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Review of the Spyderco Domino

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve purchased a knife.  In January of this year, I purchased a red handled Kershaw Skyline – a variant of a knife I already own.  So I really haven’t purchased a new knife all year.  My previous experiences with high end knife makers have sort of put me off knife collecting – I pretty much had all the knives I “needed” anyway.  Then along came the brand new (as of this writing) Spyderco Domino:

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For the last year or so, I’ve been most often carrying my ZT 0550.  During the week when I can’t carry a firearm in the workplace, it stays in the right pocket of my dress pants.  It’s a little bulky and heavy for “dress EDC” but I make it work.  Sometimes I’ll alternate and carry either my Spyderco Sage 2 or Sage 3 if I’m looking for something a bit smaller and lighter during the week.  During the weekend, the bulk isn’t a problem – I just clip it to my left hand pants pocket.  But the sticky detent of the ZT 0550 is a problem – I can’t consistently and quickly deploy the blade left handed.  Evening and weekends, I typically carry a firearm on my strong side, and keep a knife on my weak side as a back up defensive tool.  So it’s less than ideal both during the week and during evenings and weekends for me.  The Spyderco Domino solves many of these problems for me.

The Spyderco Domino is essentially a titanium frame lock.  It is made in Taiwan and not here in the US – buy many Spyderco fans will tell you the best Spyderco knives are made in Taiwan.  I’ve not found any quality control/manufacturing issues with the Domino.  The front scale has a carbon fiber laminate adhered to the titanium scale.  Normally I’m not a fan of carbon fiber, but this one I actually like.  If you don’t like the front side carbon fiber scale, the design of the Spydero Domino lends itself to modifications – I’ll bet the “pimping” community will create many new front scales for the Domino  Some carbon fiber scales I’ve felt in the past were quite slick and not easy to hold on to, but that’s not the case here.  There’s not a “grippy” texture present like with G10, but neither is it slick – the carbon fiber does not add or detract from the ergonomics of the knife in my opinion.  The overall length of the knife is 7.68″ (4.5″ closed) and it weighs about 4.2 ounces – the size and weight make it ideal for EDC.  Some who are looking at this knife as a tactical/defensive folder might be put off by the blade length some vendors list as 3.13 inches.  However some sites list the Domino blade length as being closer to 3.5″ in length.  Why the discrepancy?  Apparently the smaller length is ONLY the length of the cutting surface.  If you measure all the metal which protrudes from the handle (as many knife manufacturers do) then it’s closer to 3.5″ in blade length.

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The backside of the Spyderco Domino reveals a stone washed titanium handle scale, with a Spyderco spoon-style pocket clip.  They had to mount the pocket clip wll below the end frame screw so it’s not a “deep carry” style pocket clip.  I also much prefer Spyderco’s wire pocket clip over the spoon style, but it’s not bad at all.  Normally I’m not a fan of a stone washed finish, but it looks good here.  The only problem I have (minor issue) is that the front side carbon fiber makes the knife look dressy – almost a gentleman’s folder style knife.  The back side looks like a hard-use tactical knife – neither side looks bade, but it seems a bit of a mismatch.  Blade steel for the Spyderco Domino is CTS-XHP – a blade steel I’ve had GREAT experience in the past with for both taking and holding an edge.  Like every Spyderco I’ve owned, this one came hair-popping sharp from the factory.

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The Domino has a Chris Reeve style frame lock with a steel insert (which prevents over travel and also should wear better against the engagement surface over time than softer titanium) and has Sebenza style flow through design (which should make disassembly and maintenance a breeze) very similar to the Spyderco Sage 2:

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Perhaps my favorite feature of the Spyderco Domino is the flipper style deployment – it’s incredibly smooth thanks to specially designed ball bearing washers incorporated into the pivot.  Using the flipper, the blade is easily deployed by me with either my left hand or right, addressing my chief concern with using my ZT 0550 for weak side carry.  Of course, the traditional “Spydie hole” works great here as well.

As a supplement to this written photo review, I’ve recorded a brief video review of the Spyderco Domino in which I compare its size to several other knifes such as the Spyderco Sage 2, Manix 2, and ZT 0550:

The retail price of the Spyderco Domino is $329.95, but it can be found much less on good old Amazon.com.  I think the Spyderco Domino will be my new week day EDC and will likely be my evening and weekend EDC knife as well until I can find something closer to 4″ that I really like.

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About 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.

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