado based cutlery company that produces knives and knife sharpeners. 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.
Spyderco was founded by Sal Glesser. The first product Spyderco produced was the Portable Hand in 1976, this “sider-shaped device”, was a series of angles, ball joints, and alligator clips. Spyderco’s founder, Sal Glesser, and his wife Gail, converted an old bread delivery truck into a motor-home and traveled to shows. As the became more successful, they graduated from the bread truck to a truck and trailer. 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. The company also claims that this was the first knife to feature a pocket clip on the right side of the handle.
Most of the knives that Spyderco produces are folding knives of various designs, blade steels, handle materials, and locking mechanism. But, they do produce some fixed blade knives for various purposes. Many of their knives are produced in the USA, but a good chunk of them are outsourced to foreign contractors in countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and China.
Spyderco knives are respected for their simplicity, reliability, good ergonomics, and functional aesthetics. Spyderco knives are very popular with many markets including private citizens, fire, and rescue personnel, and law enforcement officers.
The founder, Sal, was inducted into the Blade Magazine Cutlery hall of Fame at the 2000 Blade Show in Georgia for his many influences in tactical knife design, most notably the pocket clip, serrations, and opening hole.
Today we will be going over the Spyderco Autonomy Automatic Knife, with the H-1 Black blade.
The blade on this Spyderco blade is made out of H1 steel. This is a high end steel that is form Japan’s Myodo Metals and is basically the ultimate corrosion resistance and essentially does not rust. This is the epitome of a true stainless steel. But, because of this, the blade does come at a price. Unfortunately, the edge retention on this steel is pretty low. This knife has been designed for the coast guard and thus diving, so the steel is the perfect option. The steel does not rust and can be in many wet environments, but it would not make a great steel for an everyday carry knife. This steel is a nitrogen steel, which is used as the iron hardener instead of carbon, which is why the rusting is limited.
The blade is coated with a black finish. There are a variety of benefits to a coated finish, but the biggest ones for this knife is that they help to provide corrosion resistance. So not only are you getting a phenomenal steel that is resistant to corrosion, but Spyderco enhanced it and coated it. Another benefit to a coating finish for this steel is that it is a matte finish, so the reflections are not going to give you away. Unfortunately, coating finishes do scratch off, almost no matter how quality they are. The coating will scratch off at different rates depending on how often and heavily you use it, and at that point, you will have to get the knife recoated to maintain those good benefits.
The Autonomic blade has been carved into a sheepsfoot blade shape. This blade shape is designed for those moments that you want a knife that is perfect for slicing or cutting without worrying about controlling the point. With a sheepsfoot blade, you can avoid an accidental stabbing, which is perfect for the Coast Guard who are constantly rescuing people. The main purpose of a sheepsfoot blade is for cutting and slicing while minimizing the chances of anything accidentally being pierced by the point. The design of a sheepsfoot knife includes a straight edged front blade and a dull back spine that curves down to meet the straight edge. The two blades meet at the tip to form a “false point”. Sheepsfoot knives are very popular among emergency responders who use them to cut seatbelts and other restraints without injuring the victim with a sharp point. They are also very popular among sailors who use them to safely cut rigging without the danger of piercing the sales. This combination truly makes this blade shape the perfect option for the Coast Guard. While the false point is one of the advantages of the sheepsfoot blade, it is also one of the disadvantages, because it is not going to be able to stab if needed.
The blade has been ground into a serrated edge. In this case, it is Spyderco’s custom serrated edge shape called their Spyderedge. This is Spyderco’s two-step serration pattern that consists of one large and two small serrations. The pattern increasing the cutting edge’s surface area by up to 24%. In general, the serrated edge will work better than the plain edge for slicing cuts, especially through hard or tough surfaces, where the serrations tend to grab and cut the surface easily. Some of the cutting power of the serrated edge is due to its format alone, which means that even if the blade is dull, it will be able to perform okay at slicing jobs. This is a big benefit of the Spyderedge, especially on this particular edge, because as you will remember, the steel does not have the best edge holding abilities. But, the serrated edge gets its slicing ability from a number of factors. The high points on the serrations will touch the material first, and this gives those point higher pressure per areas than if the same pressure was applied to a plain blade; which allows the serration to puncture more easily.
The handle on this ultimate salt water tool is made out of G-10 with stainless steel liners. G-10 is a grade of Garolite that is a laminate composite made of fiberglass. It has very similar properties to carbon fiber, but because it is slightly inferior, you can get it for a fraction of the cost. To make this formula, the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth and soaks them in resin, then compresses them and bakes them under pressure. The material that you get is super tough, very hard, strong, and still lightweight. In fact, G-10 is considered the toughest of all the fiberglass laminates and even stronger than Micarta. Other, it is a brittle material. You can add almost any checkering or textures to the handle to provide you with a very solid, and still comfortable grip. Tactical and survival knives really benefit from the qualities of G-10, because it is a durable and lightweight material. As an added bonus, it is a non-porous material, which means that it won’t absorb any of the water if you are using this knife to dive. No absorption means that the maintenance will be very easy and quick. G-10 is cheaper to produce than carbon fiber, but it does still have to be cut and machined into shape, which is not as economical as the injection molding process used in FRN handles, so it is not necessarily a cheap material for you knife handle. This is a tough, light, and durable knife handle material, which is perfect for this coast guard knife. But, it is a brittle material and it does lack elegance, which shouldn’t be too big of a drawback.
The handle has stainless steel handles. Stainless steel provides excellent durability and resistance to corrosion, but it is not a lightweight material. This metal provides the perfect amount of heftiness to this knife. Stainless steel liners are the perfect option for the Spyderco Autonomy because they are strong, durable, and very corrosion resistant.
The handle is black with plenty of texture to give you a secure grip even in wet environments. But, to guarantee that you have the best grip possible, Spyderco has added four deep finger grooves down the length of the handle to give you fingers a good place to hold on to. To keep your fingers safe, there is a rounded finger guard.
And of course there is a lanyard hole carved into the bottom portion of the handle. This is going to be crucial if you are using the knife in the water. You never know when a strong wave is going to hit and you can attach it to a place that gives you continuous access without getting in the way.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife is a reversible pocket clip that is designed only for tip up carry. This is a skeletonized pocket clip, which means that it is not solid, it is more a wire pocket clip. The pocket clip is black to match the rest of the handle and the hardware on this knife.
This is an automatic knife. This means that you need to be very aware of your local knife laws before you buy and purchase this knife. Automatic knives, or switchblades, have a strict set of laws surrounding them and you are fully responsible for the consequences.
A switchblade is a type of knife that has a folding blade that is stored in the handle which is then opened with a spring when the oversized button on the handle is activated. The blade swings open and locks into place when the blade has been fully opened. The blade is unlocked by manually operating a mechanism that unlocks the blade and allows it to be folded and locked in the closed position.
The automatic mechanism is ideal for this Coast Guard knife because when you are wearing large gloves are diving gear, you aren’t going to have the time or ability to manually open the knife.
As a bonus, this knife features a coil spring which is contained in the module that allows for easy replacement without having to disassemble the entire knife, which makes maintenance a breeze in a tight situation.
The blade on this knife is 3.7 inches long, with a handle that measures in at 4.92 inches long. This leaves the overall length of the knife at 8.62 inches long. The Autonomy weighs in at 5.3 ounces. This Spyderco knife was made in the United States of America.
The Spyderco Autonomy was built to meet the demanding mission requirements of the US Coast Guard rescue swimmers and it offered in 2 different variations. Each model features a slide safety housed near an over-sized firing button which is ideal even while wearing gloves. Other unique, yet very purposeful, qualities include a corrosion resistant coil spring which is nested within the module to allow for easy replacement without having to disassemble the entire knife and a blade shape that features an applicable blunt tip design while still providing a high degree of point utility. The H-1 steel found on this knife is a non-carbon based austenitic steel which means it is not heat treated but, thanks to the small addition of nitrogen, still offers steel-like qualities. This model, C165GSBBK, features a black G-10 handle, stainless steel liners, a fully serrated (Spyderedge) sheepsfoot style blade in a black finish and the reversible pocket clip is designed for tip up carry only but is eligible for a left or right hand carry option. The blade of this knife is one of the most corrosion resistant steels you are going to find, so maintenance is going to be a breeze and you won’t have to worry about taking this knife in the wrong environment. So run on over to BladeOps and pick up your Spyderco Autonomy today and you’ll never be without a reliable tool in any situation or environment.