Spyderco Civilian Review
Most of us don’t look for a knife right away when looking for something to defend ourselves or our homes with, but when we do, we want to know it is legal, safe and easy to use. The Spyderco Civilian was designed with self-defense in mind, though it was originally for undercover police officers more than it was for the civilians it was named after. When looking at it now, it is a well-designed blade that is perfect for protection and built to be easy to use.
We feel it could also be a great addition for campers and hunters as well, as most of this company's blades are, but it is not meant for the smaller everyday tasks that some may initially be looking at it for. This blade is notably not a good shape for cutting open boxes, with its sleek ‘s’ shape it simply is not going to be easy to use as an EDC knife and it might be better to look elsewhere for it. If you’re a collector of knives however, you may want to keep reading and see if this one is something you want to slide in with all the others.
Great self-defense blade
The history of this particular model was to be for undercover cops, but they needed it to not be a give away who those police officers were as much as they needed it to work in keeping the officers safe. This meant it needed to be a civilian weapon that was easily attainable, and Spyderco was more than happy to supply the need. Of course, this also means in many locations you may need a permit to carry- if its legal to carry at all. Some parts of the US, as well as other countries, may have this blade as off-limits to the public for anything other than display use.
When a knife’s design is specifically targeted to be a weapon, you will run into the legalities of carrying it and we suggest you check your township, county, city, state and country laws as to whether or not you can own it. It certainly won’t be permitted on public transits, so best be prepared to only have it with you at home for the most part, and maybe when hunting or camping.
The actual edge runs along what could be considered the inside curve of the blade rather, than along the outside, and gives that hook-like tip to it. This is the one weakness to the blade, it is not meant to stab, and its tip can snap off if too much pressure is applied to it, or if it gets snagged on something.
The blade itself is made of VG-10 steel and its full length is a little over 4 inches with about 3.75 inches of it being the actual cutting edge. VG-10 is seen mostly in high-quality kitchen knives and this is due to its main qualities which are to hold its edge, resist rust and the overall high durability. This metal is perfect given the use of the knife, and it also makes these knives something collectors would want to own.
The longevity of this metal combined with its reputation for being reliable and beautiful makes this blade an expensive buy. Thing is, anyone who knows about this high end, high-quality steel, will tell you that it is more than worth it to own. It simply is one of the best on the market to use and has a well-deserved reputation among those looking for outdoor equipment.
Another good idea would be to obtain the proper oil for the knife to keep everything clean and easy to use. A soft cleaning cloth is another thing that comes in useful so that you don’t end up ruining your blade's appearance while caring for it. Other more decorative items can be purchased as well, such as lanyards, pins, plaques, decorative beads, and knife care kits.
Of course, if you have never cared for your knives, whether because you simply never learned how or because this is your first, a good tip before buying any care kit is to do a little research to find out if you can take care of it on your own. Some brands of knives, like Spyderco, have certain restrictions on what you can d and can’t do with it without voiding the warranty.
Given the unique design of this one, we have to say that looking into the warranty first may be one of the best moves you can make, as it may require you to specifically use a dealer to care for your knife.
The only downside is its tip. Because of its oddly shaped blade edge, the tip is very thin and can be snapped off if you try to apply too much pressure to it. This isn’t the metal’s fault, but rather a flaw in the design of many hunting and protection-based knives where they thin out the tip to give it that refined and frightening appearance. This is still an intimidating though, as the tip could snap off inside of what it is used on, but it does make it necessary to be careful not to misuse it if you want the blade to stay intact.
A lightweight blade would be less likely to help you in a life and death situation, more likely to snap off, or not have enough power to cut into or get deep enough to do the job. This is even true when you are using a knife for hunting reasons and need it to be able to skin an animal or cut it apart. A heavier knife evens out to be a better knife for such heavy work.
Add to that, the quality of steel tends to be much higher and more durable. While there are some lightweight steels and metals that are very powerful in use, more often than not, you will find that the best you can get for weapons and hunting will indeed weigh more. Since this isn’t intended to be used as an EDC knife, don’t let this be something to deter you from continuing to look over a knife well worth its excellent reputation.
The best-looking satin finishes occur when the sanding tool used has a much finer grain, and the lines are followed more precisely. The finer tuned that the finish is done, the better it looks overall and often a hand-satin finish is one of the best you can get since a greater attention to detail is put into the work. It’s more likely this is not a hand satin finish, however, given the high number of Civilian blades that are produced.
With the Civilian, this is not a concern. Its G-10 handle scales your sure to have a firm grip at all times when handling.
Not only do you not have to worry about it slipping, but its shape keeps you from having a hand cramp up as well. When using this as it was intended, this is an extremely important factor, and we definitely did not want to leave this out.
Everyone who has used the Civilian has found it to be perfect for its intention and is left feeling that they won’t lose control either through slipping or getting it shoved out of their hand due to hands cramping up.
There are modifications that a few have used to make the knife open as they take it out, but most owners feel that such almost mocks the quality of this particular model and that it shouldn’t be done. It can be opened and closed one-handed already, and it doesn’t have a spring load-assist even- it's just that good of a knife.
Since this is one of their more expensive options, we suggest taking a good look at their warranty and understanding what it does and does not cover. Two things we mentioned earlier can end up voiding your warranty rather quickly. Any actual modifications were done to the knife that affects its use, and taking the knife apart in any fashion on your own are both ways that will end Spyderco’s warranty on your blade.
However, if you are looking for an EDC, this is not it.