Spyderco is a ground breaking knife company that has been around for about forty years. This company has pioneered many common features that are now typical features for a folding knife. Some of these features are the pocket clip, serrations, and an opening hole. Spyderco has collaborated with over 30 custom knife makers, athletes, and self-defense instructs that have worked to design and produce some of the most innovative knives around. Sal Glesser is the founder of Spyderco and the very first product was released in 1976. This was a “spider-shaped device”, which is actually where this company chose its name. Spyderco produced their first folding knife in 1981. And have since produced some of the top knives around.
Today I am going to write about the Spyderco Assist Lightweight knife, which is no exception to the innovative and ground breaking reputation that Spyderco has worked to achieve. This knife speaks to me. I love it. I would recommend it to almost any emergency or rescue professionals. This knife was specifically designed to be a rescue knife. It was designed to Assist, hence the name. First responders and rescue workers have to rely on their knives to function in the trickiest of situations, and you can definitely bet on this knife. Spyderco has been making knives for over twenty-five years and it shows in this knife. You can tell that it was designed by people who knew what they were doing. This knife excels in almost any situation.
The blade on this knife is made out of VG-10. This is a fantastic type of steel. The G in the name refers to the fact that it is gold standard stainless steel. The steel is produced in Japan, especially their cutlery knives. This sounds funny to use a popular cutlery steel on a rescue knife, but it actually makes perfect sense. For starters, VG10 holds an incredible edge for long periods of time. Chefs can only produce the best cuts if they have the sharpest knives, plus they don’t have time to be constantly worrying about sharpening them. This steel is also very resistant to rusting. These qualities that make it such an excellent culinary steel also make it an excellent rescue knife steel. You want your edge to be crazy sharp and you want it to last long periods of time. You don’t want to have to worry about needing to sharpen your knife in the field. And, you have no idea what the terrain is going to be like in a rescue situation. The fact that this steel is so resistant to rust is a huge benefit.
This type of steel is also a high carbon steel, oddly enough though, carbon only makes up a small portion of the total blade material. It’s just that all the other metals in this steel are also in small portions. But, because of this, the steel can hold an edge for very long times. And it is an extremely durable steel. With VG-10, you get the hardness of a high carbon steel, but you still get the corrosion resistance of a stainless steel.
The length of the blade on the Assist is 3.68 inches long, out of this length, 3.2 inches are available for cutting. The blade is 0.125 inches thick. The blade has a hollow grind. Hollow grinds are very easy to sharpen, however the edge is more delicate and is slightly less durable. This is a combo blade, but not the usual ratio of serrated vs. plain edge. About 80% of this blade is serrated and the remaining portion is plain edge. The serrated portion is for cutting through thicker materials, such as seat belts. The plain edge portion of this blade is nearest to the tip and it is razor sharp. This is for cutting through things such as clothing. This portion can also be used for detailed cutting.
I feel like people are often turned away from using a serrated blade because they are definitely harder to sharpen than a plain edged blade. But Spyderco has a sweet deal where you can have free-blade sharpening for life. Spyderco has definitely made life easier.
A characteristic of this knife that makes it very unique is that it sports a blunt tip. When I was first in the knife community that seemed weird to me. But, upon further research, I realized just how genius it really is. When you are a first responder or in any rescue situation, you often have to cut people free of things or get very close to them with your knife. However, because you have a sharp tip, you have to be very careful being that close to them because you don’t want to stab them. This is where the blunt tip comes in. You can get as close to the victim as you need and you cannot hurt them with the tip of your knife. This means that if you are cutting a seatbelt off of them, you can really get in that space. Or, if you are in very cramped quarters, you can cut freely without having to worry about further injuring the victim. Another bonus to having a blunt tip that is if the knife is dropped during hectic times, you do not have to worry about the tip stabbing someone on the way down. However, if you are in a situation where you need a tip to stab anything, you are going to be completely out of luck. The blunt tip blade will not be able to stab anything.
On the top, or unsharpened, edge of the blade, there is a wavy pattern, or grooves cut into the blade. This design was actually created by a Swedish fireman. These grooves allow you to place a piece of rope around the knife and then scissor cut the rope. Normally when you are trying to cut through rope or thicker material, you have to have a continual sawing motion going. The scissor cut design lets you just “squeeze cut” the rope. This lets you cut things out of or near people without having to fully open the knife.
On the blade’s spine there is an oversized hole. Spyderco calls this a Cobra Hood; it allows you to open the knife one handed, even if you are wearing thicker gloves.
The knife is a large knife, it doesn’t weigh a lot, but it feels sturdy. Many people have said that it first feels very bulky, but as soon as you get used to it, it fits very well in your hand. First responders are often wearing gloves, so this handle was designed with gloved hands in mind. It is made out of FRN. The FRN, or fiberglass reinforced nylon. This material is made by arranging the nylon fibers haphazardly, which is why it is stronger than G-10, Carbon Fiber, and Micarta—all of which have their fibers arranged in one direction. When the fibers are arranged haphazardly, it is harder to crack. This material is a very strong material that is very resistant to bending. The handle material is also resistant to abrasion and very hard to break. Fortunately, this is a cheap material because the factory can mold it into any shape or texture. FRN has a semi-poor reputation because some brands have struggled to really use the material’s benefits. But, Spyderco has been known to really milk the FRN, so you can expect this handle to be designed very well and for the material to be used to the best of its ability.
The FRN has then been molded with Bi-Directional textured contours and bulges that fit perfectly in your hand. This texturing provides you with excellent no slip grip that takes the worry right out of your mind. This handle comes in many different bright colors including orange, yellow, and black. These bright colors are great, because you might be in dark, dusty, smoky areas. If you happen to misplace your knife, the bright colors will make it easy to find it. Because of the thick finger grooves in this handle, the knife will fit very well in your hand, even though your hand will probably be gloved.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip is ambidextrous, meaning that the knife has been drilled to carry it either left handed or right handed. This is a big bonus, especially on a rescue knife, because you want to feel as comfortable as you possibly can with this. You don’t want to have to awkwardly reach to get your knife out of your pocket. However, the clip can only be carried tip up, so that is a slight drawback.
This knife has a few extra characteristics that really pull the whole think together to make it an exceptional knife. For starters, if you squeeze the blade deep into the handle, a retractable carbide tip will protrude out from the base. This tip is fantastic for breaking glass of all thickness. The knife also has included a very loud whistle. This is a high pitched, high volume whistle that is going to get people’s attention.
Pros of the Assist Lightweight:
- The blade is made out of VG-10 steel, which can hold an edge very well.
- The steel can get crazy sharp.
- The steel is very resistant to rust.
- The blade features a serrated edge and a plain edge.
- Spyderco has free blade-sharpening for life!
- Has a blunt tip, so you don’t have to worry about stabbing the victim while in close quarters.
- On the unsharpened edge of the blade, there are waves to slip a piece of rope in and then scissor cut through, instead of sawing through.
- There is an oversized hole so you can open the knife even if you have thick gloves on.
- The handle material is a very strong, very durable, cheap material.
- The texturing on this knife provides the user with fantastic grip.
- There is a retractable carbide tip, for glass breaking.
- There is also a built in whistle, so you can get people’s attention.
- The handle comes in a variety of different colors.
- Designed for people who are wearing gloves, everything is going to be easy even when wearing thick gloves.
- Great for skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
- Comes with a warranty—the details will be included in your purchase.
- Ambidextrous pocket clip.
Cons of the Assist Lightweight:
- If you want to stab anything, you are completely out of luck.
- This knife can feel very bulky when you are first using it.
- This is not a cheap knife, in fact, it is on the more expensive end of the spectrum.
- There is no belly on this knife, so slicing things is not going to be easy.
- Does not include a case for carrying.
- The pocket clip can only be used to carry the knife tip up.
The overall length of this knife is 8.375 inches long while opened and 4.875 inches while closed. This knife weighs only four ounces. This knife has been popular among outdoor sport enthusiasts, such as skiers and snowboarders. This is because you cannot accidently stab yourself, plus, it comes with many extras, such as the whistle and the combo blade. Not only is this a great knife for skiers, snowboarders, rescue workers, and first responders, this knife is great for anyone. This will make a great addition to any emergency kit, because you never know what life is going to throw at you and its best to be prepared. With the whistle, you know that you will be found if you ever become lost. This is not a very cheap knife, in fact, they are on the more expensive end of the spectrum. But, the price is completely worth it, especially since you have a guarantee and free blade-sharpening. Plus, when a company is using the highest quality materials, you know that it is going to be a little more expensive, but worth it. This knife was designed to work in high-pressure situations, so you can count on it to go the distance and not fail you in the biggest time of need.