Review of the Spyderco Paramilitary 2
The Paramilitary 2 is a long standing offering in the Spyderco catalog and considered a “classic” EDC (every day carry) blade by many knife enthusiasts – it’s extremely popular to say the least. That said, it’s never particularly resonated with me personally, based purely on aesthetic considerations. When it comes to a larger sized “tactical” folder from Spyderco, I’ve always been more partial to the Manix 2 (look for a comparative review of these two knives from me in the next few days). I finally got around to picking up a Paramilitary 2 (PM2 for short) a couple of months ago, and have been carrying and using it with my regular rotation of knives.
Aesthetic considerations aside, there’s very little not to like about the PM2, particularly with the enhancements/improvements which Spyderco made in 2010. As I alluded to earlier, I consider the PM2 a tactical or “defensive” blade, and it’s clear that Spyderco designed the knife as a tool which could be used in combat. With a blade length of 3.438 “, closed length of 4.812 “, and a weight of just 3.75 oz., the PM2 is easy to carry, yet big enough to be of strong defensive value to civilians, military and law enforcement personnel alike.
Grippy and robust G10 handles contain the S30v stainless steel full flat ground blade. S30v was considered one of the finest blade steels on the market (it was steel of choice for Chris Reeve for his knives like the legendary Sebenza for years) but in recent years has been supplanted by other, more exotic “super steels” for premium knives. S30v is still considered a premium and highly desirable blade steel, and I’m pleased that Spyderco makes it available for the standard, “regular” edition PM2 models – in many cases premium blade steel options for Spyderco knives are only available in limited production “sprint run” models.
The PM2 features a compression lock – sort of a reverse liner lock. Upon first examination, it doesn’t seem all that substantial, but the lockup is solid without a hind of blade play in any direction when the blade is deployed. Speaking of blade deployment, the PM2 features an oversized “Spydie hole” on the blade and is designed to be easily used (even when wearing gloves) and the blade flicks out lightning fast. Here’s a photo which shows a close up of the compression lock, as well as some of the excellent jimping on the underside of the knife:
Turning to the back side of the knife, the PM2 features a nice polished pocket clip, which functions very well, being neither too tight to function or too loose to hold the knife in place when clipped to pants pockets. Spyderco does a very nice job on their pocket clips, and this one is no exception. It’s not a particularly “deep carrying” pocket clip, but the PM2 is designed with holes to mount the pocket clip in any position – tip up/down, left or right side carry.
Ergonomically speaking, the knife is excellent. I particularly like the jimping found both where the spine meets the handle, and on the underside. The knife frame is long and slender which doesn’t suit my particular hand as well as some other knives out there, but is excellent nonetheless.
With all the functional capability the PM2 brings to the table, I really wanted to see what I could do to make the knife more aesthetically pleasing to my eye and purchased a set up custom made aluminum handles (found on eBay):
If you’re considering going this route, be advised that the PM isn’t the easiest knife to disassemble. That nice large lanyard hole can be particularly difficult to remove. Here’s a shot of the disassembled knife:
Note: My handy-dandy Benchmade folding tool kit had everything that was required for me to disassemble and reassemble the PM2.
Unfortunately, the experiment didn’t work out so well. While I did like the red aluminum handles, I couldn’t get the knife to open as smoothly/easily as I could with the stock G10 handles. I also found myself not carrying the knife for fear of scratching up the handles – back went the stock black G10 handles. I sure would like to find some accessory G10 handles for the PM2 though.
It’s not hard to see why the Spyderco Paramilitary 2 is so universally regarded. With a retail price of $174.95 (less on Amazon) it’s a premium knife but within the reach of a wide segment. The more I carry it, the more I warm up to it – despite my initial misgivings, I have to admit it’s a winner.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.